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More Computers w/ Integrated LCDs 44

An anonymous reader wrote in to send us an article that talks about new machines with integrated LCDs (sorta like that NEC box we mentioned a few weeks ago). Apparently vendors like GW2k are also following the trend to create slimmer iMac type non-upgradable but super-simple boxes. Personally I'm just obsessed with flat screens.
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More Computers w/ Integrated LCDs

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  • Recently I saw a pressure sensitive tablet that was unique in that it had an embedded LCD screen. It was so cool that I was ejected from the building for drooling on the device. I believe it runs about US$3000, but I am probably wrong.
  • First of all, let me say that I would NOT buy one of these. But, what about those users out there who don't care about upgrading? Look at all of the Mac users that are still using B&W screens and other outdated technologies.

    I heard on a radio program the other day that 80-some percent of all Macs ever made are still in use. Some people just don't need to have the latest machine. As long as it can run what they need, it is just fine. Not all people enjoy fixing up an older PC to make it run faster. Some would just rather buy a new machine that can do what they want.

    I would not expect anyone who reads Slashdot to buy one of these. But, we all know someone who would.
  • Well, they were considering a Digital LCD (the LCDfx chip, as they called it) output on the V3 3500. That was cancelled because of the high cost of LCDs made the feature unnecessary, so they replaced it with a TV Tuner/Video-In instead.
  • I believe that SGI has a No9 video card
    that they were marketing with their
    lcd screen.

    SGI Announces Linux Support for Award-winning Silicon Graphics 1600SW Flat Panel Monitor []

  • by Uart ( 29577 )
    My dad is getting one of those huge flat panel, mount on the wall LCD HDTV things.... pretty neet
  • I'd send this to ask slashdot but I'd never see it again if I did.

    I have thought that it would be neat to have a LCD display, instead of this big 17" monitor. Now that I am making some money, and could afford it, I am wondering which ones Linux supports?

    What LCD displays does Linux support? I am thinking of 17" LCD 1024x768, 16bit color minimum.

    Does anyone know if SGI machines have LCD's that work with Linux yet?

  • i totally agree with the "stupid" thing.

    I was a fool, and on the very edge of the PowerPC's release, purchased a Performa 575 - a one-piece '040-based Mac with a 13" monitor, a motherboard that slides out of the case on rails, and a big slot where I'm supposed to put a "PowerPC Upgrade Card" that Apple made for two weeks and scrapped.

    I never stopped regretting that decision, and now I can't buy an iMac 'cause of the same problem. no room to all. my current PC has no nubus slots, no PCI slots, and one SCSI port. and no room in the case for ANYTHING - more SIMMS, another HD...everything has to be external, because the case is too small. so I hate the one-piece computers with a passion; they're great for schools and families, but for people whose needs change as time passes, they just don't cut it.

    now, LCD monitors are really expensive. I want one, but I want to be able to plug it into my blue g3 (ha!) or something. that way, if the monitor breaks or I decide I want a new box or something, the several hundred dollars that went into a 15, 16, or 17-inch active-matrix LCD screen won't go to waste when I get rid of my non-upgradeable, non-enhanceable little green box with flashing lights and super-clear monitor.

    monitor you can hang on the wall? good.
    monitor that cost a ton of money that you can't replace and can't keep when you get rid of the old computer? very, very bad.

    (...did he just say "make fuck?")
  • The Monorail was beautiful, albeit underpowered. Black, anodized aluminum case. Pretty cool as far as computers go.

    Sure it had its problems:

    • Nasty dual-scan LCD monitor
    • underpowered processor
    • One ISA slot for optional Ethernet

    I think they should try the market out again given that active-matrix LCDs are so much cheaper, and they could probably use one of the many off the shelf NLX mainboards, and still have room for 2 PCI slots. They wouldn't have to waste a slot since Ethernet would be on the mainboard.

  • Posted by DonR:

    Thats exactly the point. You buy an iMac, or any other integrated PC. After awhile, you want to get a newer monitor. Ack! *gasp!* Now you need to buy a new machine? Great. Apple, or whoever, will be there, to sell you a new machine for another thousand bucks.
    Donald Roeber
  • Ok, this is not a new design. It's old hat. The first one I can think of by name is the anniversary mac. And I've been seeing PCs like this in the stores for years. Then why, I asked myself, would this constitute a news story?

    Simple. It's not a news story, it's an advertisement for Gateway.

    Excuse me while I try and brush the bitter taste out of my mouth.

