Tranquil PC Abel H2-5 review

Price when reviewed

Tranquil PC has produced many eye-catching PCs in the past, but its latest creation – the Abel H2-5 – has to be the most exotic yet. With a case hewn from a solid piece of aluminium, the Abel H2-5 snatches the motherboard from Intel’s NUC D54250WYK and transplants it into an aggressively styled shell.

The Abel H2-5 is significantly larger than Intel’s petite, square NUC – a centimetre taller and almost 5cm wider – but it looks far classier. Thick fins are cut into the centre of that aluminium body, and our review unit came with the optional “Diamond” finish, which sees the aluminium polished to a luxurious, dark-grey gloss. If you don’t fancy shelling out £18 for the privilege, it’s also available in a standard matte finish and in black, blue and red.

Silence is golden

Tranquil PC Abel H2-5

There’s function behind the Abel H2-5’s outlandish form, too: the aluminium casing is the system’s main cooling component – a giant heatsink in effect – with the fins used to increase the surface area and dissipate heat more efficiently. In fact, the Abel H2-5 is entirely passively cooled, with no fans used at all in its construction, which also means – apart from the barely audible whine of the power capacitors when you hold it against your ear – it’s silent.

High operating temperatures are always a concern when it comes to passive cooling, but here the Tranquil PC defies expectations. We left both the Core i5-equipped Tranquil PC and the identically specified Intel NUC D54250WYK sitting idle for 30 minutes, after which the Abel H2-5 settled at 36°C and the NUC reached 42°C. We then repeated the test with Prime95 pushing the CPU flat out, and while the tables were turned – the Intel topped out at 79°C; the Abel H2-5 at 82°C – the NUC’s cooling fan span up to a constant, intrusive whine. The Abel H2-5’s chassis did become noticeably hot to the touch, but the temperature remained stable under load and, crucially, it didn’t make a peep.

Features and design

As you’d expect, the Abel H2-5 largely shares the same ports and connectors as the standard NUC. The front panel has a pair of USB 3 ports alongside a 3.5mm audio output and IR receiver, and a Media Center remote control comes as an £11 option. At the rear there are a further two USB 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, mini-HDMI (Tranquil PC include an adapter to full-sized HDMI in the box) and mini-DisplayPort. A notable addition is that the Abel H2-5 includes a connection for a single, external Wi-Fi antenna, and a high-gain antenna is part of the package. Unlike Intel’s NUC, however, the Abel H2-5’s VESA mount comes as a £20 extra.

Tranquil PC Abel H2-5

Getting inside the Abel H2-5 is straightforward. Four screws secure the metal panel on the underside, and it’s here that the Abel H2-5 reveals one of its trump cards: it has room to accommodate an internal 2.5in hard drive, which attaches to the SATA connector on the NUC’s motherboard. The SSD is screwed to the baseplate, and a second metal panel sits between it and the motherboard, again secured by four screws. Remove this, and you can access the RAM slots, mSATA SSD and mini-PCI slot.


Warranty5 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity240GB
RAM capacity8.00GB


CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency1.30GHz
HSF (heatsink-fan)None


Internal SATA connectors1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3L
Memory sockets free1
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 5000
HDMI outputs1
DisplayPort outputs1

Hard disk

Hard diskToshiba THNSH128GMCT
Spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 make and modelKingston SSDNow V300
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity120GB


Optical driveNone


Dimensions162 x 113 x 37mm (WDH)

Rear ports

3.5mm audio jacks1

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption6W
Peak power consumption29W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings45fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.68
Responsiveness score0.84
Media score0.67
Multitasking score0.50

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