All-in-One Computers

There’s nothing the average computer user likes less than cluttered cables, hardware errors, and the endless search for drivers that many PCs can require. It’s a symptom of the do-it-yourself PC world, and one that’s being rapidly eliminated by all-in-one computers. These PCs, despite using the same components as any other, are built inside a single case to reduce hardware issues and cable clutter.

This means that the computer’s internal components – the CPU, the motherboard, and the graphics processor – aren’t located within their own case, but within the same enclosure as its display. With all of the computer’s components within a single all-encompassing enclosure, these tiny all-in-one machines are able to deliver peak performance without the footprint of a standard home computer.

All-in-one computers are a fairly modern innovation, one that can be traced back to the release of the iMac in the late 1990s. Built from a single plastic mold and housing everything but an internal keyboard and mouse, the iMac was an incredible leap forward when compared to the large, bulky multi-piece PCs of the time. Small, stylish, and user-friendly, it was a winner amongst desktops.

Over time, the iMac’s design changed and gradually shifted into the one-piece computer we’re used to today. Other computer companies – including leaders such as Acer, Lenovo, and Sony, have taken measures to release their own all-in-one computers. Today, there are hundreds of different all-in-one models on the market, each of which offers a different level of performance and simple usability.

So what should you look for in an all-in-one computer? The answer, as with many computer-related questions, rests entirely in what you wish to use it for. Office users may enjoy an all-in-one machine for its simplicity and lack of hardware issues, whereas power users may appreciate one for its power in many processing tasks, its simple customization, and the ease of reinstalling drivers and software.

The first thing that you should look for, however, is power. Due to their smaller form factor, many all-in-one computers use less powerful hardware than their desktop counterparts. Because of their limited hardware power and weak performance, they’re rarely a good match for power users. Look for an all-in-one PC that doesn’t skimp on the hardware, as it can really help with your productivity.

The best models tend to have relatively modern processors, often processors capable of using more than one core at once. They’re also generally built with a reasonable amount of RAM installed, and even the capability to install more at a later date. For gamers and multimedia users, it’s essential to check for a modern graphics card and sound processor, as these can improve multimedia quality.

Beyond computer performance, there’s display performance and quality to think about. Many all-in-one computers, in an effort to keep costs down, use weak and washed out displays. This affects their overall performance as a computer, particularly for users that plan to use graphics software and film editing applications frequently, both of which require a dedicated and crisp display for optimal use.

Check the type of display that’s used in your all-in-one computer before purchasing. Although most all-in-one machines use a fairly worthwhile display, many skimp in an effort to reduce costs. For the most part, high-end manufacturers such as Sony and Apple are less likely to use cheap displays than their counterparts, and are in many cases celebrated for their displays’ sharpness and color quality.

Then there’s media quality – one of the most important parts of any all-in-one computer. Check for internal speakers, either in the computer’s body or the front of its display. While these are a helpful addition, they can often lead to poor sound quality when listening to music or movies. The best all-in-one computers tend to include an auxiliary port, an HDMI port, and a range of other media ports.

Finally, it’s important to check that your all-in-one PC is durable and unlikely to break. In the case of the Apple iMac – available in 27-inch and 21-inch varieties – this is fairly unlikely. The iMac is crafted from aluminum, as are a variety of other high-end models. If your all-in-one computer uses plastic or a composite material for its casing, always check its thickness to assess overall durability.

Picking a great all-in-one computer needn’t be a difficult task, and given the number of great all-in-one computers that are purchased every year, it’s one that many consumers do quite effectively. For the best value, the best performance, and the best overall computer, it’s always worth checking out a range of models before making your final purchase, regardless of your goals or usage requirements.

This All-in-One Computers Review is Written/Updated on Jul 5th, 2011 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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