The declining personal computers market has seen a steady popularity of the all in one computers category due to tits ease of installation, use and up gradation. Over the last five years, even as the over all sales dropped in the declining PC market, the all in one computers kept gaining momentum and popularity in terms of sales, making manufacturers happy especially because these systems tend to be a little more expensive than regular desk top computers.
It is easy to understand why these all in one computers are doing so well. The ease with which they condense and therefore simplify computing into one single, elegantly designed structure without the necessity of wires all over the place has certainly helped with their popularity.
However, the main disadvantage of all in one computers is that in the long term, the basic functioning begins to get affected by the lack of space for upgraded components. The performance of the PC at the time of its purchase is an important factor in determining the duration for which it will work as a useful machine.
Since the systems we are discussing are built to be thin, they have less space within for components and the cooling mechanism, making them somewhat the lower power versions of regular desktop processors and in some cases, even the mobile processors. A good example of this is the best seller Lenovo C50, with its Core i5-4210U which is a dual-core chip with a base clock of 1.7GHz and has a maximum Turbo Boost of 2.7GHz.
But the thing is, when you look into the specifics, a $580 machine can easily bring with it a Core i5 quad-core with a base clock of 3.2GHz, but a traditional computer would still any day be much faster. This gap between the performance and price tends to increase in every segment. A $1000 price tag brings in a quad-core all in one computers with a 1080p display. For the same price, one can get a desktop that comes with a Core i7 Quad, enough RAM and decent graphics.
Already slow to start with, all in one computers need to be upgraded more frequently. Although with time computers have increasingly become more efficient and last for years, the years do catch up and it wouldn’t be a problem if most systems were equipped with cutting edge technology in the first place.
These systems tend to slow down more quickly than a traditional PC and don’t serve as very good platforms for upgrades. The BGA, or ball grid array processor found in almost all PCs of this category have a chip that is soldered onto the motherboard. This means that the user cannot replace or upgrade it. The display and the speakers also cannot be upgraded in most cases, and adding external hardware is just spending more money on something that should have already been there in a system.
These two have become obsolete too, with time, although they last a lot longer than the processor. A typical monitor that was sold a decade ago had a 19-inch display with 1,280 x 768 resolution. The 1080p displays found today will be out of style by the year 2025, while the speakers may last for a decade with mediocre sounds.
So the question is, what can a person upgrade all in one computers? Mostly it is limited to the hard drive and the RAM, though some systems might not even allow this. Most of the present day systems are shipped with two RAM slots and a single hard drive bay both filled up to their capacity. Replacing them means replacing the entire components making it an expensive affair.