Tech Time: Desktop vs. Laptop

Maybe you are a parent buying a computer for a college bound kid, or a busy professional looking to work away from the office. Regardless of the reason, the decision to buy a laptop or a desktop is not one to be taken lightly.

To put it into context, a desktop computer is comprised of several complementary external components designed to operate from a fixed location. A laptop is usually an all in one unit designed for portability. Each manifestation of the computer has advantages (and disadvantages).

Desktop computers offer huge storage, fantastic graphics, ergonomic design, superior power, upgradeability and great value. Laptop computers are completely mobile and compact.

Storage: Many laptops sport 100+ GB hard drives as standard features, but desktops offer larger hard drive space. It’s not uncommon to see desktops sport 500 GB hard drives.

Graphics: Hardcore gamers, video editors and other high end graphics users need the advanced graphics processing offered by desktops.

Ergonomic Design: The design of the keyboard, monitor, mouse, speakers and other peripherals can add to the comfort and functionability of these devices especially over long periods of time.

Upgradeability: The all in one design of laptops makes upgrading challenging. Increasing the memory may be simple, but changing out the mother board, graphics card, hard drive and other key components is not practically possible on most laptops.

Great value: spec for spec, a desktop computer is cheaper than its laptop counterpart. This is primarily due to the miniaturization of parts. Desktops are also cheaper to maintain; most don’t use proprietary parts and components, meaning you don’t have to go to the dealer for repairs and upgrades.

Mobility: Packing up a desktop and using it at a remote location is clumsy and challenging. Desktops can’t work without consistent power and lots of space to spread out all the peripherals. Laptops by contrast are easy to slide in a bag and move around. You can open them up virtually anywhere. With battery power and wifi, they remain untethered and lets face it, they are sexy. Sexy is attractive to thieves as well, and laptops are being stolen at an alarming rate.

If you are on a tight budget, don’t plan to move about or seriously considering upgrading in the future, a desktop is the right computer for you. But, if you live in a small space and want to move about, then a laptop is your best option.

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