Viglen MPC-L. Well worth £79.

In a recent episode of the Ubuntu UK Podcast we reviewed then gave away a mini-PC from Viglen, the MPC-L. We also told you how could get hold of the units for just under £80, which is significantly less than the advertised price. I’m not going to tell you how, if you want to know you’ll have to listen to the show. ;)

Anyway, I ordered one about a week and a half ago and it turned up today. First impressions? Well, Viglen probably aren’t going to be winning any rewards for environmental packaging any time soon. The unit is almost exactly the same width and depth as a CD case, but was shipped in a standard size PC box. I presume this is largely because they included a keyboard, but the amount of empty space and air pocket packaging showed that the space was not being effeciently used. Spot the 50p on the top of the box (and the actual unit below) for scale.

On top of the box was a black Viglen-branded USB keyboard and a Microsoft-branded USB optiocal mouse. This mouse feels like it’s the cheaper end of the Microsoft USB optical mouse range, but at the price there’s no reason to complain.

See what I mean about the packaging? Inside the small white box is the bubble-wrapped MPC-L unit, along with a laptop-style PSU. Oh, and unlike the review unit there was an instruction sheet giving the default username and password. :) The specification sheet enclosed in the box lists 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD (not the standard 40GB) and 12 months on-site maintenance, 7 day response. And a “Xubuntu Operating System pre-installed.” All for £79. Yey!

Although I’d seen, even dismantled, the review unit having one of my own is quite pleasing really. The unit is so physically small that it lends itself to all sorts of cool ideas. Indeed we had lots of interesting suggestions as answers to the competition. I’m going to try and run it as a MythTV front end just to see if it can cope with it, but other devious thoughts have already formed in my mind. I’m quite tempted to buy a second one. :)

So if you haven’t ordered one yet, download the show and find out how to order yours. Any geek worth his or her salt will find something interesting to do with this little box! Now I have to go and turn it on…

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    20 Responses to Viglen MPC-L. Well worth £79.

    1. Andy says:

      Hi, Can you do a update post on how you get on with the MythTV front end, i’m looking at running something like this in each of my rooms and this seems the ideal price.

      Thanks,

      Andy

    2. […] wont repeat what Tony said in his two blog posts, but try to add to them. Read his […]

    3. Choosing the media server…

      The decision of which media server to go with has easily been the longest and most agonising while putting together new audio solution at home. I’m not the only one at work having recently been looki……

    4. John Hunt says:

      I’m about to order mine.. bringing it home to Australia after a quick visit to the UK. I have big plans for it. It’s going to be a mini hypervisor for UML instances, which will be a LAMP server, svn server, ipcop, and nas backup server by plugging an external usb hdd into it. I might have to get a bit more ram for it though..

    5. Mark says:

      Ordered one last month and it arrived recently. Decided to wipe linux off the hard drive and installed Windows 2000. After finding the correct Video and Audio drivers managed to get it working perfectly. However, it is VERY VERY SLOW. It’s okay for browsing text based web pages but too slow for even low resolution ‘you tube’ videos. I was hoping to use it for playing DVD’s through a USB DVD/CD drive but too slow for that as well with video’s stalling and breaking up. Oh well, on the plus side, it only uses 10 Watts of electricity when working ‘hard’ so I can leave it running 24/7 without worrying about the electricity bill.

    6. Adam says:

      You have had your unit for a while now, what do you think of it now?

    7. […] I made (a Netvoyager) but if I had to make the same decission today, it would be much much simpler: the Viglen MPC-L is a steal at £79! In fact, it’s such a good deal that I caught myself contemplating buying one as a second […]

    8. […] Mine was delivered today as promised by Viglen in a box that is far too big for it. There are plenty of other blogs detailing the size of the box and also the specs of these things, but basically they are a silent […]

    9. Damian says:

      I’ve posted on our blog about installing Ubuntu (8.04, not xubuntu) onto an MPC-L. Runs very slowly, but is an interesting experiment none the less. The video drivers caused the biggest difficulties…
      http://blog.jaytag.co.uk/index.php/archives/176

    10. James says:

      I know it’s nearly a year since the first comment here but I have written to Viglen twice – once to the mpc-l@ address then a week later to sales@. In both cases I asked Viglen if the mpc-l offer of £79 was still available. In neither case have I received a reply.

      Anyone else had a recent helpful response from Viglen?

      Anyone know when the £79 offer stopped or if it is still going?

      James

    11. Tony says:

      Hi James. Viglen have told us that the offer is still on and given us another MPC-L to give away in the latest episode of the Ubuntu podcast from the UK LoCo team. When I first contacted mpc@ I had to chase them a couple of times, so I’d try e-mailing them again or giving them a call.

    12. Lee says:

      The offer is still live and kicking! My MPC turned up today…
      Now shift my carefully crafted install from the old server to this one… :| eek…

    13. Good review, thanks. Any idea what processor it has?

    14. Tony says:

      Hi Andrew. It’s an AMD Geode CPU. We give more details on the hardware in Season 1 Episode 11 of the podcast.

    15. Tony, thanks. Had a nasty feeling that was the case. A little less powerful than I’m looking for, sadly. Thanks for the feedback.

    16. Adrian says:

      Hi Tony, I was fortunate to win one of these machines and I really like it but I was wondering if it could be used as a remote terminal. I posted more here;
      http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7999270#post7999270
      Cheers

    17. Tony says:

      Hi Adrian, I would think that the MPC-L would be quite well suited as a thin client. I think it can netboot too!

    18. Simon Reap says:

      My MPC has just arrived. It now has Hardy installed (8.04.3 LTS), and the 80GB disk is all one partition, apart from 1.5Gb of swap, which is active by default. You also get 512MB RAM, the keyboard and mouse, all for £78.99 (yes, the UbuntuUK Podcast offer is still open). root login is disabled (the password is stored as “!”), but sudo works fine. I plan to use this to replace 3 full-size servers running 24/7 in my house – that should bring the power usage from 200 Watts down to 11, so it will pay for itself in 6 months!

    19. Paul says:

      Would this PC lend itself to the LinuxMCE distro, thinking of building as a home automation server based on LinuxMCE http://linuxmce.com

    20. Tony says:

      I’m not really familiar with Linux MCE, but Andy Stanford-Clark has done a lot of home automation stuff using a Viglen MPC-L at the core of it all. Check out our interview with him on the Ubuntu UK Podcast: http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2008/08/30/s01e13-dont-be-cruel/