Tango PC promises desktop functionality in a pocketable package
By Dave LeClair
January 24, 2014
It seems like every single PC builder is looking to make a device that works in the living room. Even PC gaming giant Valve is trying with the introduction of its Steam Machines. A new entry is coming to the market called Tango, and as far as size goes, this thing is positively tiny.
The Tango PC is only 4.9 inches long, 3.15 inches wide, and 0.5 inches thick (125 x 80 x 13.5 mm). That would certainly be small enough to carry around in most pockets, which is something one would not be able to do with most traditional PCs, even of the laptop variety.
The reason Tango is able to be made so small is because of the separate docking system it uses, which houses all of the necessary ports such as USB, HDMI, ethernet, AV, and power. A user jacks the portable part into the dock, and that is what allows the computer to actually function.
Each PC can be used with multiple docks, allowing the same one to be used in multiple locations. The dock itself is not much larger than the actual PC, coming with dimensions of 5.3 inches long, 5.3 inches wide, and 1.06 inches tall (135 x 135 x 27 mm). Wi-Fi is also built in, meaning no additional dongles are required.
While the Tango team's stated aim is to create device as "powerful and as functional as a desktop," its small footprint means it's using laptop hardware rather than full-sized desktop components. The specs are modest, coming with an AMD A6-5200 Quad Core 2GHz processor with an integrated GCN GPU HD8400. This means that high-end PC games are not going to run on it, but the creators have demoed it running Call of Duty 4 (a shooter from 2007), and it seems to run well. Looking at some benchmarks, games like COD: Ghosts will run at about 14 FPS, Battlefield 4 at 20 FPS, and Assassin's Creed IV at about 15 FPS; all unplayable frame rates.
Additional specs include a single DDR3 RAM socket with support for 2-8 GB of memory, and a SATA III mSATA SSD socket that can support a solid state drive.
Tango included a small battery that allows the device to suspend when removed from a docking station and resume right where a user left off when plugged in again. If the system is left in standby mode for more than a few hours, it automatically moves the data over the to disk and goes into hibernation to prevent any loss.
The video below shows the Tango being demonstrated at CES 2014.
A key thing the folks behind the device point out is that in spite of it being enclosed in a tiny box, it can be opened and upgraded. Users simply pop the RAM or HDD out and place a new one in. This is something PC users are accustomed to, so it could prove to be a major selling point for the device going forward.
A concern that Tango has addressed is heat. There are no fans on the portable device itself. Instead, it uses proprietary technology to transfer heat from the PC into the docking station, where a heatsink and fan are located. Time will tell how well this actually cools the system, but in theory, the design makes sense.
Tango Team promises support for Linux, Chrome OS, and full Windows 7 and 8 certification. This also means Steam OS could be installed, making for an incredibly tiny Steam Machine.
The creators of Tango are seeking funding on Indiegogo. Their campaign has already exceeded its US$100,000 goal, with time reaming in the funding period. The minimum pledge required to receive a Tango and docking station is US$299, and it includes 4GB of RAM, a 32GB mSATA SSD drive, and a Windows 7 Home Premium trial edition. The company is expecting to deliver the PCs top backers in April of 2014.
The video below provides more information on the Tango PC.
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