Why do you need a candy bar or “all inclusive on the windowsill”

When choosing a computer for home use, we tend to popular solutions. Laptops are mobile and compact, and desktops offer dozens of cores in exchange for kilowatts from a power outlet. However, if you look from the other side, you can note serious shortcomings: you have to choose between noisy and clumsy system units or “vegetable” mobile hardware with a screen diagonal, like a budget tablet. Some users are not satisfied with this, and they find their own – a candy bar. What is it and how are they better than their “pop” relatives – let’s figure it out.

Monoblock is a special form factor of computers. However, this name is used only in Russian-speaking society. Others call these systems short and laconic – AIO or All-In-One, which means “all in one”.

The world’s first personal computers were all-in-one. This type of system appeared in 1983 when HP introduced the HP-150. This computer started the countdown of AIO in the history of the PC, as the main components, connectors and some controls were built right into the monitor.

The computer was made according to the latest technology – just imagine, the monoblock display was touch! It also had a built-in fax machine – an engineering marvel by the standards of the day.

Over time, this form factor was cut, refined and became much more productive than models from the 1980s. Looking at the modern design of AIO, I would like to ask, where did the manufacturer hide the powerful computer hardware and how all those “spare parts” that usually occupy half of the office are hidden in the thin monitor case ? Is the candy bar not the same?

The monoblock weapon is a large monitor and a lot of free space on the table, under the table and in the room. In such systems, all the most important is hidden inside the monitor: the system unit, display, speakers, webcam, wireless modules, microphone, various sensors, as well as directly accessible connectors for connecting devices. In short, a candy bar is a concentrated juice from all the best that is in a PC or laptop. Moreover, it has several advantages at once.

Compactness
AIO can be installed anywhere in a house or apartment, in a small office and even in a kitchen on a windowsill. The standard desktop computer does not boast of such capabilities. If the monitor can be taken with you even to the ends of the world, then a system unit with a powerful filling sometimes takes up more space in the room than the whole family and a cat with a dog.

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We turn off the system, take out the wire from the socket – and move from room to room, take the computer to the dacha, to work, and even to the forest. Why not – you can buy a car voltage converter from 12 V to 220 V and connect a working system in nature. We finish off the kit with a spacious tent, a camping table and a 4G modem . Now this is not a remote job, but a relaxing freelance with the taste of strawberry tea made from fir branches over a fire.
The all-in-one only needs one wire to connect the power. Everything else in it is already working or will be connected wirelessly. In general, “wireless” is the main feature of the AIO system, so the manufacturer can leave the “keyboard-mouse” set as a gift in the factory configuration of the candy bar .

The all-in-one can be wall-hung with a VESA mount. The reader will object – an ordinary monitor can also be hung. That’s right, but there will be zero sense from this event – a loop with power and HDMI wires will spoil the appearance of the structure, while the system unit will remain on the floor along with a bunch of wires suitable for it.

Whether it’s a monoblock, for which an inconspicuous wire is enough to connect to an outlet. And if the user worries about “feng shui” during the repair and thinks out the outlet in the place where the AIO will hang, then the system will really seem to be “levitating” – no wires, just a large and bright screen.
Everything here is like in “adult” desktop systems: you can take the basic configuration and enjoy the round-the-clock work of a computer with scanty power consumption . You can’t process a 4K movie on it, but this kid at the highest level will work as a window to the Internet or an office workaholic. If you want more and better, there are solutions on the market with powerful mobile hardware and even real desktop components. This is a processor that can be replaced with a more powerful one, as in a regular system unit, as well as a productive discrete video card, additional slots for increasing the amount of RAM and the ability to expand the disk subsystem.

 

But do not worry about performance – even a monoblock built on laptop hardware will be more powerful than a mobile computer. It’s all about the principle of the energy saving algorithms: the maximum performance of processors and video cards depends on the frequency, which also depends on the temperature and is regulated so that the system can work not only from the mains, but also from the built-in battery. Of course, in compact laptops , the cooling system does not allow powerful chips to reveal their potential and work with the declared maximum frequency. Monoblocks are free of these drawbacks and have much more space in the case than laptopstherefore, manufacturers are installing an improved cooling system in the AIO. As a result, the same chip works much faster.
Who said that the candy bar is only useful for an office worker or a home accountant? AIO manufacturers do not forget about the “playing” audience, therefore, on the market you can find not only a complete set of “clerk”, but also powerful computing systems with the character of a gaming computer . The characteristics of such AIOs are impressive: under the hood you can find a desktop eight-core Intel Core i7 10700 processor and a powerful discrete NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super graphics card with support for ray tracing. This is enough for several years of comfortable gaming.

In addition, despite the extreme filling, the monoblock remains a compact and elegant solution – a kitchen window sill or a wall mount is also suitable for it, and in idle time it does not waste a lot of electricity and does not depend on kilometers of wires.

Hardly anyone can argue with the modern candy bar in design. Of course, a transparent PC case with a custom cooling system and RGB backlighting can be “beautiful”, but this is not about design, but rather about the flight of the engineer’s thought. The design of such a system remains the same: it is the same bulky desktop or under-desk drawer, a separate monitor, wires, wires, and again wires.

Monoblock design is a flight of artistic thought. They emphasize refinement, compactness and “freshness” in the exterior. The legendary Apple iMac was and remains the standard of fashion and innovation in the world of AIO. This computer became the first “friendly” home computer in 1998 and is still the best in the home personal computer category.

What is “want a new computer”? Days spent on forums and “why” in search of answers to the questions “which processor to choose in the assembly” or “how not to make a mistake when choosing RAM.”

After long-term elections, the user will be “happy” that after the purchase he will have to work with a screwdriver and assemble the purchased pieces of iron into a single whole . Then the assembled equipment must be correctly connected and the operating system installed. To do this, you will have to borrow a shaman tambourine from a familiar master and study the forums again.

After this, most of those who want to build a PC will say: take the shaitan-system and exchange it for a candy bar. Everything is assembled and configured there out of the box – all that remains is to connect the equipment to the outlet and make settings for your tasks.

Monoblocks are produced in various designs, they differ in customization capabilities. But, as a rule, the simplest AIO will surpass even the cheapest laptop in the convenience of upgrading. For the opportunity to study the insides of the system, we should thank the form factor: when laptops start measuring compactness and lack of extra centimeters in the case, the candy bar can easily accommodate full-fledged components and leave a margin for user fun such as “add memory to it”.

It is worth saying that making a choice in favor of a candy bar is, first of all, changing the habits that will remain after the old platform. The user will have to resist muscle memory, which will cause some discomfort. For example, he will automatically look for the touchpad where a mouse is needed, or by touch he will try to insert a USB flash drive into the slot under the table, while he is right in front of his nose. But this lack of coordination is temporary. It will quickly disappear, because a person gets used to good things: monoblocks are comfortable, compact and efficient enough for all possible tasks of a home user.

True, there are users and tasks for which it is difficult to choose not only a candy bar, but also any specific technique. This category includes avid gamers who care about the responsiveness of each pixel on the matrix, or professionals with terabytes of 8K footage on a movie camera flash drive. Here you can advise one thing – read, search, compare and assemble with your own hands. The rest can think of the candy bar as the right home information center.