Housed in a Zalman Zeno NT-TX200 system case, Quiet PC’s Zeno NT-H67 Fanless Media PC is perhaps the most stylish here, albeit in a different way to Apple’s meticulously designed Mac mini which lacks an internal optical drive.
The compact Zeno NT-TX200 is designed with the living-room in mind. It’s brushed black aluminium chassis presents a minimalist uncluttered appearance featuring a small power button and a slot to house a slim-line Blu-ray combo drive. Beside the small Zeno logo sits a built-in IR receiver, so there’s no need to have any trailing wires connecting to the back in order to use the supplied remote control.
Internally, it’s fitted with its own heatpipe-based CPU cooler which connects directly to two banks of large metal fins flanking both sides of the case. In this way, the whole case becomes a giant cooler so no fans are required anywhere in the PC.
The only sound you’ll hear from this system is the Blu-ray drive spinning, or an occasional low-level rattle from the 2.5in hard disk.
Despite its fanless design, the Quiet PC system sports a powerful dual-core Intel Core i3-2125 processor providing ample processing power for general purpose computing tasks as well as multimedia enjoyment. In our transcoding tests, this PC outperformed all others, completing the task in only 3 mins 14 secs.
A superb Black Gold BGT3600 TV tuner card is included which uniquely offers dual DVB-T and dual DVB-S tuners, allowing a maximum of four simultaneous channels to be received. Not only that, but both the terrestrial and satellite modes support HD broadcasts, making the Zeno the only media centre PC here capable of handling HD TV as standard.
The only component of this system not obviously tuned for media-centre use is the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000 keyboard and mouse. While it’s a high-quality product with dedicated media control buttons, it’s a standard desktop model rather than one you can use comfortably on your lap.