Why the next project should be an Eve AIO Desktop 5K


#1

Following my own thread here https://eve.community/t/why-the-next-project-should-be-an-eve-10-snapdragon-tablet/12799, I stole its template and made another proposal: The Eve Desktop. Or Eve D. (Eve has a D, who knew?) Or whatever, I dont care what you wanna call it.

I personally see one way for the next Eve device: A powerful, upgradeable, but sleek AiO (All-in-One) desktop. This product would be a great companion to those who already own a V, or other laptops.

(translucency for illustration purposes only)

Preliminary poll: Which display would you choose

  • 27" 1080p non-touch (+$0)
  • 27" 1080p touch (+$100)
  • 27" 1080p touch and pen + flexible hinge (+$300)
  • 27" 1440p non-touch (+$100)
  • 27" 1440p touch (+$200)
  • 27" 1440p touch and pen + flexible hinge (+$400)
  • 27" 4K non-touch (+$200)
  • 27" 4K touch (+$300)
  • 27" 4K touch and pen + flexible hinge (+$500)
  • 27" 5K non-touch (+$500)
  • 27" 5K touch (+$600)
  • 27" 5K touch and pen + flexible hinge (+$800)

0 voters

Reasons: Eve already has the experience and connections for a device of that category. If we went with something different, like a smartphone we’d need completely new connections in a huge area. The main crowd we have here right now also has a good knowledge of the PC technology - so extra points for that.

Now where to go with that device? There are many roads we can go - but I say go for an iMac or Surface Studio-like AiO, but upgradeable using common form factors.

Reasons: In the current desktop PC market, you have the option to build your own PC, which would offer great expandability and price-to-performance, but relatively large and cumbersome. The display is limited to 4K as well due to limitation of DisplayPort and HDMI. Alternatively, you could get an AiO, but they cost a ton more, has limited performance due to pre-selected proprietary-form-factor components, and has little or zero upgradeability.

The point is we are marrying the sleek form factor and integration of AiO, and common cost-effective component form factors of regular PC builds. The best of both worlds! For that, we need a little bit of custom design to connect them together, which certainly wouldn’t be viable for individual PC builders to accomplish.

Size: I’d suggest going with a combination of large, spacious 27"+ display, combined with mini ITX motherboard. The compact size of the motherboard would allow flexible packaging that would allow it to be placed on the desk itself, much like other AiOs, while still being upgradeable.

Screen: The screen needs to have 200 PPI or higher, which means for 27"+, above 4K. The current problem with desktop PC is the lack of higher resolution support from DisplayPort and HDMI, making them choose between either a proprietary solution (iMac 5K, Surface Studio), or simply pick a 4K screen or lower.

We could instead employ the way early 4K monitors work, or this Dell 5K montior: multiple cables. In short, the monitor would expose itself as two 2.5K monitors (in case of 5K). Of course, since its an AiO, the cable is all internal.

If you want high refresh rate as well, you could even use 4 cables like this LG monitor. The monitor could then report itself as four 2560x1440 144 Hz monitors in case of 5K.

CPU: CPU is where things get interesting. We have two options coming this year, 10nm Intel Core and 7nm AMD Ryzen. Since we don’t know anything about their performance, I couldn’t really say a lot here. However, looking at past track record of Intel’s 10nm, maybe we won’t even have a choice here anyway.

GPU: Since this device would need to have wider audience, I would imagine the base model to offer no or basic graphics card such as the AMD Radeon RX 540 (OEM only) or Nvidia GeForce GT 1030, while the range-topping model could offer any GPU could think of.

The graphics card needs to be upgradeable as well, and therefore we would have to use the standard PCIe unit. However, in order to save space, we have to make it single-slot, cutting the volume in half which then requires clever cooling solution. We will get down into that in more detail in the last section.

RAM: Upgradeable DDR4, perhaps SODIMM slot if physical space is an issue.

Storage: M.2 and 2.5" for the SSD and HDD respectively. It might be kinda cool to set them up as a single storage using tiering/caching software, such as Enmotus FuzeDrive or Romex PrimoCache

Microphones: I think the V showed that we can have a damn nice sound quality - let’s go with great microphones again! Just like many PCs, it needs to have both Alexa and Cortana feature.

