Exclusive Review of the Tranquil PC ixL Power PC

Exclusive Review of the Tranquil PC ixL Power PC

Inside you can see the spare memory slot and the Tuner card. The wiring is very neat and tidy, so be very careful not to put too much pressure on this. You can also make out the TranCool device over the processor.

Tranquil PC ixL i3 Power PC

One thing to be careful of is the little push button that sits on the front of the ixL for the optical drive. It just sits in the hole and in my case it fell out and I had to crawl around looking for it before the cats got to it! But you just put it back in and keep the unit level!

Tranquil PC ixL i3 Power PC Tranquil PC ixL i3 Power PC

Just take your time and you will be fine. I have taken it apart several times over the last day or so and it is not difficult.

If you want to add a 3.5” SATA drive, it actually goes UNDER the tray that holds the 2.5” SATA drive and the optical drive.

USING THE IXL

Depending on what you are going to use your ixL for you can either connect it up to a monitor or to a TV (I did both for the purposes of the review, but it will be left connected to my TV as my main media center).

Pressing the power button starts up the ixL and the first thing you notice, or rather don’t notice is the noise. It is VERY quiet – in fact, the only noise I could hear was the slight hum of the Scorpio Blue hard drive.

The ixL booted into Windows very quickly and a check on the System showed that Performance Rating was a 4.1.

2

This is brought down because of the Windows Aero performance, which if you are not bothered about (like me) it isn’t something that it going to worry you much.

1

Using PassMark, I ran the full suite of tests and got the following results:

6

The overall rating was 964.1.

6-1

4

Even running all the stress tests, the machine was still very quiet (which it should be).

  • Steve

    Hi, thanks for the review!

    For me the $24K question remains, how well does this case dissipate heat under duress?

    I would very interested to hear how it handles intensive processing for prolonged durations (ripping from Bluray for example)

    Is it possible to get some thermal readings from the motherboard?

    • Andrew Edney

      Steve

      I have added the results that TPC mentions below to the article.

      Andrew

      • Steve

        Hi, thanks for that Andrew.

        I've pulled the trigger on the core i3 version for myself.

        I was a bit nervous relying just on the vendors test results (although I'm sure they are accurate)

        I'll report back again soonish with some real world case temperatures from my IR thermometer.

        Cheers,

        Steve

        • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

          thanks Steve – I will look forward to seeing the results :-)

          Andrew

          • Steve

            Hi again,

            After the first week with my i3 machine, I am happy to report the real-world case temperatures never get too 'toasty'

            I measured the temperatures (with an IR thermometer) from the radiator grill on right side, as this is naturally the hottest part of the case.

            The ambient temerataure was 27C

            Idle: 36C

            After viewing TV (Win7MC) for 6hrs: 44C

            After Passmark 'BurnInTest': 56C

            In fact, as hard as I've tried, I've been unable to get the case hotter than 56 degrees.

            These Core i3's have a fairly stellar thermal/performace ratio; after running Passmark 'PerformanceTest' v7.0, it acheived a rating of 1316.5

            The ixL is pretty much living up to expectations, with plenty of performance and zero noise polution in my living room.

            My only criticism would be the power light in standby. I don't mind it flashing, but just not twice a second!

            If they had it flashing at a slower pace, or even better 'breathing', I think it would be all but perfect.

            • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

              thanks Steve :-)

  • Vassilis

    Its kind of strange. Tranquil release the T7 computer that it names as a media center but it has no tv tuner and the ixL that is not specifically named a media center has a tv tuner!

    If i buy this i will buy it as a mediacenter, it looks great and it has a dual tv tuner.

    You mentioned that it gets hot. how much hot ? do you think that it will cause any problems on the machine if its open many hours per day acting as a DVR?

    Also on the official page it says a simple DVD drive and not DVD recording, is this true ?

    great review!

  • http://www.green-pcs.co.uk TPC

    Hi

    The T7-MP2 is an Media Player (MP).

    The ixL is an ideal Media Centre, but many users are using it for high end computing needs, hence we don't want to limit it as a 'Media Centre' only machine.

    The new ixVL (marketed by AVA Media however, is an exclusive Media Centre ( http://www.ava-media.com/p/1128545/ixvl-media-cen… )

    Heat – we have provided lab test results to Andrew already, and I hope that Andrew carries out own tests, but we're confident the unit will work flat out for hours / days without getting too hot under the lid :)

    TPC

  • Andrew Edney

    I dont think it will cause any problems – no.

    And it is a DVD/RW drive :-)

    Andrew

  • Nick

    Just ordered mine, cant wait to have it delivered although Im regretting not getting a DVB-S card, would be the perfect excuse to give sky the heave ho!!

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Let us know what you think of it Nick.

      And you can always upgrade the card at a later date :-)

      • Nick

        Will post another comment here soon as I receive delivery :)

        Yeah ive spoken with support who have said I can buy a card from them at a later date if I want to, so glad that future upgrade is there. :)

        • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

          Nice one Nick :-)

          • Nick

            ixL arrived yesterday. Popped in a Western Digital Black 7200rpm hard drive and installed Windows 7 Pro x64.

            Guess I should of thought about this, but I didnt even consider that I would need a SATA cable and hard drive mounting screws, but found some spares in a box in the attic.

            System seems responsive, although I am going to need to have a play with the Graphics settings as my 1080p videos dont look as good as they did on my Western Digital WDTV Live, but sure thats just down to settings.

            CPU Info:
            http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/4969/ixlcpuz.png

            After setting up last night, I watched 2 movies and then left it running all night, here are my temperatures:
            http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/9217/ixltemp.p

            And heres my windows experience results:
            http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3203/ixlwei1.phttp://img820.imageshack.us/img820/5756/ixlwei2.p

            All in all, Im very pleased with the system, very well built and looks right at home with all my other A/V gear so wouldnt class it as ugly.

            Next plans are to get a DVB-S2 card and another hard drive purely for TV recordings, will probably be removing the top two eSATA ports too because I dont really have a use for them and think it will be quite difficult space/cable wise with them in.

            • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

              Nice one – thanks Nick!

              Andrew

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  • Deranged

    Andrew, please, can you add more big photos inside this device?(HDD/ODD tray, cpu cooler system etc..)

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Hi Deranged

      I am currently working on another article showing how to replace or add components to it – the larger images will appear in that.

      Andrew

      • Deranged

        Fine! I will look forward

  • bmoura

    I ordered an ixL with the i5 chip awhile back. No word yet on when it will be shipping out.

    Any thoughts on graphics performance? That's the only area I wonder about.

    • Nick

      Im using mine as a media centre, so can only comment on playback of video files. I have downloaded XBMC onto mine, and playback of some 1080p files was a bit choppy until I downloaded one of the nightly builds that supported DXVA2, runs smoothly now and CPU usage stays at or under 15%. Havent tried any games on it yet, but with an onboard GPU Im not expecting brilliant results.

      I would say that communications need to be better from Tranquil, when I first ordered I heard nothing for 5 days until I chased them up. When you hand over such a hefty amount of cash, you want to know whats going on and when your going to have it. Its the only thing I can fault them on, but on the other hand I do appreciate they must be busy with sales of these new units

      • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

        thanks Nick – I will pass your comments on to Tranquil – I know they have been really busy with the ixL and the new HomeServerSync product, but they should keep you informed.

        Andrew

  • Nicolas

    Hi Andrew,

    thanks very much for the review, very well done. I am considering an ixL as a desktop replacement after years of sitting next to a full tower crammed with 6 SCSI HDD and more fans than I could count. So it is the silence, as well as the low energy use which attracted me towards the ixL.

    Your review mainly focus on using the ixL as an HTPC, but what is it worth as a desktop? My requirements are fairly basic, I hardly play any game (I think the last one I bought was Flight simulator 4!!) but I do need the capability to display at a resolution of 2560×1600, via a graphics card if needs to be. It is only to allow multiple windows of various programs such as the usual office applications and internet browser.

    Is there enough space for silent graphics card and would you recommend any specific one?

    Nicolas

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Hi Nicolas

      There is only one "low" slot and in the case of mine is taken up with the tuner card.

      From memory I dont think the onboard graphics are capable of displaying that resolution.

      Andrew

      • Nicolas

        Hi Andrew,

        thanks for the reply. I thought it might be the case with the on-board graphics but I am not too worried. I found a card, the Sapphire HD5450 which you should do the job and only use 20w at full load. I just hope there is enough space for it (it is a low profile one).

        Apart from that can you see any reason why the ixL should not be a competent desktop replacement?

        Nicolas

        • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

          Hi Nicolas

          No, not at all – I think its a great little machine :-)

          Were you thinking of the i3 or the i5 variant? the i3 should be fine for what you have described.

          Let us know how you get on.

          Andrew

  • Nicolas

    Hi Andrew,

    I agree with you, the i3 should be sufficient for my needs. I will go for SSD rather than HDD as it is much faster. The only question is over the reliability. Can you recover data on an SSD if the drive fail?

    Nicolas

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Hi Nicolas

      There is no reason why you cant recover to an SSD – after all its just a drive.

      I upgraded my ixL with a 64GB SSD and its amazing!

      Andrew

  • Nicolas

    I have placed my order for i3 ixL and can't wait for it to come. I'll keep you posted.

