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  • Does Anyone Have Any Experience With All-In-One Desktop PCs?

    Home » Forums » AskWoody support » PC hardware » Questions: What hardware should I get? » Does Anyone Have Any Experience With All-In-One Desktop PCs?

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    #2403041

    A friend is considering an all-in-one desktop PC like the HP Pavilion 24-k1305st, where all the components of the PC except for the keyboard and mouse are built into the monitor. She is not a power user, and buys a PC and uses it as-is with no upgrades until it dies.

    She asked me what I thought of the all-in-one desktops. I have no experience with them, but when I looked, I noticed the user reviews were mostly positive. Does anyone have one and can share their opinion about them? My only concern is the longevity of all those components stuffed into a small area. Does that equal a shortened life?

    The HP tower that my friend is replacing was purchased new in 2009 and it died this week. She never opened up the case to clean it. The monitor does not get a signal, so I am guessing the integrated video card overheated and died.

    Anyway, any experience you can share, especially long-term experience, on the all in one desktops would be appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by kc27.
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    • #2403188

      All Macs are AIO so it must be a good idea, right? 🙂

      AIOs can’t be upgraded easily and bc of the tight packaging of components and heat  don’t use the top performing hardware. I have computer intense friends who scoff at them for those reasons. Also one will hear people say that the AIO runs hotter and will break down sooner. We haven’t experienced this and you know it’s not like tower computers last forever either.

      In our house, where we are not power users and don’t make modifications, we like that the AIO eliminates most  cabling and can be easily moved if you need to. The built in speakers are usually good enough for geberal audio and if you want better then you can hook up  some speakers. Good chance that if your friend tries one she will like these advantages and not go back to a tower. IMO AIO also better than any laptop bc you can use it with a nice keyboard, and get a bigger screen.

      Personally I find AIOs with touchscreens ridiculous, since I don’t want to reach out to a screen I am supposed to keep at arm’s length. Also nowadays it may not be easy to find an AIO with matte finish monitor, which I prefer to keep down glare.

      My next AIO will be a Mac bc I am fed up with Windows. Maybe your friend could consider Mac if she can afford and is willing to adapt a bit.

    • #2403206

      scoobydoo: “All Macs are AIO so it must be a good idea, right

      If by AIO you mean “all-in-one”: Well, not exactly: the top-of-the-line desktop and also most powerful of Macs, the Mac Pro, comes with just the box and one has to provide the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse and, maybe, an external touchpad:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Pro

      Laptops and the iMac desktops are all-in-one, in that they have the computer’s hardware, the monitor and the keyboard either attached and an attached touch-pad (an external mouse is optional) in laptops, or just the monitor attached to the container of the computing electronics’ and the mass-storage device in regular iMac desktops, but the keyboard and the mouse are external. As to mouses, there is now Apple’s “magic mouse”, that is a combination of mouse and touch pad, so one can either click on it, or else use finger movements to scroll a page on a window, expand or contract an image, etc.

      Macs used to be only all-in-one in the very early days, since January of 1984, when the Mackintosh 128K first came out, followed by similar-looking models progressively a bit more powerful and versatile. Then Apple started making also regular desktops, but in the 1990’s it began to make all-in-ones of “cool” design, starting with the candy-colored, smooth and curvy iMac G3s that created an urge to lick it, followed by even stranger designs:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_128K

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G3

      But Apple gradually went back to making just laptops and desktops that looked as such (more or less).

      As to having what kind of experience I’ve had with them, well … I have used Macs on and off almost ever since they first came out, but my experience with them had been so-so until I bought my present one, then new and still of a relatively recent model, four and a half years ago, and have been very satisfied with it, so far. For more details, read my signature panel below this comment.

      As to if buying a new one is a good idea, I would say: usually, but maybe not right now, because the Macs are undergoing a very big transition, from being built around Intel Complex Instruction Set Computing or CISC Central Processing Units or CPUs, to being built around ARM-based Apple’s Reduced Instruction Set Computing, or RISC CPUs that are faster and also use less power than Intel and AMD’s CISC CPUs, so one of several good things about them is that the charge of the  battery lasts longer. With the operating system undergoing a corresponding transition. I would wait a year or two before making the leap to brand-new machines. Older ones, though, still OK, if they are models not much older than 2019:

      https://screenrant.com/apple-silicon-m1-mac-risc-faster-than-intel/

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2403460

      In our house, where we are not power users and don’t make modifications, we like that the AIO eliminates most  cabling and can be easily moved if you need to.

      The user who is in need of a new PC is not a power user and would like the cable-free set-up. She is also impatient, and bought the first all-in-one PC she found. No analysis paralysis for her. She only does web surfing and light graphics work. If her vintage 2009;Windows 7 had not died, she would still be using it, so I am sure a 2021 computer, even if it is an all-in-one, will be sufficient. I was concerned about longevity with all the components housed in a small space, but that does not seem to be a huge liability.

