Razer Core X is a lower-priced eGPU for laptop gaming

Razer has an all-new, much cheaper external GPU launching alongside the new Blade 15. The Razer Core is a great product for folks who want the convenience of a laptop but also want a full-on gaming PC when they’re at home. It doesn’t just hook up a desktop graphics card to a Blade Stealth, but offers a plethora of connectivity. But it comes at a price. However, if you only want it for its GPU capabilities, there’s now another way. And it’s a lot more affordable. Razer Core X is a lower-priced eGPU for laptop gaming

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Hands-on with Acer’s Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 Special Edition (video)

We go hands-on with the Acer Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 Special Edition. Acer gave gamers a lot to look forward to today with its latest Predator PC lineup. Hands-on with Acer’s Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 Special Edition (video)

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This beauty looks sweet!  I would like to check it out in person.  What do you guys think?

Razer Blade 15 hands-on: Your new favorite gaming laptop

Helpful Asus ROG Strix GL503VD Gaming Laptop Review

Best Gaming Keyboards in 2018

These are the very best keyboards you can buy for PC gaming. Best overall
Runner-up
Best under $100
Best budget mechanical
Best membrane
Best wireless

Best overall

Corsair K95

See at Amazon

The Corsair K95 is not cheap but you get a ridiculous amount of gaming keyboard for the price. You get a choice of Cherry MX Speed or Brown switches, the former being better for gaming while sacrificing a little in everyday use. The K95 is also packed with RGB lighting, macro keys and a really handy volume wheel. The K95 is built with an aluminum frame, so it will withstand the rigors of the daily gaming grind, textured keycaps in places such as the space bar, and 8MB of onboard storage for lighting and macro profiles so you don’t need access to any software to make them operate when you’re on the road. The K95 costs around $200 for the MX Brown version or $160 for the MX Speed. Best Gaming Keyboards in 2018

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Razer Blade 15 hands-on: Your new favorite gaming laptop

The new Razer Blade is here and it’s going to be hard to resist. Our top pick for the best gaming laptop you can buy has been the Razer Blade for quite some time. Blending superb design with ultimate power and portability makes it hard not to recommend to anyone who wants a truly great gaming laptop. There have been refreshes to the existing 14-inch model over the last couple of years, but now, it’s being properly replaced. This is the all-new Razer Blade 15, and it’s going to knock your socks off. Razer Blade 15 hands-on: Your new favorite gaming laptop

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This looks like a sweet laptop.  I would like to try to pick one of these up soon.

Asrock DeskMini Z370 GTX 1060 Review

For such a small Computer, the DeskMini PC by Asrock looks to pack a lot of power in its punch.  Based on the 8th Generation Intel processor, you can expect fast speed and reliability.  This currently comes installed with Windows 10.  I am excited about getting my hands on this one to check it out.  It is one nice desktop computer.

Asrock DeskMini Z370 GTX 1060 Review

Today we’re checking out Asrock’s latest DeskMini PC, a name that may ring a bell if you’ve read our previous coverage on the original entry to this compact computer. The latest version that we have on hand today looks exactly the same as the last DeskMini and has the same name as the previous two DeskMinis.

 

The first DeskMini — the DeskMini 110 — was released in 2016 and sported a tiny 1.92L case that housed an H110-based Micro-STX motherboard with support for 6th and then 7th generation Core processors. However, the DeskMini 110 was so small it couldn’t actually handle a discrete graphics card, so it was basically an office PC.

 

That situation changed last year as the series was updated with the DeskMini GTX/RX which features support for an MXM discrete mobile GPU that can be installed thanks to a beefier B250 or Z270-based Micro-STX motherboard, which increased the case capacity to 2.7L but still made for a very compact unit.

 

Now we have another new DeskMini GTX/RX, this time based on Intel’s 8th generation Core series. To get around this confusion, retailers have been putting the chipset in the product title to make it easier for shoppers to work out which system they’re actually buying.

 

The latest DeskMini Z370 comes with either an GTX 1060 or GTX 1080 in the MXM form-factor pre-installed. Alternatively, you can buy Asrock’s system without a discrete graphics card but be aware that securing a new MXM GPUs after the fact will be nearly impossible as they are not sold at retail as you can generally only get them from salvaged laptops.

 

Currently there doesn’t appear to be any DeskMini Z370 models on sale but Asrock says the MSRP for the GTX 1060 model is $850. The previous generation B250 DeskMinis are on sale and the GTX 1060 version costs a cool $800 with the GTX 1080 model priced at $1,500 , so while the new Z370 models aren’t that much more expensive, $850 is getting toward the pricier side of things for this little PC and we’re keen to see what more it offers over the previous versions.

 

Included in the package is the tiny 2.7L case and a 220w external power brick that is quite a large volume itself at 0.7L, or 26% of the DeskMini’s total size. Along with the case and power supply you also get a custom Z370M-STX MXM motherboard that’s 2″ longer than your typical Micro-STX motherboard and this extra real-estate has been used to squeeze in an MXM slot supporting up to Type B+ cards at 113mm long.

 

Because we have the GTX 1060 DeskMini, ours naturally came with a GTX 1060 MXM graphics card pre-installed. To get up and running you’ll need to bring your own Coffee Lake CPU as well as some DDR4 SO-DIMM memory and storage. Assuming you went with a Core i5-8400 ( $180 ), 16GB of DDR4-2400 ( $170 ) and a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro ( $300 ) for example then you’d be pitching in an extra $650 on top of the $850 for the DeskMini, bringing the total bill for the GTX 1060 model to at least $1,450.

 

That’s probably not too bad when you can expect to pay around $400 alone for a GTX 1060, but we’ll discuss pricing more at the end of the review. For now let’s take a look around the unit before checking out the hardware inside. Externally, the all-black case features a brushed aluminium front with clean lines. The circular power button blends in nicely as does the front I/O which […]

Helpful Asus ROG Strix GL503VD Gaming Laptop Review

 

Even if you’re something of a PC gamer, you don’t necessarily need a powerful gaming laptop. Some customers are simply looking for a laptop with great build quality and features, plus a graphics chip just powerful enough to run some of their favorite games. Alas, many laptop vendors implement only low-end graphics hardware into non-gaming models, providing casual gamers an inferior experience.

 

An ideal chassis for casual gaming would be something like the Asus ROG Strix GL502 , which we reviewed in the middle of 2017. As it turns out, Asus has updated the ROG Strix with the GL503VD, a brand-new model with an updated chassis. Specifications Packaging Asus’ packaging is stylized with black ink and ROG and Asus logos, nearly identical with the previously reviewed GL502’s wrappings

 

. The top of the box has a plastic carrying handle, which makes transporting the laptop easy. The box interior is slightly updated. Gone is the plain brown cardboard, which is replaced by black cardboard with a holographic ROG logo on the inside cover. You’ll find the Strix on the very top, wrapped in cloth. Beneath the laptop are additional compartments housing the AC power cord, the 240V power brick, an information booklet, and a warranty card. The packaging is very straightforward. The Strix is well-protected, and the addition of black cardboard makes the presentation feel slightly more upscale. The rest of the presentation is the same, as nothing needed to be changed in the first place. Exterior Our first impression when we unboxed the Asus ROG Strix GL503VD was,

“ike the Asus Zephyrus.” The brushed-metal finish is a spitting image of the latter, with everything from the same finish to the chrome logo. Some key differences are the direction in which the brushed finish runs; the Zephyrus finish has a 45° brushed texture on the top half of the laptop and a 90° texture running vertically. The Strix is also split down the middle by a diagonal accent, ‘

 

but the brushed metal bias runs at 45° on both portions. Our only gripe with the finish is that fingerprints and smudges easily appear after normal use. This is a symptom all metal finishes present, and the Strix is no exception.

 

Finally, the Strix has “REPUBLIC OF GAMERS” printed in a subtle, almost unnoticeable black on the very bottom of the lid, whereas the Zephyrus has it printed in white. Similarly, the Strix has a reflective chrome ROG logo on the right side of the lid. When the system is powered, red LED lighting will emanate from behind the chrome. The main difference is the pattern, or rather the lack thereof, that shines through the logo. The Strix’s LEDs emit a solid light through the chrome logo, whereas the Zephyrus logo shines with a pindot pattern.

