All-in-One PC Buying Guide: 10 Tips for Finding the Right System

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Looking to purchase an all-in-one pc? There’s a lot to consider when looking for the best all-in-one PC buying guide , with all of the considerations of a regular PC plus the unique aspects of the integrated monitor and other features of an all-in-one design. Use our recommendations to ensure you get the right one for you, whether you need powerful components or a large, beautiful display.

Quick Tips

all in pc quick tips

Hardware: Look for a system with an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor and at least 8GB of RAM.

Storage: A 256GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard drive provide performance without sacrificing capacity or costing an arm and a leg.

Display: If 4K resolution is available, go for it, but 27- and 28-inch displays offer the best balance of panel size and price.

Touch Screen: Touch-enabled displays are more expensive, so only get them if you absolutely need them.

Design: If ergonomics are important to you, look at the type of stand a model has, as most of them don’t have any kind of height adjustment.

Windows or Mac are both good choices, but Windows is better if you want to touch.

Ports: You don’t just want a lot of ports; you also want them to be easily accessible, so consider port placement.

Sound: If audio quality is important, look for a lot of speakers.

Price:  All-in-One PCs are more expensive than traditional desktop computers, but you can get premium features without breaking the bank. All you need to do is decide which features are most important to you.

 

Components: Which Specs Matter?

components which specifications matter in all in one PC

An all-in-one PC is, first and foremost, a computer, and the components inside determine the system’s performance.

Marketing materials may extol any number of features, but there are four key specifications to consider when purchasing any computer, all-in-one or otherwise.

Prospector: While you can find all-in-one systems with Intel Core i3 or Pentium CPUs, these are much less capable processors, and you’ll hit their limits much sooner. For most people, we recommend a current Intel Core i5 processor, which will provide plenty of performance for all of your daily needs and will continue to provide good support throughout the computer’s life. If you need more power, upgrading to a Core i7 processor will suffice.

Ram:  RAM, also known as memory, is the computer’s short-term storage for currently running applications. Even if you have a powerful processor, a smaller amount of RAM will limit your ability to multitask. We recommend getting as much RAM as possible, but 8GB of RAM is sufficient for most users’ computing needs. The good news is that RAM is relatively cheap, and it’s frequently one of the only components of an all-in-one that can be upgraded by the user.

Graphics:  All of the beautiful graphics in games and videos require graphics processing. The graphics processing hardware that comes with your computer’s processor, integrated graphics, can suffice for the majority of users. It’s adequate for web browsing, office work, and media streaming, which constitute the majority of computer use. If you want to play games or do graphics-intensive work, you’ll need a system with a discrete graphics card.

Storage: Finally, you’ll need something with a large storage drive to accommodate all of your programs, files, and family photos. Storage has two major concerns: capacity and speed. A 500GB hard drive will hold plenty of documents and photos, but a 1TB drive will hold more video files and larger programs. A solid-state drive (SSD) will be faster than any hard drive, and you will notice the difference in your day-to-day use of the machine; however, SSDs are more expensive for the same capacity. Many PC manufacturers provide dual-drive configurations that combine the performance advantages of an SSD with the low cost of a spindle-based hard drive. If not, more storage is preferable.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike traditional desktop PCs, all-in-one systems have very few upgrade options available after purchase. The compact design that integrates all of the computing hardware with the display generally does not allow for user access to the internals and leaves no room for additional hardware. As a result, even simple upgrades such as adding a discrete graphics card or replacing a storage drive aren’t viable options on an all-in-one. The one exception is that the RAM in an all-in-one computer is frequently accessed, and adding memory is a relatively inexpensive way to make a 2- or 3-year-old PC feel like new again.

Display: Size and Resolution

all in one pc display

Most all-in-one systems have displays ranging in size from 20 inches on the low end to 32 inches on the high end. Unless you’re trying to fit the all-in-one into a cramped cubicle or tiny apartment, we’d avoid anything smaller than 23 inches. High-end 30- to 32-inch systems are nice if you can afford them, but they are often prohibitively expensive. For us, the sweet spot between large displays and reasonable pricing is around 27 or 28 inches.

While most displays are only available in two resolutions, full HD (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160), a few all-in-one systems offer displays with resolutions that exceed 4K. For example, the Apple iMac 27-inch with 5k Retina display has a 5K (5120 x 2880) display, while the Microsoft Surface Studio has a 28-inch, 4500 x 3000 display.

Touch Screen: Yes or No?

touch screen display

If you’re used to tapping and swiping on your phone or tablet and want the same natural interaction with your PC, an all-in-one with touch support is a great option. On the other hand, if you know you don’t want or are unlikely to use a touch screen, there’s no point in paying for a feature you won’t use.

But the equation is more complicated than touch or no touch. Some touch-enabled PCs may use various touch-input technologies. While capacitive touch is the most common and the technology we recommend, AIO desktops that use other methods of touch sensing, such as infrared light or sound, or resistive touch sensors, may be available. If you’re considering an alternative to capacitive touch, take the time to locate the system in a local store and test it out before making a purchase.

Finally, some all-in-one systems include a stylus or pen in addition to fingertip input. Pen support may be useful if you intend to use your all-in-one for digital sketching and other media creation.

Design: Form and Function

pc design: form and function

All-in-one computers, unlike many other types of computers, are defined by their form. All of the components of a standard desktop computer are housed in the same chassis as the monitor in an all-in-one PC, hence the name. Because there is only one power cable to connect and no need to snake an extra cable around to connect a monitor, this design reduces desktop clutter. These systems are typically equipped with wireless keyboards and mice, reducing the number of plugged-in devices. Whether you’re going for a minimalist look or simply trying to keep your desk organised, an all-in-one computer should help you tame the tangle of cables that often comes with a desktop PC. 

Because of their simplicity, all-in-one designs are appealing to people who may be intimidated by a more complex desktop. Setup is typically as simple as plugging it in and pressing the power button, with minimal assembly required and no confusion about plugging the correct cable into the correct socket. The all-in-no-fuss one’s approach makes it an excellent choice for a family PC that can be used by both parents and children.

Because all-in-one PCs serve as both a computer and a monitor, ergonomic concerns must be addressed. All AIO desktops include an integrated stand, but some are more adjustable than others. Some use a single pedestal-style display, such as the Apple iMac 27-inch with 5k Retina display or the Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IE.

Frequently Asked Question

What to look for when buying an all-in-one computer?

Look for AMD Ryzen 4000 and 5000-series or Intel Core 10th and 11th generation processors. Memory: We recommend at least 8 GB of memory in every computer we list as a top pick. This amount is sufficient for web browsing, document editing, chat in apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and playing simple games.

Is it a good idea to buy an all-in-one PC?

AiOs of the present is far more sophisticated than those of the past, and they are frequently simpler to maintain and repair. In addition, they offer outstanding audio-visual features that match their minimalist design. AiO computers are also ideal for people who homeschool or work from home.

What is the lifespan of an all-in-one PC?

Although every circumstance is unique, the typical desktop PC should last between three and eight years.


How much RAM memory do I need?

How much memory do you require? For general computer use and internet browsing, we advise 8GB of RAM, 16GB for spreadsheets and other office applications, and at least 32GB for gamers and multimedia creators. Use this as a general guideline; the amount of RAM you require will depend on how you use your computer.

Which is better an all-in-one PC or a tower PC?

All-in-one computers typically perform slower right out of the box because their internal components are less powerful than those found in desktop computers. As a result, you might discover that you need to upgrade sooner than you would if you followed the conventional path.

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