The big picture: Modular PCs and gadgets afford multiple benefits on paper but successful real-world implementations are few and far between. Their proprietary nature means that unless they find a substantial following in the market, they don’t justify the cost to manufacture. As such, companies usually discontinue their efforts once it becomes apparent that it’s a money-losing proposition (and many never even get off the ground).

Dell on Tuesday introduced the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, a modular all-in-one desktop designed to be contained within a monitor stand.

Described as a zero-footprint desktop, the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra allows customers to swap out, service or upgrade components independently of the display. It can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 64GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 2TB HDD and can support as many as three monitors at once for increased productivity.

Multiple publications were able to get some hands-on time with the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra and more than one described the mechanism as finicky or quirky although once you get the hang of it, it does work reliably. The entire compute module sits inside a housing in the monitor stand and can be removed for replacement or upgrading purposes. It’s a lot like a laptop but with more flexibility in terms of cooling and not needing a battery.

I do wish Dell had placed the cable pass-through higher up on the stand. As-is, the cables are visible when viewed head-on and that isn’t a great aesthetic.

(Image courtesy Liliputing)

The Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra launches on September 24 with an average starting price of around $749.