Asetek reveals iMac killer

The thermal engineers at cooling firm Asetek have unveiled a prototype of a full-spec PC in an iMac-style chassis. The liquid cooled all-in-one manages to accommodate a Core i7 920 CPU and a GeForce GTX 280M into a stylish all-in-one case measuring just 58mm thick.

It's an intricate bit of engineering, with the cooling system's radiator hidden in the stand, with a proprietary low-profile pump sitting underneath it and two low-noise fans positioned behind it. This then hooks up to two low-profile coldplates behind the display. The one on the right cools the CPU, while the one on the left cools the GPU.

The whole lot is squeezed into a minimalist all-in-one unit, which features a 24in LED-backlit TFT display. This is an impressive feat when you consider that the Core i7 920 has a TDP of 130W, and the GeForce GTX 280M pumps out a similarly sizzling 75W.

However, as a point of comparison, it's worth noting that Apple's current iMac range has some pretty decent specs too. Its 21.5in models can support a Core 2 Duo and Radeon HD 4670, while the larger 27in models can accommodate a quad-core Core i7 and a Radeon HD 4850.

Asetek has basically managed to create a middle ground between the two sizes of chassis, but without skimping on processing power. The new cooling system, says Asetek, will enable "all-in-one PCs to deliver performance on par with the best performing desktop systems while maintaining attractive price points and near-silent operation."

The company also notes that the low-profile cooling setup could also be used in plenty of other areas requiring minimal space without losing processing power. Asetek's director of marketing, Steve Branton, points out that "driving more performance from within thin profile computers such as all-in-ones, 1U servers, blade servers and performance notebook PCs means increasing thermal density."

"This all-in-one prototype," says Branton, "demonstrates one way that liquid cooling overcomes the thermal challenges that arise when squeezing high performance into thin form factors."

Of course, one issue this system won't solve is upgradeability, and we're guessing it won't be practical to replace the graphics chip in a liquid cooled all-in-one PC.

Now Asetek needs to get the design beyond the prototype stage and into all-in-one PCs. This might not take too long, though. Asetek has previously been employed by companies such as HP to design the cooling system for its Blackbird 002 PC, and a full-spec all-in-one PC will be an attractive prospect to PC builders.

For more information, you can check out Asetek thermal engineer Todd Berk's video demonstration of the system.