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All-In-One PC: Any Downsides?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals

Wendall from Wisconsin writes:

I will be buying a new computer in the next few months. Interested in the all-in-one desktops, (computer and monitor) other than price is there any down side to them? I have dial-up and basically just read email & bank online. Thank you for any insight!


The All-In-One computers, where there is no separate tower the parts are integrated into the monitor, definitely have some significant advantages. You save a lot of space, cables are easier to manage, you can move the entire computer easily and the overall style of the unit is attractive. So what possible downsides are there?

Upgradeable: Because the units are sealed into the monitor your upgrade options are limited. Most all-in-ones do not have any PCI or PCIe slots for upgrade cards or open drive bays for extra hard drives.

Serviceability:  The computers are manufactured to reduce the size of components. They use specialized laptop components instead of regular desktop components. If one goes bad, it can cost more to replace due to increased part cost and increased labor to disassemble the unit.

Reliability: Since the entire computer is contained in one shell with the monitor and power supply, you run into decreased reliability versus a conventional desktop. That isn’t to say these units aren’t reliable and can last a very long time, it’s just that if the monitor fails you can’t replace just the monitor like a traditional desktop.

Price: Style doesn’t come cheap and due to the compact construction and smaller parts needed the price you’ll pay is usually higher then a traditional tower computer.

So should you buy one? That question really comes down to what style you want, what price you’ll pay and what risks your willing to accept. The above listed downsides may seem doom and gloom but if you want a more compact all-in-one unit the trade-offs may be worth it.

If style and portability are major concerns, you may also want to consider a Windows 8 tablet or convertible device. The Microsoft Surface Pro or the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist which functions as both a tablet and a traditional laptop computer and can connect to external monitors when you want to dock it for a larger screen.


P.S. Don’t forget to pay attention to where you buy the computer. Some wholesale clubs like Costco offer a free 2nd year of support on any computer while other companies may charge extra.

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6 Responses to “All-In-One PC: Any Downsides?”

  1. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Hi Team,

    This information is definitely useful. Usually, the sellers don’t talk about inherent risks/drawbacks in any innovation. As a lay man, I didn’t recognize the potential risks in compact/integrated designs. For me, any new design means only more advantages.

    Mmm…! It’s high time, I remember that any design is a compromise,keep my eyes open to these things, and not be swayed by what I see or hear. Natural Law is while we gain new advantages in any innovation, we inevitably lose some old advantages too.

    Thank you Wendall for your great question & Tim for having chosen to answer it.

  2. Marty says:

    One thing that was asked and not responded to was that this person has a dial-up connection. I don’t know if there is input for that type of connection. They may only have ethernet connections.

  3. Rosemary says:

    I have a Dell all in one and like it very much. I have a 23 inch touch screen and so far no problems. Once I figure out how to do everything on Windows 8 I’ll be fine. Of course I’ve not had it long enough to have problems.

  4. Ann says:

    My two sons and I each have an “All-in-One” touch screen. Love it. Been using them for four years and never a problem.

  5. Maurice Lampl says:

    I have HP 120 All-In-One with 20′ monitor. Monitor is big enough for me to read contents quite well and this All-In-One is compact enough to fit into my small desk space since there is no room underneath for a tower, so I’m quite happy with this computer. It also has 3.3Ghz processor speed, which is nice as well… So far, no problems encountered and I just personally added 4G more memory (now up to 8G). The OS is 64-bit type. It’s not difficult to get into the innards for upgrades…

  6. Bill Sears says:

    I’ve had an Acer all-in-one with a touch screen for a number of years with no major problems. One drawback is I ran out of space with the internal hard drive. Ordinarily I would install a larger internal HD but had to add an external USB HD. But… these are now commonplace so I added a 2TB USB external. Works fine. Plus I can migrate it to my laptop anytime I want. I had to replace the wireless keyboard and mouse but for $39, no big deal. The space saving attribute is a major plus.

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