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Tranquil PC ixL - Gaming, Media, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

Though it has plenty of power to be an excellent media centre and for most other tasks, the ixL is not a gaming machine. The Core i3's integrated graphics chip doesn't offer improved performance over Intel's previous efforts where intensive 3D is concerned, and even casual gamers should probably steer clear of Intel's integrated graphics, as with an old and undemanding title like Call of Duty 4 you'll be lucky to get beyond 10fps.

One other potentially major limitation, especially for HTPC enthusiasts, is that Tranquil PC doesn't offer a Blu-ray option. Slot-loading slim-line Blu-ray drives might not be cheap but they are available, and we're certain there will be consumers willing to pay the extra to get the best out of what is, after all, already a premium-priced system. You can, however, add a low-profile TV tuner and remote for £80 (analogue) or £110 (digital).

While on the topic of price, you do pay a premium for the ixL's tank-like build quality and stealth-bomber silence but we think it's a price worth paying. Indeed, even if you're into building a PC yourself, we recommend you consider the barebones unit, which comes with a CPU pre-installed for £457.

However, the main problem with this system isn't that you're paying a premium for the build quality or even that it doesn't have a Blu-ray option, but that it isn't the ideal candidate for any particular purpose that we can think of. If you simply want an HTPC then the Core i3 CPU is arguably overkill and instead something like the even smaller Dell Inspiron Zino HD makes more sense, especially as it has a Blu-ray option and is far cheaper. Conversely, if you want a more powerful PC that could also do for gaming, then the lack of decent graphics options severely limits you. You could theoretically add a low profile card as found in the DinoPC Mini Carnivore, but with no air circulating round the ixL it is likely to overheat.

Lastly, if you just want a small and attractive general purpose PC, you can actually get a Mac Mini for the same price as this system, and although it's not quite as powerful and is more limited in terms of upgrade potential, it is even smaller and better-looking. Obviously none of the above solutions are silent, though, so if that is your main consideration then the ixL is still well worth considering.


With Tranquil PC's ixL you're paying a premium price for a premium product. Barring machines based on Intel's underpowered Atom processor, we can't think of another PC that runs absolutely silently and offers the potential for no moving parts, all in a small and attractive chassis. Build quality is also second to none, but the ixL's lack of a Blu-ray drive option may limit its appeal even for those who can afford it.

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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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