Asustek to Launch IMac Rival in Taipei on Thursday

Asustek Computer plans to launch an all-in-one PC built into a monitor designed to rival Apple's iMac on Thursday at a news conference in Taipei, according to a company e-mail.

The Eee Top, apparently the new name for what Asus once called the Eee Monitor, will sport a slender 15.9-inch touchscreen, use Microsoft Windows XP and has an 1.6GHz Intel Atom microprocessor inside.

Asustek has already listed two versions of the Eee Top on its Web site, the ET1603 and the ET1602.

The ET1603 is clearly designed to be a more expensive device. It boasts an ATI HD3450 graphics card and has a battery, apparently to make it easy to carry around. The device weighs 4.4-kilograms, according to Asustek.

The ET1602 does not include a specialized graphics card nor battery, but most of the rest of its specifications are the same as the other model, with 160G byte hard disk drive, 1G byte of DRAM, wireless Internet capability via Wi-Fi 802.11n, a 1.3-megapixel Web cam, two 4-watt speakers and several choices of ports including USB and three audio ports.

Pricing and availability are not yet known, but the make-up of the devices suggests a low price tag. In an interview earlier this year, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen said the all-in-one PC would be a low-price device.

The components on the two Eee Tops are certainly not expensive by PC standards. They are similar to the parts used in netbooks, including the same microprocessor and OS.

Apple's iMac, by contrast, is a high-end device running on a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo inside either a 20-inch or 24-inch screen.

Dell offers an all-in-one PC in monitor more similar to the iMac in its XPS One, which also comes in 20-inch or 24-inch screen sizes and Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad microprocessors.

The devices are priced similarly as well, with an iMac starting at $1,199 and the XPS One at $999.

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