Tranquil PC MMC-12 review

Price when reviewed

It might be just 40mm thick, but there’s more than enough connectivity for any self-respecting Media Center PC. High-speed transfers are no sweat thanks to two USB 3 ports and a single eSATA port, and there are a further two USB 2 ports alongside a Gigabit Ethernet connector. If you crave wireless connectivity, then Tranquil will add a micro-sized USB dongle from Edimax for an extra £23. There are also two 3.5mm audio jacks, one of which doubles as an optical S/PDIF out, and it has dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.4 outputs.

Tranquil PC MMC-12 - rear

Benchmarks may seem irrelevant for such a living room PC, but the MMC-12’s Core i3-2100T processor and SSD make for a very responsive experience. An overall score of 0.62 in our Real World Benchmarks doesn’t set the world on fire, but for the playback demands of a Media Center PC it’s absolutely fine. Those who crave more power can always upgrade to a Core i5 for £45, and there’s a spare 2.5in bay for an additional hard disk and an SODIMM slot for more memory.

However, even all that won’t be enough to make the MMC-12 a viable gaming system: with an average of 23fps in our Low quality Crysis benchmark, and no room to add a dedicated graphics card, it’s good for a bit of casual gaming here and there but little more.


The system is set to boot straight into Windows Media Centre – even from a cold boot it only takes 30 seconds – which means you don’t have to reach for a keyboard and mouse every time you start it up. Instead, the supplied Philips-branded Media Center remote makes selecting content for playback simple.

In addition to the usual Media Center menu items, Tranquil has added its own Internet TV button, which provides a range of handy shortcuts to the online services from BBC, ITV and Channel 4. With most of these just hot-linking to iPlayer or website content – in some cases expired content – you’re probably better off buying a wireless mouse and using a standard browser from your sofa. The ability to launch Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre directly in Media Center is much more useful, however: with HD upscaling of DVD content, it provides far better picture quality than the standard Media Center player.

Tranquil PC MMC-12 - from above

One decision that’s left entirely up to the user is which type of TV tuner to employ. As standard it comes without, but Tranquil recommends either a network DVB-T tuner such as Silicon Dust’s HDHomeRun, which ferries TV through a wired network; or a pair of USB Hauppauge nanoStick T2 PCTV 290e DVB-T tuners, which would provide access to Freeview HD and the ability to record one program while watching another. We Recommended the Hauppauge when we reviewed it, and although Tranquil won’t sell it directly it can be found elsewhere for around £55.

The verdict

Building a perfect living room PC is a tricky balancing act: there needs to be enough power to keep everything feeling slick and smooth; it needs to be quiet, ideally silent; and it needs to be small enough to fit on a TV stand or AV rack. Tranquil’s MMC-12 definitely ticks all of those boxes, and it’s a joy to see PC makers continuing to innovate with what remains a niche form-factor. There’s no question this design excellence is expensive given the performance and features on offer – and don’t forget you may have to budget for a TV tuner or two – but if you’re looking for a no-compromise PC that will fit into a living room entertainment setup, this is a very strong contender.


Warranty3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity80GB
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyIntel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency2.50GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan)Passive


MotherboardIntel DH61AG
Motherboard chipsetIntel H61
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors4
Internal SAS connectors0
Internal PATA connectors0
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free1
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardIntel HD 2000
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetIntel HD 2000
Graphics card RAMN/A
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cardsN/A

Hard disk

Hard diskIntel SSDMAEMC080G2
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speedN/A
Cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 2 make and modelnone
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical driveDVD writer


Monitor make and modelnone
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardN/A


ChassisTranquil PC MMC
Case formatMini ITX
Dimensions395 x 225 x 40mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyGeneric
Power supply rating90W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)2
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
3.5mm audio jacks2

Front ports

Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardnone

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle/eco noise level0.0dB(A)
Peak noise levelN/A
Idle power consumption14W
Peak power consumption44W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings23fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.62
Responsiveness score0.75
Media score0.63
Multitasking score0.48

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