  • The Deseret news is hardly a "technical publication", it's just a tool of the LDS church
  • by vagn ( 2168 )
    Where am I supposed to plug in my tape drive? Small and quiet are good attributes for a computer, but Real Computers (tm) can make Real Backups (sm).
  • Hands up everyone out there who wants to pay top dollar for a machine they can't upgrade? When these machines are comparable price-wise with today's vanilla boxes, they'll become viable. But until then? Nah.
  • by Kento ( 36001 )
    Although I'd prefer a tower sitting under my desk and something like SGI's 21-inch flat panel screen. The custom case would make it pretty hard to upgrade most stuff, although it wouldn't be bad for the average user if the prices aren't too high. I believe there's some form-factor stuff for laptops that they might have used, and that could help keep them from jacking up the prices on upgrades.

    And first post too!
  • these boxes are any different than buying a notebook and strapping a 15 pound weight on it?

    this is not a form factor that we need!
    what would be helpful, however, would be an Lcd screen with bays for drives (kind of like the old black IBM APTIVA with the popup drives)
    --this would make a good client

  • I'd love to find a decent flat-panel display that can do 1280x1024 for less than the price of an entire computer (with 15" monitor). These things are absurdly expensive in Canada.
  • BTW, it's just "Gateway" now. They officially dropped the 2000 part last summer. Just FYI....
  • Is it just me or is this whole idea absolutely stupid?

    A monitor is the one part of a system which should really last a while (2-3 times the lifetime of your cpu), even longer than disk storage. The last thing i want in a "simple" non-upgradable box is a built in monitor.

    A low-powered cheap computer targeted at entry level users means a computer which is looking to be replaced in 3 years. Why replace the monitor if it's not inadequate?

    At least in an iMac, along with its PCI-less and fixed-CPU design is a cheap 15" CRT, which probably contributes about $150 (15%) of the price. In these models, like the NEC one, they're using a monitor I would actually want to use on my next computer, and it takes up a much more significant part of the price. Wasted.

    You can't tell me that plugging a monitor into a case is just too complicated for newbies.

  • I'l wait to buye something like this until it has a "touch-screen" like the Palm Pilot. I want the same Graffiti as on the Pilot, but to be able to write directly in the document, not just in a dedicated area. And I want no keyboard. Oh, upsi; thats a laptop morphed with a Palm Pilot!
  • Seems like there was an Apple machine -- 20th anniversary Macintosh? -- that they tried this with. Integrated flat screen, built in CD-ROM, huge price tag, no upgrades wireless keyboard. Perhaps the Macs were a big hit in Japan, too. Ah, well, at least it opens up the possibility of having a snazzy Linux box without having to install LinuxPPC on an iMac. This at least gives me a glimmer of hope that computer manufacturers (other than Apple and a few other assorted whackos) are begining to consider industrial design as well as functionality in their desktop machines. Now if they can just put functionality _and_ design together...
  • what you didn't notice that the Gateway was upgradable to "2560 megs" of ram. Uhh yeah, right.
  • 6.4 gigabite hard drive

    from a "technical" publication?

  • Is it just me, or do I like the idea of nice LCD (or any other super thin display technology) screens, yet completely hate the ultra-proprietary, 100% incompatible and non-upgradeable designs everyone is creating?

    Even Intel insists we are stupid therefore we don't need internal slots/bays... 6 Miles of Firewire and USB cable surrounding your nice little box...
  • I never thought I'd see the day that /. links to a Deseret News article. I avoid that paper at all costs, and here it is again haunting me. On topic, the only thing we ever upgrade is memory around here. Maybe a new HD, but we generally throw the old one out, or use it in some other unfortunate machine. If it had a bunch of DIMM slots, I think I'd buy it. Monty
  • I have a laptop and a workstation, but wanted a "in-between" that could fit in a smallish space in the house and be conviently usuable to everyone (the workstation requires a room of its own, essentially, due to its size; and I don't want anyone touching my laptop). I went with the sleek Sony VAIO Slimtop, and am somewhat disappointed with its upgradablility (even though it's better than the all-in-one designs referred to in this article).

    The first thing I realized was that, due to the monitor's digital connector (I'd assumed it was analog for some reason), I couldn't slip in just any video card -- that was a disappointment, although I'm hoping that more [digital] LCD-friendly cards will be available soon.

    I also really wanted an LS-120 drive (like my other systems have), but Sony offers up only their HiFD drive -- I have to purchase the (incredibly expensive) PC Card LS-120 drive if I want to use that format on the Sony, and that's stupid (as I have a small form-factor LS-120 in my notebook, and know it should be easy to replace the VAIO's drive with an LS-120 if Sony would just support it).

