Asetek prototype brings liquid cooling to all-in-one PCs

In theory, I like the idea of all-in-one PCs like Apple’s iMac. By packing everything behind the screen, you end up with a system that has a minimal footprint and can even be mounted on the wall. The all-in-one approach also reduces the number of connections and cables for users who tend to be intimidated by such things.

All-in-one PCs are usually quite slim, making it especially difficult to cool their internals, especially if one wants to do so quietly. That’s put a bit of a damper on the level of hardware available in current designs, although to be fair, Apple’s latest 27-incher can be configured with a quad-core Core i7-930 and Radeon HD 4850 graphics. The smaller 21.5" iMacs are limited to dual-core CPUs and graphics options that top out at the Radeon HD 4670.

But what if you could liquid cool an all-in-one desktop? Asetek built a prototype system to answer that question, and it’s been revealed in a nifty YouTube video that I’ve embedded for your viewing pleasure.

The prototype in question is based on a 24" screen and has the "same profile" as an iMac. Behind the screen sits a Core i7-920 CPU and a 75W "GTX 280" graphics chip, which is presumably the GeForce GTX 280M mobile GPU. Each chip sits under a water block that’s tied to a radiator housed in the display stand.

All told, the liquid-cooling system should dissipate over 200W, and Asetek says it does so without compromising noise levels. With Intel’s Core i5 line of quad-core CPUs topping out at just 95W, the design should be able to handle an even beefier graphics component. There’s no word on when or if the prototype will make its way into production, though.

Comments closed
    • UltimateImperative
    • 9 years ago

    Are you sure it’s an i7-*[<930<]*? The i7-930 has a normal speed of 2.8 GHz, but its turbo modes are 1/1/1/2; the i7-860 has the same normal speed, but its turbo modes are 1/1/4/5. According to Apple, the 27-inch iMac can have a "2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache; Turbo Boost dynamic performance up to 3.46GHz; Hyper-Threading for up to eight virtual cores". So it really seems like it's an 860 in there.

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    I was amazed that the “all-in-one” design scheme actually succeeded to a degree when Apple resurrected the idea in the iMac. The “all-in-one” concept is decades old and I can still remember some of the monstrosities that resulted back in the ’80’s from the concept.

    Of course, today’s “all-in-one” doesn’t much resemble yesterdays’ “all-in-one” because the components have been miniaturized, become wireless, and all the rest of it. But the limits to internal component expansion still bedevil the design strategy and of course, the bugaboo-to-end-all-bugaboos still applies to the concept.

    If something internally goes bad–just say, an inexpensive component that in a modular desktop design could be replaced in minutes by the owner at very little cost, if something like that in the all-in-one goes down well then /[

    • bjm
    • 9 years ago

    Lab Coat of +4 Credibility, 10gp.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago


    • Mystic-G
    • 9 years ago

    I can only imagine the price being completely outrageous if it went into production.

    • Shinare
    • 9 years ago

    This might make me eat my words. I said that the last desktop PC I would ever buy I purchased 4 years ago. This sparks my interest enough to want to revisit that remark.

    Though I still may never buy another desktop again, heh.

      • StuG
      • 9 years ago


        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        Probably because affordable, general use laptops can do most of the same things as desktops now with practically no noise, heat, over 9,000 wires going everywhere, and a fraction of the power use.

          • StuG
          • 9 years ago

          Interesting, I have never found a Laptop more enjoyable, faster, or cheaper than a Desktop. I would say those make a desktop #1 in my book as I am willing to give up heat and wires for that (my case is silent).

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    Ooh, those walls match my “sexy love boudoir” bedroom exactly!

      • GodsMadClown
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, there’s something about anechoic baffling that just sets my heart aflutter.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    How quiet is the water pump? That’s on what this design hinges. Very cool idea!

      • henfactor
      • 9 years ago

      Funny how they didn’t test that, even though they appear to be in a ‘quiet room’.

    • wibeasley
    • 9 years ago

    Nice lab coat.

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