Best All-in-One Computers for 2014
After several years of consumer skepticism, all-in-one (AIO) computers are catching on. The minimalist form factor, with most components hidden inside a vertical monitor, is attractive and saves space on your desk. Here are some of the best AIO computers you can buy now, and heading into 2014...
Is an AIO Right For YOU?
All-in-one computers look great, but concerns about expandability, repairability and price have kept many people away. But in the past two years, concerns about expandability have diminished, as hardware costs have fallen and everything one could possibly want comes bundled in one slim box at an affordable price. You just might not need a huge case with lots of empty bays and slots anymore.
You may think that Apple pioneered the all-in-one computing genre with the iMac G3 in 1998. But actually, the first all-in-one computer was the HP 9830, introduced in 1972. Granted, it's 7K of RAM and 32-character LED screen are not very exciting by today's standards, but someone had to be first.
AIOs are now offered by most of the big names in desktops, and in a variety of configurations to suit many computing needs. Here are some of the best AIO computers available going into 2014:
Apple’s 27-inch iMac is still setting the pace in AIOs. Its stunningly thin design, anti-glare screen, top-of-the-line CPU and graphics processor make the iMac a standard-setter. But its nearly $1800 price tag make it a budget-buster for many people. Like many things Jobsian, the iMac is not very adjustable; in fact, you cannot adjust the height of the display, and expandability is zero. And like other Apple products, you won't find a CD/DVD drive in the iMac.
Apple refreshed the iMac lineup in 2013 with faster Intel Haswell processors, better graphics and 802.11ac Wifi. But despite the churning of the rumor mill throughout 2012 and 2013, the iMac still lacks touch screen capability.
Lenovo’s IdeaCentre B750 will offer a ginormous 29-inch diagonally-measured screen. It has an extra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio and resolution up to 2,560 x 1,080 pixels. Lenovo Split Screen technology helps you take full mult-tasking advantage of all that screen real estate. The display is touch-sensitive for use with Windows 8 and comes with Lenovo Motion Control so you don’t even have to touch it; just wave your hands around and things happen.
The guts of the IdeaCentre B750 can include an Intel Core i7 Haswell processor; 16GB of RAM; 2 TB of hard drive space; and Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 graphics. Of course, all that luxurious power will also include a price tag of $1195.
The Dell XPS 27 One carries a hefty price tag of $2100. It, too, has a Haswell processor and Nvidia graphics, a 2TB hard drive, and a DVD player/recorder. Its articulated stand lets you adjust height, angle from center, and tilt easily. The 27-inch display offers 2,560-by-1,440 resolution, better than 1080p quality. The power supply is in the base so there is no clunky brick, just a slim cord to plug into the wall. The XPS 27 One has a slot-loading optical drive (DVD+-R/RW), two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot on the edges of the monitor.
The Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC is only $1549. All of its internal components reside in the base, enabling a lighter, more easily adjusted monitor mounted on a swivel arm. It comes with a wireless trackpad instead of a mouse. It has an impressive array of I/O ports: four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, a SD card reader, eSATA port, a headset jack, and a pair of HDMI in ports. a 32GB solid-state drive supplements the 1TB SATA hard drive.
Overall, the guts of top AIOs are pretty much the same. The number and variety of I/O ports are a bigger distinction between products. Of course, there is quite a range of prices in just these examples. So buying a simple, elegant AIO computer is no more simple and elegant than buying a traditional desktop machine.
Some say what you're paying for in an AIO is mostly good looks. Yes, they take up less desk space, but you can always hide your desktop's system unit under the desk. And you're paying at least 50% more for the same computing power. But to each his own!
Do you love your all-in-one computer? Thinking of buying one? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Nov 2013
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