Arctic takes advantage of the release of the latest version of XBMC for unstock its first multimedia computer, the MC001.
The Arctic MC001, released at Computex 2011, is the HTPC line of this previously specialized manufacturer, as its name suggests, in cooling solutions. It is no longer very young, but it still holds the road in a purely multimedia point of view because the formats have not changed over the past two years. A MKV file embedding H.264 in Full HD and 5.1 audio track is not more demanding today than yesterday.
The case of the media center is still relatively compact compared to the younger competition, but it has the advantage of being completely passive and boarding an optical drive, a DVD burner in this case. Just the latter and the 1 TB 5400 rpm hard drive, may be enough to pay tour attention.
There are also a good old Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz dual core), supported by 2GB of RAM but also and especially by an AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5430 that assures the hardware decoding of Full HD video and offers the essential HDMI output. Optionally, the computer can accommodate a DVB-T TV tuner. In all cases it has two USB 3.0 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, a SD slot, analog and digital audio inputs/outputs that supports 7.1, a Gigabit Ethernet port, Wi-Fi N and an infrared port for the remote control.
The Arctic MC001-XBMC is now included with the latest version of the OpenELEC operating system, a Linux OS running XBMC 12.0 “Frodo”. It will not be sold anymore very soon, but it will end its life with a retail price of $230, against $459 so far.