All-in-one PCs are great; they offer almost everything you could want from a desktop PC in a single convenient package. Now armed with the latest multi-core processors, high-definition touchscreen displays and integrated Blu-ray optics, they're suitable for the vast majority of consumers, and they come in all shapes and sizes at various price points.
Is an all-in-one a no-brainer, then? Perhaps, but there is a downside to these smart-looking systems; they tend not to offer the same levels of performance available from a traditional desktop tower. Taking into account the form factor and the associated thermal challenge, most all-in-one solutions will offer a mid-range processor coupled with either basic integrated graphics or, at best, a mid-range discrete card. Ample for most users, granted, but these limitations keep gamers away - they need a little more oomph to get their kicks, and that's exactly what PC Specialist is hoping to provide with the new PowerGlide Extreme.
An all-in-one like no other?
Derived from Gigabyte's AEGT whitebox and described as "the ultimate gaming all-in-one," this one-stop behemoth touts a high-end specification that rivals most desktop towers'.
Our review sample - the £1,249 PowerGlide Extreme X670 - comes armed with a 24in full-HD touchscreen display, behind which sits a Thin mini-ITX Gigabyte H61 motherboard, a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3570K processor with integrated HD 4000 graphics, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 graphics card.
A high-end, dual-slot graphics card in an all-in-one PC isn't something you see every day, but PC Specialist's reasoning is simple enough; if you want bags of gaming potential in a single package, there are arguably few as convenient as this. Carrying the PowerGlide Extreme to your next LAN party is going to be a whole lot easier than dragging along a full-size tower, but don't be under the impression that this is a small and compact gaming machine. Having the monitor and high-end components in an all-in-one package is certainly neat, but this 24in system still measures 570mm wide and 450mm tall, and it's noticeably chunky at over 100mm deep (excluding the stand).
There's no denying that this thing's fat (or phat, depending on how you look at it), but size and sexiness are the trade-offs when attempting to accommodate some of the very best hardware currently on the market.
In addition to the powerful CPU and GPU, the PowerGlide Extreme X670 is equipped with a 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSD, a hot-swappable 1TB Western Digital hard drive, an integrated webcam, a Blu-ray optical drive, onboard HD audio, both Wireless-N and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 64-bit install of Windows 7 Home Premium.
The I/O panels are similarly well equipped, too, with the system's left edge providing Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and optical out, while the right edge houses the tray-loading Blu-ray drive, an SD card reader, a further three USB 2.0 ports and headset and microphone jacks.
As an all-in-one, the PowerGlide Extreme is impressively equipped, and the potential doesn't stop here. PC Specialist's configurator provides an array of options, and if your wallet's flexible, this system can be kitted out with a top-of-the-range Intel Core i7-3770K processor, up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. Looking ahead, we're told that integrated TV tuners will also become an option. It's a monster alright, but what's it like to use?