ECS G11 Conforms To AIO Specs, Offers Upgradeable Motherboard

All-in-one (AIO) systems like Apple's iMacs or the Asus 2400ET that were reviewed earlier this year are much like notebooks, in that they trade potential upgradeability for convenience and a smaller footprint. RAM is the one component users can count on being able to upgrade, though some models may offer an additional hard drive bay or a slot for a mini-PCIe card.

The ECS G11 is a different sort of animal; ECS is marketing the system as featuring a user-replaceable motherboard. The system ships with a bog-standard mini-ITX board based on Intel's H61 chipset, supports up to 8GB of DDR3-1333, includes a slim DVD optical drive, a 150W power adapter, and wireless support. USB 2.0 connectivity is low, at just four ports, but the system includes a 21.5" 1920x1080P LCD. While we prefer 16:10 screens and 1920x1200, 1080P is a solid resolution for a screen this size.

Like the 2400ET, the G11 is touchscreen-enabled. With the Asus rig, Asus' own included software is what gives the touchscreen its value, and even then, the option is only useful if the buyer is using the touchscreen to navigate multimedia applications. Without having evaluated ECS' software, the touchscreen may prove to be of dubious use. Even once windows 8 is available, an AIO will need to be mounted at an angle to make touchscreen control practical.

ECS hasn't stated if the G11's chassis is explicitly cut to accept motherboard upgrades or not; the only photo of the area in question is too small to make out much detail. If the current ports are cut into non-replaceable/removable plastic, anyone upgrading to a motherboard with a different backplate configuration would have to cut pieces out of the case to make the new board fit.

Part of what makes the upgrade option interesting is that Intel's integrated graphics solutions have finally begun evolve and accelerate between product generations. Being able to move from Sandy Bridge to whatever IGP Intel pairs with Haswell or Broadwell in a few years makes an AIO a more appealing.