PC Desktops and All-in-Ones: A Guide to the Systems for Students

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PC Desktops and All-in-Ones: A Guide to the Most Suitable Systems for Students

When sending a student off to college, many parents are faced with the dilemma of choosing a computer that will help their student excel. While laptops are increasingly more common, and in fact, necessary on some campuses, desktop PCs and all-in-ones are still viable options and even the choice favoured by many students, parents, and professionals. The fact that they are typically more powerful than other options makes these computers a good candidate for the soon to be student.

When determining the best computer to send a student off to college with, a wise consumer will consider the many good reasons for choosing a desktop PC or an all-in-one computer over a laptop or other current options. It is also important to consider whether the desktop or the all-in-one will suit the needs of the student better. With these in mind, it is much easier to make an informed decision about features and upgrades to include in the purchase.

Reasons to Buy a PC Desktop or All-In-One Computer

While it is true that mobility is a very important factor that most people consider when purchasing a computer these days, a desktop or all-in-one computer still has its place in the market. When compared to a laptop or other mobile device,, a similarly priced desktop computer is typically much more powerful, reliable, and speedy. These are all factors that the typical college student considers very valuable, especially while cramming for exams or finishing final papers.

Another feature these computers have that both parents and students may appreciate during cram sessions is that they are not mobile. While this means that it may be impossible to take the desktop PC or the all-in-one along to a study session, it also means that the student is more likely to establish a consistent routine, studying in the same location. This fact alone, along with the lack of distractions that the student faces while sitting at the computer, can allow them to truly excel.

Also, these computers that are left sitting on a desk, not carried around campus, are much less likely to be damaged or mistreated. A desktop PC or all-in-one computer is generally left alone when not in use, whereas a student often carries a laptop along everywhere, even when not in use. This treatment that the laptop receives has the potential to damage it, causing them expense that many students and parents cannot afford.

Good Reasons to Choose an All-In-One Computer

An all-in-one computer is one that has all of the computer components integrated into one unit. The parts of the computer that would typically belong in the tower of a desktop are neatly configured behind the sleek looking monitor screen. These sharp computers offer some of the same features of a desktop but, while not being mobile, they're much more compact and easy to move, a feature that is welcomed by many students who are going away for college.

In fact, an all-in-one is a great choice for these types of student, as these computers are often loaded entertainment components, such as a Blu-ray drive, a high-end speaker system, and even a TV tuner. This is a bonus for students living in dorm rooms where a sleek looking all-in-one can function in dual purposes as a power-packed study tool and feature-filled entertainment system. Many also include touchscreen capabilities, a clear advantage for Windows 8 operating system enthusiasts. These computers also require less space than most desktop computers and even many laptops..

Reasons to Think Twice before Purchasing an All-In-One

With all of the good things there is to say about purchasing an all-in-one computer for a student, there are a few negatives to keep in mind before settling on this option. Unfortunately, in order to accommodate the low profile design, and still pack it full of so many exciting features, the system utilises compact internal parts, many comparable to those in an average laptop.. This makes the all-in-one lacking in one of the biggest categories that makes most people choose one of these kind of computers over a laptop: it just doesn't have the power that the desktop has.

Unfortunately, these machines do not allow much room for upgrades either, as there is just not much space for adding on. This means that while this option probably provides ample power for the students basic needs, with several resource-heavy programmes installed, some assignments may be slow going. This is when compared to a desktop. Compared to a laptop, and all-in-one is typically more powerful. Unlike a desktop PC, however, these computers are not exceptional at providing an exciting gaming experience, a fact that many parents are encouraged by.

Good Reasons to Consider at Desktop

When it comes to speed, a good desktop PC still holds its place in the sales market because it is almost impossible for the options with more compact designs to compete with its power. Not only does a desktop PC typically come with enough speed and memory to see the typical student through four years of university, the tower also offers plenty of room for upgrades when necessary. Desktop PCs are more powerful, yet remain much more reasonably priced than their mobile or all-in-one counterparts.

Not only that, though, but any features that the machine may lack at the time of purchase are extremely easy to add with very little mechanical knowledge necessary. This means that, for the right amount of money, a desktop PC can have the same entertainment factors as an all-in-one, including a TV tuner, Blu-ray drive, and a touchscreen monitor. The powerful graphic card that is included on many desktop PCs is also perfect for the computer gaming that many students enjoy during study breaks.

Reasons to Think Twice before Purchasing a Desktop PC

With the power and capabilities that the desktop PC provides, it is clear to see why many people still hold onto it as the number one necessity, and include other mobile options only as secondary computers. However, all of that power does come at a price, and these machines are both bulky and awkward to move around and to fit in the cramped spaces, such as the average dorm room. They take up more space than either a laptop or an all-in-one computer, and peripherals, such as the mouse, keyboard, speakers, and even the monitor must be purchased separately. Some people see this as a bonus, as they prefer to choose their own, hand-picked peripherals that better suit the their needs.

Another reason to think twice before purchasing a desktop PC is that four years away at college is a long time when it comes to technology. A desktop PC is already becoming an uncommon option. Parents considering this option may want to ask themselves if the technology it encases will last for the student's needs.

A Quick Look at How They Compare

It is easy to see, that while the desktop PC and the all-in-one computer appear very similar, they are actually very different functionally. The following chart illustrates some of the ways that they differ:


Desktop PC


Low Profile

No; requires more space than any of the other computer options

Yes; requires even less space than many mobile computer options do


Yes; packed with power and enough space to upgrade when necessary

Yes/No; does not have the same power as a desktop computer but more than the average laptop

Extra Features

No; does not usually include added features such as Blu-ray, TV tuner, or touchscreen monitor

Yes; generally packed with features incorporating high entertainment value


Yes; plenty of room inside for add-ons and upgrades

No; compact components with little or no extra space for upgrades

A quick look at these features shows that areas where the desktop PC is lacking, the all-in-one shines through. However, it accomplishes this by compromising in areas where the desktop is a strong contender.

Buying a Desktop PC or an All-In-One on EBay

Various versions of desktop PCs an all-in-one computers are sold at many different stores, including electronic stores, used computer stores, and online stores, such as eBay. In fact, eBay sellers list many desktop PCs, all-in-ones, laptops, iPads, tablets, and all the peripherals and accessories a college student could possibly need, all in one, easy to search location. Going off to university comes with a number of different expenses, and most students and parents alike are eager to save money wherever possible.

eBay sellers make that easy, providing high-quality items in a variety of different price ranges. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, eBay sellers are not limited by either shelf space or the currently manufactured models. Computer shoppers can easily broaden the scope of their computer search by considering the bargains available when purchasing a desktop computer unit and the necessary monitor, mouse, and keyboard separately. This also gives them the ability to personalise the choice, while saving money.


With a high number of mobile devices now saturating the market, many people would assume that the desktop PC and all-in-one computers have fallen from popularity, especially among students going off to college. While this may be the case in a few years, the computer options are still very popular on college and university campuses. This is because the mobile versions are still just not quite up to speed with the desktop and all-in-one computer choices.

When deciding on a computer to purchase for studying, it is important to not only consider how easy it is to move around and how little space it occupies. It is important to determine if the computer, no matter how large or small, will have the necessary power and resources that the student requires. as these options can be feature packed, they can easily double as an entertainment system for the dorm room, which makes them a two-for-one bonus. The ability to easily upgrade the machine whenever necessary is also a prized feature to consider.

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