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Desktop PCs 

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02.2023
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Desktop PCs: specifications, types

Product type

The general type of computer. In addition to classic desktop models (including gaming purposes), more unusual solutions are also found nowadays: monoblocks, nettops, microcomputers. Here are the features of each type:

— Desktop. Traditional desktop PCs, in other words, models that do not fit into any of the more specific...categories. For the most part, they are not even desktop, but rather "below the table" — they are carried out in vertical cases, most often placed under the tabletop, horizontal system units are extremely rare among such devices.

— Game. A variety of desktop computers, designed for professional players and gamers-enthusiasts. Such models are necessarily equipped with a powerful hardware, which allows you to comfortably play even demanding modern games. In addition, they often provide various additional features that are useful for specialization: built-in overclocking tools, high-end customizable cooling systems, etc. Another feature of gaming PCs is a distinctive design, often quite original: in an “aggressive” style, with backlight, unusual body shape, transparent inserts, etc.

— Monoblock. Monoblocks are devices that combine a screen, system unit electronics, a set of connectors and acoustics in one case; in other words, these are monitors with built-in computer “hardware”. This design has two main advantages. Firstly, the system initially has a display, and it is quite large and optimally suited to its configuration — so the user does not need to look for a separate screen. Secondly, such a computer takes up very little space — only slightly more than a monitor with the same screen size; and the absence of a separate system unit can be written down as an advantage. On the other hand, if in a regular PC the “system unit” and the monitor can be selected separately, at your discretion, then in monoblocks this is not possible — you have to get by with the combinations that the manufacturer initially offers. In addition, the possibilities for modification and upgrade for such models are noticeably more modest than for traditional ones, and there is no talk of replacing the screen at all.

— Nettop. Devices also known as "mini PCs". They are small and modestly equipped — in particular, a very limited set of ports. In addition, many nettops do not differ in performance and are designed mainly for working with documents, surfing the Internet and other simple tasks. However, there are also quite powerful performant solutions. Anyway, the main advantage of the nettop is compactness.

— Microcomputer. As the name suggests, this type of computer is extremely tiny—comparable in size to a flash drive—and looks more like portable adapters for external screens than stand-alone devices. The case of such an “adapter” usually has its own HDMI connector, which is used to connect to a monitor or TV; the same port provides power. And the case most often provides for a “mobile” energy-saving processor with integrated graphics, a compact SSD or eMMC drive, and wireless modules. Peripherals like keyboards and mice are connected mainly via Bluetooth, but many models have wired connectors like USB, and sometimes in quite a decent amount (2 or even 3). In general, such a device can be a good alternative to a tablet or laptop for those who often move between different workplaces — the main thing is that these places have appropriate screens for connection. The power of microcomputers, naturally, is low, but they are not designed for "heavy" tasks.

— Thin client. Thin clients are computers designed to be used in terminal mode for external servers. In this case, all resource-intensive calculations are performed by the server, and the functions of the thin client are limited to entering initial data and receiving results. Most of these computers do not involve independent work at all, but this is not a drawback, but a feature of specialization. In general, this format of work is not used in everyday life and in the ordinary business sphere, but it is perfect for some highly professional tasks. And since the thin client does not need high performance, it can be made as compact, lightweight and inexpensive as possible.

Form factor

The form factor of a computer case characterizes, first of all, the internal volume. Main PC Form Factors:

Midi Tower. A representative of the tower family (tower cases) of medium size — about 45 cm in height with a width of 15-20 cm, with the number of external bays from 2 to 4. Most popular for middle-class home PCs.

Mini Tower. The most compact "vertical" case type, with a width of 15-20 cm, has a...height of about 35 cm and (usually) less than 2 compartments with external access. Used mainly for office PCs that do not require high performance.

Desktop. Enclosures designed for installation directly on the desktop. They often have the possibility of horizontal installation — in such a way that a monitor can be placed on top of the case — although there are also models that are installed strictly vertically. Anyway, "desktop" models are relatively small.

Cube Case. Cases having a cubic or close to it shape. They can have different sizes and are intended for different types of motherboards, this point in each case should be clarified separately. Anyway, such cases have a rather original appearance, different from traditional "towers" and "desktops".

Screen size

Diagonal of the screen installed in a monoblock (see "Type").

In general, the larger the diagonal, the more advanced both the screen and the computer as a whole are considered. The large display size is convenient for games, movies, and some special tasks like layout of large printed materials; in addition, a higher resolution can be provided for such a screen, and more space is available inside the case for advanced components. On the other hand, a larger monoblock will cost much mo...re than a relatively small one, even if the other characteristics of such models are completely the same. In addition, the power of the hardware is not directly related to the size of the screen — high-end monoblocks can be quite small.

