Question All-In-One for the Office, Sexy yet Budget-Friendly?

DiabloDj1

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I'm looking to get an all-in-one PC for my office, simply because I'm tired of taking a laptop back-and-forth from home. Plus, I think it'd be more ergonomically friendly and a larger screen would help productivity (as opposed to getting a second laptop + monitor).

I have no idea what to look for exactly though. I have a Surface Book now and wouldn't want to get something lower quality (i5-6300, 8gb RAM, 128gb SSD, 3000x2000 res display). I barely ever process screen-captured videos, so it's mostly MS Office, Chrome and Google Docs all day.

Budget: I'd like to stay under $800. Less is fine!

Note: I can opt for Teacher discounts. Here's what I found out there so far:
  • Lenovo Idea Products: 20% off
  • Lenovo Think Products: 15% off
  • HP Products: up to 5% off
  • Dell Products: 2% off

Condition: New is nice but I've been looking at Woot.com's deals on Refurbs and it is tempting...


Priorities:
  • Sex appeal. Yes, really do want something that looks good. That comes down to the base (rather not opt for the bulky, bland plastic) and the screen itself (edge-less style vs. plastic bulk around screen).
  • Screen quality. The Surface Book looks pretty crisp. I don't want to sacrifice here (but again, I'm not doing graphic/video work).
  • Windows 10.
  • Ergonomics, which I guess just means being able to raise/lower the screen.
Other Desires:
  • A good quality wireless mouse/keyboard ideal. If I need to buy this separate, so be it.
  • Touchscreen is nice to have, but not necessary.
  • Two USB ports would be nice; no other port necessities.
No gaming needed.

I'm sure I left something else out that's important, but looking for your advice... From my research, I think my main focus should be on an SSD rather than HDD, more importantly than the CPU? For screen, not sure if they're all considered equal if they have the same resolution (1920x1080)..?

Thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:

Eximo

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Well, All-In-Ones are neat, but they have the same lifespans as laptops essentially. So buying an older one just means obsolescence/failure is that much closer. Maintenance is similar as well.

For a home office, just get all the desktop peripherals and a USB docking station. That way if you ever need that screen and peripherals for something else, you can just plug it in. You could buy a cheap laptop to run the setup.

If you still want that all-in-one feel, you could always get a NUC or Mini-Desktop that installs behind or easily hides behind the monitor. These are essentially laptops without screens, batteries, or keyboards. But they are easily replaced and nearly maintenance free in some cases.

For what you want to do, a 2560x1440 27" display or even a 4K display would get you that quality you are after. Those odd resolutions are typically found on newer AIO and would likely be out of your budget.

Here is a nearly edge to edge Dell monitor: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0FA-00H1-00004

And and a decent NUC to run it: https://www.amazon.com/NUC7i3BNK-Dual-Core-i3-7100U-Bluetooth-Professional/dp/B07522YV5M/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?keywords=intel+nuc&qid=1554994318&s=gateway&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1

Just add keyboard/mouse speakers as desired.

AIO computers I found in a quick search:

Here is a brand new AIO for $750, i5 8th gen, 8GB of memory: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883998630

Here is a dirt cheap one that would probably still be suitable: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIADT28NB5075

A refurbished option, but more recent 7th gen: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1UH5WC2823
 

DiabloDj1

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Got it! I'll stick with New then to be safe.

A second laptop + monitor + docking station + peripherals is an option, but seems like it'd end up more expensive, and a little messy on the desk perhaps, but that isn't terrible... It was my initial idea, but I think the laptop would have to be open to run the monitor?

The NUC is something to consider, too. Didn't realize how expensive monitors were :) . I'll investigate more -- thanks!
 

Eximo

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You can run laptops with the lid closed. Just a behavior setting under Windows power options. It can then be stored vertically or what have you. Though some laptops have vents that get shut when the lid is closed. Lenovo actually does it pretty often.

That is a fairly nice monitor I listed. The ones with no borders and nice looking chassis are typically more expensive. There are certainly cheap 24" 1080p monitors that you can get for around $100, but they won't have great color reproduction, viewing angles, and will be made of glossy or flat black plastic.

I didn't really list any docking stations, but it can be as uncluttered as you want to make it. Wide variety of options. The more expensive ones wiil have network, video, audio, and USB various hubs, including charging. Power to the laptop or NUC, and one USB 3.0 or Type-C cable. You can go full wireless on the peripherals. Just have to match it to the system you end up with.

Many NUCs come with screw hole patterns designed to be bolted to the VESA mounts on monitors, then the stand would bolt on to the back of the computer. Makes it a little more complicated to find the right monitor, but then you end up with an 'upgradeable' all-in-one.

Or if you get a small desktop you can simply hide it in some manner.

I've always found all-in-ones to be an odd choice outside of a professional environment. Good for point of sale, kiosks, and public use. Privately I want an upgradeable desktop with replaceable components or the portability of a laptop. I often plug my laptop into my desktop's peripherals. Not that I don't purpose build computers for single functions, but I am a bit odd in that regard. But that is what makes me a tech enthusiast. Probably a little light for most people, but I am a big fan of Intel and Lenovo compute sticks. Basically an Atom system on a chip + some flash memory + WiFi. Plugs into an HDMI port and turns any old monitor into an all in one. My brother uses his for Netflix and DirectNow on his TV. Mine is more a curiosity since I already have a dedicated HTPC.
 

DiabloDj1

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You can run laptops with the lid closed. Just a behavior setting under Windows power options. It can then be stored vertically or what have you. Though some laptops have vents that get shut when the lid is closed. Lenovo actually does it pretty often.
This is all super helpful, thank you! I'm going to visit some stores to see setups in-person and start to figure out my move: AIO, NUC, Laptop w/Dock. That'll be my first step, then I can get a bit more specific about the build I guess. These are some great ideas you shared; I appreciate it.

The compute sticks sound like they'd be a little underpowered but much better than a Fire Stick, so I'll keep that in mind when that upgrade comes, haha. Thanks again!
 

Eximo

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I've been waiting for a refresh on the compute stick line up for a while. My brother is hard to shop for and that is one thing I know he would like. There is one faster than what I bought several years ago, but not worth it. Basically comes with Window 10 for just over a $100. So really the OS is free. Best Buy was having a sale for $90
when I got mine, and I happened to have an old 27" monitor laying around.

Intel just hasn't gotten around to doing a process node shrink in a while, so they can't do much better than the Atom cores they have now. Would be nice if they replaced the eMMC flash with QLC or Optane though. Would make them quite a bit faster. And 32GB isn't really enough for applications or anything.

I had high hopes for Hade's Canyon, but I'm not paying that... Cheaper to get a i7 laptop with a GTX1060 in it...
 

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