 

Speaking of LEDs, the Zephyrus’ diagonal accent has a grille from which additional red lighting emits; the Strix’s diagonal accent has no such lighting. The surface surrounding the input devices is constructed out of plastic, much like on the GL502, but the brushed-and-diagonal aesthetic from the lid makes its way here, as well.

 

The diagonal edge starts from the top left corner and ends at the bottom right corner. Above the diagonal, the plastic surface features a brushed texture, whereas the surface below the diagonal edge is smooth.

 

As a result, the smudges and fingerprints don’t show up as easily on the top right portion of the plastic surface, but are quite prominent on the bottom left half. Various logos decorate this surface: a Strix to the top left of the keyboard, […]

Polywell B250G-i7 Reviewed – A Tiny Desktop Computer That Packs A Large Punch

Measuring only 2 inches by 8 inches this tiny small form factor desktop computer offers great performance.  Amazingly enough, as small as it is, this computer features four usb 3.0 slots, 2 usb 2.0 slots, and one usb 2.1 slot.  It also features two 3.5mm inputs, three outputs (including dedicated ones for a subwoofer and rear and center channels), and an SPDIF jack for digital audio signals which makes it also an excellent choice for a home theater system.  With a SSD Hard drive and plenty of RAM this system really has it all.  I agree with these guys on the negative factors that come along with this computer.  First of all, the power supply is external and also you have to take several screws out to open it up to add memory, etc.   Last, but not least, this computer comes installed with Windows 10.  We will not hold that against them though, lolView All 7 Photos in Gallery

The Polywell B250G-i7 (starts at $600; $799 as tested) is an eminently customizable anPolywell B250G-i7d affordable small form factor (SFF) desktop PC , which makes it an excellent choice for small businesses and consumers who don’t need enterprise IT features but want a lot of power in a small package.

There are a few disadvantages, such as an external power brick and a case that requires a screwdriver to open, but overall, the B250G is a capable machine and our new Editors’ Choice for SFF desktops.

No Nonsense The B250G features a no-nonsense design. It’s simply a square black box that measures 2.25 by 8 by 8 inches (HWD). It comes with four rubber feet mounted on the bottom of the chassis, so it’s designed to be installed horizontally.

As with other small systems, including the Dell Optiplex 5050 Micro , you can chose from an expanded range of installation configurations if you buy mounting accessories.

For example, the B250G is compatible with VESA mounts, and it can also be bolted to the wall or slipped into a 1U server rack using optional third-party hardware. The chassis itself is made of the same aluminum that Polywell has used for previous desktop designs, which means additional peace of mind when you’re installing it in a public location where the risk of damage is higher.

Unfortunately, there’s no built-in Kensington lock slot or any other form of physical anti-theft protection. The front of the case includes a power button and two USB 2.0 ports, an eyebrow-raising anachronism in 2017, when virtually all PCs have transitioned to USB 3.0. You will find four USB 3.0 ports on the robust I/O panel on the PC’s rear, along with a single USB 3.1 port and a USB-C port. Polywell has also placed two more USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel, likely for plugging in a keyboard and mouse, which don’t need the faster data transfer speeds that USB 3.0 offers.

In case you’re not counting, that adds up to a total of 10 USB ports, an impressive complement for such a small PC, even if four of them are USB 2.0 and only one is USB-C. Other ports include a single PS/2 port, in case you still have a keyboard or mouse that needs one, as well as Ethernet, DisplayPort, and HDMI connectors.

Polywell B250G-i7

Finally, you’ll find a connector for the included 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna as well as extensive audio connectivity options: two 3.5mm inputs, three outputs (including dedicated ones for a subwoofer and rear and center channels), and an SPDIF jack for digital audio signals. These extensive audio options make the B250G a good home theater PC, or perhaps the brains of a multimedia installation in a museum. Because it has two display outputs, it’s also a decent choice to power a dual-monitor setup, with support for resolutions up to 4K from both the HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

Two significant drawbacks of Polywell’s case design could give some IT departments pause, however, especially when deploying many of them in a large organization: You must use a screwdriver to access the case’s internal components, and the B250G requires an external AC power adapter, much the same as you’d expect to plug into a laptop.

That means component upgrades will take an extra minute or so for each unit, and you’ll have to find a place for the adapter if you’re installing the PC anywhere other than a flat surface. The Asus VivoMini VC65-G042Z and the Dell Optiplex 5050 Micro both have internal power supplies, and the Dell also includes […]

 

What Makes the Eurocom Q5 Max-Q Gaming Laptop a Top Pick for 2018?

Gaming Laptops are a lot of fun.  This new gaming laptop by Eurocom combines speed, efficiency, and elegance.  Its got a super fast SSD for hard drive and plenty of memory to carry the load.   Combined with an ultra HD display, this Max-Q gaming laptop featuring Windows 10 is definitely a contender for top pick of early 2018.

Eurocom Q5 Max-Q Gaming Laptop Review

Nvidia first revealed Max-Q back in May, teasing 85-90% GPU efficiency in thinner and lighter laptops. The first such laptop we reviewed was the Asus ROG Zephyrus, which featured an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q design, and it delivered on all fronts. We’ve been itching to test another Max-Q laptop ever since.

 

Today we’ll be looking at the Eurocom Q5, a 0.74” gaming laptop featuring a GTX 1070 with Max-Q design.

 

Specifications

Packaging

The Eurocom Q5 is based off the Clevo P957HP6, so you can expect Clevo’s generic brown “Notebook Computer” packaging.

 

There’s a white plastic handle at the top of the

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface. The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center.

 

When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface. The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center.

 

When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface.

 

The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center. When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

There are perforations dotted in and around the two red accents surrounding the power button; these perforations act as the Q5’s speakers, and are placed in the best possible position for audio clarity.

 

The speakers can reach maximum volume without experiencing much distortion. Hopefully, laptop manufacturers will notice this and implement top-facing speakers in future models.

 

The Q5’s 15.6” display has a relatively standard bezel as far as gaming laptops go. Unlike the rest of the chassis, the bezels are constructed out of plastic, but this area isn’t as critical.

 

The side bezels are 0.6875”, while the top bezel measures 0.875”. The bottom bezel is the longest, measuring 0.9375”.

 

There are two small rubber feet on the side bezels and three long rubber feet on the top and bottom bezels.

 

These separate the display from the interior surface when the lid is closed. The top bezel houses the 2.0 megapixel Full HD (1920×1080) webcam.

 

Finally, Eurocom’s logo is printed on the bottom bezel in white.

 

The Q5’s entire chassis is almost entirely constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, so the edges are merely continuations of the lid and interior surface, wrapped around into shape.

 

The front edge is plain, and only contains LED indicators for power/connectivity, charging, disk usage, and airplane mode.

 

The Q5 is 0.74” thin, so the RJ-45 LAN port on the right edge has a small clamp that only opens when you plug in an Ethernet cable.

 

Meanwhile, the left edge features ventilation for the Q5’s CPU. Finally, the rear edge is where things get interesting. You’ll find a red accent layer spanning nearly the entire length of the rear exhaust, giving some life to the mostly black color scheme.

 

The exhausts vents aren’t perfectly symmetrical; right side vents feature fewer cutouts, because they only have to accommodate the CPU, whereas the left side vents are fully exposed for the Max-Q GPU.

 

The bottom panel looks by far the most aggressive. It’s littered with air intake cutouts, which occupy nearly half of the panel’s surface area.

 

In between the intake cutouts, there is an angled accent spanning the length of the panel. Despite all of the cutouts, the metal construction remains robust and doesn’t fall victim to flexing.

 

The bottom panel has three rubber feet to keep the Q5 stable; there are two small feet near the front corners and one large foot near the rear edge. The rear foot is basically one large strip of rubber, and only the far left and right sides of the foot make contact with your desk.

 

Still, the large rubber foot is impressive to look at, and even more pleasing to feel.

 

Inside, you’ll find the Q5 wrapped in plastic and three blocks of protective closed-cell foam. Adjacent to the foam blocks, you’ll find a box containing the Q5’s 180W adapter and an AC power cord.

 

That’s it. No extra booklets or manuals. Just the laptop and its power accessories. The Q5’s manual can be found on Eurocom’s website.

 

The Q5’s packaging is as generic as you can get. This isn’t a negative, per se. However, competing Clevo resellers like Origin PC trek the extra mile by using their own branded packaging and extras (like posters). Our review of the Origin PC EON17-SLX illustrates the impressive unboxing experience.

 

Exterior

Luckily, the monotony ends with the packaging. When we finally got our hands on the Q5, we couldn’t help but feel astonished. The Q5 features an elegant black titanium-aluminum alloy construction that’s light yet sturdy.

 

The lid has tastefully placed angular accents running from the hinge to the top of the lid. There’s a decorative plastic strip spanning between where the lid accents meet the top edge of the lid, complementing the Q5’s aggressive aesthetic. Perhaps most impressive is the lid’s lighting effects.

 

In the very middle, there’s a translucent red plastic insignia, and there are two perforated strips located next to the angled accents. When the system is powered, the insignia and perforations emit a red light.

 

The interior area surrounding the input devices is also constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, which is pleasant to the touch but attracts fingerprints and smudges rather easily.

 

‘Fortunately, the surface is easy to clean, at least compared to brushed-aluminum and rubberized plastic, which competing manufacturers tend to implement.

[…]

Find out about all of the other great features in this gaming laptop below.

MSI Infinite Review: Could It Be The Best Gaming Pc of 2018?

A gaming computer is a huge investment so its always important to do good research before you make a purchase.  I have been very impressed with the other gaming computers by MSI in the past and there is a lot of buzz about this one already.  For well under $2,000 this bad boy packs a punch with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD hard drive.  On top of that look at it.  It looks sweet!

MSI Infinite Review: A Truly ‘Lit’ Gaming PCMSI Infinite Review: A Truly ‘Lit’ Gaming PC

Even in an age when gaming PCs with massive, alien-inspired chassis and tons of flashy lights are commonplace, the MSI Infinite (starting at $1,599; $1,799 as tested) manages to stand out.

 

This gaming monster is loaded with smart design touches, from its stunning, customizable LED strip to a plethora of front-facing ports that make connecting VR headsets and USB Type-C gadgets easy.

It doesn’t skimp on performance, either, with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card that can handle VR and high-end games without breaking a sweat.

 

While you can find more compact and easier-to-upgrade PCs for the price, the MSI Infinite is a great premium PC for folks who care about looks above all else.

A Glowing Artifact

It’s been a long time since I’ve been genuinely excited over a gaming desktop’s design, but the MSI Infinite changed all of that.

 

With sharp, jarring angles and no shortage of glowing lights, the Infinite looks like an artifact you’d find in an enemy base in Destiny rather than something meant to sit in an office.

I was immediately captivated by the Infinite’s front-facing LED strip, which features a slick sci-fi pattern that can glow in all kinds of cool ways.

 

While most gaming PCs settle for static or breathing lighting effects, the Infinite can send light bouncing up and down, mimic a kaleidoscope or sync its lighting with your PC audio, just to name a few.

Couple that with the customizable lighting on the GPU and motherboard, and the MSI Infinite can quickly turn into a dizzying display of LED action that should please folks who like loud color combinations.

Speaking of loud designs, the Infinite measures 19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, so it will eat up a good chunk of your desk area.

 

It’s notably bigger than similar PCs such as the Alienware Aurora (18.6 x 14.1 x 8.3 inches), though not quite as towering as high-end monsters such as the Origin Millennium (21.4 x 24.8 x 9.75 inches) and the Maingear Rush (24 x 21.5 x 8.6 inches).

 

While the Infinite weighs a hefty 28 pounds, it’s fairly easy to lug around thanks to a convenient handle near the top of the machine.

 

Key Specs

MSI Infinite
Starting Configuration
Our Configuration
Price
$1,599 $1,799
CPU
Intel Core i7-7700 Intel Core i7-7700
RAM
16GB 16GB
Storage
256GB SSD + 2TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive 512GB SSD
GPU
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
Size and Weight
19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds 19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds

Future-Ready Ports

Between its handy port selection and easy upgradability, the Infinite is a pretty future-proof gaming machine. The PC features the usual headphone/mic jacks and two USB ports (one 2.0, one 3.0) right up front, in addition to a USB Type-C port for newer gadgets as well as a very useful front-facing HDMI port for VR headsets.

The rear ports should cover the rest of your needs. In the back, there are two USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port and line-in, line-out and mic jacks for audio. There are even two PS/2 ports in the rear, in case you’re clinging to an older mouse or keyboard. The Infinite’s Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU sports three DisplayPorts, an HDMI port and a VGA port for easy multimonitor connectivity.

To get inside the Infinite, all I had to do was remove three screws and slide off the side panel. From there, you can easily swap in more RAM, though you’ll have to keep your screwdriver handy if you want to replace any other components.

Gaming Performance

The MSI Infinite is a bonafide gaming beast, tearing through most of our benchmarks with ease, thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card.

MSI’s desktop ran the stylish stealth action of Hitman (1080p, max settings) at a supersmooth 123 frames per second, barely trailing the Corsair One (129 fps, GTX 1080) and topping our 86-fps desktop average. When we cranked things up to 4K, the Infinite turned in a very impressive 65.8 fps.

On the more graphically intense Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p, max settings), the Infinite rendered Lara Croft and her snowy surroundings at 64.7 fps. Again, that trails the Corsair One (72 fps) by just a bit while topping our 29-fps average.

[…]

How To Pick The Best All-in-One PC in 2018

After years of using my laptop, I switched to an All-in-One PC and I absolutely love it.  It has a nice big display, touch scree, and is very easy to take with me.  I like these computer tips from tomshardware.com.  Everything they say is very accurate in my opinion.  They do a nice job of explaining SSD drives vs. HDD hard drives as well as doing a great job at breaking down the comparisons of Windows vs. mac computers.  After the Windows 10 fail, I have seen a lot of consumers switching to Mac and I can’t say that I blame them.

 

Choosing the Right All-in-One PCChoosing the Right All-in-One PC

With all of the considerations of a regular PC plus the unique aspects of all-in-one designs, there’s a lot to keep in mind when hunting for the right all-in-one. Use our advice to make sure you get the one that’s right for you, whether you need powerful components or a big, beautiful display.

Quick Tips

  1. Hardware: Look for a system that has an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU and at least 8GB of RAM.
  2. Storage: A dual-drive combination of 256GB solid-state drive and 1TB hard drive delivers performance without sacrificing capacity or costing an arm and a leg.
  3. Display: If you can get 4K resolution, go for it, but 27- and 28-inch displays offer the best balance of panel size and affordable price.
  4. Touch Screen: You’ll pay more for a touch-enabled display, so only get it if touch is on your must-have list.
  5. Design: If ergonomics are a concern, pay attention to what sort of stand a model has, since most of them don’t offer any sort of height adjustment.
  6. Operating System: Windows or Mac are both good choices, but stick to Windows if you want touch.
  7. Ports: You don’t just want lots of ports, you want them to be easy to reach, so pay attention to port placement.
  8. Sound: If audio quality is important, look for speakers – and lots of them.
  9. Price: All-in-One PCs run more expensive than regular desktops, but you can still get premium features without breaking the bank. You just need to be clear about what features are most important to you.

Components: Which Specs Matter?

An all-in-one PC is, first and foremost, a computer, and the components inside determine what sort of performance the system will give you.

Marketing materials may lavish praise on any number of features, but there are four main specifications to pay attention to when buying any computer — all-in-one or otherwise.

 

  • Processor: While you can find all-in-one systems that use Intel Core i3 or Pentium CPUs, these are much less capable processors, and you’ll feel the limits of that performance much sooner. For most people, we recommend a current Intel Core i5 processor, which will offer plenty of performance for all your everyday uses and will continue to offer good support over the life of the computer. If you want more horsepower, stepping up to a Core i7 will offer plenty of power.
  • RAM: Also called memory, RAM serves as the computer’s short-term storage for applications that are currently in use. A smaller allotment of RAM will limit your ability to multitask, even with a powerful processor. We recommend getting as much RAM as you can, but 8GB of RAM is enough to support most users in all of their computing needs. The good news is that RAM is relatively inexpensive, and it’s often one of the only parts of an all-in-one that can be upgraded by the user.
  • Graphics: All the pretty visuals you see in games and videos require graphics processing. Most users can get by with integrated graphics, the graphics processing hardware that comes with your computer’s processor. It’s sufficient for the web browsing, office work and media streaming that make up the bulk of general computer use. However, if you want to play games or do more demanding, graphics-intensive work, you’ll want a system with a discrete graphics card.
  • Storage: Finally, you’ll want something with a good size storage drive for all of your programs, files and family photos. The two big concerns with storage are capacity and speed. A 500GB hard drive will offer plenty of room for documents and photos, but a 1TB drive offers more room to accommodate video files and larger programs. A solid-state drive (SSD) will be faster than any hard drive, and you’ll feel the difference in your day to day use of the machine, but SSDs are more expensive for the same sort of capacity.

Many PC manufacturers offer dual-drive configurations that give you the performance benefits of an SSD with the affordable capacity of a spindle-based hard drive. But if not, more storage is better.

 

It’s also worth remembering that, unlike a traditional desktop PC, there are very few upgrade options available for all-in-one systems after purchase.

 

The compact design that fits all the computing hardware in with the display generally doesn’t allow user access to the internals, and no room to accommodate additional hardware.

 

As a result, even simple upgrades like adding a discrete graphics card or switching out a storage drive aren’t viable options on an all-in-one.

 

The one exception is that an all-in-one’s RAM often is accessible, and adding memory is a relatively inexpensive way to get a 2- or 3-year-old PC feeling new again.

 

Display: Size and Resolution

Most all-in-one systems have displays ranging in size from 20 inches on the small end to 32-inch displays on premium systems.

 

We’d avoid anything smaller than 23 inches, unless you’re trying to fit the all-in-one into a cramped cubicle or tiny apartment.

 

High-end 30- to 32-inch systems are nice if you can afford them, but are often cost-prohibitive. For our money, the sweet spot between spacious displays and reasonable pricing sits right at 27 or 28 inches.

 

While most displays come in only two resolutions, full HD (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160), a few all-in-one systems offer displays that exceed 4K resolution.

 

The Apple iMac 27-inch with 5k Retina display, for example, boasts a 5K (5120 x 2880) display, and the Microsoft Surface Studio has an impressive 28-inch, 4500 x 3000 display.

 

If you want to use the PC to view and edit 4K media, then a monitor with 4K (or better) resolution is a must-have.

 

In general, 4K resolution is what we recommend; as 4K streaming through services like Netflix and YouTube becomes more common, you’ll definitely want a display that can handle the best picture available.

 

However, if you’re looking for an opportunity to get an all-in-one PC for less, opting for a lower resolution display is one of the easiest ways to save money without sacrificing overall performance.

 

If you’ve grown accustomed to the tapping and swiping you do on your phone or tablet, and want that same intuitive interaction with your PC, an all-in-one with touch support is a great way to go.

 

On the other hand, if you know you don’t want a touch screen or are unlikely to use it, then there’s no sense paying for a feature you won’t benefit from.

 

But there’s more to the equation than touch or no touch. While most touch-enabled PCs support simultaneous input from all 10 fingers, some budget models may offer multitouch, but only support two points of contact. Others may rely on different touch-input technologies.

 

While capacitive touch is most common, and the technology we recommend, you may still find AIO desktops on the market that use other methods of touch sensing, from infrared light or sound to resistive touch sensors.

 

If you’re considering an option other than capacitive touch, take the time to find the system in a local store to try it yourself before purchase.

 

Finally, some all-in-one systems go beyond fingertip input and offer a stylus or pen. If you want to use your all-in-one for digital sketching and other media creation, then pen support might be a feature to look for.

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Learn more about picking the right design for form and function. As well as Mac Vs. PC, and more below.