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Group test: What's the best media centre PC?

We put five of the best media centre PCs to the test.

PC Advisor reviews the best Media PCs you can buy in the UK right now. See also Media PCs buying advice

Media PCs:

5. Arbico eXcel A2540 Media Centre

The Arbico eXcel offers some great features such as a Blu-ray writer, capacious 2GB disk storage, and a 120GB SSD for real responsiveness. However, processor performance is lacklustre and audible fans make it undesirable when quiet systems are available.

4. CyberPower Ultra HTPC

The CyberPower Ultra HTPC is an all-round system with clean, tidy looks and a Blu-ray writer that may prove useful. Sadly it's also far from quiet and only standard-definition TV facilities are included, although its AMD processor gives it a decent boost in 3D graphics performance allowing it to double up as a gaming PC.

3. Quiet PC FC8 Fanless Mini P

The Quiet PC FC8 Fanless Mini PC is compact, looks good and performs well while operating silently in most situations. However it does look expensive against Chillblast's very similar Vacuum Mini 2 which may lack Quiet PC's hard disk storage but usefully adds Blu-ray support.

2. Apple Mac mini (Mid-2011) Core i5 2.3GHz

At £529, the Apple Mac mini is the cheapest Mac out of Apple’s complete line of desktop and portable computers. But its superb build quality and feature set puts it ahead of any other compact PC. While it’s measurable a little slower than the 2.5GHz version, it will never be found wanting in most home and office applications. With an end-to-end computing experience this delightful, it must come highly recommended.

1. Chillblast Vacuum Mini 2 review

This silent and compact PC manages to perform well and look good while providing premium features such as Blu-ray support and dual Freeview HD tuners. Its compact size makes it easy to fit on a bookshelf or more cramped environments.

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