Today’s computer market is not what it used to be just a couple of years ago. Computers are catching up with household electronics, getting as popular and widely spread as consumer devices. And this tendency has provoked an ever-increasing demand for computers with specific configuration. We used to split PCs into two categories: office machines and high-performance stations for gamers and enthusiasts. But now there has emerged a third class: home computers. Owners of such systems usually use them for processing multimedia content and for surfing the Web rather than for hardcore gaming.
Demand gave birth to supply of home-targeted computers with such distinctive features as low price, small size, stylish design and low noise level. Many manufacturers of computer parts have followed the trend by offering barebone systems like those “cube” systems we meet (and review) so often nowadays. As the trend strengthens, we are likely to see more innovations in this area in 2004. Recently we reviewed a non-standard home multimedia computer ASUS DIGIMatrix (see our article called ASUS DIGIMatrix Review: Computer Systems Invade Consumer Electronics Market) and now we have something completely new coming from Chaintech.
Chaintech has earned respect as a manufacturer of mainboards and graphics cards. Last year the company adjusted its marketing policy and started producing special mainboards sharpened at enthusiasts. The home user shouldn’t feel forgotten, though, as the company has recently unveiled their original barebone system called IMO-Desk designed specifically for the home users’ needs. The manufacturer describes the product as “Mini Desktop PC”, but it looks quite weird at first sight. Let’s get acquainted with this new type of SFF systems now!
So, what is IMO-Desk? The “IMO” in “IMO-Desk” stands for “Internet, Multimedia, Office”. So we are supposed to deal with another version of the home computer concept, a PC you use for surfing the Internet, for all your office needs and for working in multimedia applications. You may get the impression that it is just another variation of the “cube” system? No, you are absolutely wrong here. First of all, take a look at this box, and you will see what I am talking about:
If you haven’t read the introductory part of this article, you may have thought this is an ordinary notebook. Well, it’s not quite a notebook. I would even say it is not a notebook at all! This computer is not mobile as it uses ordinary desktop parts and has no battery. The IMO-Desk resembles the Desknote from ECS in this respect, but Chaintech has some other idea behind it.
The IMO-Desk is not a portable computer. Well, you can, of course, transport it anywhere, but the manufacturer implies that you use it as a stationary computer. On the other hand, the “notebook” form-factor means compactness, which is important for home or office use. Besides that, the IMO-Desk is the only barebone system to come equipped with a monitor (that’s good for an inexperienced user – no bother about the monitor at all).