As for specific numbers, a diagonal of 20" or less is considered very limited nowadays, monoblocks of 21.5" are small, a 24" screen is medium, and values of 27" and 32" indicate large sizes.

Resolution

Resolution of the screen installed in the monoblock (see "Type").

The higher the resolution, the clearer and more detailed image the screen can produce, but the more expensive it is. In addition, high resolutions require corresponding powerful graphics, which further affects the price of the entire computer. The minimum indicator for modern monoblocks is actually 1366x768 — this resolution allows, in particular, to play HD 720p video in proper quality. However, nowadays, the more adv...anced format is most widely used — Full HD, providing a resolution of 1920x1080. And in high-end monoblocks with a large diagonal and powerful graphics, there are also more solid resolutions — Quad HD(2560x1440, 3440x1440), Ultra HD 4K(3840x2160, 4096x2304) and even 5K(5120x2880) standards.

Panel type

The type of matrix used in the monoblock screen (see "Type").

TN+film. The simplest and most inexpensive type of modern matrices. In addition to low cost, the advantages of TN + Film include good speed (short response time). But the overall picture quality can be described as average: in terms of brightness, colour gamut and colour reproduction quality, screens of this type are noticeably inferior to more advanced options. However this quality is q...uite enough for relatively simple tasks like surfing the web or working with documents, and in most cases even for playing games and watching movies; however, TN-Film screens are not suitable for professional work with colour.

IPS. A variety of matrices designed for high image quality. In terms of brightness and colour fidelity, such screens are indeed far superior to TN-film, making them excellent for professional use. In addition, these properties are valued among demanding gamers and movie fans. The response time in early versions of IPS screens was quite high, but in modern versions this feature is almost eliminated. But the unequivocal disadvantage of such screens is the rather high cost. Also note that nowadays on the market there are several varieties of IPS, differing in characteristics. For example, E-IPS is a relatively simple and inexpensive option, P-IPS and H-IPS are professional (when they were created, maximum attention was paid to colour reproduction), and AH-IPS was developed with an eye on ultra-high resolution screens. So it would not hurt to clarify the specific features of such a screen separately — especially if a monoblock is bought for design, photo processing and other similar tasks that involve careful work with colour.

— pls. In fact, one of the versions of the IPS technology described above, created by Samsung. During development, special attention was paid to both improving performance and reducing the cost of the matrix; in the end, according to the creators, they really managed to achieve higher brightness and contrast, combined with a lower cost. In general, the characteristics are comparable to mid-level versions of IPS.

*VA. Various versions of VA technology — Fujitsu's MVA, Samsung's PVA and Super PVA, Sharp's ASVA, etc.; In general, there are no key differences in design between these versions. The *VA technology itself was created as a compromise between the speed and affordability of TN-Film matrices and the high-quality "picture" of IPS. The result is screens with more accurate and complete colour reproduction than TN, with good blacks and good viewing angles; the response speed was initially not very high, but in modern versions this drawback has been practically eliminated. At the same time, a feature of *VA screens is that the colour balance of the visible image depends on the viewing angle and changes with the slightest deviation from the perpendicular. With normal PC use, this phenomenon is almost imperceptible, however, such monitors are still poorly suited for professional work with colour.

Surface treatment

Type of own screen cover in monoblock (see "Type").

Glossy. The most common type of coating in modern PCs. Such a surface (with the same characteristics of the matrix) noticeably surpasses the matte one in terms of brightness and colour saturation in the visible image. The main disadvantage of gloss is the tendency to glare in bright ambient light; however, all-in-one PCs are not often used in such conditions, and this phenomenon can be compensated...by increasing the brightness of the backlight. With all this, this type of coverage is quite inexpensive.

Glossy (anti-glare). A modified version of the glossy finish (see above) that, as the name suggests, is more resistant to glare. At the same time, in terms of picture quality, such screens are usually not inferior to classic gloss. On the other hand, the anti-reflective surface is somewhat more expensive, and its advantages in this case are not often really significant. Therefore, screens with such a coating are found in modern monoblocks much less often than glossy ones.

Matte. The key advantages of a matte finish are its low cost and the almost complete absence of glare, even in bright ambient light. On the other hand, the image on such a screen is dimmer than on glossy displays (including anti-glare) with similar matrix characteristics. Therefore, this type of coating is rarely used nowadays — mainly in relatively inexpensive household and business models, for which a bright picture with saturated colours is not fundamental.
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