The Screen

Ed's Feedback:

I [wanted] a 21-23" all in one system. I thought I might buy a touch screen, build a fanless-type mini-itx system and mount it to the back of the touch screen. I don't have any high power (gaming type) needs. I simply wanted... a system to replace my outdated desktop here at home.... I put our 'old' SSD hard drive in the Antec case beside the new SSD drive, loaded in EasyBCD, and have the ability to boot the new system in either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Supercool. And the die-hard, tactile HID users in the household are gradually getting used to touching and swiping! Things are good.

Built: November 2014

Ed chose to build on the cutting-edge of PC tech, combining a fanless mini-ITX system inside a VESA-mountable Antec ISK110 case, attached to an Acer touchscreen monitor. The result: a completely silent, ultra-efficient, and forward-looking home office PC. Ed was kind enough to pass along a few photos of the building process, so you can all see how it came together.

The Parts

Component List:

  1. CPU/Motherboard Combo: ASRock Q1900-ITX
  2. RAM: Crucial 8GB Single DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM
  3. Wireless: Intel 3160 Wireless AC Mini PCIe card (replaced with an Edimax AC1200 USB Adapter)
  4. Case: Antec ISK110-VESA Mini-ITX
  5. Solid-State Drive: Crucial MX100 512GB
  6. Operating System: MS Windows 8.1
  7. Monitor: Acer FT220HQL 21.5 HD Touchscreen
  8. Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech MK270 Wireless Combo

The PC

The Q1900-ITX motherboard used here has an embedded Intel Celeron J1900 2GHz quad-core processor that uses just 10W at load, meaning it needs nothing more than a passive heatsink to keep it cool. Very slick! 

The Q1900 can accept two laptop-style SODIMM memory modules. Ed chose to go with a single 8GB module to start. He loses out on dual channel operation for now, but leaves open the option for an additional module down the line to push the system up to 16GB.

The system derives much of its performance from the blazing-fast (and quite spacious) MX100 512GB solid-state drive, which would be right at home in a high-end gaming rig (in fact, it is right at home in TBG's current game benchmarking system!). In Ed's system, it serves as a future-proof choice for a system that will be in use for a long time to come.

The Q1900-ITX board even has mini-PCIe slot, but it turns out that Ed ran into a slight issue with the Intel 3160 Mini PCIe Card. It's designed for laptops, as well as the Intel NUC, which have integrated antennas. So while the card could be plugged into the motherboard, there was no antenna array provided, leading to poor performance. Ed ended up replacing the Intel card with an AC1200 USB adapter.

Finished Product

Above you can see the entire build put together. The combination of a fanless CPU and an ultra-low-profile board make this an easy fit, even in the tight confines of the Antec ISK110-VESA case. Ed has done a great job tucking in the extra power supply cables, meaning there will be plenty of airflow around the center-mounted heatsink.

It's only a matter of time before the touch interface becomes a standard feature of desktop PCs. It's already quite popular for Windows-based tablets and laptops, but of course the desktop is a different beast all-together. And while there are a few pre-built all-in-ones that feature touch interfaces, Ed chose to go his own way by building a modular, fanless system that's powerful enough for his current uses, but also offers plenty of room to grow. And by selecting his own parts, he could devote more of his budget to the things that matter, like a big, fast SSD, which you'd never find in a pre-built OEM system, along with a generous amount of RAM. We've said it before and we'll say it again - SSDs are an absolute must for just about any PC at this stage in the game. In terms of providing responsive performance for everyday tasks, they matter so much more than the CPU, which is why Ed could get away with a low-cost CPU/motherboard combo that pulls only 10W at load. A good system for his household, and a good system for the Earth too!

Thanks again, Ed, for passing along these fantastic photos and inspiring our readers to be bold with their home PC creations. Touch is the future, folks!