Are All-In-One Computers Good For Gaming?

New, more advanced games with stellar graphics, massive file sizes, and many other details come out daily. However, you don’t necessarily need a fancy gaming rig to be a gamer. All-in-one computers can keep up with some of your gaming needs. 

Some models can be reasonably powerful but cannot compete with the power and freedom compared to that of a desktop computer.

What is an all-in-one computer?

An all-in-one computer is a desktop computer condensed into a single piece of hardware. Usually, your computer’s processing parts are behind the screen, and there’s no tower. 

Are All-In-One Computers Good For Gaming?

While All-in-one computers are gaming capable, it isn’t recommended. They can usually handle advanced games but will have some limitations. They are also harder to fix when something goes wrong, and upgrading parts is not simple. Plus, the smaller screen can diminish the experience.

All-in-one computers have some benefits for gaming, which I will explain in this section. These benefits include space-saving size, touchscreen features, and reduced energy use. So, let’s talk about it. 

Fewer parts save space

A closeup of an all-in-one computer's mainboard.

One of the most significant benefits of using an all-in-one computer for gaming is that it saves space. You primarily pay for the smallest possible form factor when you get an all-in-one. Since the actual computer is part of the screen and there is no extra tower you have to use, you will have more space on your desk.

An all-in-one computer has fewer cords since your monitor is connected to your PSU inside the unit. So you have one external plug. Having fewer cords also keeps your gaming space looking nice, and it is one less thing to worry about!

Because all-in-ones save so much space and reduce clutter, they are especially popular among minimalists who want to keep their desktops clear and roomy. Having fewer computer parts and cords is not only necessary if you want to keep a clean space, but it is also easier to move if you often rearrange your gaming space. 

Otherwise, it is better to move your computer around so you can play games in different places. Finally, since there are fewer parts to your all-in-one computer, taking care of them is easier. You can clean them better since there is less to clean, and it is all in one piece that sits on your desktop. 

Touchscreen features

Another advantage of all-in-one computers is that they sometimes come with touchscreens. Many all-in-one computers have touchscreens, which are hard to find on traditional desktop computer monitors. Having a touchscreen when you game makes reaching certain screen areas faster by using your hands instead of relying solely on a mouse. 

Even if your mouse stops working, you can have the touchscreen to fall back on. While not all games are compatible with touchscreens, many prefer touchscreens, especially if your game is compatible. Also, if you get tired of using the touchscreen or switch to a game that does not work with a touchscreen, you can always use the mouse. 

Reduced energy use

The final advantage of all-in-one computers is that they use significantly less energy than tower desktop computers. Part of this is that there are fewer parts to plug in, but an all-in-one can also manage part usage and optimize it for your setup and processing needs more intuitively. 

Tower desktops and gaming computers generally use more power, making them louder in most cases. You will have to deal with the sound while gaming as the computer continues to run and heats up over time. The most intense gamers will be gaming for multiple hours per day, and in addition to keeping their computer cool, they will want to limit the energy they are using during gaming.

Since all-in-one computers use less power, you do not have to worry about your gaming significantly increasing your electric bill. Your gaming cost will be less, and so will your environmental impact. However, the reduced power usage is mainly because the hardware isn’t as powerful as desktop machines.

Disadvantages of all-in-one computers for gaming

There are also disadvantages to using all-in-one computers for gaming. Some drawbacks could make or break your gaming experience, so most gamers don’t opt for all-in-ones. 

All-in-one computers are not as efficient

One disadvantage of all-in-ones over gaming computers is that they may not be as efficient or fast. Since all parts in an all-in-one computer must be within the same unit, they are often smaller, like the pieces used in laptop computers. 

Given the limited internal space, some components don’t make it into the case. The first things to go are usually advanced graphics and larger cooling systems. Gaming requires fast speeds and high performance since games move fast, and players want good reaction times. 

While many games will work fine on all-in-one computers, some games that require a lot of memory, storage, or high performance will not perform as well on all-in-one computers as they would on a desktop made for gaming.

In addition, if you are a gamer who has a lot of games installed on your computer or uses your computer for many other things that take up memory, you will notice that your all-in-one computer will start to slow down over time. 

