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How to build an 'All-in-One' PC

Why waste valuable desk space on an old-school PC tower when you can combine the PC with the display in a single all-in-one system.
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Introduction

Why waste valuable desk space on an old-school PC tower when you can combine the PC with the display in a single all-in-one system? While PC OEMs offer countless all-in-one you can choose from, if you are after something special or custom, then building your own is the way to go.

But what do you need to build your own all-in-one PC? Here's a tour of what you need.

Image source: Intel.

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Chassis

When building a desktop PC, I usually don't list a case because they are very personal to the user. However, when it comes to all-in-one systems, the chassis is all important because this is both the display and the home for all your components.

For this build I've chosen the Loop L5 LP-2150 chassis, which is based around a 21.5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It supports thin mini-ITX motherboards and LGA1155 processors up to 65W TDP. It features two USB 2.0 ports, and has integrated speakers, a microphone, and a front-facing camera.

There are many others you can choose from, and if you are interested in shopping around, I suggest you take a look at Intel's Design Component Catalog for inspiration.

Price: $265.

Image source: Loop.

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Processor

There are countless processors that you can choose for for this build. I'm going for something that's middle of the road" the Intel Core i5-3570S.

This is a quad-core processor which runs at 3.1GHz, and can be turbo boosted to 3.8GHz. It has 6MB or L3 cache and a maximum TDP of 65W, making it ideal for use in the all-in-one PC.

Price: $205.

Image source: Intel.

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Motherboard

There are lots of motherboards to choose from that fit the bill, but I've gone for the Intel DH61AG. This board supports LGA1155 Core i3, i5, and i7 processors up to 65W TDP, two RAM slots supporting 16GB of RAM, gigabit LAN support, ten USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0, and a pair of SATA ports.

Everything a good all-in-one PC needs.

Price: $120

Image source: Intel.

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Cooler

The processor needs a cooler, and since this is not your standard desktop PC, we're going to need a part specific for all-in-one PCs. The Intel HTS1155LP will do the job. This is quite a silent cooler, so you're not going to need ear defenders when using your all-in-one PC.

Price: $25.

Image source: Intel.

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Power Supply Unit

Again, regular power supply units won't do the job. We need something far more compact.

I've chosen the FSP 150-ABAN1, a 150W Energy Star rated unit that will power everything inside out all-in-one system.

Price: $55.

Image source: FSP Group USA.

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Storage

Time to add storage.

We need a 2.5-inch solid state drive for this build, and I've chosen an old favorite: the 256GB Crucial M4. Solid reliability combined with superb performance.

Price: $215.

Image source: Crucial.

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Networking

This motherboard needs a separate Wi-Fi module. The Intel 62230AN.HMWG will do the job just fine.

Price: $25.

Image source: Intel.

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Memory

Nothing special here, just remember that the board takes notebook SO-DIMM modules, not the DIMM modules that desktop systems take. I've gone for two sticks of 4GB Corsair 204-pin DDR3 1333 memory.

Price: $42.

Image source: Corsair.

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Optical drive

Final piece of hardware to throw in is an optical drive. The chassis needs a notebook optical drive, and I've gone for the LG GT60N which is only 12.7mm high.

Price: $30.

Image source: LG.

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Operating system

Since the motherboard I have chosen supports Windows 8, might as well choose this operating system for the system. If you'd rather Windows 7 or Windows Vista, then feel free to install this instead.

Price: $99.

Image source: Microsoft.

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Total cost of build: $1,081.

Intel has put together a handy video showing how to put an all-in-one PC together which you might be interested in taking a look at.

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