Maingear launches 34-inch AIO desktop with liquid cooling and 18-core Xeon CPU

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If you thought all-in-one PCs were lame and not worth your time, Maingear has one

for CES 2016 that may finally grab your attention, although your wallet may cry out in

pain as a result. The Alpha 34 is no ordinary AIO (all-in-one) desktop.

For starters, it’s built around a 34-inch curved display with 3,840-by-1,440-pixel

resolution. That’s seven inches larger and 1,280 extra pixels across compared with

your average 1440p 27-inch display.

Having a giant screen is great, but means nothing if you can’t play the latest

titles at max settings. And as a proper gaming PC, it appears you can configure the

heck out of this thing. The options include Intel CPUs up to and including 8-core

Extreme Edition and 18-core Xeon processors; Nvidia Titan X or 980Ti GPUs, or if you’re

an AMD fan, a Radeon R9 390X option; 32GB of Kingston DDR4 RAM, and a Samsung 950 Pro

M.2 NVME SSD with a claimed 2.5Gbps read speed.


Maingear also bills the Alpha 34 as upgradable, as it’s assembled with standard desktop

components and not bite-size, soldered-in mobile chips. It can fit full-size desktop

gaming and workstation graphics cards (although we couldn’t find a maximum length

for the GPU). Inside the chassis is closed loop liquid cooling instead of a giant

array of fans. The Alpha 34 comes in a black brushed aluminum finish to start,

but for $299 to $399 you can customize it in a variety of colors.

A few downsides we can see immediately: Maingear bills the Alpha 34 as an

entertainment center as well, but we’re not feeling it. For example, you’re not

going to want to watch 16:9-ratio movies on the Alpha 34, because they’re going to look

downright strange, with giant black bars on either side. 21:9 Cinemascope will be a

bit better, but you’ll still have some black bars on the sides.


Also, Maingear says that configurations start at $1,999, which sounds reasonable

for a gaming all-in-one desktop. But that’s nowhere near the configuration you’re

going to actually want, because that price only gets you a Core i3, a 1TB 7200rpm

hard disk, and an AMD R7 360X, with no mouse, keyboard, webcam, or wireless networking.

It might as well be an empty hulk. Starting with the $2,699 configuration, you bump to

an ASRock X99E-ITX motherboard and a Core i7 5820K at 3.3GHz, although you’re still

sitting at a 1TB HDD and an R7 360X; you’ll need an extra $385 for an R9 390X and a

whopping $650 for a GTX 980 Ti. Just $51 puts you in a Samsung 850 EVO (250GB),

but a 512GB 950 Pro costs $376.

In other words, the Alpha 34 looks awesome, but it looks more like an awesome

$3,500 AIO gaming PC — and once you’re in that range, you’re once again faced with

the decision of paying extra for the all-in-one chassis versus just building your

own custom PC and buying a giant monitor separately. And the math always works out

in favor of the latter, although at least this time you’re not sacrificing performance.

The Alpha 34 means you can boast a liquid-cooled eight-core gaming PC with a Titan X

and 1TB SSD, but only if you’ve got at least $4,771 burning a hole in your pocket.

And that 18-core Xeon? Prices start at $7,704 for that model with 16GB RAM and an

Nvidia Quadro K620. Knock yourself out at Maingear’s Alpha 34 configuration page.