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  1. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    Fi
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    Hi All,

    Our PC is ancient and sounds like it is trying to take off so I'm thinking it is time to replace it. Had a walk round PC World the other day and the 'all in one' PC's appealed to me over the tower PC's - mainly based on saving space and just looking cleaner. Are they any good though? I don't know a whole lot about computers or whether we could just get a good laptop to meet our needs instead?

    We use the current PC for everyday stuff like surfing the internet / using word & excel plus editing photos using Nikon NX-D & Paint Shop Pro (which I may upgrade to photoshop) and some gaming but only Sim type games like Zoo Tycoon / Roller Coaster Tycoon. I don't think we need anything massively powerful but I'm not sure what the best option would be. Any help gratefully received!!

    Thanks,
    Fi
     
  2. neil_g

    neil_g

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    30,364
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    Neil
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    No
    Not for me. A lot of the time use lower power laptop components. Can't have a choice of good quality screen for editing or upgrade it later etc etc

    Essentially a compromise.
     
  3. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    Fi
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    Thanks Neil - tbh the chance of us upgrading the monitor are minimal so not too worried about that. I guess the question is whether we'd be happy with the compromise.
     
  4. Hertsman

    Hertsman

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    1,985
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    Mark
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    Fi, I think the key word here is compromise.....
    I get the space saving idea, but if you wanted to add more Ram or similar its complicated/expensive.
    Stick with a tower and lifes a lot easier.

    Check out PC Specialist for quality and economy, and also the Dell outlet store. Way better VFM than buying from a shed.
     
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  5. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    Fi
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    Thanks Mark - I get what you are saying but I wouldn't know where to begin with adding anything. Genuinely - it is not going to happen so doesn't really put me off. I would be put off if the thing itself is just not as good - but if you were to get a tower PC with the same spec and you had no intention to attempt to upgrade it in any way, would there be a great deal of difference? Thank you for the tips on where to buy from :)
     
  6. Mozthecat

    Mozthecat

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    16
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    Yes
    I had one for six years, the inability to easily change parts meant it couldn't keep up with the latest software from around year 2. Ultimately I had to scrap the whole unit when everything except the motherboard, processor and ram were still perfectly usable.
     
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  7. Brazo

    Brazo

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    Mark
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    Look at them as a more bulky laptop and your along the right lines. They use laptop components in a more bulky form factor.

    TBH they sound ideal for your intended use and intentions.

    However you can get small form factor 'proper' pc's now which don't take up as much space as a tower, more a shoebox size.

    Look at mini itx systems.
     
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  8. GTG

    GTG

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    Yes
    The parts on an all in one is weaker than the same price tower PC.

    If you buy a £550 all in one in PC world

    It is same CPU power roughly as a 2010 tower with Intel Core i3-540 that I imagine were about £550 without screen 7 years ago
     
  9. Pedro Antunes

    Pedro Antunes

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    Pedro
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    No
    In the mac world, Imacs have become standard in pro environment. So that shows that All-in-one can work great for image processing.
    Just make sure you get something with decent specs and a really great screen.
     
  10. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    Fi
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    Thanks Mark - I will definitely look into the small form ones.

    Thank you - I don't know what a Core i3-540 is but think I get the gist of what you are saying... we can get more for our money with a tower.

    Thanks Pedro - I think I need to investigate this more...
     
  11. neil_g

    neil_g

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    30,364
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    Neil
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    No
    Imacs still use lower power laptop grade components in most cases. You'd still get better bang for buck elsewhere.
     
  12. Brazo

    Brazo

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    Mark
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    The most powerful mac is still the 2012 power mac!

    Whilst pro graphic designers prefer the Mac OS they are long overdue some real muscle in their systems.
     
  13. neil_g

    neil_g

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    30,364
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    Neil
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    because it's what they know.. had many a debate with the last lot of designers I supported about how much better their life would be (performance per £ and reliability, hardware wise and on the Windows domain) on a nice fast Windows machine. But they're brainwashed into hating Windows because Macs are "cooler" and they just don't want to change.
     
  14. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    Fi
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    Yes
    I am not a fan of Macs so it's all a bit of a moot point in terms of my original question.
     
  15. neil_g

    neil_g

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    yup and I should say each to their own and all that :D
     
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  16. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    Indeed! I hated the Iphone I had too but they seem to be quite popular :D
     
  17. GTG

    GTG

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    Have you thought about getting someone to build one for you. I would build one for free but I live in the middle of nowhere.

