Desktops of the future here today

Say goodbye to the tower

  • Apple iMac: Apple's all-in-one features a 24-inch display, Intel Core 2 Duo chipset, 1 GB of RAM, starts with 250GB hard drive, upgradable to 1 T-byte, built-in camera, wireless, Bluetooth, OS X operating system.

  • The VAIO LT Series PC/TV: This all-in-one PC has no tower at all. Everything is enclosed within the 22-inch widescreen display. The VAIO features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB of L2 cache, a 1T-byte hard drive, 4GB of RAM, wireless keyboard and mouse, 802.11 a/b/g/n, and Blu-ray Disc media support.

  • The enterprise desktop hasn't changed much over the past 15 years or so. But technological advances like the LCD monitor and the 'small form factor' motherboard are allowing PC vendors to create new form factors, like the all-in-one computer or the 'cube' or 'lunch box' style PC. Like most innovations these days, the new PCs are starting out in the consumer market, but will be coming to an enterprise desktop near you in the not-too-distant future.

  • Apple Mac mini: It's a lunch, it's a powerful mini-PC Apple Mac -- Inside its 2-inch-tall, 6.5-inch-square anodized aluminum enclosure, Mac mini houses an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an 80GB or 120GB hard drive, a slot-loading Combo drive or SuperDrive, as well as built-in wireless. BYODKM: Bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse.

  • Shuttle's XPC: Let's get small. About the same length and width as a sheet of paper, this 2-inch-high box contains the guts of a full-sized PC -- Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11.

  • The Gateway One GZ7220: Gateway to PC heaven -- No tower. No wires. No problem. This PC features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 19-inch widescreen LCD, 1.3 megapixel Webcam, 500GB hard drive, 802.11n, plus wireless keyboard and mouse.

  • The Dell XPS One desktop: Dell's all-in-one has the same chipset as the others -- Intel Core 2 Duo. 2 Gbytes of SDRAM, hard drives from 250 to 500 Gbytes, 20-inch widescreen display, integrated Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n, wireless keyboard and mouse, six USB ports.

  • Zonbu starts at under US$300: Open source and 'green' are the guiding principles behind Zonbu. Take the Gia 1.5GHz chip, Gentoo Linux operating system and Open Office applications, squeeze in a 60Gig hard drive and you've got a PC that weighs five pounds and starts at US$280.

  • fit-PC: How small is it? About the size of a paperback book. Designed to fit just about anywhere, the fit-PC sports an AMD 500MHz chipset, 256MB of RAM, 60Gig hard drive, preloaded with Ubuntu 7.1. This is a barebones PC, best suited to Web and e-mail, but then again, it only costs US$285.

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