Event Coverage

ECS and Wibtek Showcase Upgradeable All-In-One Systems

By Vijay Anand & Kenny Yeo - 7 Jun 2012

ECS and Wibtek Showcase Upgradeable All-In-One Systems

Heralding the Era of Upgradeable AIOs?

In theory, AIOs (All-In-One) are fantastic computing devices. Much like an Apple iMac, they house all the necessary components in a sleek (usually) form factor that’s pleasing on the eye. However, one shortcoming of AIOs have been upgradeability.

Fortunately, that might just be about to change as Intel are interested in developing the idea of upgradeable AIO PCs.

The problem with upgrading AIO PCs in the past has got to do with non-standardized components. To rectify this, Intel is proposing what they call the Pluggable Module Architecture (PMA). The PMA will house essential components such as the processor, chipset and memory and when an upgrade is available, users can supply swap out the PMA for a newer, more powerful one. 

This is however not the first attempt for vendors to try their hand at upgradeable AIO systems. Back in 2009's CeBIT's exhibition in Hannover (Germany), we've already seen attempts made by Chieftec and Enlight to approach this concept, thought they were hardly anywhere near the sleek systems we've showcased below. As odd as it may seem now, these early attempts really consisted of a monitor sandwiched with a traditional mATX based chassis where the latter portion was upgradeable just like any normal DIY system. But enough of history - we showcase the modern day attempts from ECS and Wibtek:-

The ECS G24 and G11 Series

One manufacturer offering such upgradeable AIOs is ECS. Taking on Intel's guidance to bring this about easy upgradability, the ECS G24 Aura's secret lies in its specially-designed thin mini-ITX board. It has a touch-enabled 1080p 23.6-inch LED display and can support the latest Ivy Bridge processors of up to 77W TDP. Elsewhere, it can accommodate either one 3.5-inch hard drive or two smaller 2.5-inch ones.

The G24 Aura is a pretty neat looking AIO machine that no one would suspect it being upgradable.

If you thought the front was neat, it looks even better on its rear with a design imprint on its smooth plastic build. ECS mentioned that only 4 screws are needed to be undone to dislodge the system's bezel and access the innards for easy maintenance or upgrading.

The design of the G24 Aura is such that it even has space to accommodate a slim ODD or a secondary storage drive that's easily accessible for swapping.

The tray's cavity and SATA 3Gbps data and power connectors are part of its design.

On the end of the tray, it's cleverly design to interface with an internal SATA data and power connections as well as USB 3.0 so that you can plug the tray and its storage device directly to another system for ready use.

ECS also shared with us of their multi-design strategy to work along with various PMA modules depending the customer specs and requirements. In all, ECS had about four varieties of these AIO designs to choose from where only minor aesthetics differ, but most of the build and design remain similar to facilitate PMA modules to be easily interchanged across them.

Here's the ECS G24 Cupid and you'll notice that it doesn't differ too much from the G24 Aura, but it still has the same blueprint.

Another upgradeable AIO ECS is showing off at Computex is the G11. Much like the bigger G24 models, the G11 has a 21.5-inch full-HD multitouch LED screen and can support the latest Ivy Bridge processors of up to 65W TDP. However, because of the smaller form factor, it can only accommodate a single 3.5-inch hard drive.

The ECS G11 is a smaller variety of upgradable AIO systems and won't be compatible with the G24 models.

In fact, ECS has yet another usage for the PMA with the another system frame that gives it a look and feel of a digital signage or an interactive panel. Seen here is the G24's variant:-

Leave it to ECS to figure out how to maximize a system's usability as the G24 AIO series is re-purposed here for marketing and interactive display needs by still using the same innards, but a differentiated 'outer jacket'.


Wibtek's DIY AIO PC Platforms

This photo says it all about what Wibtek wants to achieve.

Wibtek was busy highlighting how simple and straightforward DIY AIO PCs can be with a few standard components like a optical and storage drives, cooling modules designed for a certain TDP rating and a corresponding thin Mini-ITX board and its components that don't exceed the TDP rating. Tada! And you have a DIY AIO PC.

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