All-In-One Desktops for 2012
Are all-in-one desktop PCs a good buy? I'm replacing an old computer, and am considering an all-in-one because they look sharp and don't take up a lot of desk space. What should I know before I buy?
Should You Buy an All-In-One Desktop PC?
All-in-one (AIO) desktop computers are hot. Compared to a traditional desktop tower PC, they are a thing of beauty. From 2009 to 2010, shipments increased 45-50 per cent in each of those two years, offering a glimmer of hope to a PC industry stricken by the recession. But shipments of all-in-ones grew by "only" 31 per cent in 2011, and are expected to grow by about 20 per cent in 2012. About 15.6 million AIOs will ship in 2012, predicts Digitimes Research, accounting for 10.5 per cent of PC shipments.
Intel is pushing AIOs in the hope of injecting some excitement into the flagging PC market. According to the chipmaker's marketing spin, the latest Intel chips are (surprise!) ideal for AIOs: smaller, more energy efficient, and more powerful. So of course, now is the time to buy an AIO with an Intel i7 chip inside, according to Intel. Also, Intel's new mini-ITX motherboard specification is only half as tall as previous models, enabling thinner AIOs.
Apple's iMac was the top-selling AIO in 2011, followed by Lenovo and HP. Digitimes notes that the iMac is not evolving (it still lacks a Blu Ray drive and HDMI in-port) while Windows/Intel all-on-ones are proliferating. Lenovo may well overtake the iMac in AIO sales this year, if only on the strength of sales to China.
A slew of AIO computers were introduced at this year's CES show. Retail prices range from as low as $379 to a high of about $2000 for the biggest, baddest iMac. In between are many price points and feature combinations to suit every budget.
Some AIOs to Consider
In the past, all-in-one desktop computers were dismissed by some, because they were difficult or impossible to upgrade. After fitting an entire computer inside what looks like a monitor on a pedestal, there wasn't much room left for expansion. But the newest AIOs are far more easily upgraded than previous generations.
HP's new Z1 Workstation AIO, for example, features a chassis that simply snaps open to allow access to the motherboard. Users can swap hard drives, graphics cards, and other components as they please. The spacious 27-inch Z1 is powered by an Intel Quad-Core Xeon processor. Aimed at business users, it will be available starting in April at a base price of $1,899.
The SOLO 21 is the first AIO entry made by boutique PC builder Maingear. Its 21.5 inch 1080p display hides an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500 GB hard drive with 32 G of SSD cache. That basic configuration sells for $999. You can upgrade to a 10-point touchscreen, i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and a hard drive that holds 2TB.
The Samsung Series 7 all-in-one ($1,099) sports a 23-inch screen, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8MB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The screen is full HD, touch enabled, and has the unique ability to lay flat, so you can use it more like a tablet.
Oh, and speaking of a hot commodity, about 50,000 of Lenovo's all-in-one computers are a little too hot. That's how many Lenovo ThinkCentre M70z and M90z systems were recalled in March due to overheating problems that, in at least one case, resulted in a fire. If you own one of the recalled models, stop using it (even if it's not shooting flames) and check this Consumer Products Safety Commission bulletin.
All-in-one computers will save space on a cramped desk, eliminate cable tangles and use fewer power outlets. Setup is simpler than a desktop model, and they're more portable as well. The downside is that you can expect to pay a bit more for an all-in-one than you would for a desktop with similar features.
With pressure from all-in-ones, ultrabook laptops and tablets , the days of the standard tower PC may be numbered. Do you own an AIO, or are you considering a purchase? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- All-In-One Desktops for 2012 (Posted: 23 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved