Best All in One Pc: Buying Guide

Have you always had a desktop computer with an external case, but have you realized that it takes up too much space? Are you about to buy a new computer and need a space-saving solution that doesn't take up half your desk? The answer to your problem is one and what you need is one PC all in one. What is it about? This term refers to all computers that integrate all the essential components, including the display, within a single frame. These are the systems that generally take up less space, and on the market you will find solutions of all types and for all needs.

There are all-in-one computers for the undemanding user, which trade the least occupied space for computational power, which is usually lower than desktop computers of the same market range. There are also the all in one fanless, i.e. without fans for a user experience that is as silent as possible. And there are also workstations in all-in-one format, which use sophisticated components in order to meet the needs of professionals while taking up minimal space. Finally, there is no lack of all in one gaming systems, with dedicated GPUs.

The most popular all-in-one system of all is the Apple iMac, but it is a very high-end system with a proprietary operating system, macOS. Although less famous, there are many other particularly interesting models produced by well-known companies: I am referring to Asus, Acer, HP, Lenovo or MSI, which you will surely already know for laptops or other products related to the world of computing. . If you want a desktop computer, not very spacious and powerful enough for everyday tasks, in my opinion it is an all in one you have to buy.

PC All in One: Advantages and Disadvantages

Un PC all in one, often called simply all in one, it is a type of desktop computer that contains all the essential components within a single block. There is no external case, as is often the case in desktop computers, but the motherboard, CPU, storage unit and memory are integrated within what is the monitor frame. A solution of this type is especially designed for those who need a computer that is powerful enough to perform everyday operations without at the same time taking up too much space in the environment or on the desk. In some models of the past the input peripherals, such as mouse and keyboard, were integrated into this single block, however today the vast majority of all-in-one PCs make use of traditional mice and keyboards, preferably connected via Bluetooth to avoid clutter. cables.

  • Advantages of all in one computers: the main advantage of an all in one compared to a traditional desktop computer with an external case is that it takes up less space, as you will have already guessed from the words I have spent so far. Furthermore, since the main components are all integrated into the display frame, by choosing an all in one you will have much less clutter in the surrounding environment since the number of cables will be reduced to a minimum. Usually it is sufficient to connect the power cable to the power outlet and you are ready to use your new computer, since keyboard and mouse can be Bluetooth. Furthermore, since everything essential is already integrated, it is not possible to make mistakes during assembly or in the choice of components: everything will be fully functional from the first start and fully compatible.
  • Disadvantages of all in one computersHowever, this space saving forces some compromises. The first is certainly related to the computational power of the installed components: there are extremely powerful all-in-one computers, mind you, however the low and medium-low-end models use energy-efficient components in order to produce the minimum possible overheating. With the reduced space present in the display frame (in which there is also the panel) the solutions adopted for the dissipation of the heat released during use are not as effective as those of desktop computers, and therefore CPU and GPU are often chosen to low consumption to avoid overheating problems inside the frame. Furthermore i PC all in one they soon face obsolescence, since replacing the individual internal components is more difficult than a PC with an external case, often even impossible. Many models only allow you to interact with storage units and RAM, but the expansion possibilities are still extremely limited compared to a PC with a case.

How to Choose an All in One PC

To choose the PC all in one tailored to your specific needs, you must first establish what its intended use will be. In other words, what are you going to do with this new computer? If you need a computer for home use, Internet or for playing multimedia content, I suggest you choose an economical solution by focusing on the processor, a quantity of RAM memory equal to at least 4 GB and a fast hard-disk, preferably SSD. If, on the other hand, you need it for work, it obviously depends on what work you do: for productivity (Office suite, programs that are on average onerous in terms of power) it focuses on processor speed and RAM memory.

If, on the other hand, you do "heavy" work, such as photo and video processing, I recommend a workstation with dedicated GPU, a large amount of RAM (from 16 GB upwards), a high-end processor and a display with IPS technology for the best. visual rendering and chromatic fidelity. Such a solution has a higher price, but you will absolutely pay off. Then there are the PC all in one da gaming, and in this case I recommend a display with a high refresh rate and high-end components, such as CPU, RAM and, above all, GPU, which plays a fundamental role with video games. If these acronyms just gave you a big headache, don't worry, I'll explain all the meanings below.

Processor and GPU

Il processor it is often referred to as “CPU”, an acronym for Central Processing Unit. It is, translated into Italian, the central processing unit of the computer, as well as one of the most important components if not the most important of all. Without a CPU, the computer simply won't start because it can't do the essential calculations to do any task. Precisely for this reason it is often called the "brain" of the computer, and in fact the similarities that we can between the two "organs" are many. In most of the all in one on the market you will find CPU Intel, of the Celeron family for the low range, and Core for the higher ranges. The Intel Cores are divided into i3, i5, i7 and also i9 which represent the segments of medium-low, medium, high and very high range respectively. There are also models with CPU AMD, especially those of the low-end low energy consumption E family, A or the more modern Ryzen (first and second generation), medium-high and high-end.

La GPU it is instead the Graphics Processing Unit, that is a dedicated microprocessor that performs all the graphic calculations. It plays a fundamental role as much as that of the CPU, and can be integrated into the processor (naturally with compromises in terms of performance) or dedicated. If you are looking for a gaming computer, I recommend that you choose a model with a dedicated GPU, because video games make massive use of this component. On the consumer market there are several models of GPUs from both AMD and nVidia, which can count on their own RAM and which are practically always superior in terms of performance compared to the GPUs integrated in the processors.

Memory

There are two types of memory in a PC all in one, just like on traditional desktops. There RAM, Random Access Memory, is the computer's short-term memory. It is used to store recently used data and applications and is characterized by its extremely high performance. It cannot be used for archiving because when the power fails, it loses everything stored on the chips.

