Dell has introduced an ultra-small desktop that the company says is 80 percent smaller than standard minitower desktops.

The Studio Hybrid mini-desktop also uses 70 percent less power than a typical desktop, the company claimed.

Space is at a premium these days, so the goal behind Hybrid was to make it fit anywhere in an office or home, Dell said in a press release.

The Hybrid will run Intel's Pentium dual-core and Core 2 Duo processors, and support up to 4GB of RAM and up to 320GB of hard drive storage. It will also include Gigabit Ethernet and optional wireless networking. It will come preloaded with the Windows Vista OS.

An optional Blu-ray DVD drive will become available in August. The dimensions were not immediately available.

Prices start at $499 (£250), and Dell will first sell the desktop through its website. With a monitor, prices will start at $689. It will come in six colors 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.

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 center 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.