    I like the PC Card slot on the Sony for reading my picture cards, etc pc cards I already have. Not many "big" computers come with a PC Card slot. But I don't like the thought of having that being one of the few upgradability options I have for the Sony. In hindsight, I'd have preferred a somewhat larger case design than having USB and PC Card cables strewn about the desktop!

  • You'd only be able to do that if the LCD was analog, otherwise the LCD (like most laptop LCDs) require a Digital output (coincidentally, Digital LCD out was one of the options considered for TNT2 based cards, but was dropped)
  • You can't tell me that plugging a monitor into a case is just too complicated for newbies.

    Actually, you'd be surprised. As a sys admin, I have had several calls from "guys-with-ties" asking if I can hook their monitor up. I tell them that all they have to do is plug it into the back of the computer and their done, but they want me to do it. Its a waste of my time, but what am I supposed to do?

    The funny thing is, we all learned how to hook stuff into a computer in pre-school. Think of it this way, for the most part, everything the _average_ user plugs into the back of a computer has one size plug. E.G. The monitor only fits to the video card, the printer only to the parallel port, etc...

    Can we say, "Square peg, square hole?"

    And those things that don't (like mice and keyboards on an ATX/PS2 box) are usually color coded now.

    It just burns me.


  • I read these sorts of articles and I wonder which is going to "win" - the ultimate portable or the ubiquity of access. By that I mean this - what do we really want? Do we want to carry around a wonderful machine with a great display, superfast processor and tons of memory? (You're all saying yes?) OR do we want acccess to a great machine everywhere we go? I liken it to the Library of Congress argument: do you want the library of congress on your desktop or do you want access to the library of congress from your desktop?
    I admit that they are advantages to carrying a portable machine, but for a great many such a device is unneccessary if we could access shared computing resources from work, home, school, etc.
    To carry around a machine does grant independence, but at the price of maintaining the machine. The vendor's current answer to that question is to provide low-end, non-upgradeable machines and consumer leasing agreements. But if you take away the machine, you exchange that problem for one of guaranteed access/QOS and a heavier emphasis on standard protocols (to allow for the transfer of information).
  • methinks/recalls hearing that one of the voodoo3 (nee banshee 2) can do this (i'm guessing the most expensive one)

  • Monorail [] (founded by former Compaq execs) tried this approach in 1997. They were basically all-in-one compact systems with a flat screen very similar to the Gateway and other ultra-slim systems coming out today (you can see pictures of the first Monorail systems in old articles from Family PC [] and Fast Company []).

    The intent of these systems were to be cheap and user friendly; perhaps the first commercially available computer "appliance"? They were portable, very easy to set up, and completely non-user serviceable. The idea was to send the entire unit back to Monorail (or an authorized service center, I'm sure) for upgrades / maintenance. The other selling point to these were that they were cheap. They sold for just under $1,000 (US).

    That $1,000 price tag is the main stumbling point. These things came out before the huge sub-1,000 dollar craze. But although they hit the market first, they were quickly inundated by "white box" competitors all selling cheap PCs. And these computers were standard systems. There was no "sealed box" mentality, proprietary hardware, or strange "Is this really a computer?" look. Also, Monorail's LCD screen was fairly horrid. Their product just didn't compete.

    Of course, there's other aspects to this story. Monorail apparently had issues with production and marketing that also caused them to take hits in the industry. At the least, they were able to salvage relationships with major outlets like CompUSA.

    If you head to a local CompUSA or look at their web site, you'll see Monorail is still in business. Their current products? "White box" PCs like everyone else. Hmmmm.

  • Once upon a time, a big, fat corporation by the name of IBM presented the PS/2 E. This machine sorta looked like the one in the article, however the CPU was contained in its own slim desktop case. It was expandable using PCMCIA cards, which is infinitely better than having no expandability whatsoever. The flat panel display could be replaced with a regular CRT, if need be. However, many of you might have never heard of this machine, which says much about its success.
  • Having actually played with one of these, I have to say it has a fantastic screen. Probably one of the best I've ever seen. Watching a DVD on it was really cool. The only thing I would have wanted would be a SBLive card in there for surround sound.

    Now, the system can be upgraded some. It takes laptop harddrives and memory, usb is there for external upgrades also. I personally would still go with a full tower and a top o' the line 21" monitor, but this is still a pretty cool machine.

    Yes, this isn't really meant for home users, but it's great for people who have limited space.


Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane