| Klaus Guertler |
Berlin (dpa) – If your computer needs are big, but the amount of space you have for a machine in your home is small, it might be time to look into an integrated – or all-in-one – PC.
These computers put paid to the notion that computers have to be boring, grey boxes that require a tangle of cords to connect all their components. They’re powerful and, because they integrate the motherboards, processors and other parts of a computer into the monitor, they can be very sleek.
Nonetheless, keep your eye out for a few things if you decide to buy one.
A lot of people like the integrated machines because, since they don’t have a bunch of cords, they can look OK in rooms where a computer might not have gone before because of the clutter.
But the advantages aren’t all aesthetic, says Christian Hirsch of German computer magazine c’t. All-in-ones are more ergonomic than laptops, meaning the monitor can be set to a comfortable height and the keyboard is further from the screen.
“That really becomes noticeable after you’ve spent hours working at one,” he says.
Apple’s iMacs are the standard for most all-in-ones.
“They usually have a very good screen, and they usually get the noise levels under control, which isn’t always a given,” says Hirsch. The new iMacs also have Retina displays with high definition. “Most other PC manufacturers are lagging here.”
But there are disadvantages that might not be immediately apparent. For example, an all-in-one is difficult to get fixed or to modify.
“Usually, you can only add extra RAM memory and sometimes swap the hard drive,” says Hirsch. “There are even some devices you can’t open at all.”
And, if the screen breaks, the whole device is generally a total loss, since repairs can be very expensive, warns Sven Schulz of German computer magazine Computerbild.
There is a huge selection if you’re in the market, ranging from beginner models to specialty workstations with Xeon processors that can go for 3,000 euros (US$3,475).
Remember, be sure you’re getting the device for your needs, as add-ons and modifications are difficult. That means getting one with a quad-core processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM memory if you plan a lot of video editing. A dual core will do fine if you just need to go online now and again.
Since the screen is the part of the computer you interact with most, check it out well before buying. Also give the keyboard a test run. Like with any computer, it’s best to buy one a little more powerful than you think you might need.
If you still want to go smaller, consider a mini PC. These are so small they can usually be clipped to the back of a flat-screen monitor.
“This is also an alternative in terms of price,” says Hirsch, noting zippy machines with solid state drives can start at 500 euros. “Here you have an even bigger selection than with all-in-one PCs.”