Ah the all-in-one PC. They really are works of art. Designed with everything together they are often billed today as the savior of the desktop. But what exactly are they and should you really consider buying one or not? Let’s take a look at what an all-in-one desktop is and some of the pros and cons of these machines.
Once you understand both the good and the bad of these devices, you can make the right decision when researching your next desktop purchase. In some cases, an all-in-one may make sense, but in others, you could be better off just buying a traditional desktop.
What Is an All-in-One Desktop
Before we go any further, let’s stop for a moment so we can define exactly what an all-in-one desktop actually is. Basically, it is a desktop computer that is, as they say, all-in-one. By that I mean that everything is in one case. Instead of a modular tower case where you plug in your monitor and any extra peripherals such as card readers, etc., you have one larger case that is usually very thin where all your hardware outside of the keyboard and mouse is stored.
So, in one device you get everything – your computer, peripherals and monitor all in one device. These devices often feature cool design that is unique and very sleek and modern so they look great on any desk. Of course, like anything they have both pros and cons. Today, let’s take a look at these pros and cons so you know what you are getting when you buy an all-in-one computer.
5 Reasons You Should Buy an All-In-One
First, let’s look at five great reasons why you should consider purchasing an all-in-one desktop. These reasons definitely make a compelling argument as to why you should put this on your list for your next computer purchase.
1. No Need for a Monitor
The first thing you will notice about an all-in-one is that it comes with a monitor already attached. That means you won’t have to spend time researching, purchasing and then connecting a separate monitor. Often this will also save you money as well. So let’s see, no need to shop for a monitor or spend extra money. That sounds like a win in my book.
2. Keep a Cleaner Desk
With all the cables and computer peripherals, our desks have become littered with stuff that, while necessary, can actually interfere with our work. At the very least they can get in the way of our productivity. With an all-in-one desktop, most of those cables go away. In fact, if you switch to a wireless keyboard and mouse, it is possible to only have one power cable coming out of your desktop. So say goodbye to those spaghetti cables and enjoy all the added workspace you get.
3. Improved Power Consumption
If there is one thing that PC manufacturers have gotten right with the all-in-one, it is the power consumption. Most of these machines are optimized to use much less power than their desktop counterparts. This was done primarily because there just isn’t enough room inside them to cool more powerful PSU’s that pull way too much power than is really needed. Companies also wanted to make them quieter, too. This means fewer fans and much more efficient internal components that don’t need as many ways to dissipate heat.
4. Extra Features
One of the really nice things about an all-in-one desktop are the extra features you get built right into the machine out of the box. One of the most common features you may get these days are touch screens. These screens give you the ability to use your computer much like a tablet and are great for working without a mouse. On top of that, you will get other devices such as card readers built right into the sides of the machine as well, so you don’t have to add any extras to it for this necessary functionality.
5. It Looks Great
If there is one thing about all-in-one computers that desktops just can’t compete with, it’s the looks. They just look so awesome. Most are designed to be sleek and stylish and they can really give your office an amazing look that simply can’t be matched by any other type of desktop. So, if how your computer looks is as important as how well it performs, then you probably won’t be able to go wrong with an all-in-one desktop. In fact, you will probably love what it adds to the overall look and feel of your office.
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy an All-In-One
Like everything, it is not all sunshine and roses. What I mean is you have to take the bad with the good, and weigh that when making our decision. So, let’s take a look at five reasons why you shouldn’t consider picking up one of these modern desktops for your next computer purchase.
1. You Sacrifice Performance
While you can find some of the latest processors in some of the all-in-one options, the very best of the best are still reserved for the traditional desktop. There is just no getting around it. Most of these machines have specially designed motherboards that can only handle so much power, meaning that you can’t add some of the latest processors that need more power and better cooling in order to run effectively.
2. It’s Not Very Upgradable
One of the worst parts about an all-in-one is their lack of upgradeable options. Sure you can add a little RAM here and there and maybe even upgrade the hard drive, but if you want to upgrade the processor or the video card, you can forget about it. Think of these machines as really big laptops. What you get in them when you buy them is pretty much what you are stuck with forever.
3. It’s Time Is Limited
Just like a laptop, the time you will have with your all-in-one is limited. What do I mean by that? While you can upgrade and swap out parts one or two at a time on a desktop, you are stuck with what you got when you buy an all-in-one. Eventually, that hardware is going to be too old and too slow for what you want to do. Instead of upgrading a little at a time, you will have to simply retire it and move on to something else entirely. This means you will have to hand over even more money down the road for a new machine. While every day users won’t see much of a hit as they keep machines longer, power users will feel it as they tend to upgrade more often.
4. When Something Goes Wrong, You Are Down
One of the best parts about a desktop is even if you lose one part, you can often bypass it or, at the very least, quickly replace it with a part from your local computer store. That isn’t the case with all-in-one desktops, however. If something goes down on one of these machines, your entire machine can be affected and you could be completely down. For example, say the backlight burns out on your desktop, well your computer may be running but you can’t use it, unless you have an extra monitor sitting around doing nothing. Sometimes these machines have to be repaired by the manufacturer or at least a certified dealer as well. This limits your repair options and adds to the amount of time it takes for you to get your machine repaired in the first place.
5. Gaming Options Are Limited
I talked earlier about the better power consumption rates of all-in-one machines. The reason for this is that they skimp on some internals. While they include great gaming cards inside, often they are mobile versions that just don’t have as much power as their desktop counterparts. This means that you won’t get as good of a gaming performance out of them as you would a traditional desktop. On top of that they aren’t upgradeable, as you know, and it makes it hard for anyone to keep up with the gaming scene.
Well there you have it. As you can see there are many compelling reasons why you should, and should not buy an all-in-one desktop. While they look great and can save you a lot of room, they do limit you on power and upgradability. In the end, it will really all come down to how you use your machine. High end users may want to stick to a traditional desktop while other users who stick to regular tasks could benefit from an all-in-one desktop. Like so many things, it all comes down to you.
So what do you think? Tell me what your thoughts are on all-in-one desktops and if you think they are right for you.