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Budget setup: All-in-one PC or HDMI Laptop and separate monitor?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Nate8833, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Nate8833

    Nate8833 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012

    So... the old laptop just isn't cutting it anymore. I have a GX1, and I'm starting to get better to the point where I want to start editing more precisely. I don't want to spend any more than $700, especially considering all of the money I'm going to be throwing into lenses.

    I found a nice 23" HP all-in-one for $600.

    I also realize that I can get a budget laptop with around the same specs for $400, and run an HDMI to a $300 23 inch IPS monitor. Not the cleanest solution, but I could keep the monitor on a desk and just hook up the laptop whenever I wanted to do some serious editing.

    Honestly, the second choice seems like the best choice. I'm sure the girlfriend would appreciate the cleanliness of the first option, but I don't think it's close enough of a choice to go that route. Is there anything I'm missing? Any reason to go for the all-in-one that I'm not thinking of? Are both options crap in which case I should be spending double? :smile: Thanks everyone!

  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Without specs and some indication of what software you use and how heavily you use it, it's a bit hard to say.

    Overall, the main loss with a $400 laptop is going to be cheaper components and a significantly slower processor and hard dive. But for many things, that'll be more than sufficient. The all-in-one will most likely be considerably faster, assuming it uses desktop rather than laptop parts.

    Personally I avoid all-in-ones like the plague since if either the monitor fails, or the computer becomes obsolete, you end up having to junk both. But there are definite advantages in convenience and desktop footprint.

    You can certainly build your own very fast machine for <$600 and add a monitor for $200 or so (did that myself recently), but obviously that demands a certain amount of time and effort on your part!

  3. Nate8833

    Nate8833 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012
    Thanks for the reply!

    I'll just be loading Lightroom 4 onto a laptop with specs like these...

    Intel Pentium B940 Processor 2GHz (2MB Cache)
    4 GB SDRAM
    500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
    15.6-Inch ScreenIntel® HD Graphics
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit , 4.5hours Battery Life

    Nothing fancy... just want to get the job done.
  4. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I will point out that the longevity of a good monitor is probably significantly longer than computing hardware, particularly the kind of adapted laptop hardware that shows up in an AIO. Nowadays my ideal arrangement is an ultrabook/Macbook Air, and a desktop computer, and a substantial range of monitors. But that's expensive. If I had to pick? I'd do the laptop with the big screen if mobility was necessary, and go with a traditional desktop otherwise.
  5. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    i personally use a macbook pro (i personally upgraded the memory to 8gb and changed its harddrive for a SSD one) attached to a Dell U2711 works flawlessly.

    im a graphic designer by day phoogrpaher by night and a setup like that gives me the best from mobile and desktop worlds
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Looks decent, but you can probably do better, particularly in terms of the processor. I see a good number of similarly specced notebooks at NewEgg with Core i3 processors for around that price, and other sites like Laptop Deals may have even better prices.

    Of course if you don't plan on moving the machine, you can also get a desktop around 50% faster for that price.

  7. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    The laptop + external monitor is a viable solution. That way you can be sure to get an LCD with decent colour reproduction. I got a Dell U2311H for €250 which is a great deal IMO.

    I was picky about my laptop and so ended up spending almost nothing for an old IBM ThinkPad. Better than any of the cheap junk made today.
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