    Nicolas

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Excellent – thanks Nicolas.

  • Nicolas

    Hello again,

    My ixL has finally arrived!! Very nice piece of kit I have to say. I have replaced the HDD with a 60Gb Vertex2 SSD and install W7 on it. What an improvement an SSD make!!! I found removing the optical drive/HDD support a bit of a fiddle as the wires below are stuck in the way and I was worried I might damaged something when pushing them back. But apart from that it is very impressive.

    I added a Radeon HD5450 graphics card (with passive cooling) as I needed a display capability of 2560×1600 and stuck a thermal sensor on it to monitor temperature. It is early days yet but the heat sink temp is around 50-55

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      thanks Nicholas

      Im not sure about the temperature – sorry!

      Andrew

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  • Nicolas

    Hi Andrew,

    just an update to say all is well with the ixL. The temperature of the graphics card seems to stabilise around 60

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      thats great news Nicholas – glad to have been able to help :)

  • Wolfhart

    Had just received a week ago an ixL i5 with a 680 processor. Using it as music servers it worked perfectly well but when I started to play a BlueRay disc it shut off after 10min. Temperature inside reached 70C, room temperature was only 18C and the Tranquil PC had free air circulation. I tried several times again, but no chance to keep it running longer. So I wrote to their support last Sunday (you can choose how urgent it is and I put on the highest urgency level) but received no answer except the automatic email response that they received it.

    Then I sent the unit back with overnight service, telling them I need it urgently back. Again just an email saying that they received the unit and it goes to their technical service. On Friday I sent another email on my ticket to their support service and asked them to let me know what's going on, again no answer till today. So I am sitting on waiting….. too bad that the money has gone already. Will write update on further developments here.

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Im sorry to hear that – I have forwarded your comments over to the head of Tranquil for a response.

      Andrew

      • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

        I received this back from Tranquil:

        I have reviewed this today I can confirm the units here and has been repaired and been undergoing stress tests over the weekend and yesterday and is being dispatched today.

        Andrew

        • Osamede

          As an owner of a Tranquil BBS2 myself I can confirm that this is standard behaviour from Tranquil. They are only answering because the user has make their complaint known publicly here.

          If you make a pre-sales inquiry, you will get an email response from Tranquil. However, f you have given them your money and you have a problem with with the item you bought, then good luck. You might get an answer, and you might not. Post in their forum and they will ignore you.

          Note as well that even this review notes that the built quality was not stellar, with a button falling off a brand new item. That's pretty much part for the course with these guys unfortunately. If your item works, its a fair purchase, but if something goes wrong, good luck, its a big gamble.

          • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

            Can I just clear up the comment about the button…..

            The button in question sits inside the case and is used to press to eject the DVD from the drive. Under normal circumstances (ie not having the case in bits) the button would not "fall off".

            Andrew

    • Wolfhart

      further update:

      I received my ixL back the following week after as Andrew said it has been stress tested, however the blue ray disc drive did not recognize blue ray discs anymore. Sent the unit back again and told in an email to the Tranquil CEO directly what happened and that I might not be longer interested in it. He called me back personally and promised a fast solution. Had the unit back 2 days later and since then it is working fine.

      • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

        well I am very glad to hear it is all sorted and working now – glad I could help!

  • http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalog/AVA_Media_CD_DVD_ripping_and_RipNet_.html TPC -

    Thanks all, for recent feedback

    The Tranquil Support Server was recently upgraded and after investigation it seems that email replies from clients (that should update support tickets) were not being processed.

    This means, if you updated a ticket directly, the reply was recorded, if you emailed in a reply, it was not.

    Without getting too tech'y the issue has now been resolved, and we hope that normal customer service / support can be resumed.

    Again, thank you all for your feedback

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  • Alex

    I wonder whether Tranquil is planning to release iXL next year with the upcoming LGA 1155 socket and energy efficient Core i3-2100T or Core-i5 2390T processors that have 35W TDP – twice as low as current i3/i5 processors on LGA 1156 socket.

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Thats a good question Alex – I know that Tranquil have a lot of new and exciting plans for next year, and the ones I know I am sworn to secrecy for now :-)

      • Alex

        Well, I'm interested only in ixL evolution, because fanless PC is something I will definitely buy in 2011. Anyway, the phrase "a lot of new and exciting plans" sounds promising.

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  • Mike

    HI , Can anyone who has the blueray model tell me the make/model of the installed drive on an IXL?
    Ordered one with a standard dvd drive as I had an external one but the case has died and I’d like to upgrade, but £149 +vat seems abit steep. Like to try and source one myself if I can get the make/model.

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      Ill see if I can find out for you Mike, but I know others have just fitted their own for a lot less.

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