Based on the simple idea of combining the computer components (MB, CPU, Memory, HD, and so on) into the back of the monitor to reduce the amount of space needed for the PC, All in One computers or AIO's have been available in the market for some time but the product category had limited growth mainly due to the proprietary designs which made service and support difficult particularly for system integrators. Fortunately that is no longer the case since Intel, in an effort to enable BTO resellers, developed standards for the Thin Mini ITX motherboard platform. This was a significant step in the evolution of the AIO, because Intel's involvement has been crucial in helping build a stronger ecosystem of suppliers which brings greater variety, improves serviceability, and helps reduce cost which are all key benefits for resellers.
AIO computers offer many advantages that make them ideal for a variety of markets and usage models that are helping to drive growth and user acceptance of the platform. Although the total number of AIO systems shipped worldwide is small compared to the more mature desktops, laptops and tablets, the share of all-in-one PCs as a percentage of total desktop shipments has continued to increase. In fact, in 2016, AIO shipments topped 12.11 million units compared to desktops at 116.8 million units so AIO’s now account for over 10% of all desktops sold and that number is projected to continue to grow and be over 11% by 2018.
The questions are why are AIOs experiencing a growth pattern where all the discussion or expectation for growth is with notebooks or tablets. There are several reasons businesses, schools, and consumers are considering as well as purchasing AIO.
1. Touch Screen – With the release of Windows 8/8.1 and now with Windows 10, Microsoft began the process of transitioning the market to a new OS that uses touch to improve user efficiency and provides the same experience across a wide range of devices from cell phones to computers. AIOs provide a natural platform for the integration of touch technology for users looking to utilize the capability in their current or future computer environments. As touch usage continues to grow, cost will continue to decline resulting in touch becoming a standard feature on the AIO platform.
2. Low Power, low noise – AIO systems use external AC adapters, utilize lower watt processors and as a result have few if any fans. This not only reduces noise but also lowers power consumption.
3. Full Features and customization – With Intel’s involvement in the AIO category and the development of the ThinminiITX motherboard form factor, AIO systems based on this standard are not only customizable in terms of processor option, memory size, storage capacity and OS options but system integrators can also add advanced features like vPro as well as provide features commonly found in notebooks such as wireless/Bluetooth, integrated camera, integrated speakers, and mSATA SSD.
4. Better space utilization and fewer cables – AIO systems are far more integrated then desktops and with their thinner designs, they take up less space in work environment and have fewer cables. Antennas for the wireless and blue tooth are integrated into the AIO chassis so these features can be used to eliminate your network cable and mouse or keyboard cables. Cameras and speakers are also integrated in the case housing so that frees up additional space as well as requires no additional expense or connectivity to add those devices.
5. Easier to Service – In the past, servicing an AIO system was difficult due to the proprietary designs particularly with the MB and power adapters. AIO systems that adhere to the ThinminiITX form factor use standard parts readily available in the market. This means AC Power adapters are standard as are the motherboards which are available from manufactures such as ECS and Intel. AIO systems also use other components such as SODIMM memory, 2.5” or 3.5” HDD, slim ODD, and so that all available in the market.
AIO systems are emerging in many markets due to their thin design and limited cables. While there are many applications and markets suitable for AIO systems a few worth mentioning are listed here.
Education – PC usage in today’s classroom is becoming more sophisticated with lessons incorporating online research, video editing and video collaboration. Space, manageability and security are also concerns, all of which can be solved with an AIO system. Since the PC and monitor are integrated together, the AIO takes up less desk real estate. With the camera, microphone, and speakers integrated in the unit (much like a notebook) as well as with support for wireless network connectivity and Bluetooth keyboards with mouse, the AIO system only has one cable to connect, allowing the systems to be used where the teacher feels is most suitable.
Ergonomics – As we spend more hours at work and at home using a computer, proper ergonomics becomes a greater concern to help prevent back or neck strain and other repetitive issues. With their fully integrated design, limited cables, and VESA mount support, AIO systems are ideal for use on monitor arms that allow for proper positioning of the computer screen as the user may change positions from sitting to standing as an example. Resellers can differentiate themselves and their product message by including an ergonomic option supported with AIO systems.
Digital Signage – The same reason that AIO systems are ideal for schools and ergonomic usages, they are also ideal for digital signage applications, particularly in small businesses. The ability to combine the PC and monitor into one unit and reduce the number of cables and utilize capabilities such as mSATA SSD to save power and reduce heat, along with the improved manageability of vPro, make AIO systems unique in the digital signage segment.
