Arbico’s 5300-HD Media Centre takes the traditional PC format and turns it on its side. Its micro-ATX size Silverstone GD05B Grandia Black multimedia case not only looks great, but also offers enough space for upgrades with standard PC components should you wish to do so. See also Group test: What's the mid-range desktop PC?

Full height graphics cards can be used, along with standard ATX power supplies and there’s room for a pair of 3.5inch hard drives along with a 2.5” SSD and even an external 5.25inch bay. Yet on the outside, it’s brushed-metal finish and metal feet give it a look that’s must more ‘AV’ than it is ‘IT’.

This is however, a fan-cooled system and therefore can’t claim to be completely silent, despite the use of some passively-cooled components inside, such as the fanless Asus GeForce GT430 graphics card. It’s also susceptible to dust, unlike an entirely fanless system.

This card proves to be an important differentiator for Arbico as it makes the 5300-HD Media Centre the most graphically powerful system by quite some margin. It’s no gaming PC, but if you do want to play this PC will provide by far the best gaming experience.

Arbico has plumped for a powerful quad core 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K processor which enables the PC to race past the competition in our WorldBench 6 benchmark. It does however break a bit of a sweat in doing so, consuming around double the power of Quiet PC’s system which is very nearly as fast. Its fast OCZ vertex SSD ensures fast boot times and a 1TB hard drive provides ample storage for media and recorded TV.

A Dual channel Compro Videomate E750 tuner card provides access to Freeview, although not Freeview HD, broadcasts and an view one channel while watching another. A Blu-ray drive is also included.

And in addition to the standard Media Center remote control, you get a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard which comes with a built-in touchpad s you can comfortably navigate the Windows desktop from your lap.

Arbico 5300-HD Media Centre: Specs

  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K (Quad core)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3-1600
  • Storage: 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD, 1TB SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 400W Xigmatech Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M LE
  • CPU cooler: Xigmatech Apache
  • USB: 12x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0
  • TV tuner: Compro Videomate E750 (dual DVB-T)
  • Graphics card: Asus Nvidia GeForce GT430
  • Media-centre software: WMC
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Optical drive: Samsung 12x Blu-ray reader / DVD re-writer
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • Ports: S/PDIF, HDMI, DVI, VGA
  • Case: Silverstone GD05B Grandia Black
  • Keyboard and mouse: Logitech K400 wireless keyboard with touchpad
  • Extra features: Remote control
  • WorldBench 6 score: 176
  • Gaming performance (fps): 105.4 / 50.6
  • MediaEspresso time: 5m 26sec
  • Power consumption (Idle/Max): 57W / 132W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 440x150x325mm
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty (1st yr Collect & Return Parts & Labour, 2nd yr RTB Labour only)
  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K (Quad core)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3-1600
  • Storage: 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD, 1TB SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 400W Xigmatech Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M LE
  • CPU cooler: Xigmatech Apache
  • USB: 12x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0
  • TV tuner: Compro Videomate E750 (dual DVB-T)
  • Graphics card: Asus Nvidia GeForce GT430
  • Media-centre software: WMC
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Optical drive: Samsung 12x Blu-ray reader / DVD re-writer
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • Ports: S/PDIF, HDMI, DVI, VGA
  • Case: Silverstone GD05B Grandia Black
  • Keyboard and mouse: Logitech K400 wireless keyboard with touchpad
  • Extra features: Remote control
  • WorldBench 6 score: 176
  • Gaming performance (fps): 105.4 / 50.6
  • MediaEspresso time: 5m 26sec
  • Power consumption (Idle/Max): 57W / 132W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 440x150x325mm
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty (1st yr Collect & Return Parts & Labour, 2nd yr RTB Labour only)

OUR VERDICT

This system is quiet, good-looking and unexpectedly powerful for a Media-centre PC, making it useful for many other day-to-day tasks as well as casual gaming. It’s easily upgradable and offers fast SSD performance as well as copious internal storage. Dual TV tuners are included, but Freeview HD isn’t supported. The CPU could also do with being replaced by a low-power version.

Find the best price