With Alpha 24 Super Stock, Maingear turns all-in-one desktop into true gaming PC

Summary:All-in-ones don't have to be boring -- if you're willing to pony up for an unlocked Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.


The reasons you don't normally associate "all-in-one PC" with "gaming" are pretty obvious. Top-performing desktops require big, hot components to satisfy the needs of hardcore gamers, and the "less is more" designs of all-in-ones (AIOs) aren't usually capable of housing those parts.

But leave it to gaming PC builder Maingear to try to break the mold of AIOs with a souped-up version of its Alpha 24 desktop. As the name suggests, the Alpha 24 is built around a 24-inch 1,920x1,080 touch-screen display, but what sets it apart are its Super Stock upgrade options.

In its base configuration, the Alpha 24 is decently equipped with an Intel Core i3-3240 processor, 8GB of RAM, and even a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 graphics card. But if you're ready to part with some big bucks, you can go all the way up to a Core i7-3770K CPU and a hefty GeForce GTX 680 video board. You can also go from an ordinary DVD burner to a Blu-ray version and even a Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N adapter for superior online gaming quality. You can additionally grab a CableCARD tuner to turn the Alpha 24 into your HDTV (with an HDMI input for A/V components).

Storage options include up 3TB of hard drive space or a 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA solid-state drive. You also get three expansion slots -- a pair of mini PCIe slots and a single PCIe x16 slot. Still, the Alpha 24 manages to conform to Intel's Thin-Mini ITX platform. How Maingear plans to keep those honking components quiet and cool (relatively speaking) remains to be seen, as are the overclocking capabilities of the unlocked i7-3770K when it's stuffed into an AIO chassis.

One thing the Alpha 24 has in common with its tower-based gaming desktop brethren is price. The base configuration starts at $1,349 and can head skyward pretty quickly. Gamers, do you finally have any interest in an all-in-one?

Topics: PCs, Hardware


Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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