Apple's iMac design has stimulated an ever growing number of vendors selling the flat-screen-with-a-PC-in-its-base as the answer to lack of space in classrooms. The All-in-One PC has the same range of processor, memory, hard disk and optical drive options of a standard desktop but housed in a stylish design featuring LCD monitor and built-in speakers.
Typically, an A-i-O PC takes up half the room of a desktop, saving space without compromising performance.
RM's A-i-O PCs (Entry Level pound;599.45 ex VAT online, and Accelerator pound;703.95 online) are both well specified with a wide choice of components and configurations. Both have a serial and at least four USB2 ports (plus two on the monitor) - items like a modem are optional. Both floppy-disc and slim-line DVDCD drive bays are at the front. You can choose to have both or any drive up to a DVDCD-RW. Schools like the hard-glass LCD monitor for extra toughness.
The Elonex ProSentia Multi-Media Centre 1050 (pound;880 ex VAT) and 1070 (pound;940+VAT), with smart grey-and-silver chassis and 15" or 17" LCD screen, are definitely more attractive than your conventional desktop. Both optimise the Pentium 4 processor for fast processing. There is a single DVDCD-RW drive but no floppy. The DVDCD drive is on the left of the base, and the machine has a serial, six USB and a networking ports. Like RM, Elonex offers items like modem or firewire as optional. The ProSentia is most elegant.
The Centerprise L285P LCD PC (Model A - pound;770+VAT) adopts a similar design with a choice of three models. It has floppy and slimline DVDCD drives on the edge of the screen and a plethora of ports conveniently situated to the rear. The LCD PC is available with either a 15" or 17" monitor. Each can be fitted with a Pentium 4 or Celeron processor and an integrated modem, network port and a plethora of connections including: 4 USB, parallel, serial, PCMCIA, monitor and firewire. This is very impressive and sturdy.
Pelham Sloane has come up with an even more compact design, in three configurations of the PS1500 (Pentium 4 pound;1,199 ex VAT, Celeron (pound;1,119+VAT, VIA pound;1,069+VAT). As there is no base, the PS1500 offers the added flexibility of being stand, arm or wall-mounted. It looks like a flat-screen monitor as the speakers are built-in. A vulnerable looking CD drive is built into the screen. There's a serial port, 2 USB ports, firewire and TV-out but it's not easy to upgrade, so choose components you need at the time of purchase. If space is critical, these units represent the ultimate "slimline PC" but at a price.
The All-in-One PC is an elegant solution to space problems in schools and points to the future design for all PCs and Multimedia Centers. Indeed, with a wireless keyboard and your mouse stowed well out of the way, they could easily be mistaken for portable televisions.
RM plc, Tel: 08709 086 969www.rm.comCenterprise International LimitedTel: 01256 378087 www.centerprise.co.uk
ElonexTel: 020 8452 4444 www.elonex.co.uk
Pelham SloaneTel: 020 7351 3294 www.pelhamsloane.com