For this assignment there is instead thestorage unit, which can be either a hard-disk (HDD) that a'solid state drive (SSD). The former are slower in transferring and reading files, but are more reliable in the long run, while the latter use chips, and not disks with mechanical systems, to save data. They are faster and quieter, but are guaranteed for fewer reads / writes. Usually the preferable solution is to use two drives, one SSD for the operating system and the main apps, the other HDD for data, documents and heavier files. There are also hybrid units, which combine a small SSD with a larger hard-disk, which could represent a good compromise between performance, capacity and operating noise.

Storage solutions based on Intel Optane, which is a small additional SSD with very low capacity that works in synergy with an actual storage unit. Optane is mainly used to speed up the performance of the paired drive (better if hard-disk, since with an SSD the advantages would not be so obvious), for example by accelerating the access times to large files, booting to the system and to the most used programs.

Display E Touch-screen

Il display it is also a fundamental component of an all in one PC, since it is integrated and cannot be replaced in any way. If you get disappointed with its quality, or over time it starts to get tight, you can't do anything, just replace the whole system. Obviously there are different display models on all-in-one PCs, which differ in technology used, in diagonal of the panel and in resolution.

Displays can be of type Tn, which cost less, have a very high refresh rate and are recommended for faster games. Or they can be of type IPSBoth use a liquid crystal matrix, but the latter offer undoubtedly superior color fidelity and viewing angles. However, they are slower, so if you like more adrenaline-pumping video games I suggest you choose a Tn, even if lately IPS displays have been produced that are also suitable for all types of video games (but they really cost a lot).

Some models integrate a touch screen, which is a touch sensitive panel. You decide if you need this feature, also because it involves a considerable additional expense. The touch-screen can be useful in some professional areas, but for everyday use it can be quite uncomfortable in an all in one system.

La diagonal of the panel establishes its size, the wider it is and the more bulky the product will be. It is a purely subjective choice: do you prefer compactness or a more spectacular display?

Finally, the maximum resolution supported: this feature establishes the definition of the panel. The higher the resolution, the higher the definition in a panel of equal diagonal, but at the same time a high resolution requires high-end hardware to be managed at best, especially with video games. The most popular standards are HD, da 1280×720 a 1366×768 pixel; Full HD, 1920×1080 pixel; 2K Quad HD, 2560 × 1440 pixels; and finally 4K Ultra HD, 3840×2160 pixel.

Operating System

Il operating system it is the basic software of the computer and is essential for its operation and for the operation of the integrated peripherals. It serves to interface with the hardware and with the installed applications, and usually has a graphic interface that makes the use of the computer easier and more immediate (once the operating systems were only text, but those times are now completely gone ). The most popular operating system is Windows (the latest version Windows 10), which is also the one that offers greater compatibility with both the hardware in circulation and with the software. Instead, it is quite widespread among high-end solutions MacOS, Apple's operating system that you can find on Mac family computers (on a Mac, you can still dual-boot Windows if you want it). Finally, computers with Linux, operating system offered free of charge in the form of separate (and customized) distributions that can be installed on any system even after purchase. You can learn the procedure through my guide on how to install Linux.

Accessories, Ports, Connectivity

Check in a PC all in one if there are all the features you need. Among the essential accessories there are for example keyboard and mouse, usually offered in the original equipment. If they are not present, of course you will have to buy them separately to exploit the potential of your new computer. Pay attention to the keyboard, it could be sold with an atypical layout of the keys in Italy: in our country the QWERTY standard is used (the first letters of the first line of characters), but there are also the QWERTZ, AZERTY standards, which you may find inconvenient as regards the drafting of long texts.

Furthermore, as happens on traditional computers, an all in one can have different types of ports: the USB ports they are divided into 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 in terms of speed, and Type A and Type C in terms of form factor. Type A is the standard one we all know, while Type C is a more modern and reversible format (can be used by connecting the peripheral from both sides) slightly smaller. On an all in one we can find an Ethernet port for network connection, VGA, HDMI or DisplayPort ports for connecting an additional external monitor, a card reader for SD cards.

Many PC all in one they integrate along one of the sides an optical drive for reading DVD or Blu-Ray, while they can support various Wi-Fi technologies, indicated today in 802.11n and 802.11ac, with the latter being the fastest and supported from higher-end systems. The network adapters can also be dual-band, so they support both 2.4 GHz networks and the faster 5 GHz networks. On an all-in-one computer, I recommend that you always check for Bluetooth support, to connect keyboards, mice or any other wireless device.

As you search for your next all in one PC, you may often find the wording Windows Hello. If you haven't heard of it, don't worry! I'll explain it to you right away: this is a Microsoft technology integrated on Windows 10 that includes various methods for user authentication without necessarily having to use a password. Among these the most widespread are lo unlocking via fingerprint and advanced face recognition. A PC with Windows Hello, therefore, guarantees greater security at no cost.

Which All in One PC to Buy

Now that you have learned these notions you are ready to choose the best all in one PC for your very personal needs. Below I propose some of the systems you can buy today, among those characterized by the best value for money.

Best Budget All-in-one PC (under $ 500)

Mediacom M-AO240


Let's start with an inexpensive and unpretentious product, the Mediacom M-AO240, with a 23,8 ″ display at Full HD resolution (therefore 1920 × 1080 pixels with 16: 9 aspect ratio). This computer uses an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, the same one you can find on many cheap Mini PCs. It is not very powerful, however it does its duty especially if you just have to surf the web or consult the mail, or even watch movies, TV series or videos on YouTube. It runs Windows 10 Home 64-bit and has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on eMMC.