Dell has launched an ultra-small desktop that the company claims is 80 percent smaller than standard minitower desktops, and consumes 70 percent less power than a typical PC.

The Windows Vista-based Studio Hybrid range runs Intel's Pentium dual-core and Core 2 Duo processors, and supports up to 4GB of RAM and up to 320GB of hard drive storage. It also includes Gigabit Ethernet and optional wireless networking. An optional Blu-ray DVD drive will become available in August. The dimensions were not immediately available.

Dell Studio Hybrid PC

Priced starting at £569 in the UK, Dell will first sell the desktop through its website. With a monitor, prices will start at £610. It will come in six colours and be available through retailers later this year.

This is not Dell's first entry into the mini-desktop space. It already offers the XPS One all-in-one PC.

Dell XPS All-in-one PC

Though it doesn't deliver workstation-class performance, the desktop is useful for home buyers who don't need mobility and high-performance systems, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. The Hybrid contains mostly notebook components, Kay said.

"It could be visually more interesting and ... unobtrusive. Since it's small, you can just hide it," Kay said.

There are lots of possibilities for ultra-small desktops like Dell's Studio Hybrid, Kay said. In the future it could double as a media centre in living rooms while being hidden away in a cabinet.

As the dominance of minitower gradually declines, the demand for small-form factor and all-in-one PCs is rising. By 2015, demand for all-in-one and small form-factor PCs will overtake minitowers, Kay said.

See the next page for more pictures of Dell's Studio Hybrid line