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Asus Zen AiO Sports High-End Graphics, Speedy SSD

TAIPEI -- Where most all-in-one PCs are designed for mainstream consumers with modest performance needs, Asus's new Zen AiO Z240IC and Z220IC are loaded with powerful specs that promise an experience that's on par with a serious gaming desktop or multimedia workstation. The 21.5 and 23.8-inch PCs come loaded with an Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GTX 960 graphics card and a PCI x4 SSD that promises three times the performance of a traditional SATA-based Solid State Drive.

Both Zen AiOs looks as good on the outside as they do on the inside, with an anodized aluminum chassis that has Asus's signature concentric circle design in its "icicle gold" color. A set of 6 different speakers that operate over 2 channels and use up to 16 watts of power should provide an excellent audio experience whether you're listening to music or watching movies.

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Asus' PC is one of the first to offer USB 3.1 Gen 2, which provides speeds up to 10 Gb/s, provided that you connect it to a device that also supports that standard. Its PCI x4 SSD should also provide impressive transfer rates. When we tested an Intel NUC with a PCI x4 SSD from Samsung inside, it managed a transfer rate of 363 Mbps, more than triple the average SSD-enabled notebook.

The Zen AiOs feature an Intel RealSense, depth-sensing camera, which can do highly-accurate gesture control, face logins and green screening. A number of new RealSense games and apps take advantage of this technology, including Personify, which lets you edit the background out when making video calls, and 3DMe, which scans your head and puts it on a digital body.

Unfortunately, we don't know whether the Zen AiOs' displays are going to be as compelling as their other components. The two models on display at Asus's press event were not touch-enabled. A company rep told us that there would be both touch and non-touch models, and that the display resolution, which Asus didn't disclose in its press materials, is only 1920 x 1080. Considering that touch displays come standard on most premium all-in-ones and many models have 2K or 4K resolutions, Asus could be at a disadvantage.

There's no word yet on pricing or availability for the Zen AiO Z240IC and Z220IC. We look forward to learning more about these systems closer to the time that they start shipping.