Mainstream vendors, Lenovo in particular, have attempted gaming-oriented all-in-one desktops. Maingear's Alpha 24 Super stock is the first from a true boutique PC vendor.
For starters, here are the highlights of the Alpha's spec sheet:
- Intel Core i3 3240 3.4GHz, upgradeable to Intel Core i7 3770K
- Up to 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD
- Up to 3TB mechanical HDD
- Full-size, Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Graphics, up to GeForce GTX 680
- Expansion slots that include two mini PCIe slots and one PCIe x 16 slot
- Starting at $1,349
You don't normally find full-size graphics cards, and PCI-Express expansion slots in an all-in-one. HP's workstation, the Z1 is the primary exception, but that system is aimed at professionals, not gamers.
For the display, Maingear has elected a 24-inch, 1,920x1,080 pixel touch-screen LCD. And as much as the graphics card defines the Alpha and its 3.75-inch thickness, Maingear has also wisely designed this PC so that you can upgrade or replace the 3D card and other components yourself.
The press release for the Alpha boasts some other features of note. It comes with an HDMI input, extending the display to external video components. Nvidia's Synergy technology, effectively the desktop equivalent of the 3D card vendor's GPU-switching, power-saving Optimus tech, might hold some appeal if you're particularly power-consumption conscious. Maingear also offers an optional CableCard tuner for the Alpha, for the 10 of you who might be interested.
But the real star of the show here is the graphics card. You might find some vendors selling an all-in-one with the laptop equivalent of the GeForce GTX 680 card, but Maingear is the only one with a full-fledged desktop 3D card in an all-in-one aimed at gamers. The fact that you can upgrade the card yourself will also provide some long asked-for obsolescence protection.
The Alpha 24 Super Stock is available for purchase today, and Maingear estimates a two-week shipping time for built-to-order units. We will follow this news with a review as soon as Maingear provides us with a test unit.