Dell releases wooden PC, plus six fruity colours

How’s this for a 180? One of the creators of the commodity PC market and a bulk mover of inoffensive beige boxes Dell has now unveilled what we believe to be one of the most stylish desktop systems on the planet.

It might not even need to sit on your desktop as the compact Studio Hybrid could easily perch on a bookshelf and even double as a bookend. Starting at $999 without a monitor or $1399 with a 22-inch flat panel display the Studio Hybrid is big brother to the Studio laptop range. Like its notebook siblings the systems come in a range of colours from soft yet high-shine metallics to a sleek slate and even bamboo although Dell’s site currently lists only the Smoke Grey Sapphire Steel and Ruby Red finishes.

Another piece of shared DNA is that the Studio Hybrid is built around a notebook chip – Intel’s T5750 Core 2 Duo Mobile Processor. The base spec starts at the 2GHz T5750 with 2MB of L2 cache which belongs to Intel’s previous-gen 65nm ‘Merom’ family but quickly jumps up into the Penryn-class 45nm processors T8000-series which are more power-efficient and pack a faster front-size bus (800MHz against Merom’s 667MHz) plus more L2 cache. How high can the Studio Hybrid fly? If you’re prepared to almost double the price of the system the meaty T9500 (which clocks at 2.6GHz with 6MB of cache).

Dell isn’t by any means the first PC manufacturer to drop Intel’s notebook chips into a desktop chassis. Almost a decade ago Gateway used a Pentium III Mobile in its original all-in-one Profile while Apple’s first Intel-based iMac and Mac Mini systems used the Merom-class processors from the third-gen Centrino ‘Napa’ platform. And notebook processors designed to deliver solid performance while minimising heat make a smart choice for desktop PCs where heavy-duty tasks such as gaming and high-end graphics aren’t required.