Born as an addendum to the mini-ITX form factor, the thin mini-ITX form factor is designed to become the standard for desktop AIO units. Although the PCB is the same size as the standard mini-ITX board (170mm x 170mm), the thin mini-ITX components are situated on the board in a way that brings the total height down to approximately ½ that of a standard IO shield. Low profile boards are great candidates for AIO integration. The thin mini-ITX utilizes SO-DIMM modules and the slots are angled at 90 degrees and stacked in order to minimize the space needed. Most thin mini-ITX boards also have at least 1 space for Mini PCIe expansion.
Key Thin Mini ITX features
• Desktop CPU support up to 65 watt TDP
• Internal display connectors (LVDS or eDP)
• SODIMM memory support
• External power supply (through back IO panel)
• Mini PCIe expansion
• Designed for AIO or compact mini-ITX cases
ASI sources Thin Mini ITX motherboards from ASUS, ECS, and Gigabyte so we can offer a full range of solutions that support Intel 4th Generation and Intel 6th Generation Core processors as well as provide options for dual LAN and vPro.
AIO systems are designed thinner to use less space on a desk or when mounted on wall and as such they use 65W or lower desktop processors. Standard desktop processors have higher wattage than 65W so its important to identify the correct CPUs. For all Intel Core i3 or lower processors, the wattage is below 65W so there are no special identifiers to consider when using these CPUs. For 4th Generation Core i5 and Core i7 family of processors resellers should use products with a “T” (45W) or an “S” (65W) at the end of the SKU. For 6th Generation processors resellers can use Core i3, i5 or i7 processors (Non K or Xtreme models) as most are 65W. “T” series processors for the Intel 6th Generation offer 35W options for resellers looking for lower overall wattage solutions.
With Intel’s involvement standards have been created around the Thin Mini ITX motherboard to bring AIO systems to the channel that are easy to integrate and service. Thin Mini ITX boards use standard SODIMM memory, and the AIO systems support standard 3.5” or 2.5” HDD as well as slim ODDs. In addition, the AC Adapters are 100-240Vinput / 19.5V 7.9A output which have been standardized for Thin Mini ITX. ASI offers full warranty support on the AIO systems which include extended warranty options of up to three years excluding the touch screen.
There are specific touch panels required for Microsoft Windows compliance, so selecting an AIO system that meets these standards is vital. The touch panel in the Loop AIO models are a capacitive 10-finger multi-touch screen which is 100% Microsoft Windows certified. Being a capacitive screen, the panel works well for family, home, or business usage as it was originally designed to be used in high traffic environments such as restaurants, factories, and hospitals; therefore it is very resistant to liquids and other contaminants. The 10-finger multi-touch capability allows you to interact with multiple points or interactive objects on the screen at a single time. Many previous generation AIO units only utilized single input points which worked well for POS kiosk systems that input orders or ATM machines which are designed for one-finger short term transactions, but prove to be not so useful for today’s modern computing needs such as editing music and video, running educational software, or data research.
The LP3400 is a unique 34” curved AIO designed for the performance market utilizing MiniITX motherboards as opposed to ThinMiniITX, which allows the LP3400 to support discrete PCIex16 graphics cards as well as the latest Intel 7th Generation Core i7 processors. The LP3400 utilizes a Samsung 34" curved panel with resolution up to 3440x1440. In addition, the LP3400 includes a 4-in-1 card reader, an internal 450W 80+ Gold Power Supply, an external AC Adapter to power the LCD, integrated speakers, VESA Mount compliant and more.
The Loop 2150 is a 21.5” AIO system with a 1920x1080 screen that is available as an optional 10 point multi-touch capacitive screen and comes in both an L5 (Barebone) or Skylake ready L6 (AIO+MB+WL+BT). With a stylish design the Loop system support one 2.5” HDD, a slim ODD, is VESA compatible, and has optional accessories such as an adjustable height stand.
The Loop 2360 is a 23.6” AIO system with a 1920x1080 screen. Like the LP2150, the LP2360 is available as an L5 (Barebone) or an as an L6 Skylake ready system that includes the base AIO,MB,WL and BT. With a stylish design the Loop system support one 2.5” HDD, a slim ODD, and is VESA compatible with an optional adapter available from ASI.
V20 All-in-One PC, 19.5-inch edge-to-edge touch panel with Windows 8.1 support, is the brilliant solution for business and entertainment. With exclusive fan-less thermal design, V20 AIO provides extraordinary reliability and acoustic performance along with the sleek back cover stylish design. Besides, it is only 3100g. It’s just brilliant, isn’t it?