Those who like a clean look on a desk will appreciate the design of an all-in-one computer. Often shortened to AIO, the all-in-one PC has all of the computing components included inside the screen hardware.
Rather than having a separate tower case and display monitor, the AIO puts both units together. This saves desk space for you, while also reducing the clutter of wires.
Our favorite all-in-one computer is the HP Envy 34-Inch Curved model. Its large display screen is beyond impressive, making it ideal for video editors, photographers, and streaming-video users.
Considerations when choosing all-in-one computers
The display screen in the AIO is an important factor for customers. After all, the computing components are built into the display screen, so you need to be happy with the display you choose. You can't swap it out later like you can with a tower configuration, where the display screen has no computing components.
A basic 16:9 ratio screen that uses full HD or 4K resolution is the least-expensive option. However, you also can purchase ultra-wide displays that almost simulate two 16:9 screens side by side in one unit.
Specialty features in the AIO display screens include touch capabilities and curved formats. A curved screen delivers an immersive experience, but it's tough to see the edges unless you're seated directly in the middle. Touch screens are handy to use, but they will collect fingerprints.
Screen sizes for all-in-one computers are measured from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. A common screen size is roughly 24 inches, but sizes can range from 20 to 34 inches.
AIOs have the same computing components that you'll find in traditional desktop tower computers. However, because the AIO is difficult to upgrade later (similar to a laptop), it's important to pick powerful components in your initial purchase.
CPU: The computer's central processing unit (CPU) is the primary processing chip in the computer. It also greatly affects the price of the AIO. Newer CPUs will deliver fast performance, allowing you to use processing-hungry software. Pick the highest quality CPU that you can afford in an AIO.
GPU: The GPU is the graphics-processing unit in the computer. An all-in-one computer is likely to have a graphics chip, rather than a powerful graphics card. This means an AIO's graphics performance usually cannot match a tower desktop computer with a graphics card.
RAM: Random access memory (RAM) is an area where the computer stores software and data it's currently using. Using RAM is more efficient than constantly accessing the data from the hard drive. A baseline amount for newer AIOs is 8GB of RAM. An AIO computer with 12GB or 16GB of RAM will have a high level of performance.
Hard drive: The hard drive is the primary storage area of the all-in-one computer. You'll store your photos, files, and other items here. A hard disk drive (HDD) is an older storage technology, but it is inexpensive per gigabyte. A solid state drive (SSD) performs fast for data storage, but it's pricey per gigabyte.