If you have been following IFA 2012 at all, you probably have seen a whole slew of Windows 8 devices announced. Since I am pretty committed to replacing my mobile experience with a Surface, I am on the lookout for a desktop for my home office. My current setup is an Alienware M14x attached to a HP 2511x monitor for my 2 screen experience. While my Alienware has great horsepower to pull off all my development and photo/video editing needs, the one thing it is lacking right now using Windows 8 is touchscreen.
I remember either Ballmer or Sinofsky speaking somewhere saying after using Windows 8 on a touch enabled device, you will start touching all your screens, whether they are touch or not. Sure enough, I find myself constantly touching my Alienware screen and realized that while developing for Windows 8 is completely doable on a non-touch device, it is not optimal.
Because I am looking for a fairly powerful machine that also is touch, a desktop makes the most sense. Since there are not many cost-effective touch monitors on the market (glass-to-glass bevel to experience Windows 8 gestures), the option I am going towards now is the All-in-One (AIO) category. AIO machines have typically been underwhelming in both appearance and performance, at least until Windows 8 pushed manufacturers to start thinking about a touch-first experience. And boy did they!
The AIO I was leaning towards is the beautiful Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 which is already on the market. I love the clean lines of the machine and the magnificent 27″ touchscreen. The only problem I have with it is that it is slightly underwhelming in performance. Don’t get me wrong, this machine will handle most tasks swimmingly, but as I said before, this will be my primary development and photo/video editing machine (and maybe get in a little Diablo III). Because of that I need slightly higher performance spec for my AIO. Unfortunately, there really was nothing on the market or even announced that could compete with the A720. That changed at IFA 2012.
The reason I am psyched about this is that while I love the Lenovo A720, Dell’s current AIO beats it on almost every spec, including the important option of the NVIDIA GT640M. While you may think that the comparison between a GT630M (that currently comes with the Lenovo A720) and GT640M is not that big of deal, when dealing with photo/video editing it really is. Granted, both are still a mobile-class GeForce, but these AIO machines need to save space so they look pretty.
The other notable options the Dell has (currently) are the higher resolution screen, faster spinning drive (7200RPM vs 5400RPM), and maximum installed memory (16GB vs 8GB). This is important to consider when you think that both of these machines are not designed to be opened up and have components swapped out. You are living with what you buy.
Now to be fair, Lenovo might up their specs on their current A720 by the time Dell releases their new XPS One 27″, but all they announced at IFA in terms of AIO machines were smaller screen IdeaCentre machines.
The real problem I have with both of these great machines is that now I am going to have to sit and wait until they are finally released or updated, expected around the time Windows 8 is generally available.