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Very High End All-In-One - Only a Few Trivial Notes
on August 31, 2013
First off, this is an absolutely excellent computer. The design is pleasing - trending toward a glossy minimalism, the screen is about as sharp, bright, and large as they come, and the performance is exceptional. It's new, but I'm very happy with it thus far.
Intel's i7 processor, standard on this computer, is the newest build available. Any processor clocking over 3 GHz (included is 3.1 GHz), combined with the 8 GB RAM, is going to feel instantaneous for 98% of users, including me, and even those of you who multitask and game with abandon. Performing almost any task(s), the power of this computer combined with the lovely Windows 8 software gives an exceptionally upscale feel.
Everything I write beyond this is, therefore, nitpicking. I love this computer.
First of all, storage capacity is not the only metric for evaluating hard drive performance.
The main upgrade to this hardware would be the replacement of the included 2TB (2000 GB) drive with a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Very few consumers in the target demographic of all-in-one desktops are going to use 2TB of storage space, which would hold more than half a million songs on mp3. The included hard drive (storage) is the type with a spinning internal disk, which is about 6 times slower than solid state, non-spinning drives. A solid state drive, therefore, boots and loads applications about 6 times faster than a standard drive, and they are becoming the industry standard for high end computers. Of course, a 1TB solid state drive is worth at least $800, while a 500 GB solid state drive (ample storage space for most users) is available for around $350. A 2TB hard drive like the one included on this computer goes for about $120.
Therefore, not only is it cheaper for the manufacturer to skip the SSD, but a 2 TB (2000 GB) "spinning" drive (commonly called an HDD) like the one on this computer also seems better for most consumers - who look only at the storage capacity - though the performance is actually not in the same ballpark as a more expensive SSD with less storage.
This may seem like a trivial complaint, especially since the hard drive is actually a hybrid that includes 32 GB of sold state memory, which makes it faster than your average drive. But in fact most users will feel far more performance improvement from an upgraded hard drive (to an SSD) rather than the half GHz processor upgrade that is the hallmark of this computer's performance. This is because the time to start up the computer or boot an application is reduced significantly by and SSD, while the difference between 2 GHz and 3 GHz will very rarely be noticeable at all. Just as an example, a computer with a standard hard drive will open Microsoft Word in about 7-10 seconds. An SSD will do it in about 1.5 seconds, giving it a much faster feel. The good news is that the hard drive is easy to replace.
My only other observation is that users who record music or edit videos may like more than 8GB of RAM memory. Again, that's only true for a few users. And RAM is incredibly simple and relatively inexpensive to upgrade. I record music with 8 GB with little or no trouble, but I've used machines with more RAM and they are noticeably more responsive and crisp when the tracks stack up.
If you can't tell, I highly recommend self-installed hardware upgrades, which seem scary but are actually simple to perform. I replace the hard drive and RAM on all my computers, and I'm far from any kind of computer wizard.
Ok, so in summary, this is an exceptionally powerful and beautiful computer. Honestly, it's overkill for 90% of users, including me, who will feel absolutely no difference between this computer and one that costs $700 less. Moreover, those users will be better off buying an all-in-one with a cheaper processor and a solid state hard drive. For those of us who want absolutely top end performance, whether we need it or more likely do not, this model with an upgraded hard drive in an incredibly potent machine.