Housed in a bespoke slim-line system case hewn from a single piece of aeronautical-grade aluminium, the Tranquil PC Media One exudes quality. See also Group test: what's the best power PC?

The Media One is a horizontal-format passively-cooled PC, similar in external appearance to Quiet PC’s system, but considerably smaller. Its fanless construction ensures silent operation and unlike other fanless models reviewed here the Media One doesn’t require any ventilation holes, so dust is going to have a very hard time getting inside. Tranquil PC estimates a mean time between failures for this system of over six years and is happy to offer a three-year warranty on the PC. Visit Quiet PC Streacom FC5-Z77 Fanless Media PC review

Being custom made, there’s very little space inside the case as it’s designed as a perfect fit for the components. However, there is room for you to add a 2.5” hard drive or SSD to supplement the speedy but rather low-capacity mSATA drive pre-installed into the Intel DH61AG motherboard.

Most of your storage will have to reside outside the case in an external drive or better-still on network storage elsewhere in the house.

A slot-loading optical drive is included, but sadly it’s a CD/DVD combo writer which doesn’t support Blu-ray playback. This is the only feature of the Media One which disappointed us, although it does represent a significant saving if you don’t watch HD discs as a Blu-ray upgrade will cost an extra £110.

A TV tuner is also notably lacking from the specification. There simply isn’t room inside the case to install one. It’s trivial to add your own USB tuner externally, but you’ll miss out on that pre-configured out of the box experience if you want to watch TV.

The Media One is designed to deliver a pure Media Centre experience, which it does admirably. The system boots directly into Windows Media Center, bypassing the Windows desktop. In fact we had to call Tranquil PC to get hold of the password to get into Windows once we had disabled this feature for testing. If you want to use the PC for more general computing tasks, then you’ll also need to order a keyboard and pointing device as neither were included with our review sample.

The Media One’s performance is somewhat slower than the competition, but you really don’t need a lot of processor power in a pure Media Centre PC. For this model Tranquil PC has selected a 2.5GHz Intel Core i3-2100T Sandy Bridge processor. The ‘T’ denotes that it is a low-power model designed specifically for this type of application and here it does its job admirably, keeping idle power consumption down to only 19W. Even when running flat out it consumes only 45W which is less than Arbico, Braebo or Palicomp’s PCs will need to just sit there doing nothing. Faster processors are also available, with this system case supporting up to the Core i5-3570T.

Tranquil PC Media One: Specs

  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i3-2100T
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 80GB mSATA SSD
  • External 19V DC power supply
  • Intel DH61AG motherboard
  • Tranquil cooling solution
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Intel HD Graphics 2000
  • Windows Media Center
  • gigabit ethernet
  • Sony CD/DVD drive
  • remote control
  • 395x225x40mm
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty
  • power consumption: 19W idle, 45W under load
  • WorldBench 6 score: 123
  • Crysis gaming framerates: 27fps Low, 13fps Medium
  • MediaEspresso score: 4 mins 14 secs
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i3-2100T
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 80GB mSATA SSD
  • External 19V DC power supply
  • Intel DH61AG motherboard
  • Tranquil cooling solution
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Intel HD Graphics 2000
  • Windows Media Center
  • gigabit ethernet
  • Sony CD/DVD drive
  • remote control
  • 395x225x40mm
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty
  • power consumption: 19W idle, 45W under load
  • WorldBench 6 score: 123
  • Crysis gaming framerates: 27fps Low, 13fps Medium
  • MediaEspresso score: 4 mins 14 secs

OUR VERDICT

The custom-made chassis places the Media One in a league of own when it comes to build-quality. It’s simply excellent. It’s fanless and therefore totally silent and virtually immune to dust. Its tiny proportions make it easy to find space for in the living room and it’s extremely power-efficient. You will however have to store your media externally and supply your own TV tuner. You may also want to add a Blu-ray drive which does not come as standard.

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