Tranquil ixLS review

Price when reviewed

With all the talk of Intel’s superfast Sandy Bridge processors, it almost escaped our attention that low-power models were incoming too. In fact, there are four Core i5 and i7 green alternatives, and we can think of no better PC to show off their capabilities than Tranquil’s ixLS – an update to the ixL that impressed us so highly last autumn.

With its near-silent operation, moody cooling fins and elegant design, the ixL was ostensibly just another media PC, yet it was far more flexible than most Atom-based rivals – all media PCs can play back Wall-E on your TV, but not many can also crunch numbers and edit video. That’s just as true of the new ixLS, which supports a selection of new processors with TDPs of 65W or lower to suit its passively cooled design.

Tranquil ixLS

Our review sample comes with a mid-range Core i5-2400S, which runs at 2.5GHz rather than the 3.1GHz of its full-power cousin. That isn’t a huge trade-off for the extra efficiency: when idle the system drew just 17W, rising to a peak of 62W and a meaty benchmark score of 2.15. To put that in context, this ixLS is five times faster than the average Atom-powered media PC, and a score of 2.54 in our multitasking test shows the four cores coping effortlessly with a high workload.

The i5-2400S also has Intel’s new HD Graphics 2000 chip onboard, so there’s a modicum of gaming ability. Don’t get too excited, though, since it managed just 24fps in Crysis at 1,024 x 768 and Low settings; that’s better than most Ion graphics, but for anything more than casual gaming and movie playback you’ll still want to fit a low-profile graphics card in the single PCI Express x16 slot.

Tranquil has made a few updates to keep up with the Joneses, with DVI and HDMI connectors now joined by the increasingly popular DisplayPort. And to add to the two front and four rear USB 2 ports, a pair of USB 3 ports stands out in blue at the back. The rest is unchanged, but plentiful: two eSATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet and both optical S/PDIF, and the full set of 3.5mm outputs for 5.1 audio.

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity80GB
RAM capacity4.00GB


CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency2.50GHz
Processor socketLGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan)Custom passive cooler


PCI-E x16 slots free1
PCI-E x16 slots total1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardIntel HD Graphics 2000
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 2000
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1

Hard disk

Hard diskIntel X25-M
Spindle speedN/A


Optical disc technologyDVD writer


Case formatMini ITX
Dimensions240 x 250 x 110mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
eSATA ports2
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
3.5mm audio jacks5

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardN/A

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption17W
Peak power consumption62W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score2.15
Office application benchmark score1.60
2D graphics application benchmark score2.47
Encoding application benchmark score2.00
Multitasking application benchmark score2.54
3D performance (crysis) low settings24fps
3D performance settingLow

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