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MPC Computers debuts all-in-one desktop

The company, formerly known as Micron PC, unveils the ClientPro All-in-One, a new machine based on a special project it did for the U.S. government.

It's not a stealth bomber. It's a PC.

MPC Computers, formerly known as Micron PC, on Monday unveiled a new all-in-one desktop based on a special project it did for the U.S. government.

The new ClientPro All-in-One PC combines a 17-inch LCD (liquid-crystal display) with an Intel Celeron or Pentium 4 processor. The desktop's processor, hard drive, optical drive and other components are integrated into the back of the display.

MPC did not reveal the name of the government agency for which the original machine was designed. But the company builds a large number of custom PCs for the U.S. government, MPC executives said. The company believes other government agencies, the health care sector, and midsize businesses will be interested in the new machine.

Despite their more compact design, all-in-one desktops have historically been hit-or-miss products. The desktops often cost more than machines with a separate display, making the purchase of one a decision based purely on design.

Apple Computer found success with its iMac all-in-one, and Gateway continues to sell its Profile 4 all-in-one desktops.

But IBM discontinued its NetVista X series in 2002. Despite the sleek appearance of its swing arm-mounted flat-panel display, Big Blue said it believed it could achieve the same effect for a lower price with a PC and a separate flat-panel display.

MPC will not aim its new all-in-one at home consumers--a space already dominated by the iMac and Sony's new Vaio W PC--or small businesses with less than 250 employees. However, the company is optimistic about the machine's prospects, given the number of businesses and agencies that have inquired about it.

Rob Wheadon, director of product marketing at MPC, said that while some businesses insist on buying a computer with a separate display--believing the display will outlast the computer's hardware--government agencies like the simplicity of having a single gadget to keep track of.

"We found that there seemed to be across our accounts--government, health care and midsized businesses--a need for this type of product, which has a smaller footprint and can be managed as a single asset," Wheadon said.

The price of the ClientPro, when configured with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4, 256MB of RAM (random access memory), a 40GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive and a TV tuner, will start at $1,699, MPC said.