|Arctic MC001-BD HTPC Media Center|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Emily Ladouceur|
|Tuesday, 20 March 2012|
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Arctic MC001-BD Final Thoughts
I found the Arctic MC001-BD Entertainment Center to be an attractive unit that would fit perfectly in most household entertainment areas. It is sleek and small enough to fit anywhere. It also gives the homeowner a choice of facings to use, silver or black, if they need to display the unit from the side. The Arctic MC001-BD is virtually plug-and-play which is great for the average user. Not much tweaking to do and it's easy to use. The programs and applications open quickly and the MC001-BD runs pretty quiet. It is able to connect through various ports and has several USB ports to choose from.
It has plenty of attractive features that most users would find appealing. Being able to keep all your media in one place, play your music in whatever room you choose without having to lug a computer or laptop with you, HD video quality, it's compatible with a wide range of multimedia formats, it has Windows 7 and CyberLink PowerDVD 10 pre loaded, etc. All of these features are desirable, and getting them all in one nifty little package is even better. Especially when that llittle package runs quiet.
There may be a few issues that could be a problem for some. The first is the two USB ports in the front are a little too close to the Blu-ray tray. If you want to open the Blu-ray tray you have to remove anything in the USB ports. There is also the possibility that the Entertainment Center may overheat if it is placed in an area with limited air-flow. This could be a pretty big problem for some. It is best if you decide to purchase the Arctic MC001-BD, that you don't place it in a cabinet or other enclosed area, and make sure there is plenty of space around the unit so that airflow isn't impeded in any way. Another issue is the dropped frames if the MC001-BD can't accomodate the bit rate. This is not going to be a problem for the average user who may not download certain file types for playback but for more tech savvy people who demand the most from their HTCP it may be a frustrating issue. I found it to be a minor annoyance but others might place more significance on that particular piece of information.
Arctic MC001-BD HTPC Conclusion
Performance: The Arctic MC001-BD is a very user friendly product and great for the average user. It works well right out of the box without much tweaking needed. It performed well for every-day use. It started quickly with no lag time, all of our movies and TV shows played mostly uninterrupted, I surfed the web without a problem, and it was extremely quiet throughout. There were some dropped frames occationally and certain MKV files didn't play as well as we'd have liked but otherwise the MC001-BD performed great.
Appearance: I really like the look of the Arctic MC001-BD. It is small and sleek and fits anywhere I'd like in my entertainment room. The fact that it has silver or black to choose from, I find to be a plus. You can match it to your existing black devices or if you want it to stand out you can shift it to show the silver aluminum side.
Construction: The construction is intelligently designed for passive cooling. Using the metal side panel as a heatsink and providing ample vents helps the MC001-BD stay cool during every day usage. It has a custom designed ECS TIGD-IS motherboard, and as I mentioned above, the MC001-BD provides more hardware features than notebooks of the same size. The unit provides USB 2.0, Ethernet RJ45, HDMI, VGA, Optical S/PDIF, and 3.5mm audio I/O jack. Plenty of connections to choose from, D-SUB VGA video output for older analog devices or 1080p HD digital HDMI connections for newer devices. With all the hardware features, connections to choose from, and passive cooling to run silently, I'd say mission accomplised.
Functionality: The Arctic MC001-BD is a feature rich product. Although, to use some of the features, one needs to purchase additional peripheral devices. But for our purposes, the features we were provided worked flawlessly. It is quiet, attractive, played our DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, connected wirelessly to the internet, played HD and 1080p content, etc. Therefore it functioned mostly as promised.
Value is very subjective. The Arctic MC001-BD Entertainment Center is listed on Arctic's site at $599.95 without the TV tuner. Considering that it is a PC, has a Blu-ray Player, has Windows 7 and CyberLink PowerDVD 10 already loaded, plays HD content and 1080p or analog if you prefer, I'd say this is a pretty good value for the base model. The peripheral devices aren't horribly expensive either. As far as value goes, my opinion is, this is a great deal.
Final words or recommendation.
The Arctic Cooling MC001-BD is a great decision if you are looking for a silent, feature rich, high definition media device for your entertainment area if you don't plan on running too many CPU-intensive applications simultaneously. It's passive cooling and sleek, compact design make it perfect for beside the TV. It has ample USB 3.0 ports and other various ports for connection to your entertainment devices, older and new. It's plug-and-play ease of use is a very attractive feature, as well. Access to the internet is easy too, thanks to the WiFi. I recommend the Arctic MC001-BD Entertainment Center for anyone who is looking for a media device to use for internet, movie playback, TV shows, and music. I don't think it's quite equipped for anything more complex, so it's perfect for the average user.
- Placement of USB Ports too close to Blu-Ray tray
• Performance: 8.25
Final Score: 8.55 out of 10.Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback on this article in the comment section below.