What Is an All in One Desktop Computer?

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If you’re in the process of upgrading your office, you’re probably wondering what is an all in one desktop computer.

These innovative devices are designed to streamline the peripherals you would typically need with a traditional desktop.

In many instances, they can be preferred to standard computers, but they come with a few disadvantages.

What Does an All in One Desktop Mean?

All-in-one computers are relatively straightforward; they are computers built with everything you need in one package.

In other words, you will find all of the critical elements of a traditional desktop built into a single computer.

Is that all there is to it, though? What does all in one desktop computer mean, really? Let’s get into the details.

With an all-in-one, you’ll have your display, tower, keyboard, and mouse built into one unit.

The design is quite similar to iMac desktops in that it is one device made to handle many different tasks.

It is a fantastic option for office owners searching for the most efficient and space-saving computer for their needs.

To take the all in one computers definition further, it is a term only provided to Microsoft-enabled computers.

These unique devices are powered using Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Technically, as iMacs use Apple’s operating system, they aren’t classified as PCs.

What Is the Difference Between a Desktop and an All in One Computer?

More than knowing all in one computers definition, you must also learn about how it’s different from your regular desktop PC.

A few of their most notable differences include:


All-in-one PCs are specifically designed to help you save space on your workstation.

If you have a small office, you might not have room for a tower, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals.

These units combine everything you need so that you won’t need to find space for extra equipment.

Users prefer them for use in small home offices, doctor’s offices, and other areas where you want a modern appeal.

These units are also an excellent option for people who want a minimalistic workspace.


One of the most frustrating aspects of traditional PCs is that they are challenging to move.

On the other hand, all-in-one PCs are far more lightweight, making them more portable.

Whether you’re moving offices or traveling around your current office, you’ll prefer these devices.

They are ideal for businesses with employees who share common workspaces or if you’re temporarily renting a workspace.

If you choose a small screen size, you might even find that your computer can fit into a backpack or bag.


If you intend on upgrading your existing setup at any point in the future, you won’t want to opt for an all-in-one PC.

These units are highly restricted when switching out their parts for higher-performing options.

Whereas standard PCs allow you to change anything, from the processor to the graphics card.

Most people find the only upgradable part in an all-in-one PC is its RAM, but only if the specific model you have allows it.

Also, you’ll likely have to get a professional to do it for you, especially if you want it done correctly.

Depending on the model you choose, you might not even find optical drives, forcing you to use USBs.

The majority of components in AIOs are soldered or unreachable unless the manufacturer does it.

This feature could be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your personal preferences.

As an employer, you can rest easy that your employees won’t modify their PCs independently.

What Are the Advantages of All in One Computers?

Size, portability, and upgradable components are the most critical differences between AIOs and standard desktops.

Although all-in-one PCs aren’t the best option for powerful computing, they have several significant benefits to consider.

Modular Design

AIOs are known to have modular designs, making them easy for anyone to use.

They have a specific plug-and-play purpose, which makes them ideal for first-time users and beginners.

Typically, all you’ll have to do is plug in your desired peripherals and begin using the computer.

Many families find that these models are ideal for their kids and seniors who need a simple and straightforward computer.


As AIOs aren’t as powerful as standard desktop computers, you can guarantee they’re highly energy-efficient.

If you’re looking for a computer that won’t significantly impact your electricity bills, these models are fantastic.

Not only are they energy-efficient, but they also generate far less heat than their counterpart.

This is essential for anyone who has a small office space, as it’s not likely to overheat.

You won’t have to worry about upgrading or installing specialized fans to keep the internal components cool.

answer to what is an all in one desktop computer

Integrated Components

All-in-one PCs might seem bland at first, but they can have many innovative components built into them.

Upon purchase, you should receive a mouse, keyboard, monitor, tower, and speakers.

Your new unit might also have a webcam and microphone built into it, which is ideal for video conferencing.

This is why companies consider these devices for their employees.

Instead of requiring everyone to have an at-home office, you can set up a PC the size of a monitor anywhere.

You’ll then have immediate access to a webcam and microphone for meetings in a convenient setup.


Building and maintaining your computer can be quite costly, especially if you have an advanced setup.

Most business professionals don’t require computers more powerful than a netbook, at most.

With the implementation of AIOs, you can have a decent amount of computing power for less than a pre-built standard PC.

Touchscreen Features

It’s important to note that standard PCs can also have touchscreen capabilities if you buy a separate touchscreen monitor.

All-in-ones typically have touchscreens built into the system, which can be highly convenient for efficient computing.

Whether you’re managing spreadsheets, starting a video conference, or editing software, this function is ideal.

In fact, if you’re looking to make an upgrade from your tablet, this is one of the best starter models to consider.


Searching for a computer for your child? An AIO is a fantastic choice.

These computers are equipped with the same features as a standard PC, but they’re smaller.

Children, teens, and young adults can get plenty of use out of these beginner-friendly computers.

What Are the Disadvantages of All in One Computers?

More than just asking what does all in one desktop computer means, you also need to consider the disadvantages.

If you’re looking for a straightforward setup, they are highly reliable and durably-built units.

However, when it comes to upgrading and interchangeable components, they are not the best.

Limited Monitor Versatility

With the right cables, you should connect a second monitor to your existing all-in-one PC. However, you won’t be able to switch out your primary monitor for another one.

It’s important to remember that all of your computing parts are practically built into the monitor in AIOs.

With that said, if you want to upgrade your primary display, you’ll have to purchase a separate unit.

You could buy a newer monitor and connect it as a secondary display as an alternative.

Unfortunately, this will take up more space on your desk, eliminating the benefit of the streamlined design of AIOs.


If you’re someone who prefers building PCs, all-in-one models aren’t the best option to consider.

Although they can be less expensive than some of the higher-end pre-built models, they are more costly than custom PCs.

When you decide to build a PC, you’ll likely wait for specific parts to go on sale before purchasing them from retailers.

This process can help you save hundreds of dollars on your setup, which you won’t have with all-in-one rigs.

Instead, you’ll be paying the full manufacturer’s price, unless you wait for the computer to go on sale.

Computing Power

So, what does all in one computer mean? In a nutshell, it means less computing power.

Most users find their computers need to offer more than video conferencing and access to word processors and spreadsheets.

If you know you’ll be managing several applications at once, playing games, or producing music, you’ll need more power.

Opting for an all-in-one computer isn’t a good choice if you know you’ll be pushing the limits on your CPU.

You’ll need components that pack a powerful punch, especially at higher resolutions.


All-in-ones will likely improve in quality over the years, but their lack of upgradability is a problem. You won’t be able to replace parts when older ones become obsolete.

Unfortunately, this will lead to you being stuck with an outdated computer that performs poorly.

On average, these computers can last up to five years with proper care and maintenance.

With standard PCs, you can get more than seven to 10 years before needing to make some upgrades.

If you’re buying an AIO, expect to have to replace it in less time than other models.

Is All in One Desktop Better?

To determine if AIOs are better, first, you must ask what does all in one computer mean?

These devices are unique in that they are modern, sleek, and allow for a minimalistic workspace.

However, if you look at what is an all in one desktop computer capable of doing, you might be disappointed with its lack of computing power and upgradability.

In the end, the choice rests on your personal preferences. Just make sure you weigh each and every pro and con to make an informed decision.

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