The Dos and Don'ts of Buying PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

Buying computers can be confusing business, especially when prospective buyers consider the various types of computers currently on the market. Just considering full-function computers, consumers today must choose from laptops, desktop computers or the newer all-in-one computers that include both the computer itself and the monitor in one piece. While many people opt for laptops for portability, many users only use their computers at their desks, which means they really do not need the portability afforded by a laptop. In addition, laptop computer screens are smaller than desktop screens, so individuals who do use their laptops as desktop computers may find themselves wishing for larger screens.

Another factor that makes desktops and all-in-ones more appealing than laptops is price. Prospective buyers end up paying quite a bit more for a laptop than they would for a desktop with the same specifications. This is why desktop computers and all-in-ones are a great option for nearly every consumer shopping for a home computer. Before deciding which type is right for them, prospective buyers should check out these important do's and don'ts.

Do Determine the Specifications Needed

Computers have a myriad of different specifications, some of which prospective buyers need to be aware of and consider before making a purchasing decision. Others may not be as important to most computer users, so these specs could be looked at if a consumer is having difficulty deciding between two computer models.

While most individuals tend to believe the "bigger is better" mantra, the truth is that for most users, a basic computer can fit the bill. Most of the computers on the market today are capable of running multiple programs at one time and have more than enough processing power to handle word processing and accounting tasks, as well as web browsing. Individuals planning on using graphics programs or who enjoy PC gaming may need more powerful computers, but most consumers would be fine with a mid-range desktop computer or all-in-one.

Processor Speed

All computers have a processor inside, though different models have different types of processors as well as processors of different speeds. When comparing processors, individuals should know which ones are more powerful than others so they know what they are comparing; however, it is often difficult to find two or more computers with the exact same processors to be able to make an exact comparison.

Individuals who do not need high-end processors should begin their search by finding a range of processors they believe are right for their needs and then checking out the available desktops and all-in-ones that features those processors.

Storage Capacity

The storage capacity is another important factor to consider when shopping for a new computer. Many of the newer models feature fairly large hard drives which most users would not be able to fill up. Individuals who like to download music or who store a lot of photos on their computers may want to opt for models with larger hard drives, but those who really only use their computers for word processing and Internet access should really be fine with a computer or all-in-one with a 40 gigabyte or larger hard drive.


When referring to computers, the term memory applies to the memory that allows the computer to run multiple programs at once, not how much storage the computer has. This specification is not of the utmost importance for most individuals, though gamers and those who use graphic intense programs may want to look for a desktop or all-in-one computer with more memory. The good thing about memory is that it can be upgraded in most computers, which means if users decide they need more of it in the future, they can add it or swap out the memory that is currently in the computer with larger memory chips.

Desktop vs. All-in-One

Once a prospective buyer has determined his or her minimum specifications, the final decision should be whether the buyer prefers a desktop model or an all-in-one computer. There are advantages to both types as noted in the chart below.

PC Type



Easier and less expensive to upgrade; perform better than all-in-one models; less expensive than laptops and all-in-ones


More compact; takes up less space; less expensive than laptops; one power cord

The advantages of each type of system should be considered before a buyer makes a purchasing decision. Because each consumer's needs are different, some may prefer an all-in-one computer, while others may find the desktop computer the more practical option.

Don't Get Swayed by the Extras

Desktop computers are often sold as a package that includes the computer itself, usually in the form of a tower computer, the screen, and a keyboard and mouse. All-in-one computers already come with the computer and screen, but these computers also typically include a keyboard and mouse. Some packages even come with a printer, which may be tempting to those who own none of these items.

While it is convenient to get all of these items in one package, they can all be purchased separately as well for about the same price. In addition, the specific keyboard, mouse, or printer included in the package may not be the one the buyer wants, which means they may end up buying a different one anyway.

Another reason bundles are not always the best way to go is because some individuals already have some components, such as larger monitors or existing printers, that they are completely happy with and do not wish to upgrade at the time when they need the computer. Purchasing just the computer alone allows individuals the freedom to keep certain components they already own or buy the components they really want, rather than being stuck with what is included in the package.

Do Shop Around

Desktop and all-in-one computer prices vary greatly from brand to brand and store to store. To get the best possible deal, prospective buyers should determine their minimum requirements as well as a price range that they would like to stick with and then check out the deals at multiple retailers.

While some individuals believe that certain brands are better than others, many of these computers have the same components inside, which means that they perform the same regardless of which company's name is on the outside. Prospective buyers should also be sure to check out the prices of desktop and all-in-one computers on eBay. Though it is not often thought of when individuals are shopping for computers, the site has many listings, and the prices are typically lower.

Don't Forget to Consider the Future

Although consumers should not spend more money than they need to on a desktop or all-in-one computer, they should consider the future when making a purchasing decision. Buying a low-end computer now could mean having to upgrade more quickly than if the individual bought a mid to high-end computer now. This is because the lower end computers typically use technology that is a little more outdated than the mid to higher-end models.

Individuals who prefer to upgrade computers rather than replace them should also consider if the computer they want can be upgraded in the future and what the parts may cost. Certain components of a desktop computer, such as the hard drive and the memory, can typically be upgraded fairly inexpensively, whereas all-in-one models may cost a bit more to upgrade and not all of its components are upgradeable. This is due to the fact that the parts needed for an all-in-one computer need to fit into a smaller space than in a desktop computer.

Typically, individuals need to purchase these parts directly from the manufacturer, rather than opting for less expensive, third-party parts. For this reason, individuals who enjoy upgrading their computers frequently may want to opt for a desktop computer to make upgrades less expensive.

Shopping for PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

Prospective buyers can find PC desktop and all-in-one computers in a wide variety of retail locations, including office supply stores, electronics stores, and even some department stores. To get the most computer for their money, prospective buyers should be sure to compare prices at several different stores as well as through online retailers.

By shopping around, buyers may be able to spend less or get a better computer for the same price they would have spent on an inferior model. When researching online, individuals should be sure to check out the prices on eBay as well as through other online retailers. eBay shoppers typically find better prices and a wide variety of merchandise on the site.


While some computer savvy individuals claim that a laptop is the way to go, the truth is that PC desktop computers and all-in-one computers are the best option for individuals who do not travel with their computer. These computers are less expensive and typically more powerful than their compact counterparts, which is especially important for individuals looking for a powerful computer to do graphic work or video editing. Those who prefer a larger screen can also purchase one as large as they would like when selecting a desktop or all-in-one model, rather than being limited by the size of a laptop screen.

There are plenty of options available to individuals who are looking for a desktop or an all-in-one computer, so individuals should take the search one step at a time and narrow down the wide range of products to a more manageable size before they begin to compare one product to another. Using this list of dos and don'ts, prospective buyers should have no problem finding the perfect PC desktop computer or all-in-one computer on eBay.

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