All-in-One vs Desktop (Tower) Thin Clients

Thin clients vs desktops - which is best?

As thin client computers continue to become more ‘powerful’, there is a growing demand for them as a replacement for regular desktop computers.  For example, Thinlabs’ flagship device is a Full HD 22 inch integrated computer powered by a Quad Core processor. The inherent security features of thin clients (with Windows Embedded and Linux operating systems) make them an attractive proposition - the advantages of write filters make them more resistive against viruses / trojans and provide for easier management and reduced costs - no need to spend money on anti-virus software. The lack of moving parts (fans, hard drives) in thin clients also results in longer product life and makes for more comfortable work environments.

Which form factor is more attractive from a business-to-business perspective - thin clients vs desktops? The answer depends on your infrastructure lifecycle and reasons for procuring these desktops.


All-in-One thin clients have a compact form factor, making them ideally suited for people or space intensive organizations such as BPOs, financial institutions, hotels, restaurants, retail environments and places of higher learning. The lack of wires, moving parts and size make them an ideal solution to a new / turnkey office environment. The advantage of having an integrated form means lower procurement costs (compared to that of a desktop and monitor). Additionally, All-in-One computers are suited for wall mounts or as kiosks, and should prove to be more reliable in such use cases.


If an organization has invested in a desktop strategy, then it makes sense to continue using desktop devices as they will have spare monitors and accessories. Desktop devices will help maximize life of existing IT assets and save costs in such scenarios.


Some critics state that the modularity of desktop type devices is better suited in the long run as it is perceived that you could add / replace parts, upgrade memory etc. This is equally true for All-in-One type devices. The only real consideration for choosing a particular form factor is to examine the reason for procurement. A new / turnkey operation should favor All-in-One thin clients over desktops as these promise greater ROI in the near and longer terms.