Ports: Ports is one of the weak points of current AiO desktops, as there is often no USB port in front. I hope we could put a more strategic location for the ports. And of course, we need a lot of USB-C since we are looking forwards at future upgradeability.

Wireless: The device needs to have an integrated, internal antenna, unlike virtually every ITX-based desktops out there with the ugly external antennas.

Windows Hello: Infrared Camera or Fingerprint - one of those 2 :slight_smile:

Cooling solution: Here is the most interesting part. In order to have relatively small chassis behind the display, while maintaining powerful components, I would imagine to split the device into two boxes, one housing the computer itself, while the other handles the cooling for the powerful components. It is not unlike the AMD Project Quantum except the two chambers are not sitting on top of each other, but rather connected using flexible pipes.

image
AMD Project Quantum. The bottom half houses the computer itself (CPU, GPU, etc.), while the top part houses the cooling components (radiator, pump, etc.). The box on the right is the power supply. Note in Eve’s case, the power supply would be an SFX unit installed in the “compute unit” box.

In term of layout, it would look like the picture below, with the waterblocks on “compute unit”, and the rest on the “cooling unit”.

Based on preliminary mockup (see top of this post), the volume of the “compute unit” would be just 4.2L (300 x 200 x 70mm, as a comparison Surface Studio’s base is 250 x 220 x 32mm). The “cooling unit” dimensions havent been calculated yet, but if I had to guess, it wont be more than 5L.

Finally, the power supply is an SFX unit installed in the “compute unit” box. The reason is a) it is a common form factor on the market, capable of providing up to 700W which is sufficient for all PCs with single graphics card, b) It is extremely compact, and does not use too much space, and c) the fan does double-duty for providing airflow to the rest of the PC components that arent watercooled (e.g VRM, RAM).

Price: Pricing is also an interesting part since we have a ton of flexibility here. The base model with i3/R3 and basic graphics card won’t even need watercooling at all, and therefore no “cooling unit”. It also has no touchscreen, and with it, fixed hinge. Therefore the AiO is essentially the cost of an i3 computer and 5K display, somewhere in the range of $1000.

The range-topping model would have i9 or R7, GTX 2080, pen input, and Surface Studio-like hinge. That could go upwards of $3000.

Where would you position this product?

Compared to Surface Studio:

  • Upgradeable
  • Cheaper
  • A LOT more powerful
  • Overclockable
  • No shitty Marvell WiFi

Compared to iMac Pro:

  • Upgradeable
  • Cheaper
  • More powerful (Nvidia Turing architecture)
  • Overclockable
  • Touch and pen support
  • Flexible hinge

Compared to self-built desktop PC:

  • Larger-than-4K resolution
  • Surface Studio-like hinge
  • Kickass cooling solution, combined with…
  • Unique two-piece build
  • Probably still cheaper than buying the 5K monitor yourself.

Few questions I anticipated

Which components would be custom and off-the-shelf?
Off-the-shelf: LCD, LCD driver (base), CPU, GPU, PCIe riser, motherboard (base), PSU, RAM, SSD, HDD, WiFi card, mouse, keyboard, pen
Custom: LCD driver (high-end), chassis/shell, hinge, glass, motherboard (high-end), and (some components of the) watercooling loop.

As you can see, the base model would omit most of the custom components, which could ease the BOM cost.

i3 and 5K, are you crazy? Low-end CPU and high-end display, are you insane???
Note that the cheapest i3 (Core i3-8100) is still ~15% faster than the i5-6440HQ on the SS1, and only ~10% slower than the i7-7820HQ on the SS2. That’s the difference between desktop and mobile chip.

Even then, not everybody benefits from a faster processor. On some tasks, especially single-threaded CPU load with no GPU load, there won’t be any noticeable difference between an i3 computer and higher-end PC. However, 5K display or good quality display in general would improve the experience when you do just about anything that uses the display, except maybe when you use the CLI/Terminal/Command Prompt

Why not just sell it as an independent monitor?
For the range-topping model, as far as I know most touchscreen uses I2C interface, which isn’t supported on most computers (which is the reason for custom motherboard). In addition to that, it would look weird to see four cables connecting a display and a tower.

It could also be sold as barebones (aka without CPU, RAM, HDD) like some desktop PCs do e.g Intel NUC

I dont think any supplier sells a 5K display with higher than 60 Hz refresh rate

Most monitors are overclockable, but the performance varies from unit to unit. Therefore, we could use binning. All the display coming from the supplier are tested for their maximum overclock capability. Then the base model gets 5K 60 Hz unit (promised specs by the supplier), while higher-end models get the high refresh rate version.

Could the base model have 1080p/1440p/4K display instead of 5K?
Why not? It could reduce the starting price to around $500-600, Id say. If there is enough demand, that would be a great entry for this awesome product.

And finally, the last question would be: If its upgradeable, then everyone would just buy the cheapest model!

Well first of all, the cheapest model wouldn’t have watercooling at all, so you would either limit yourself to aircooling in such a confined space (think i3 stock cooler and single-slot GPU), or build your own custom watercooling loop, which isn’t cheap. Secondly, as we demonstrated with the V, the tier upgrade isn’t a rip-off in the first place.

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve got some ideas on how to improve this please post them here! :smiley:


#2

Upgradable would be awesome, thats the biggest downside of every tech except ur own big Pc Tower.


#4

If Eve does make something else, I will not be supporting them. There are dozens of other computer builders that offer reliable, up-to-date, deliverable products at reasonable prices. And they support their products with firmware updates, parts and local service. Why EVE? If you order a new laptop/computer from HP, Dell, Microsoft, or one of the many boutique brands, you will have it in a week, maybe two if it is built from scratch. If it does not work, they will promptly replace it or REFUND your money.


#5

Check out the last section, there is a comparison against the Surface Studio, iMac Pro, and other devices.

Remember, the motherboard, CPU, GPU, PSU, RAM, SSD, HDD, etc. are upgradeable using common form factors, so you wont be stuck with what’s provided


#6

So this would be below 3.2k usd?


#7

I built my own high-end desktop. I picked all of the components and did the assembly. it took less than a week for all of the parts to arrive from Newegg and Amazon. Assembly took two days…my first build. Less than two weeks later I have the exact computer I wanted, all upgradeable. A prebuilt similar computer was available for $600 -$800 more. Do you really think ordering a desktop from Eve is a good idea? My motherboard has prograde audio chips…not on everybody’s list of options. It’s what I wanted, plus I choose the manufacturer of the motherboard, ram, PSU, GPU, CPU, case, fans, storage, etc. Not the type of decisions I want Eve to make on my behalf.


#9

So this would be below 3.2k usd?

I can’t decide exact prices at this point, since it depends on many factors, many of which will be decided by the community. We didn’t decide the price of the V early on either. Plus the design isnt even remotely close to be finalized at this point.

But Id say at least the base model / starting price would definitely be well under 3.2k. The total BOM cost shouldn’t be more than an i3 SFF computer and 5K monitor bought separately.

For the range-topping model, well it depends on what the community wants, it could even be 10k if the community wants some higher-end i9/Xeon/Threadripper and Quadro (unlikely but possible)

I built my own high-end desktop. I picked all of the components and did the assembly. it took less than a week for all of the parts to arrive from Newegg and Amazon. Assembly took two days… blah blah

Congratulations, enjoy your desktop!


#11

@SoundMix I know Eve has had delay after delay and that they’ve diminished their trust to -200 but the point of the forum IS supposed to be technological development, and posts just reiterating the same old same old (“Eve can’t be trusted!”) definitely won’t help build any sort of future. They’ve been sucky in the past, and possibly will be in the future too, but it’s super irritating to see all of the topics go back to “Eve sucks!” Yes, I ordered my V over a year ago and I’m annoyed I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’d like to be able to read and have an unrelated conversation on this fourm.

@Patrick_Hermawan I want to see if they could actually improve and build a computer.
I’d love to see a rather cheap but well made base model. I don’t know enough about the physical mechanics of computers to have any suggestions or other ideas related to what can be added. So far, what you’ve been saying sounds pretty great! :wink:


#12

Just some random thinking here, would you be interested to use a TV panel here? The reason is because TV panels are relatively cheap due to the massive economies of scale, we could get much larger size (40" or 55") at practically the same price as a 27" monitor.

The problem, however, we would also be limited to TV resolution, so its 4K at the moment (110ppi on 40"), and I dont think we could get 8K in time.


#15

And they aren’t meant for gaming the way gaming monitors are. Or so I’ve heard.


#17

It all depends on the display controller. There are monitors that do use TV panels, nearly all 40-43" 4K monitors all use TV panels with a different, PC-optimized display controller. Even some TVs with a dedicated PC/Gaming mode can have a input lag of as low as 10-20ms, which can easily rival some monitors.


#18

But don’t good monitors have input lag of 1 ms?


#19

I think its the GTG response time, which is the capability of the panel itself regardless of the controller. It is basically how fast the pixel can switch from dark gray to light gray or vice versa.

Even then, remember on a 60 Hz input, one frame has to stay on the screen for at least 16.67ms (1s / 60 frames) anyway before it loads the next frame.

Where the GTG response time matters is how fast it goes from frame 1 to frame 2, aka at exactly the 16.67 ms point. Less GTG response time means less ghosting (ghosting is when the pixel still retains some of the previous pixel color), although there are measures to prevent that, such as backlight strobing (the backlight is switched off until the pixel has finished switching colors).

That being said, most TVs use either VA or IPS panel, which has relatively higher GTG response time compared to TN panel on gaming monitors. The advantage of VA and IPS is the higher contrast ratio and better viewing angles than TN, which is why they are generally favored by professionals and artists.

Correct me if Im wrong.

Source: https://www.displayninja.com/what-does-monitor-response-time-mean/


#20

I thought it was supposed to have a touchscreen ?


#21

Touchscreen is either embedded to the glass or a separate component behind the panel, it has nothing to do with the LCD panel itself. Correct me if Im wrong.


#25

first thanks for sparking some life into ‘project next device’. I can tell a lot of work went into this

TLDR;

The product is pretty amazing in general but I personally think its is a bad fit for Eve as it currently stands.

Detailed reply:

Agreed that Eve can only make an Intel based device next based on experience and staff. However a very professional/specialist device is not a good fit for Eve because such a specialistdevice would require a degree of engineering, quality and innovation that Eve simply cannot offer. Eve doesn’t have by engineering staff or an R&D department.

This Would be easier dor other oems to make than for Eve. Eve can only take ‘white label’ contract manufacturer reference designs and put them in a custom shell, thats basically what the V is and previous mini tab was just a relabeled odm device. The only way this AiO concept flies is if there is a manufacturer out there with a similar reference design. There very well my be a manyfacturer with a cool touch/pen capable AIO but they wont have the modularity you are looking for which would require significant R&D.

General comments on specs:
All great ideas but eye wateringly expensive because of small volume orders

Surface studio 3:
There is no way such a device can compete with a modular surface studio. Microsft spent like 4-5 years working on the original surface to get the hinge right. A modular AIO would be even more complicated.

Water cooling:

Having bother water cooling and modularity is a long shot although not impossible, I think given the efficiency of modern chips air cooling is just fine. Especially if you get modular upgrading.

Reasons why its a bad fit for Eves next device.

  • a highly specialized niche device will only sell in tiny numbers.this can be advantageous if you are an innovation/engineering first company but Eve generally is not (yet)
  • a low volume higly expensive device will not have great economies of scale (components wont be cheap)
  • Eve doesnt have the right kind of following/brand recognition for such an artist/designer etc focused device.
  • such a unique specialized premium device commands a high degree of fit and finish and thus significant engineering (at least 2 years worth) in my view eve needs to get another device to market fast and put the V behind them. They need something easy to pull off.
  • as i mentioned elsewhere Eve needs an affordable device for its next device ($500 odd) no will trust them with a $2500-4500 device. They need a device that is quick to get to market and relatively profitable with very little R&D/operating costs. A modular AiO would have a lot of overhead costs that Eve wouldnt then have to amortise into the deive price thus inflating the price. Bascially to make a profit it would have to cost about the same as a surface 2. This is was one of the critical mistakes with the V (they priced it too cheaply/ to small a profit margin) the same mistake cant be made for thier next device.

