Packard Bell’s aesthetically pleasing ixtreme

By Jack Ratcliffe,

There aren’t many interesting desktop PCs in the world. Desktops are lumbering beasts in a world where small is cool. So how do you make a desktop system compete for awesome-points against smartphones and laptop? Packard Bell things it has the answer: the ixtreme.

Packard Bell desktop

Clearly educated by Apple’s marketing department, the ixtreme has copied two very iPad-esque features: putting an “i” at the start of the name, and coating everything in glossy black. Luckily for Packard Bell, it works.

The ixetreme is an attractive system, with an eye-catching glowing white internet light that illuminates the PB logo (sorry, that’s two more Apple design ideas: check out the Macbook line for glowing white lights and illuminated logos).

Copied aesthetics aside, there are some quite interesting – and unique – features for a desktop system. The “digital photo frame” button delivers a slide show of your preferred photos with a single touch, while an auto-backup button (conveniently located on top of the chassis) helps you to keep any precious files safe. It’s a great idea – two slightly fiddly computer functions simplified into a single button press.

The top-mounted “Device Deck” is another simplification method. It’s a small recessed area on top of the chassis, designed to hold a camera, MP3 player or camcorder while it’s connected to the USB port. Any cables can be hidden under a lid on the rear of the machine as a neat storage option.

It’s also extremely powerful. You’ll find either an Intel Core 2 processor inside, or one of the latest AMD offerings. Then there’s either 3D (as in, jumps-out of-screen) from a NVIDIA GeForce GT400 series graphics card, or the new generation AMD Radeon HD 6000.

Upgrade options include a Blu-ray drive, two USB3.0 ports and up to three hard drives, with a total storage capacity of up to 6TB.

The Packard Bell ixtreme will be available from February 2011, with a base price of around £699.