PC Desktops and All-in-Ones: Ideal for Students

Like if this guide is helpful
PC Desktops and All-in-Ones: Ideal for Students

It is almost impossible for college students to succeed in school without a computer. Most assignments must be typed out or turned in to the teacher electronically. Students use computers for everything from assignments to scheduling classes, so it is important for students to have a reliable computer with adequate memory and processing speed. College students are not the only students that use computers, many grade school and high school students are now using computers as well.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a computer is whether or not a desktop or laptop works best. While laptops are portable, they often have less memory and a slower processor. Students not only use their computers for schoolwork, and photographs, but also for games, and music that take up memory space, causing the computer to run slower when the memory is full. Desktops and all-in-one computers generally have more memory and higher processing speeds, keeping the computer working like new through the student's years in school.

Computers are purchased in brick and mortar electronic stores, or online using eBay. eBay offers a wide variety of desktop and all-in-one computers, making it easy to find an affordable computer for any student. Before purchasing a desktop, it is important to consider the different components of the all-in-one computer to find a computer that is best for the student.

PC Desktop and All-in-One Computer Components

Desktop computers feature a monitor, tower, keyboard, and mouse, and are able to easily connect to other computer equipment such as speakers and printers. All-in-one computers have a monitor and tower in one, making it smaller and more portable than desktop computers. Both types of computers have similar options for different components such as memory and processing speed, so space and price should be factored into the type of computer to purchase.

Type of Computer


All-in-One Computer

Features a computer monitor, hard drive, and speakers in one. Most stylish and space efficient

Desktop Computer

Features a separate monitor, speakers, and operating tower. Most inexpensive but least space efficient

Small Form Factor PC

Features a separate monitor, speakers, and operating tower. Smaller and more space efficient than desktop computers

The amount of desk space should always be considered when choosing a computer, especially for students in small college dorm rooms. All-in-one computers are the most space efficient, but are not as inexpensive as larger desktop models.

Computer Processor

The first component to consider when purchasing a desktop or all-in-one computer is the CPU or central processing chip. There are different types of processors, which determine how fast the computer runs. Computer processors are classified by number of cores in the processor. Two core, or dual core processors, is the standard for computer processors so they are both efficient and affordable. Single core processors are less expensive, but they are not as efficient when multitasking on the computer, and they do not run as quickly. Three and four core processors boost speed even more than dual core processors, but they are more expensive, and most of the time the computer does not need to use the extra speed to run efficiently.

Another consideration when choosing a computer processor is the clock speed measured in GHz. The clock speed is another determinant in how quickly the processor runs. Clock speed is comparable between different model's processors, but is not comparable from brand to brand. The quality of the processor relies heavily on cost, so quality processors tend to be more expensive, but last longer and run better than cheaper options.

Computer Memory

The next component to consider when choosing a desktop, or all-in-one, is the amount of memory on the computer. Computer memory varies between models, and is measured by GB. Students generally use a lot of memory on their computers, so at least a 4GB RAM is recommended. 4GB RAMs are generally affordable and offer sufficient memory space. Computers with less than 2GB RAM fill up quickly and have to pull power from the hard drive to run. This causes the computer to run slowly until some of the memory is cleared, or another RAM is added. Purchasing additional RAMS is usually inexpensive, and they are easy to install onto the computer.

Computer Hard Drive

The size of the computer hard drive determines the amount of storage and speed of the computer. Hard drives with 500GB or higher are recommended for those who download many different programs, or need a lot of storage space. Photos, games, and music also take up a lot of hard drive space, so students with large collections or music or photos may want to opt for a larger hard drive. Also, students going to school for graphic design or other similar majors require a larger hard drive, since they are working with more programs and larger files.

Most other students mostly save text documents on the computer, which take up little space on the hard drive, so a large hard drive is not necessary. 250GB and 320GB hard drives are affordable options that should provide sufficient storage space for a student. If the computer hard drive fills up, external hard drives are an affordable option for adding storage space to the hard drive. Also, backing up important documents on an external hard drive ensures they do not get lost if the computer crashes.

Another consideration when choosing a hard drive is the speed, measured in RPMs, or rotations per minute. The speed of the hard drive determines how quickly the computer boots up, as well as how quickly programs open. Most hard drives have a speed between 5,000RPM and 10,000RPM. Hard drives with higher RPMs run more quickly than those with lower RPMs, so a hard drive with a speed of at least 7,200RPM is recommended.

Computer Optical Drive

Most computers come standard with a CD/DVD player. Blu-ray players are also available as an added luxury on some computers. When upgrading the optical drive to feature a Blu-ray player, it is important to make sure the computer can support the drive and decode the Blu-ray disk. Blu-ray optical drives are more expensive than standard optical drives, and Blu-rays tend to be more expensive than DVDs, so it is important to consider the budget before choosing an optical drive.

Computer Operating System

Another component to think about when choosing a desktop computer is the operating system that the computer uses. Most computers do not include an operating system, so it usually has to be purchased separately. Some colleges and universities require a specific type of operating system for students to ensure the software is compatible with the school's system.

Most PC operating systems run a type of Windows software. The most basic type of operating systems are usually fine for students, but choosing newer software is recommended. Another factor when choosing the operating system is the number of bits. Windows operating systems come in 32-bit and 64-bit options. 64-bit options have access to more storage space, and have an easier time running more programs, such as creative software or antivirus software.

How to Purchase a Desktop or All-in-One Computer on eBay

When purchasing computers, the rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. Higher priced computers generally run faster, and have more storage and memory space. Although purchasing a computer is expensive, eBay offers a wide selection of desktops and all-in-one computers, which are often found under retail price, making purchasing a computer much more affordable. To begin your search on eBay, you can start with the use of keywords in the keyword search bar. Searching a keyword such as 'desktop computer' makes it easy to compare different components and prices of different types of computers. eBay also makes it easy to narrow results by the different components of the computer, such as processing speed, or by brand.

When purchasing a higher priced item such as a computer, eBay makes it easy to stick to your budget by allowing you to set your price maximum. By setting the price maximum, you do not have to waste time searching through options outside of your price range. Purchasing from local sellers on eBay is another way to save money when buying a computer, since you can often arrange to pick up the computer instead of paying for expensive shipping costs.


A personal computer has the tools to help students succeed in school. Many colleges and universities are cutting back on the sizes of their computer labs and student computers, making it hard to find an available computer on campus. Students with personal computers have access to their computer whenever they need it, and have space to store their documents.

While many students opt for laptops, desktop computers are inexpensive, and tend to offer more storage and memory space. Some colleges and universities require a specific type of computer make or model, so students should check the school's requirements before making a purchase. Choosing the suggested school model makes it easy for the student to get their computer fixed on campus if there is ever a problem with the computer. By considering the different components of desktop computers, students are able to find a computer that fits within their budget and their needs.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides