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Tranquil PC ixL review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Tranquil isn't just a name: this company is serious about silence. Where possible it will cool its PCs without the need for fans, making them near silent - as we found with the T7-HSA Home Server and T2.e we've looked at previously. However, while both those systems were relatively modest in their performance, the machine we're looking at today is rather more powerful.

The mini-ITX Tranquil PC ixL is based on an Intel Core i3 processor running at close to 3GHz, while even Core i5 versions are available. With this much grunt the ixL is more than powerful enough to be used for the vast majority of everyday computing tasks. Configure this little beast with an SSD and it will not only be 100 per cent free of noisy moving parts but also a very fast and modern PC that's just right for being turned into a Home Theatre PC (HTPC). At least that’s the theory, so let's see how it holds up.

From the moment you take it out of its box and remove the black cloth protecting it, it's obvious that Tranquil PC's ixL is on a whole other level to most small chassis, such as that used by the recently reviewed DinoPC Mini Carnivore. For starters, it's more compact than any other system this powerful that we can think of, measuring just 240 x 250 x 110mm. There are smaller PCs available, but they tend to be underpowered machines such as the Atom-based Acer Aspire Revo or the AMD-based Dell Inspiron Zino HD.

It's not just in its dimensions that the ixL impresses either. Despite sporting a few prominent grilles and vents for heat dissipation, it still looks great thanks to its brushed black metal construction, with subtly integrated ports and a slot-loading DVD drive. In fact, it's probably the closest we've seen a proper PC come to challenging the Mac Mini on the design front, though comparing the two is somewhat of an apples and oranges endeavour.

Because of the sheer amount of metal utilized in its construction, Tranquil PC's ixL is also one of the most solid PCs we've come across, sharing its 'most rugged' title with the Linutop 2 Mini. Though we didn't put this to the test (and wouldn't recommend you do either), we're fairly sure you could jump up and down on the ixL without making a dent. Obviously, this solidity also means it's rather heavy for its diminutive size, coming in at 6kg – but don't worry, four high-quality rubber feet mean it won't scratch anything you put it on. The power and optical drive eject buttons also feel reassuringly solid.

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July 26, 2010, 3:55 pm

It's difficult to tell from the images, but is the slot-drive eject button on the left of the drive slot? If so, I presume this position limits the drives it would be compatible with. The Silverstone slim Blu-ray drive looks like it would be compatible, with its eject button on the left. If anyone knows for sure, can you let me know?


July 26, 2010, 4:16 pm


It is indeed to the left. As to drive compatibility, if you have any doubts it's best to confirm with Tranquil PC directly.


July 26, 2010, 8:53 pm

Thanks for replying. I have a couple more questions, if you'd be so gracious:

- is the external PSU bulky or fairly compact?

- do the hard drive mounts (particularly 3.5") have noise-dampening rubber grommets?


July 27, 2010, 1:55 pm

@pimlicosound: I have this case but am not a t home so will have to go from memory. PSU depends on your definition of bulky or compact :-) It's a 90 W model so is of a fair size but certainly not huge - I'll try to remember to get you exact dimensions when I get home. The 3.5" hard drive bay does have some rubber around the holes where the drive screws in. Not plugged one in yet so can't comment on their effectiveness. Some small spacers (not rubber) are provided for the 2.5" hard drive. I have an older 2.5" hard drive plugged in and can hear it when up close and all else is quiet but placed a few metres away and with movies/music on - even at a moderate level - then it isn't noticeable. Hopefully another six months will produce a SSD price drop.


July 27, 2010, 2:21 pm


No problem :)

To davef's helpful comment I would just like to add that with the 2.5in drive in our ixL, vibration is virtually inaudible.

The external PSU is fairly long at approx. 14.5cm, but other dimensions are compact with a width of 5.9cm and height of around 3.5cm. Hope that helps.

Chris Beach

July 27, 2010, 4:26 pm

The other difference between the i3 and i5 is that the i5 has the core boosting feature...so it can reduce the speed of one core and boost the other on single threaded tasks. I found this when looking for a laptop, so it may not apply to the desktop models.


July 27, 2010, 5:44 pm

Thanks for the quick responses.

I think the barebones model would be ideal to upgrade into a high-end but compact HTPC. £1000 would get you the i3 model with 4GB RAM, 64GB fast SSD, 2TB hard disk, Blu-Ray drive, dual digital tuner card with remote, and Windows 7. Pricey, but I'd happily pay for the silence and built quality, and for one device to "do everything".

Craig Bissett

July 27, 2010, 11:31 pm

Over at Tranquils Media site (AVA MEDIA) the have a full blown

iXL media centre, with Blu ray, tv tuners, ssd and desktop drives.

The price is not listed yet, but it shows the potential of the chassis.

Paul Bateman

October 24, 2010, 11:45 pm

Regardless of what you buy from Tranquil, the minute it goes wrong (and it will) you're left with only so much scrap iron because Tranquil have neither the interest or ability to repair its products.

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