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Tranquil PC ixL - Connectivity, Specifications and Power Usage

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

As long as you can forgive its lack of USB 3.0 (not a limitation we're keen on, but it will depend on your intended usage), connectivity is yet another strong point of the mini-ITX ixL. At its front we have two USB 2.0 ports and a card reader, next to which is a small IR receiver.

Around the back are a further six USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DVI and HDMI video outputs, and both analogue and optical digital audio. What makes the small ixL unique, however, is its provision of no less than three external SATA ports. Considering this is (for now) still a more common storage interface than USB 3.0 and just as fast in real life, Tranquil PC's creation may hold high appeal for those with large amounts of data kept on external-storage.

Though you can spec up an ixL with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and two hard drives (one 2.5in and one 3.5in), we have one of the lower-spec Core i3 systems, which is available for a more affordable £689.73. For this you get a dual-core Intel Core i3 530 running at 2.93GHz, which should be more than powerful enough to handle all your processing needs. The Core i5 option gives you a 3.2GHz 560 but, as this is still a dual-core CPU, we would be inclined to stick with the cheaper of the two.

Our review machine has only 2GB of DDR3 RAM, which is a bit low by today's standards so we would recommend doubling it to 4GB, even though the £48 Tranquil charges for this upgrade is a little over the odds. That said, 2GB should be enough for most basic tasks and multimedia, and Tranquil uses a single stick leaving you a free memory slot to add more at a later date.

Hard drive choices are quite extensive, with the option to go for a 64GB SSD as your system drive (which will set you back a not unreasonable £109) and a regular 3.5in hard drive of up to 2TB for data. However, our spec came with a single 2.5in 500GB 'laptop' drive, which might not perform as well as a same-capacity desktop drive and costs £10 more but is also quieter and uses less electricity, contributing to the ixL's impressive frugality.

At idle, Tranquil PC's ixL consumed around 20W, while under load power usage generally stayed well below 50W. This is excellent considering the amount of power on offer and will be even lower if it's configured with an SSD only. Meanwhile, heat dissipation by the chassis (the finned side of which is linked directly to the CPU cooling block through lengthy heatpipes) was excellent: the Core i3 530 stayed below 50 degrees yet the case never became more than pleasantly warm to the touch. What's more, it was completely silent when not accessing the hard or optical drives. If we have any complaint, it's that due to the absence of a power LED (the case appears to have an LED indicator but it wasn't working) it was difficult to tell whether the ixL was turned on without turning on our monitor.

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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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