You will have to delete some of your memory and storage and play fewer games on the computer to speed it back up.

All-in-one computers have a smaller screen size

Another disadvantage of all-in-one computers for gaming is that they have small screen sizes. With gaming, especially the newest games, you want to see all the details, words, and statistics on the screen while playing. 

If you do not have a large enough screen, it can be challenging to see the game and read what you need to during the game, which will make your gameplay experience less pleasurable.

The screens on all-in-one computers usually range from twenty-three to thirty-four inches. These are pretty small compared to some desktop computers, so if you want something good for gaming, you want to go with the biggest screen you can find.

Upgrading all-in-one is difficult or impossible

Last but not least, it can be hard to upgrade an all-in-one unless you’re well-versed in computer building. A tower PC can screw off the side panel and easily replace parts. This ease lets you quickly replace outdated or broken computer parts with new ones.

However, all-in-ones are sealed tight, and you may have to take your computer to a manufacturer’s store or computer specialist to make any improvements. In addition, due to the small form factor, some upgrades are frankly impossible to make. So, you’re stuck with what you’ve got when you get an all-in-one computer, for the most part.

All-in-one computers are more expensive than comparable desktops

While not all all-in-one computers are pricey, they generally offer less value than gaming PCs, especially if you build your computer. All-in-one computers offer excellent performance at a tiny form factor, which requires careful research and assembly. 

Because of their advanced and compact computing power, they can cost quite a lot. On the other hand, desktop PCs with the same specs as an all-in-one cost less, usually by around $500 to $1,000. 

So, you’d be paying quite a lot to have a more miniature, less customizable computer – which is where gamers usually draw the line and opt for a tower PC. However, if the size is significant, an all-in-one might be worth the extra money. 

How do gaming computers and all-in-ones differ?

A desktop pc next to an all-in-one computer.

Gaming computers are a common choice for gamers, and most serious gamers avoid all-in-ones. So, let’s look at how gaming systems compare to all-in-ones for gaming and see what all the hype is about. 

Gaming computers are typically desktop computers but have separate computer, screen, and memory parts. In addition, gaming machines offer more storage and room for upgrades, making them bigger. 

Gaming computers are larger than all-in-ones

Unlike all-in-ones, gaming computers are more like traditional desktops in that all the parts are separate. There is still an individual mouse and keyboard, but the computer is separate from the screen.

Another way gaming computers and all-in-ones differ is that gaming systems are larger. Gaming computers are usually about twice the size of an all-in-one, and that size does not include the monitor. However, that space means more airflow and room for upgrades, so it might be worth it, depending on your preferences. 

Gaming computers have room for superior cooling

Finally, gaming computers can stay cool longer compared to all-in-ones. Getting air circulation into an all-in-one computer is difficult, especially considering the smaller form factor. 

However, towers usually have room for cooling systems like fans and liquid coolers, and plenty of additional space for air to circulate.

Gaming computers are easier to upgrade, repair, and customize

Many gamers like to customize and tinker with their computers to make them work better for their games. In addition, adding cutting-edge graphics, additional SSDs, and RAM can go a long way in improving your gaming experience. 

However, this is difficult with all-in-one computers since all the parts are together. With a gaming tower, you can choose every part, from the monitor to the fans to the storage space. 

So, you can get everything you want from your computer and continue upgrading it as newer games and your budget improve. When something goes wrong, you can easily repair it by replacing the faulty components like the motherboard, monitor, or power supply.

Gaming computers usually have more processing power

Another reason to choose a gaming computer over an all-in-one one is that it offers high performance without sacrificing storage or memory, which is crucial for gaming.

Gaming takes up a lot of storage and memory, so if you use a gaming computer over an all-in-one, you can likely play more games without slowing the system down. 

However, you must also sacrifice space on your desk or gaming area for the larger computer to fit. In addition, gaming computers are for gaming, so they prioritize the features gamers want, like speed, ample storage, and fast reaction times. 

With their customizability, you can upgrade your memory and customize your CPU operating conditions (and even overclock). With these options, you can optimize your speed for the highest FPS, most rapid download speeds, and lowest loading times.  

If you are playing games, you want to ensure you are playing without lag time. Otherwise, you will get frustrated quickly, especially when playing online.