Personally i think you were much closer to the mark with your previous proposal. I have somethung similar sketched out on paper. Its a intel foveros chip based ‘modular’ dual screen tablet 2x 8.5 inch 3:2 screens right hand screen is the main tablet left hand screen is detachable and is just a dumb screen + battery etc. I can make a post about it if i have time and given enough interest.

Having said all that i would like to comend you on your efforts the device idea you propose is very compelling i just dont think its a good fit for Eve. Good job though.

Apologies for the terrible gramar/spelling.


#26

as i mentioned elsewhere Eve needs an affordable device for its next device ($500 odd) no will trust them with a $2500-4500 device. They need a device that is quick to get to market and relatively profitable with very little R&D/operating costs. A modular AiO would have a lot of overhead costs

Quite the contrary. The base model can be fairly affordable as its nothing more than a standard i3/R3 computer and 4K/5K monitor packed in a prettier package. The BOM cost should be ~$500, probably less (no touchscreen = no fancy hinge).

Even with 20-30% profit, its still extremely cheap for an AIO with such a display, since no one else pairs an i3 with 4K screen. Note that the cheapest i3 (i3-8100) is still ~15% faster than the i5-6440HQ on the SS1, and only ~10% slower than the i7-7820HQ on the SS2. That’s the difference between desktop and mobile chip.

There very well my be a manyfacturer with a cool touch/pen capable AIO but they wont have the modularity you are looking for which would require significant R&D.

I dont see how modularity could be the source of a big issue here. Outside of the display and touchscreen, It is sort of what LinusTechTips or seasoned PC DIYer could pull off. Of course it wont be as pretty or polished, but its not entirely difficult to do.

Microsft spent like 4-5 years working on the original surface to get the hinge right

Lenovo did manage to pull it off in 2019… and in 2012. As we have discussed before, the hinge of the SS was basically a “desklamp hinge” attached to a spring. Of course MS spent a ton of resources refining it, we don’t have to if we undercut them by $1000 or so, since most of the PC components are off-the-shelf.

Also remember, the hinge on the V was custom as far as I know.

Having bother water cooling and modularity is a long shot although not impossible, I think given the efficiency of modern chips air cooling is just fine. Especially if you get modular upgrading.

Once again, I dont see how it could be a big issue. There are already off-the-shelf AIO watercooling loops. The only difference here is we need a longer pipe.

I think given the efficiency of modern chips air cooling is just fine.

With air cooling, you have to choose between a) physical space, b) noise, and c) heat. You simply cant have both 9900K and RTX 2080 in the 4L package that I sketched above. At least not without making it sound like a jet engine. The smallest PC case with fullsize GPU is 7L, or already twice the size, and the CPU cooler height is still extremely limited there.

Honestly, I dont see how this device could be more any more difficult to pull off than the V.


#27

Hmm okay we might be seeing two different things here, I am picturing a modular or upgradeable at least surface studio 2 like device. Such a device cannot be made under $2000. $2000 is not affordable, affordable means less then $5-600 to me.

If we simplify the design to the point that it becomes a AIO that is upgradable then sure you could probably have a BOM cost of $5-600, but an average rule of thumb is that you price your device at 2.5xBOM If you want to make a profit. therefore the sticker retail price will be more like $1250-$1500. This is not ‘affordable’ I think what you mean by affordable is ‘competitively priced given the specs’. It may very well be competativly priced but a market for such a device is too small to gain any momentum from sales or economies of scale.

There is a significant difference between modular and upgradable, i think you only want an upgradable device not a truly modular one. Modularityis a lot mlre complicated than upgradability. If you jsut want an uogradable device then this is far more realistic. However there will be limitations on how upgradable such a device willl be.

