What Is an All-In-On (AIO) PC?

All-in-One PCs (AIO PCs) are streamlined desktop computers that integrate all of the components of a traditional desktop computer, except for the keyboard and mouse, into one single unit. Traditional desktop computers have a monitor and separate the computer case that holds the motherboard, hard drive, and all other components. Many AIO PCs have integrated touch screen monitors, touch-pads, and solid-state disk drives and memory. AIO PCs have a smaller profile than other desktop computers, reduce clutter and feature sleek designs.

Key Takeaways

  • All-in-One (AIO) PCs are personal computers that have incorporated many components of a traditional desktop computer into a single, compact unit.
  • These streamlined PCs can be more efficient, space-saving, and intuitive for users, but have not seen significant sustained demand among consumers.
  • Downsides of AIO PCs include a lack of customizability, more difficult repairs and service, and a more expensive purchase price.

Understanding All-In-On (AIO) PCs

AIO PCs originally date back to the 1980s. The Apple iMac, which debuted in 1998, has been hailed as the first popular AIO. Other leading technology companies such as Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Microsoft also built early AIO PCs.

AIO PCs offer several advantages over traditional desktop computers. First, AIO PCs save desktop space and have fewer cables. Their large, touch-screen interfaces are user-friendly and offer a pleasant computing experience. They typically offer as much or more performance than a laptop or other mobile computer.

Sales of traditional desktop PCs have been declining in recent years, yet the outlook for AIOs looks brighter. Analyst firm IDC reported that 2018 should see a year-over-year decline of 3.2 percent in PC purchases, as consumer demand for slate tablets and legacy PC form factors remain weak. Comparatively, AIO PCs sales are stable with potential for growth, according to Digitimes Research.

Limitations of the AIO PC

AIO PCs do have some disadvantages compared to desktop computers and laptop computers. They are generally more expensive and may not offer the same performance as standard desktops. Many AIO PCs use components designed for mobile computers to keep their size small, which means that AIOs may not be as fast as traditional desktop PCs. However, since laptops have become the standard for most business and consumer users, with the exception of individuals working in graphic design, video, and other creative arts, the performance issue is not as relevant today.

AIO PCs are also less portable than laptops, which is an important consideration for most users. It’s also difficult to upgrade or add components because of the small size, though users can upgrade the memory. If a component breaks, consumers must replace the entire AIO computer.