Up until the launch of Windows 7, all-in-one (AIO) PCs have been the equivalent of a bargain ready-meal for one – they look a bit pathetic in your home, and no-one really enjoys them, but at least it is better than starving to death.
However, Samsung and MSI are preparing some gourmet offerings, combining the power and functionality of high-end computers with the aesthetics and ease-of-installation of AIOs. And both companies have thrown in touchscreens.
Samsung, entering the desktop market for the very first time, are launching two new AIO systems – the U250 and the U200, both styled like a giant iPads. And the similarities don’t end there – the devices also offer multitouch touchscreen using Windows 7’s powerful backend, meaning that the computer could quite happily replace a TV as an entertainment device, without a keyboard or mouse in sight.
While the screen may be a bit small to use as a primary viewing set, at 20-inch (U200) and 23-inch (U250), the picture quality is definitely there, with each model offering a degree of HD compatibility. The U200’s 1600 x 900 resolution means that 720p can be displayed, while the U250’s massive 1920 x 1080 allows for Full HD support.
Behind the screen, the internals are equally impressive for an AIO. The U200 boasts an Intel T440 dual core, while its bigger brother has a Core 2 Duo T6600, alongside a dedicated Geforce graphics card (G310M 512mb), 500gb hard drive and two or more gigabytes of RAM.
Disappointingly, there is no mention of an included Blu-ray player, which would really make the most of the gorgeous screen.
MSI’s offering, the “Wind Top AE2400”, is a premium model, and looks set to outperform (and out-cost) both of Samsung’s offerings. Offering a 23.6-inch 1920 x 1080 screen, an Intel Quad processor, a Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics card, a 1 TB hard drive and multitouch, the system looks set to be the biggest and strongest AIO on the market.
Time will tell if either of these companies can match Apple’s success in the AIO World, whose iMac line has been the trademark of designs for the last decade, and a benchmark of quality all-in-one builds.