If you need computing power but space is at a premium and you don't want to opt for a laptop or netbook, then an all-in-one PC might just be the answer you are looking for. After months of eager anticipation, Taiwan's ASUS has finally confirmed the technical specifications for its solution for the space-conscious non-mobile computer user - the EeeTop 20/22 series. They'll be super fast full HD graphics on a touchscreen 20in or 22in screen, a built-in webcam, wireless keyboard and mouse and the option of a Blu-ray player and even more squeezed into one classy chassis.
These new all-in-one's took their first tentative dip into the pool of IT media frenzy at this year's CeBit in Germany, which is billed as the world's largest IT trade fair. Frustratingly, there was a distinct lack of detail though and news since has been somewhat thin on the ground.
Like the earlier EeeTop models (which sported a 15.6in 16:9 aspect screen with Intel's Atom N270, a 160GB SATAII drive), the new additions come in both standard and touchscreen versions but now there are two different screen sizes to choose from.
The ET2002 is the 20in model and is powered by an Intel Atom 330 Dual Core processor and NVIDIA ION chipset. The low power NVIDIA ION graphics card helps keep things compact yet high-def-powerful and with 2GB DDR2 memory, a 250GB or 320GB SATAII drive it'll be quick and spacious. The 511mm x 410mm x 53mm (20.1in x 16.1in x 2in) dimensions should see it fit into the snuggest nook and the 7.2kg weight (15.8lb) means changing locations shouldn't involve pulling any muscles.
The ET2203 is, unsurprisingly perhaps, the 22in model. An Intel Core 2 Duo processor T4300 or T6500 and Mobile Intel PM45 Express chipset provide its power base and an ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics card (full HD 1080p) help the visuals flow smoothly. There's 4GB DDR2 memory and a choice of 320GB or very roomy 500GB SATAII drives. An SPDIF digital audio output gives improved external connection possibilities. Weighing in a little heavier at 8.9kg (19.6lb), its dimensions measure up at 548mm x 450mm x 48mm (21.5in x 17.7in x 1.8in).
The touchscreen version is identified by a 'T' after the model name, ET2002T for instance, and is ready and waiting for all that Windows 7 touchscreen interactivity can throw at it. In the case of the ET2203T buyers will also get the option of a Blu-ray optical drive.
As well as the specifications already given, all versions of the new models benefit from:
There's a range of exclusive applications to make life just a little bit easier, too, which may help you get the most from the EeeTop range, including the quick access EeeBar, the image collecting FotoFun and the note leaving Eee Memo.
There's little doubt that ASUS found a winner in its range of Eee PC netbooks, the excellent Eee PC 1005HA being a number one best-seller according to a recent article in eZine. Will the combination of top tech with ease of use and elegance bring ASUS another market leader?
Well, numerous manufacturers have been doling out all-in-one desktop computers for a good while now - the first one I remember drooling over was from Sony's VAIO range - and the momentum seems to be picking up pace of late. With HP, Acer, MSI, Shuttle and Sony all recently announcing new touchscreen all-in-one machines, ASUS just might find the competition very stiff indeed as the market becomes as overpopulated as that of the netbook.
Pricing and availability information is at best sketchy at the moment but the ET2002T can be seen with a price tag of €598,96 (about USD$854) on the French LDLC website. Elsewhere it's a case of wait and see.
Watch some tentative testing on the video below: