All-in-One Workstations: Can Your Business Ditch the Tower and Save Space?

It seems hard to believe that less than a decade has passed since a computer monitor took up a large part of a person’s desk, with the tower stored below the desk, where it took up even more space. I.T. staff were forced to withstand (literally) back-breaking labor to move these items and users were forced to work around them.

In many offices, those large CRT monitors have been replaced by flat-panel monitors and large towers have been replaced by small form factor designs. As PCs have shrunk with each passing year, many have wondered how much smaller things can get. With the release of all-in-one PCs, the answer is clear. All-in-one PCs incorporate the hard drive and associated components into the monitor itself, meaning each user only needs a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. And while you may assume this advanced technology comes at an advanced price, that’s not true at all. In fact, all-in-one PCs are priced as low as $700.

If you’re still weighing out the benefits of an all-in-one workstation, there are plenty. While at first reviewers panned these as noisy and prone to overheating. This was due to the complex issue of where to place fans. The only choice, of course, was in the monitor, close to the user’s face. Technology has taken care of that problem, with reviewers now impressed with these systems’ ability to cool quietly.

“All-in-one PCs are expected to grow in popularity, accounting for 27 percent of worldwide desktop PC sales by 2016,” Danielle Levitas, group vice president for IDC states. “In a recent commercial PC buyer study in the United States, IDC found that the purchase intent for all-in-ones was up across the range of small to large businesses. This trend puts vendors with a broad offering of all-in-one products and options – like HP – in a very good position to meet that growing commercial demand.”

Several manufacturers now offer all-in-one workstation options. Below are some comparisons of the latest and greatest to help you make a more informed decision.

  • HP’s line of all-in-one PCs start at $689 and include 8 GB of memory (upgradable to 16 GB in the higher-end models) and a hard drive of 250 GB to 1 TB. The upcoming HP Envy 23 will come with Beats Audio, 1080p resolution, 23-inch displays, multi-core processors, and up to 2 TB of hard drive storage.
  • Dell Inspiron One All-in-One PCs come in two versions: one $499 and the other $749. The lower-end version has a 20″ display, with the higher-end offering a 23″. The low end may be all your business needs, with up to 6GB memory and a 1000GB SATA hard drive.
  • Apple iMac All-in-One. For those who prefer the Mac, OS, this all-in-one boasts some pretty impressive specs. While pricier (prices start at $1199), the iMac All-in-One offers three times faster graphics, 500 GB-1 TB hard drive, and Thunderbolt, which bills itself as the “fastest most versatile I/O on a desktop.”

There’s no denying all-in-one desktops will be the future of desktop computing. By getting in on the front end, you’ll be able to start saving space without spending more than you would spend on a traditional desktop.


About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.