Agreed but Eve does not have a custom engineering team, and i dont think they have the clout to convince a manufacturer to make fully custom assemblies even if they had the engineering team. The hinge is too expensive for such a small company.

Even if they were to pull this off how would such a device compare favourably to the surafce studio ? Probably only on cost.

Also like i said before the device idea is really good. It just too complex and not broadly marketable enough to save Eves business.in my view Eve needs to make affordable($5-600) easy to manufacture devices that can be churred out at anoder of magnitude higher than the V


#28

You are right, this would cover a broad range of market and price range. Basically there are 4 separate classes possible:

  • Fixed hinge with air cooling --> like 27" iMac
  • Fixed hinge with watercooling --> competes with iMac Pro
  • Flexible hinge with air cooling --> competes with Surface Studio
  • Flexible hinge with watercooling --> league of its own

Of course not all 4 of them needs to be produced, it all depends on the demand.

an average rule of thumb is that you price your device at 2.5xBOM If you want to make a profit. therefore the sticker retail price will be more like $1250-$1500

Oof, yeah youre right its not something Id buy myself, at that price.

There is a significant difference between modular and upgradable, i think you only want an upgradable device not a truly modular one.

Basically the user should be able to swap out the motherboard with any ITX unit, the GPU with any PCIe unit, and the power supply with any SFX unit. Does that count as modular or upgradeable?

Because that’s the biggest complain about the SS as far as I know, it doesnt accept display input, and the CPU/GPU are not upgradeable, so the amazing 4.5K display will go to a waste once the CPU gets too old.

It just too complex and not broadly marketable enough to save Eves business.in my view Eve needs to make affordable($5-600) easy to manufacture devices that can be churred out at anoder of magnitude higher than the V

Yeah I think youre right since AIO desktop itself is quite a niche to begin with.

That being said, the main advantage of this product is it will stay current as Eve can swap out the motherboard or GPU with any off-the-shelf unit, while the V or other laptop/tablet needs to get its custom board redesigned every couple of year or so. Also the advantage of desktop itself is you don’t really need to optimize the power consumption down to the last mW like on tablets like the V


#29

To my mind that is definitely upgradable and not modular, modular means proprietary modules designed/speced by Eve, upgradable means off the shelf parts

I guess I agree but this is a double edged sword In that this type of device caters to tinkerers the problem with that is A) they are a small crowd relatively speaking and B) they will want to build their own system so would rather have a barebones system or even just the display/housing so they can build it themselves because there is no way Eve can have several motherboards (2-3) several cpu options several sotrage options and several gpu options the amount of inventory they would have to keep on hand would be ridiculous and the possible SKU’s would be in the hundreds. If we then say, no we will only offer 5 SKU’s or so it defeats the purpose of being able to use any of the shelf part which would then bring you back to a barebones system. A barebones system would neither be very profitable nor would sell in any significant numbers. Also its been done before and probably didn’t sell well

As for your four classes:

All of them have the problem that they are niche and realitively unaffordable.

Also I think a modular system if it was possible has a much stronger business case than an upgradeable system. The simple reason being once eve sells an upgradeable system they won’t see a penny of follow on revenue people will just got to amazon. With a modular system however there is a very lucrative potential for follow on revenue from future module upgrade sales because only eve will make the modules and the community can vote on the best modules to make (which gpu etc). But the problem with that is A) you’ll be competing with the surface studio 3 (I have a feeling the surface studio 3 will have an all or nothing module system, you’ll upgrade cpu gpu storage etc in one shot, so we could probably make a better system) but that brings us to B) eve doesn’t have a single engineer on its staff.

Even if we could get around the engineering This also doesn’t get us away from the risk of a highly expensive highly specialised device with a rather affluent user base.

If we built the exact same device as Microsoft for say $300 less people would still buy the Microsoft device, thease folks would be professionals who understand that’s its better to pay a little more and know that you’ll be well supported and will get those all important module upgrades in the future. Eves future is rather uncertain and it would take a lot of convincing to get people on board. The kinds of people who by a surface studio are rather well of and very brand savvy. Also how many surface studios has microsof even sold i doubt more than 100’000