AIO DRN-STN Review: A Gaming All-In-One With A 120 Hz Display

The AIO Drone Station is a combination chassis and 120 Hz FHD display, ready to take your choice of ATX motherboard, CPU, graphics cards, storage, and power supply. We'd stop short of calling it portable, but appreciate the appeal of a fast all-in-one PC.

The hardest part about getting to a LAN party usually isn't the drive, but rather the short walk between your car and wherever you're setting up. Even if you built a microATX cube to hold your high-end array of graphics cards, you still need to make a second trip for your monitor, and possibly a third for peripherals.

Some of those all-in-one systems are starting to look nice, aren't they? It's only too bad that most of them utilize proprietary components and are poorly ventilated, leaving little thermal headroom for enthusiast-oriented parts. AIO Corporation wants to provide the solution.

Announced last summer for the European market, the “Drone Station” DRN-STN combines an ATX chassis with AU Optronics' highly-rated M240HW01 V8 LED-backlit, 24”, 1920x1080 panel. That’s the same panel used by Asus in its VG248QE, which we reviewed in (Asus VG248QE: A 24-Inch, 144 Hz Gaming Monitor Under $300), and BenQ in its XL2420T. Unfortunately for our colleagues overseas, we haven’t been able to find a European distributor actually carrying this product. And unfortunately for a few of the rest of us, this is a 120 Hz (rather than 144 Hz) version of the panel.

But AIO has a treat for those who live in the U.S. and are willing to go the 120 Hz route; the firm reached a distribution agreement with retail giant Newegg for Internet-based sales. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the platform is not yet available. But a hard launch is expected imminently.

AIO Corporation DRN-STN Specifications
External Features
Front Ports2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
Front Controls2 x Three-speed fan controls; Lighted power, reset, and monitor settings
Rear PortsEthernet, Three-Pin universal power
Dimensions25.9" x 22.7" x 14.3" (width x height x depth)
Weight38 pounds, 13 ounces
Other FeaturesAUO M240HW01 V8  24" TN Display, 1920x1080, 5 ms Response
Internal Capacity
Form FactorFull ATX, microATX, mini-ITX, Up To 12.1" x 11.4"
Space Above Motherboard1.2" (w/o fans)
Card Length17.3" (Slot 1-4), 11.4" (Slots 5-7)
Left Fans
(alternatives)
3 x 120 mm
(None)
Right Fans
(alternatives)
3 x 120 mm
(None)
Top Fans
(alternatives)
2 x 120 mm
(2 x 140 mm)
Rear Fans
(alternatives)
None
(2 x 120 / 140 mm)
Component Fans
(alternatives)
None
(1 x 120 / 92 mm at CPU socket)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalTwo
3.5" ExternalNone
3.5" InternalEight
2.5" InternalOne
Card SlotsSeven
Price$1000

Oh yes, the display is TN-based. That means it’s a six-bit panel that uses dithering to approximate the 16.7 billion colors available from an eight-bit screen. Our reviews show that the panel does a fairly good job though, or as display editor Christian Eberle says, “It’s getting harder to buy a bad screen these days!” Discriminating photo pros might automatically take a pass even on a well-executed compromise, but gamers will appreciate the technology’s superb response time.

It’s good, then, that AIO Corporation is marketing this as the “World’s first All in One ATX game PC”. Is it really?

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    Top Comments
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.

    I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.
    15
  • Other Comments
  • blackmagnum
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    -11
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.

    I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.
    15
  • Xsolarise
    This is just a stupid and ugly..
    -5
  • bloody llama
    The internal case appears to be made by NZXT. The 3.5" rails and the PCI toolless latch are exactly the same as my NZXT case from 2005.
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    The internal case appears to be made by NZXT. The 3.5" rails and the PCI toolless latch are exactly the same as my NZXT case from 2005.
    NZXT doesn't manufacture its own cases though, or at least it didn't in 2005 :)
    1
  • The_Trutherizer
    I'd give it 2 foldout screens for eyefinity.
    4
  • Marcopolo123
    reminds me of fallout
    1
  • Nossy
    wow,..$700 for a case, and people are complaining about a $700 video card? WTF are people smoking these days?
    0
  • Au_equus
    Is it oversimplification to say that the system looks like a monitor and a case held together by a shroud? I agree with Trutherizer, especially at that price, but, to go a little bit further, it needs a docking station for a keyboard and mouse.
    0
  • huilun02
    Because hauling what seems to be a CRT monitor makes you a more popular guy.
    0
  • eriko
    Quote:What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.> I seriously doubt 20x graphics and 2x cpu power.I saw no 3dMark11 numbers, just that they were intending to test it.My M18xR2, can get 11,500 3DMark11.I have dual RAID 250GB Evo's, i7 Extreme @ 4.6GHz, 16GB RAM CAS9 @25,500GB/s throughput, and I too can upgrade my GPUs also, unlike some laptops.32lbs?Mine is 11.8lbs. Good luck with your carry-on at the check-in desk.
    -2
  • rolli59
    I really do not see this selling well or have a market segment.
    0
  • mikeangs2004
    Is a built-in TV tuner necessary? The other PCI-E slots could be for SB-ZxR.
    0
  • Xavier Corraya
    Honestly I liked the design!
    3
  • razzb3d
    Quote:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    The fact that you can stick desktop parts in it, and build a high end PC at half the price of an alienware or asus gaming notebook? Use your brain for a second... the best alienware notebook comes with an 18" screen, one or two GTX 780m cards (witch are about half the power of a desktop GTX 780) and are NOT easily upgradeable. Notebook graphics and CPUs are 2-4 times more expensive then desktop counterparts, and half the performance. Also, I personally find laptop gaming very uncomfortable. Screens are too small, keyboard is too close to the screen, screen is too low, I have to keep looking down witch is very uncomfortable after a few hours... I've been waiting for something like this for a while now. Sure, they could have made it smaller... a micro-ATX or even micro-ITX mainboard would have been enough... a built in closed loop water cooling system for the CPU, and a PCI-E riser for the GPU would have made it a lot more compact.
    3
  • razzb3d
    I also love the retro military/industrial design. I just wish some manufacturer would come up with a standardized AIO enclosure with a 24 or 27" screen, small form factor mainboard, closed loop watercooler for the CPU, GPU mountable next to the maiboard using a riser card, and a battery that would provide about 1 hour of usage in windows desktop for a 300-450w cfg. Basically, I want a laptop with no keyboard or touchpad that I can upgrade using widely available desktop parts... The only portability I need is the ability to carry the thing with me and easily set it up at a hotel or a friends house, without the hassle of carrying two separate units (display and computer) + cables...
    2
  • CaptainTom
    Make it half as thick and WAYYYYY more attractive, and I could see this being an awesome option...
    -1
  • coolitic
    I thought they stopped making such low color panels.
    -3
  • chargeit
    Yea, no thanks. Thing looks like it belongs in some bad 1990's sci-fi movie.
    -1
  • Christopher Shaffer
    Same panel as the VG248QE? So it can use a G-Sync module, then. Which would be great if I wanted flawless gaming in what looks like a giant Panasonic Toughbook. This would be great for gaming in the back of a HUM-V.
    1