Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?

Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?

Summary: Averatec, the O.C.'s other computer maker after Gateway, has released a new all-in-one desktop.


Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?Averatec, the O.C.'s other computer maker after Gateway, has released a new all-in-one desktop. The design doesn't break any new ground in this category, but it is simple, compact and reasonably attractive. And with a 22-inch LCD, Nvidia GeForce 8400 graphics and an integrated TV tuner, at first glance it looks like a solid value at $1,200.

The Apple iMac is still regarded as the gold standard in this category, but nearly every OEM now offers an all-in-one priced between $1,200 and $1,400. So it is relatively easy to comparison shop, though the graphics vary widely in terms of capabilities. Here's a quick comparison of the AIOs:

Averatec All-In-One Apple iMac Dell XPS One HP TouchSmart IQ504 Gateway One ZX190
2GHz Intel C2D 2.4GHz Intel C2D 2.2GHz Intel C2D 2GHz Intel C2D 1.5GHz Intel C2D
2GB DDR2-667 1GB DDR2-800 2GB DDR-667 4GB DDR2-667 2GB DDR2-667
320GB 250GB 250GB 320GB 400GB
GeForce 8400 Radeon 2400XT 128MB Integrated Integrated Radeon 2600XT 256MB
22-inch LCD 20-inch LCD 20-inch LCD 22-inch LCD 19-inch LCD
Vista Home Premium Mac OS X Vista Home Premium Vista Home Premium Vista Home Premium
$1,200 $1,200 $1,300 $1,300 $1,400
How does this stack up to a typical desktop around $1,200? Not very well. Best Buy is currently selling an HP Pavilion Elite with a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 6GB of memory, a 750GB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce 9500 GS with 512MB of graphics memory, and Vista Home Premium for $1,030. Throw in a matching 19-inch HP LCD display for $240 (though you can find cheaper LCD displays), and the total is $1,270.

There are good reasons for this. Most all-in-ones use more expensive components typically found in notebook PCs. And for many users the benefits of a clutter-free desk are worth the added cost. But the point is that even a value all-in-one such as Averatec's new model still carry a hefty premium.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • Don't eliminate the OS difference

    OS X is the equivalent of Vista Ultimate, not Home Premium (try
    and VPN into work using Home Premium; you can't). Try using
    media center on Vista Business; you can't. You gotta have
    Ultimate to match a stock OS X. That makes the iMac an even
    better all in one deal and trims the premium even off the desktop
    models, especially if you add a 20 inch display with optical glass
    covering the display.
    • Don't forget iLife, too. [nt]

  • My preference is an all-in-one

    I'm tired of the clutter of a big box -
    maybe I'm just too old to care about wiz-
    bang any more. It's either a notebook or
    an all-in-one for me, and I have both.

    Once you decide to clear out a bunch of
    clutter then it's simply a matter of
    choosing the OS you want to use. I
    changed to Macs simply because of horrid
    customer support on the Windows side so
    I have an iMac, an old PowerBook from
    business travel days, and a MacBook.

    Big boxes are great if you want or need
    the flexibility they may offer, but for me
    they are so 80's with the power available
    on even a MacBook level computer.
    • I've used a laptop as a "desktop" for the past 9 years...

      I've used a laptop as a "desktop" for the past 9 years. I've
      pretty much done away with desktops. I had a 1.2GHz
      PowerBook G4, followed by a 1.6 PowerBook G4, then a 2.4
      C2D MacBook Pro. I've never looked back.

      I have a nice large screen at home with a keyboard and
      mouse, I just plug in 2 cables and I'm set to go. The best
      part is that I can take whatever it is I'm working on (or
      playing with) with me wherever I go.
      • My iMac is at home

        For the office I used a Dell and a PowerBook for
        business travel. After a week of misery with
        customer support from India I bought a 23" Apple
        display, some accounting software, VPC & 2000
        Pro (to demo a small Win app on business trips.

        Since I'm retired now my son-in-law has the
        display for his recording studio. With the tax
        breaks it has more than paid for itself.