    • #2403488

      One main thing that can be a pain with an all-in-one is if the hard drive fills up.  Most computers are sold with one of two bad things – either a large hard drive, or a small SSD.  What most people could benefit from is a large SSD.  Hopefully the drive is large enough to handle her future needs.  It probably will be fine but when you mentioned graphics work I got concerned.  Videos recorded (automatically) by phones when taking photos can be fairly large files.

      • #2403517

         

        Anonymous: “Most computers are sold with one of two bad things – either a large hard drive, or a small SSD.

        Some big computer manufacturers offer online hardware configuration, where one can choose things such as the capacity of the mass storage device, be it an HD or an SSD, to be installed in the computer one considers buying from them.

        The default is a basic configuration that may be as Anon describes it, but that can be changed online, at least when buying from some of the major brands. It is bound to cost more to buy more, but there is nothing surprising about that.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

    • #2403604

      It’s when they die the problems start with an all in one as with any other machine.

      A favourite for no boot on a UEFI PC is actually the optical drive, which gets old, fails to focus and thus takes an eternity to answer the BIOS queries to determine if a disk is present it might boot.  On a “all in one” PC the front trim attached to the drive is USUALLY custom and getting a new drive your plate fits can get tricky and a hole is plain ugly and the wrong drive often looks like a slot has been cut in the side of the case.

      Also the CMOS battery is likely a laptop version, which can complicate things. Might be worth seeing if it can be replaced without a soldering iron.

      The main issues revolve around the construction of the USB ports and power supply arrangements – generic laptop style power units involve dangling wires but are a lot easier to change so are more maintainable, as you can usually get the PSU for the laptop the machine is based on, or a desktop mini tower form using the same base.

      Likewise USB ports on a break out board in a machine where the manufacturer supplies parts are ideal as no main board rework / replace is involved in fixing a busted port. Wireless peripherals are a good idea on these PCs. A built on PSU is neater but if you can’t replace it later, a power spike could see the machine on the scrap heap early just as easily.

      HP at least offer partsurfer – so you can buy parts. Dell sell mainly upgrades and PSUs – you can get the rest but you have to use their services. Lenovo seem to have hived off their parts  division recently so I can’t say what your chances are there.

      Finally, make the recovery media when you get the machine!

    • #2403672

      I am going to keep my fingers crossed for the user that the all-in-one holds up for at least 5 – 7 years. I saw many glowing reviews on the HP site, but they were mostly from people who had recently purchased their all-in-one computer. That’s why I made the inquiry on this forum. My friend asked me and probably other people about a replacement PC. She went from asking for advice and looking for a replacement tower to ordering the all-in-one computer on the same day. Someone probably steered her toward an all-in-one.

      Her old PC had been in service since 2009, and when I took a look at the outside of the case, the intake vents were clogged with dust. I am going to be opening the case to pull her old hard drive out in the next day or two. I am betting it is going to be pretty dusty in there. Maybe the all-in-one will stay cleaner since it will be at desktop level vs the tower which was on a shelf 12″ off the floor.

      In the end, the all-in-one is probably a good way for her to go. She is in her 80’s: mobility and flexibility are not there anymore. Just plugging in cables to the tower under the desk was getting to be a challenge, and she did not have room on her desk to place the tower for ease of access.

    • #2403676

      As I have noted earlier elsewhere, the three laptops running Windows that I have had, so far, have lasted me an average of 7.6 years each, with the last one, running Windows 7, lasting me from mid-2011 through January of 2020, in all three cases without hardware problems. My current laptop, a MacBook Pro, has been in use for more than 4.5 years already without hardware or software problems.

      If one takes reasonably good care of them and they make it through the first year without major trouble, all-in-ones can last a long time. With all of my three Windows PCs; the reasons for changing them for newer ones have been one or more of these: the earlier computers small capacity of mass storage then available, the subsequent upward evolution of such capacity, of hardware speed, of the Internet and of the Web running on it, and that of the corresponding applications software.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

    • #2403677

      A wireless setup all in one sounds like a good plan.

      The number of helpline calls where “the mouse doesn’t work” that  eventually turn out to be because the user was told to unplug the mouse and plug it into another port, and managed to find the LAN port with the plug is larger then you might expect!

      Probably time (given the likely change of interface) to also visit the accessibility options.

      I like larger fonts (but don’t need high contrast quite yet) but found night light a bit problematic (astigmatism is affected by colour, and I have one eye OK, one -25 but astigmatic), so turned it off though having gone there now to check night light still exists (on 21H2) I find there is a strength slider, so if she finds the text goes blurry late on as the screen acquires a warmer tone, maybe wind that one down a bit..

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