If you're all about minimising clutter, how does the thought of an all-in-one desktop which doesn't need a power cable strike you?
That's the concept behind the latest machines from Arizona-based SkinnyBytes
, which has unveiled a line of touch-screen all-in-one PCs which run entirely from the energy supplied over a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection.
A frequent sight in industry - and, if the company gets it way, in education - PoE outlets use the spare pairs of a standard Ethernet connection to carry enough juice to power simple devices: IP-based telephones, wireless access points, webcams, and the like. SkinnyBytes, however, has decided to take the concept one stage further by powering the entire PC over Ethernet.
The end result is an all-in-one system - available in sizes ranging from 8.9" to an impressive 18.5" - which the company claims use around 90 percent less lower than their traditional, mains-connected equivalents.
Featuring passively cooled Intel Atom processors, solid-state drives, and LED backlighting for the touch-screen displays, the systems aren't going to replace your gaming powerhouse any time soon - but for education, SkinnyByte's target market, the idea of a range of cheap-to-run machines which can be fitted to any room where there are RJ45 sockets regardless of the availability of power will be an extremely tempting one.
Sadly, there are certain choices that the company has had to make to keep the power consumption as low as possible - chief among them the decision to disable audio, which is likely to limit the appeal to educational users.
While pricing is high for the initial run of the products - with the 18.5" 'Elite' model featuring a dual-core Atom D510 processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM hooked up to a 1366x768 touch-screen setting prospective buyers back $999 (around £625) a pop - it's an interesting development in low-powered computing, and brings the sort of flexibility that was previously only possible with thin-client systems to full-fat computers.
So far the company has not announced any UK launch plans for the range.
Are you impressed to see an entire PC - complete with display - powered simply by PoE, or has SkinnyBytes made too many sacrifices in the name of lowered power consumption for the devices to make it big? Share your thoughts over in the forums