There's a hard truth many business owners learn about computers you use in the office. In most cases, when you splurge for a new laptop or a desktop for employees, you configure the RAM and hard drive and then have to live with the main computer for several years. 

Yes, you can always upgrade a few of the components, such as the RAM, but in general, the core components like the processor and the graphics capability are hard-wired.

Recently, I tested a Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra desktop computer and found that these limitations aren't really true anymore. The system I tested had one main "module" that snaps into the stand of the monitor. It was easy to install, and once it was attached, the desktop booted up normally like any desktop computer.

Yet, I also know that it would be easy to replace this module with a faster one later on, to choose a faster processor or other components.

Usually, it doesn't work that way with an all-in-one desktop. I've tested many of them over the years, and because of how they are designed, it's tricky to do upgrades in the first place but typically impossible to replace core components like the processor.

The module itself is about as big as your forearm. There's only one cord coming out of the main unit, and you can easily connect a keyboard and mouse using a USB adapter. As your needs change or as technology improves, you can use a different monitor altogether (say, one that uses 4K or 5K resolution or is much more colorful and bright), and you can swap the module itself. One example of this is if you decide you want to do more video editing down the road. You could upgrade to a module that has much more robust 3-D graphics.

I could also see wanting to downgrade. Let's say you have an employee who will switch to more productivity-related tasks. You could swap the module or even keep several of them on hand to use in multiple workstations around the office.

The idea is that you have more flexibility in how each desktop computer is used and what is available for power and performance.

There's a cost factor here too. Dell offers modules that have as much as 64GB DDR4 of RAM and up to two 1TB solid-state drives, so you can really max these out for employees who need that power, or go "lighter" with the minimum config. There are modules that cost as little as $770 but still provide the option to swap out with a much faster module.

In my hands-on tests, the Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra was lightning fast at my daily workload, which includes editing photos in Adobe Photoshop and using word processing apps. I rarely, if ever, had any slowdowns even with multiple tabs up in my Chrome browser. I also tested a rich media slide show with embedded videos and it ran smoothly and fast.

Most companies end up making a capital investment in desktop computers, especially at an early stage. Startups then live with these computers for years, never thinking they can upgrade or improve the performance.

I liked how easy it was to remove the module and snap it back in place and could imagine companies doing that to change what people in an office can do. You don't have to "live in the past" with the computers as they come anymore.