MPC makes foray into all-in-one PC market

Even if you're not tight on desk space, you'll still want to take a look at MPC Computers LLC's new ClientPro All-in-One desktop PC. Vendors such as Gateway Inc. and Sony Corp. of America have been making all-in-one PCs for several years, but it remains a niche market. Such PCs are most useful for installations with little space, such as submarines.

However, the design has come a long way since the first models hit the market, thanks to improved technology and the current trend toward more innovative styling.

MPC's first foray into the all-in-one market is stylish, indeed. If Ikea made computers instead of furniture, this is how they would look.

The entire system looks like it's merely a flat-panel display mounted on a curved, silver base that resembles a boomerang. Even with a floppy drive and DVD-ROM mounted on it, the unit is only 2 inches thick. The 17-inch screen is luxuriously roomy.

Stereo speakers, multimedia buttons and an LCD display are integrated and mounted below the display. The finish is brushed silver metal. Our unit came with an optional Microsoft Corp. wireless keyboard and mouse, which enhanced the modern look.

Multimedia enthusiasts won't be disappointed with this system. It features ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 64-bit graphics, six-channel audio and a TV tuner with S-Video, an AM/FM radio and its own remote-control unit.

The multimedia functions are all easily accessible via buttons on the wireless keyboard and the front of the unit, which even features an MP3 button.

Computing power is not compromised by the system's size. The unit we reviewed came with a 2.8 GHz Intel Corp. Pentium 4 processor (a Celeron processor is also available), 512M of DDR333 SDRAM expandable to 1G and a 40G hard drive.

It also includes an integrated antenna for 802.11b wireless support, an integrated 56 kilobits/sec V.90 modem and an integrated 10/100 Ethernet network card. The system found our 802.11b network immediately, and we were connected in no time.

We were pleasantly surprised to see parallel and VGA ports, because of the flexibility they allow.

Cutting-edge ports include five USB (four USB 2.0 and one USB 1.1), FireWire and Sony/Philips Digital Interface. S/PDIF enables the transfer of digital audio signals from one device to another without first converting them to analog.

Other ports include one microphone-in, one front and one rear audio jack, and one center/bass audio jack.

The system we tested came preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP Professional; management software that included Common Information Model, Desktop Management Interface 2.0 and Wired for Management 2.0; and WinDVR3 from InterVideo Inc. for TV tuning.

The ClientPro All-in-One is backed by a standard three-year warranty for on-site, parts and technical support. Customers can upgrade to MPC's Advanced Exchange Service, which will replace a damaged system the next business day.

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