All-In-One or Traditional Desktop?

Last Edited: September 3, 2018 | Published: November 25, 2015 by

Which Do You Choose?

All-In-One or Traditional Desktop?


Whether you love Apple or hate them, there is one bit of design they did get right.  It inspired other manufactures to make similar designs bringing an entirely new type of PC to the market.  I’m speaking, of course, of the iMac.  This all in one device first burst onto the scene in the late ‘90s and proved to be one of the saviors of the company.  Since that time many other PC makers have come out with their own all in devices thus creating a brand new market in the world of desktops.

But should you buy one of these all in one devices or are you better off purchasing a traditional desktop?  Today, we will attempt to answer that question for you.  While we do believe that all of these machines have their place and usefulness, making sure you choose the right one can mean the difference in buying a machine that will work for you and one that simply can’t hold up to what you need in a desktop.

The All-In-One

First, let’s examine the all-in-one PC to see how it measures up.  The all in one PCs are designed with every component, including the monitor, all in one case.  Think of them as very large laptops.  In fact, in many ways that’s exactly what they are.  They are made to be sleek and stylish while at the same time taking up much less room on your desk.  But they aren’t always the right choice for you.

All in one PCs are usually large depending on the monitor they have with them, but still take up far less space compared to the traditional desktop that often needs to rest on the floor below your desk.  You won’t have as many wires to content with, either, as everything is enclosed.  Only your keyboard and mouse will need a wire and you can get rid of those with a wireless version, only your power cable and maybe an Ethernet cable will show.

Today most of these systems can be quite powerful featuring full video cards and the latest technology from Intel.  But, they are very difficult, if not impossible to upgrade, as everything in them is custom made for that particular case.  Not a good mix if you like to tweak your hardware on a regular basis.

With everyone inside one case, that means that you have any type of problem, including a monitor problem, your whole computer will be basically useless until you get it repaired.  Monitor issues are fairly common.  That means there is a good chance you will have to deal with it even on an all in one PC.

The Traditional Desktop

The traditional desktop – ah you just have to have a special place in your heart.  This is the design that helped jump start the home computer revolution.  Without it, we may not have been using them quite like we do today.  In many ways, the overall basic design has not changed much in the last 30 or so years.  While traditional desktops now rarely come in versions that sit on your desk instead opting for the tower case that can rest underneath your desk, the basic idea is the same as it has always been.

Traditional desktops take up much more space than their all in one counterparts, and they require you to buy a monitor separately.  However, this added space means many more customization options.  You can buy each component if you want and put it together yourself, creating a truly custom experience.  Want two monitors?  No problem.  Prefer to add extra RAM and maybe even two DVD drives.  That’s easy.  Desktop cases are very modular making them perfect for anyone wanting to customize their computing experience.

You can also build a much more powerful desktop than you can get with an all in one PC.  Sure, there are some powerful all in one PCs out there today, but nothing compares to the raw power of a high end traditional desktop loaded.  You can have multiple video cards and the fastest processors and the largest hard drives on a desktop.  This just isn’t available on an all in one PC.

Of course, with this customization comes some sacrifices.  These desktops take up more room and can be quite costly.  You will also have a huge number of cables littering your desk, meaning that your desk will be more cluttered and just won’t quite look as sleek and stylish as an all in one PC.

How to Make Your Choice

Now that you understand the good and the bad of each one of these types of desktops, the time has come to make your choice.  But how do you do that?  How do you know which one is really right for you.  It all comes down to how you use your computer.  If you are a gamer or a video editor that likes raw power or you enjoy building the machines and customizing them yourself, then the traditional desktop is the most obvious choice.

If, on the other hand, you don’t require high end specs and you want your desk to look clean and tidy, then the all in one is right for you.  The all in ones make create computers for offices that still want machines powerful enough to get the job done but look great while doing it.  However, they aren’t the best for gaming and they aren’t very upgradeable, so if you want to make sure you can always keep your machine up to date, then you need to explore options outside of the all in one.

What If You Have a Problem

This is probably the one area that really makes a difference between the all in one PC and the desktop PC.  If you have a problem with your desktop, there is a good chance you can fix it yourself simply by purchasing the correct part and installing it.  Custom PC enthusiasts and gamers do this all the time.  In some cases, you can even bypass the problem so you are not completely down.  Of course that depends on what is wrong with your machine.

The all in one PCs, though, are a bit different.  These machines are much like laptops.  They use custom built parts from the manufacturer that are not easy to get your hands on.  Often, you have to send your machine in for repair.  This can take some time meaning there is a possibility that you will be down for a while when you do have a problem.

The most glaring issue with problems comes with the monitor.  If you have a problem with your monitor on a traditional desktop, all you have to do is swap it out for another one.  Who doesn’t have an extra monitor lying around these days?  However, if you have a problem with the monitor on your all-in-one, you won’t be able to access your computer.  Sure, you can hook up a second monitor and bypass the problem, at least temporarily.  But ultimately you will have to send that computer in for repair just like you have to do with any problem.  This makes it very inconvenient, if you ask me.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, both the all in one PC and the traditional desktop PC bring their own sets of strengths and weaknesses to the tablet.  Which you choose largely depends on you.  The important thing is that you recognize that in the beginning so you make the right decision when purchasing a new desktop.  Remember, if you need more power and upgradeability, then the traditional desktop is for you.  If you want something that looks clean and sleek on your desk but you don’t need as much power, the all in one could make the perfect choice.

Recognize how you use it so you can make the right decision.  In the end, both types of machines are great, but they are both designed with different purposes and a different set of users in mind.  Make the wrong choice, and you won’t be happy with your new computer.  So choose wisely.

What do you think?  Of these types of desktops, which ones do you prefer?

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