Now I could have run the MC001-BD through all sorts of benchmarks, but instead of letting the Intel Atom D525 get slaughtered by everything else I currently have in the house, I will just say that isn't the intention of this system to be a performance only machine. There is a delicate balance between selecting the right low-power components that will offer you the ability to surf the web, stream movies over the internet via something like Netflix or even from your vast files you currently have on other machines in the network and choosing an OS that is capable, but not too demanding and being extremely power conscious the whole time.
This is a passively cooled system after all and unless you mess with the power settings and get the HDD to click like I did, there is only the small sound of the Blu-ray drive to make any sort of noise during operation of this sleek and sexy HTPC. For all intents and purposes this is exactly what most people want next to their TV, not some big HTPC chassis that takes up a ton of room and you still have the fans to deal with.
The accessories are what complete the package for users. The K481 did take a bit of getting used to and learning that hitting the left Function button revives the keyboard from its sleep state. I was able to type things on a different floor of the house and was testing the 10 meter range and I must have a good line of sight because at near 40 feet I was still able to control the PC. The MCR1 makes use of Media Center very easy and it give you the opportunity to control the PC from another device if you don't like the choices being made by the housemates, but I won't say that ends well all the time. As for the Audio Relay I have to say it is a tool that I have actually wanted for years. For those with rooms for your PC, but say you are throwing a party, now you have the ability to open Window Media Player, select a playlist, send it to the ARCTIC Audio Relay to a receiver in any other room and enjoy the tunes, it really is that easy.
We went through quite a bit of what ARCTIC offers in the realm of home entertainment, I mean we are a couple of controllers, an optical cable, some speakers and an external hard drive away from seeing the entire accessory line that goes along with the MC001-BR we just got done looking at. Considering the kit as you seen it tested runs considerably more than the $600 pricing of the MC001-BD, if you add all the components together that I received, you are well over $800 now.
The MC001-BD is great at what it does, even if wireless isn't going to allow you to stream and play 1080p without a bit of the movie downloading prior to watching it, with a wired connection this is a fierce little machine. While I know it is tough to justify near $800 for what you have seen, this is a seriously easy system to install and use and along with the ease that the accessories offer in use and installation. There is no way you can get this small and sexy for your money, even if yours is a bit more capable. Ease of use and the compact nature of this MC001-BD and its accessories is what drives the pricing and if you want a simple way to connect media to the HTPC and offer an option to stream music anywhere you want to, this may very well be the sweet and simple solution to your needs.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 3 [Packaging]
- Page 4 [ARCTIC MC001-BD Entertainment Center PC]
- Page 5 [Inside the ARCTIC MC001-BD Entertainment Center PC]
- Page 6 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 7 [K481 Wireless Keyboard with Multi-Touch Pad]
- Page 8 [MCR1 IR Media Center Remote Control]
- Page 9 [Audio Relay Wireless Media Extender]
- Page 10 [Audio Relay Accessories]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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