IBM Unveils Diminutive Desktop

A follow-up to the S50 Small, the unit is about 35 percent smaller than its predecessor -- about the size of a dictionary -- and weighs in at apprpoximately 13 pounds.

"It just takes small to a completely new level," said Stephen Miller, ThinkCentre product manager.

The device is definitely constructed with economy of space in mind. However, according to Miller, it still holds everything necessarily for complete desktop performance. "You still have full-height PCI slots, you still have a desktop hard drive, you still have internal power supply," he explained. "It's just smaller."

IBM is marketing its Lilliputian PC to a new market: small and home businesses.

Sponsored post

"We specialize in large enterprise," Miller admitted. "This is a new direction for us, because we can market it to specific sectors, down to smaller businesses in, say, the health industry, where space is really an issue, all the way down to small businesses or home businesses, where space is at a premium. They don't need the extra video card and they don't need the expandability, but they do need a full-function PC that they can service easily."

In fact, one of the selling points of the Ultra Small is that it gives users full access to the components. All of the components can be removed without tools, including the hard drive, the optical drive, PCI slot and the system board.

The Ultra Small is built around an Intel 865G chipset with Intel Extreme Graphics 2, a CD, an optical drive, a 40GB or 80GB hard drive (IDE or Serial ATA), and Integrated Intel PRO/1000 Gigabit Ethernet. The unit comes with dual channel memory and can take up to 2GB or RAM (the base unit starts with 256MB).

Heat is always a problem when you're dealing with tight spaces. According to Miller, the Ultra Small was engineered to be efficiently (and quietly) cooled.

"We have a front-to-back air flow," he explained. "Air is pulled in from in front of PC, right in front of the processor; it is funneled immediately over the processor, and then sucked out the back. That's part of the design, that we can completely control the air flow. That helps us keep the PC quiet as well."

The IBM ThinkCentre S50 Ultra Small is expected be priced starting just under $600 and will be available in August 2004.

*This story courtesy of