A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Cheap PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

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A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Cheap PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

The rapid growth in popularity of mobile computing devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets has had a significant impact on PC desktops and all-in-ones. Despite the dramatically improved technology and functionality of desktop computers, their lack of portability has drastically reduced the demand for them. This is great news for interested shoppers however, because much of the same cutting edge technology is being used in these desktop models, yet at a heavily discounted price. For prospective computer buyers where portability is not a concern, a PC desktop or all-in-one can be an affordable way to achieve great functionality. Some buyers with specific needs may even prefer the power, stability, and consistency of desktop units.

PC desktops and all-in-ones have a variety of advantages over their portable counterparts. For one, they are usually more powerful. Since these units do not need to be lightweight and portable, they generally have more processing speed, larger displays, better built in sound quality, and more highly powered graphics cards. This can appeal to gamers, programmers, as well as sound and video professionals. Also, since they do not rely on batteries for power, desktop units are often more reliable. That being said, they are still susceptible to computer viruses and bugs, but do not have the battery issues present in laptops and tablets. Desktop units are high performance affordable machines that are a great option for any buyer that is not concerned with portability.

Desktop PC vs. All-In-Ones

Desktop PCs are different than all-in-ones. Each has a variety of advantages and drawbacks applicable to them. The chart below outlines some of the main differences.

Desktop PCs


Can be Upgraded

Difficult to upgrade and repair

Does not suffer from heat issues

May suffer from heat issues

Designed for high-performance

Designed for routine tasks

Some buyers may not like the lack of flexibility of all-in-ones while others may prefer its straightforward simplicity. Desktop PCs can be more complex but allow for greater modifications and upgrades which may appeal to sophisticated buyers.

Desktop PCs

Desktop PCs usually offer a number of different components. The bulk of a desktop PC is the tower. The tower houses all of the important processing hardware and functions as the brain centre for all the other hardware such as monitors, printers, mice, and keyboards. It is where the various drives are found and where additional hardware must be connected to. Towers are usually heavy and large, though some slimmer and more lightweight versions are available.

Other hardware relevant to desktop PCs include monitors, mice, keyboards, speakers, and printers. Arguably, monitors are the most significant component after the tower. The monitor is the display the user relies on to use the PC. It should be large enough and of high enough resolution to satisfy the user. The other hardware is necessary to achieve full functionality of the PC and buyers should inquire whether those components are included with the PC otherwise, it may be additional cost.

All-In-One Computers

An all-in-one computer is a simplified and streamlined desktop PC. It combines the monitor and tower into one unit reducing the amount of necessary hardware. Due to their reduced size, all-in-one computers typically do not have the same level of performance as desktop PCs, however they can still provide ample performance for many buyers. One advantage of an all-in-one is that is is simple to set up. It does not require as much interconnection between the components, thus making it user-friendly.

One downside to all-in-one computers is that they tend to be inflexible. Since the components are all integrated, upgrading and changing components can be difficult, expensive, and impractical. If a component breaks, it is often cheaper to dispose of the whole machine and purchase a new one instead of having it repaired. Some all-in-ones are a cross between a traditional desktop PC and a laptop. These can also be moved around quickly and easily. All-in-ones are quickly becoming a popular choice for home buyers who do not demand the highest graphics and processing performance.


Heat can be an issue for all-in-one computers, however desktop PCs do not share this problem. All-in-one computers have a reduced sized meaning less air in and around the components. High-end processing like games or video footage may cause an excessive amount of heat. This can damage vital parts of the machine. If the computer is intended to be used for daily tasks such as word processing or record keeping, an all-in-one makes a lot of sense. However, they should not be used for sustained periods of high performance.

Space and Style

Desktop PCs are considered traditional. Many associate them with office applications. They also tend to be large, bulky, and heavy. All-in-one computers are smaller and often made to look sleek and slim. They come in a large variety of colours and can be extremely aesthetically pleasing. They are excellent choice for smaller spaces such as apartments and studios.


Computers come with a variety of different features that can significantly impact the user's experience. Buyers should determine exactly what types of functionality they need from their machine before deciding on a final purchase. Buyers doing more visual graphic work may prefer a high resolution, large monitor. High-end gamers may require significant processing speed and excellent sound. Finally, determining how much memory to have on the machine is also a concern. Shoppers should carefully evaluate these features to determine how the affect the price of the overall machine and whether it suits their particular needs.


Both all-in-ones and traditional desktop PCs require monitors. Monitors come in a variety of sizes and resolutions. Some computers can be connected to televisions or projectors giving the user a larger screen. All-in-ones typically have smaller monitors since they are designed to be smaller than traditional desktop PCs, but they can still have large monitors in some cases. Resolution determines the quality of the picture and does not relate to the size of the monitor. Graphic designers, videographers, and photographers should consider high resolution monitors.

Processing Speed

Processing speed simply relates to the power of the machine. This determines how many applications can be run at once, how quickly the machine responds, and how it handles relaying information. Slower processing machines can freeze and lock when too many applications are being run simultaneously or especially demanding applications are being run. The main consideration here is the due to the inflexibility of all-in-ones, the processing speed can never be upgraded. Buyers should beware of this if they intend to keep and maintain the machine for a long time.


Traditional desktop PCs are typically connected to external speakers. The upside to this is that any speakers the buyer wants to pair with the PC can likely be connected. The downside is that the speakers are external requiring extra hardware. An all-in-one has speakers built in and they can be of high quality. However, to achieve any higher quality sound, external speakers are needed. This can defeat the purpose of the all-in-one so shoppers seeking high end sound performance should consider a traditional desktop.


Memory relates to how much data can be stored on the machine. It also can impact the functionality of the machine. If there is too little memory space, the machine can operate more slowly and unreliably. Again, since all-in-ones tend to be inflexible, it is important buyers find a machine that has the requisite amount of memory already included. Traditional desktop PCs can always have more memory added at a later time.

How to Buy a Cheap PC Desktop or All-In-One on eBay

Buying a cheap PC desktop or all-in-one on eBay is easy. Especially considering that many buyers are opting for the portability of laptops and tablets, PC desktops and all-in-ones tend to be much cheaper by comparison. Shoppers should begin by entering very general search terms into the search box. This displays the broadest range of results. Shoppers can then narrow and refine the results based on key features, price, or other characteristics. Also available are easy to use categories which can narrow the results to a specific use or application.

Buyers should inquire about the past history of the machine before purchasing, especially if it is used to avoid any durability issues. Shipping is not usually an issue as these items are commonly transported and are relatively small. No matter type of machine a shopper is looking for, eBay is sure to provide the widest range of options for buyers at the best prices.


Desktop PCs and all-in-ones are two versions of the same thing. Although all-in-ones can be transported fairly easily, this is not their intended use. Both types of machine are intended to be stationary. Desktops offer more power, higher performance, greater reliability, and more flexibility. All-in-ones offer a sleeker profile, ample performance for most tasks, and greater energy efficiency. All-in-ones have the main downside of being difficult to repair or upgrade which can be costly.

Both machines come with an array of features that have an impact on price and performance. Buyers should familiarise themselves with these to determine if the machine specifications adequately suits their needs. On the other hand, if a buyer opts for a traditional desktop, they can always upgrade components at a later time. Buyers should let their intended use guide their decision to purchase the ideal PC desktop or all-in-one and they should use eBay to find it.

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