        One day (hopefully soon) I'll sell the G5 iMac and
        get a new 24" version. If only there was a way to
        take a tax deduction I'd get an iPhone at the same
        time. :)
  • We drank the Kool-Aid

    We've been a PC shop for years, but this summer we took a leap and bought around 150 iMacs. They're just gorgeous. They look great, they perform great, they're way easier to move around, and they take up way less space.

    We're running Vista on them (via Boot Camp), and they work flawlessly. They also get a very respectable Windows Experience Index score.
  • No - they're just an expensive pretty face

    Even a caveman can build a respectable PC from components and get great performance at a budget price.
    The all-in-one is typically bought for other reasons, not all of which make sense.
    But it's your money!
  • RE: Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?

    It depends. Compared to a full-fledged "desktop/tower", a laptop is slower, less convenient to actually use, have dinky little screens and are a lot more expensive -- in general. But a "desktop" looks clunky and messy in the kitchen if Mom or Dad wants to watch Junior or little Miss while they cook. And, a laptop MIGHT do that job, but frankly, they're overrated and THEY are not generally very attractive.

    In short, the AIO's aren't necessary. But, then again, neither is neopolitan ice cream, or the "Sport" version of the Toyota Prius. It's a matter of style, not necessarily function. Or price.
    • Love It! LOL :)

      "Sports version of the Toyota Prius"

      How about the Toyota Prius GT?
  • A desktop over $1K...why???

    Take a look at the big picture:

    Why is the average desktop computer now under $500??? Competition! With the somewhat standardized form factors in the traditional desktop, many companies both big and small, and both component manufacturers as well end product assemblers, have been able play in this market. In fact, even the slightly above average computer user can build their own desktop. This has driven down the cost of these systems to a very attractive and affordable cost.

    Now, look at laptops, anything from Apple, and now the all-in-one desktops. They are essentially proprietary items. Although it is possible to do, it is difficult to go somewhere like and find replacement or upgrade hardware for these products. Instead, one is forced to go to the original manufacturer for these items, if they even available.

    With my current Compaq Presario that I am typing this on, it runs superbly on Windows XP. I'd probably needs an upgrade or two if I wanted to run Vista, especially Premium. No problem, because I know I can readily find these components online. So now, let's think about this new all-in-one desktop. I can run Vista Home. But, can it run Premium??? If it can't, am I able to upgrade any of the hardware??? If not, what will I do when the next MS OS comes out, that will probably be an even a bigger resource hog, if history is any indication???

    Not to take anything away from Apple software, I have always wondered why the Apple-heads, are always so willing to pay so much for the hardware.
  • AIO is nice, but so is my Shuttle K45.

    I recently replaced a dead ATX form homebrew tower with a Shuttle K45 barebones. Using IDE HDD from the dead beast and the external DVD+/- RW I had, I was able to get up and running with Ubuntu 8.04, Celeron 1.8 GHz and 1 Gig RAM for $200. Not as compact as an AIO, but it is way smaller than the deceased tower. Is it expandable? About as much as the All-In-One computer. And with a $1000 savings. I dual boot with XP. Took a few minutes to remember that I had to load the drivers for the LAN, Video, audio, and chipset that the Ubuntu found without trouble.

  • RE: Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?

    No, they are not. They are a sorry attempt at the all-in-one disposable computer. Also, why settle for a device that does several jobs marginally well when you can have one device that excels for the one job for which it is designed? That's my take on any so called all-in-one devices. (e.g. printer/scanner/fax)

    What do you do if a hardware component fails? Just like a laptop, you probably can't replace a defective video, sound or network card. A hard drive and memory MAY be upgradeable, but that's it. Then what would you do if the monitor fails? You simply can't just plug in a spare while it gets fixed now can you?

    AIO's just limit your flexibility and options. Not worth the price or smaller footprint.
    • If you buy an all-in-one...

      from a reputable company, you can replace defective parts.

      I had a problem with the display on my iMac G5 (three years
      old) and Apple replaced it - no problem.

      I'm sure that Gateway and HP can service their products just

      The 'non-repair' of AIO's is a non-issue.
  • RE: Are all-in-one desktops a decent deal?

    Actually, AIOs use desktop hard drive. The GPU is a notebook model though. I think the price has to do with the fact that there is less competition.