    Custom made ones are the cheapest to upgrade in the future because you only change a few innards but keep the case, power supply, ram and hard drives.
     
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  18. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    4,543
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    I had not and tbh I would not necessarily feel confident to know if I was getting a) what I needed and b) a good deal. You'd also have the issue of no warranty which I'm not that comfortable with.
     
  19. GTG

    GTG

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    Fair enough, its mostly to do with upgrading and adding parts as needed.

    Shop PC`s are designed so you cannot add any parts or upgrade parts in general.

    Like if you decided, oh I want blu ray on my PC or 4K video player.

    With a shop PC forget it, no chance.
     
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  20. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    725
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    Have you thought about buying a used, refurbished, desk/tower type PC from a reputable dealer/local independent PC shop? I bought a used Dell Latitude laptop that way a couple of years ago, then last year I wanted a lighter laptop to use 'on the fly' for word processing and PowerPoint work on the train, carrying across cities to work venues, hotel-room 'homework', etc. so I bought a new 'budget' type HP laptop from PC world. Both these laptops cost me about the same, one is built like a tank (mil grade) and is pretty heavy, the other is nice and light and looks modern and slick. The old one has a Pentium Core i5 processor in it, Windows 7 and 4gb RAM. The new one has a fairly basic model AMD processor, Windows 10 and 8gb of RAM (I asked PC World to upgrade the original 4gb it came with).

    The new PC is fine for what I bought it for; however, in a couple of weeks time I need to use a laptop for a sound file analysis training course and wondered if the newer, lighter, one would be up to the job instead of me lugging the old, heavier one about. So last night I did a bit of a test: I uploaded around 300mb of sound files for sonogram analysis. Both laptops were running the same sound file analysis software programme and both were processing the same batch of files. I did the test twice, just to make sure it wasn't a 'one off' result, and the old one beat the new one by around two and a half minutes each time! The old one probably dates from around 2011, the new one was bought this time last year.

    My point being, if I wanted a PC for home use and was working on a budget, I'd weigh up my options and see what buying a used, refurbished, system from a reputable local shop (with a good, solid warranty) could get me in terms of processing power, as opposed to buying new where my pound-per-processing power might not go as far. After all, I can't see photo file sizes getting smaller as the years go by, so I'd want the most powerful (and upgradable) PC I could reasonably afford to give my self as much future proofing as reasonably possible. Hope this is useful and best of luck making the right choice for what you need. (y)
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017 at 12:33 PM
  21. Nick Owen

    Nick Owen

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    498
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    Peter
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    Life's a compromise, and computers can be more compromised than life. It sounds like you don't really need anything fancy to do the basic things you want to do. In fact just about any computer will now do what you want and do it rather well. So your choice is really going to come down to your budget price and the style you like. Bear in mind that cheap laptops are pretty useless for photo editing if nothing else because the screen brightness varies on the angle of viewing (unless the screens are IPS which usually costs more). Frankly, any all-in one would work fine for you as well as compliment your house decor. My own experience is that in ten years I've had five different windows machines, (two of them custom built) and lost my hair sorting out endless config problems, endless software issues, constant virus attacks, endless window OS crashes, re-booting, cleaning and re-installing. Of course I know that any computer can go wrong, but I've now had my current iMac for the last eight years without a problem. It just works. But, as it's now an ancient machine, I'm being tempted by the Surface Pro 4 as its replacement so I can ditch the Wacom and work anywhere. Anyway, I can't lose any more hair...
     
  22. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    I completely see the logic of this if that is your intention - but like I mentioned earlier, the chances of us upgrading anything are honestly minimal to zero. I just want something out of the box that will do the (not very demanding) stuff we would like it to.
     
  23. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    That is a great idea that I had not considered - we have a few local PC shops that I'm sure have been going for donkeys years which suggests they are reputable. Thank you - I will definitely look into that.
     
  24. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    Thank you Nick - you've pretty much confirmed what I thought in terms of the "will the thing be fit for purpose?" question - given that our 'purposes' is not particularly demanding.

    I think I am going to have a proper look at the all in ones versus the mini tower PC's that Mark mentioned.
     
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  25. broc

    broc

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    278
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    Brian
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    I used to manage a school network with around 800 PCs & laptops, we had a suite of 30x Lenovo All in One PCs that were used for Photoshop and another 10x used by admin staff, they were bought because they had a small footprint and a fairly limited range of applications in use. They are still working fine after 5 years and apart from memory upgrades & HDD swap outs have needed nothing else.

    If your requirements are largely 'fixed' for the life of the device then AIO is fine, if your requirements are likely to change or expand then a small form factor system unit would probably be a better bet. Some smaller units have ISO mountings allowing them to attach to the rear of a monitor, giving an AIO look but with the flexibility of being able to swap components. As has been pointed out earlier, many AIO and mini ITX units employ laptop type components such as 2.5" HDD & SODIMM memory which tend to be more expensive and lower capacity, they also have fewer expansion slots/bays too.

    I have a DELL i7 OptiPlex USFF system unit which I use for resource hungry applications, I also have an i5 laptop which is used for casual use & web surfing. I have just recently treated myself to a Surface Pro 4, it is an impressive device apart from the real world battery life which is pretty poor, nowhere near as long as MS would claim and a long way short of an iPad.
     
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  26. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    1,165
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    Chris
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    My wife is on her second all in one, she loves them for the small form factor and her new one ( HP) is more than adequate for her needs , and incidentally cheaper , better spec and with a better warranty direct from HP rather than PC world
     
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  27. Nick Owen

    Nick Owen

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    What bat life are you getting from it?
     
  28. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    Thanks Brian - that's really helpful. I didn't know about the ISP mountings...

    Thank you for that tip - I will definitely look direct then!
     
  29. ancient_mariner

    ancient_mariner

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    Toni
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    The biggest negative I can think of with an all-in-one is that the screen will be a) not of a good standard for photo editing and b) fixed, so that is there's a problem that's not cost-effective to fix then you throw away everything instead of just the busted part.

    FWIW I normally edit images on a Dell XPS plugged into a 24" IPS 1920:1200 screen. It's still compact, but the screen is good, and has already been passed up from the previous machine when that was no longer man enough to do the work.
     
  30. broc

    broc

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    Brian
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    I am not exactly sure, around 3-4 hours fairly light use. I have only had it for a couple of weeks......
     
  31. neil_g

    neil_g

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    Sounds way off. Sure nothing is using cpu time and draining it?
     
  32. broc

    broc

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    Brian
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    I need to take a serious look at it & see what's going on. My initial experience with battery life was disappointing, in all other respects it is a nice piece of kit..
     
  33. afasoas

    afasoas

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    858
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    I would steer clear of an all-in-one - it's just such a shame throwing something away and adding to our mounting electronic waste problem when being able to change the failed component could make it usable again.
    (Don't be under any illusion about the amount of e-waste recycled - whatever proportion you think it is, chances are it's far less)

    Consider a NUC or a Brix or other small PC that can be mounted with a vesa mount on the back of a monitor - at least then you be able to replace/re-use HDD/RAM/Display if any of them fail.
    Or a discrete mini-itx build.

    Also consider supporting an independant retailer rather than a giant corporate.
     
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  34. Ian W

    Ian W

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    Ian
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    This is what I'd be doing. Nice and discreet with a monitor of your choosing in terms of size / resolution etc, plus can easily upgrade the monitor later if you fancied, if not the PC components.
     
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  35. beefybarn40

    beefybarn40

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    375
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    kevin
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    Do not touch the all in ones if you are going to be using it for photo editing as the screens are not good enough for this. As said look at Dell outlet, they have some cracking deals and there warranty service is second to none. Then go and buy a quality 27" screen, ips preferred which will give you the clarity you need when photo editing.
     
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  36. Daysleeper40

    Daysleeper40

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    Thanks all - never heard of NUC or Brix so will have to look into those.
     
  37. mjmountain

    mjmountain

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    For work I have a surface pro 4 - it's a tablet (so I guess an all in one?). They're expensive, but the stylus and a fantastic screen along with the portability make them fantastic. Highly recommended.
     
  38. ianp5a

    ianp5a

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    I just bought an Intel NUC. Tiny and excellent if you don't like towers. There are other brands like ASUS Vivo and ACER Revo too. You get a choice of prices and processors to suit all sorts of needs.

    [​IMG]
    You can attach it to a monitor if you want to simulate an all in one. Yet still easily change monitors or SSDs/RAM as required. Although mine just sits on the table.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017 at 8:58 AM

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