Desktop vs. Laptop?

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Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
My old faithful Dell Inspiron desktop, which I purchased way back in late '04, has ceased to function. I need to replace it but am hesitant about purchasing another desktop. In today's world of smartphones and tablet computers, is a desktop actually necessary? What would be the advantages, if any, of owning a desktop versus a laptop?

What say ye all?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
A desktop is still going to have more oomph for heavy duty applications isn't it? I know what will crash my 1 year old laptop will soldier on on my old XP.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
It all depends on specs and the components. A lightweight laptop can often outperform a budget-level desktop. But a desktop always has more room for heavier-duty components.

If you are looking simply for computing power, a desktop still gives more performance per dollar, but only at the medium to higher end of the model lines. Oddly, if you are looking for adequate functionality with least expense, you probably will be looking more at laptops these days.

But longevity favors the desktop. For one thing, there is more room for air to cool the components. Processors doing heavy lifting can get hot.

But I'm sort of a throwback because I'm happily running some resource hogs like Adobe Acrobat Pro and Dragon NaturallySpeaking on a netbook.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
A desktop is probably going to last a lot longer, and if you get one with a big box, it's going to be a lot easier to upgrade and keep running.
 

Moireach

Puritan Board Freshman
Depends what you use it for. Very very few people actually require personal desktop computers these days. Even architects with heavy duty CAD software these days just opt for Macbook Pros.
I used to have a desktop that could do a LOT more than I needed it to and it was just a waste of space and money.
I now use an 11.6 inch Macbook Air and it does everything I need very well. Internet browsing, word documents, spreadsheets, presentations and a few heavier apps.
 

Curt

Puritan Board Graduate
It has been a long time since I owned a desktop computer. I'm perfectly happy with my MacBook Pro. However, I do not run any heavy duty bit and byte consuming software. I think that for most of us a laptop will do nicely.
 

Somerset

Puritan Board Junior
If you pour coffee on your desktop's keyboard the bill is about £10 - do the same to your laptop and that's it.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
If you pour coffee on your desktop's keyboard the bill is about £10 - do the same to your laptop and that's it.
Depending on how much sugar is in the coffee, just pry off the keys and wash them, clean underneath them as well as you can with a wet paper towel, let everything dry, and put the keys back on, and your desktop is good to go (take a picture of the keyboard first, or have another for reference, for quickest key replacement.) Only then, replace the keyboard (preferably with one that weighs less than 10 pounds) :D
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
The one thing I do know is that all Mac products are off the board. I will never go over to the Dark Side! :D

Further query: Would a laptop with an identical configuration cost more than a desktop with the same functionality?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with the above recommendations on the MacBook Pro. It has never failed me no matter what I have asked it to do and it never crashes.
 

John Bunyan

Puritan Board Freshman
I prefer desktops, they're cheaper, robust and can run heavier programs easily (comparing them to laptops with similar prices).

Also, desktops are easier to costumize and fix (their piecies are way less specific)
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
James, is your job-related travel going to play a part in your decision making? If so, a laptop probably makes better sense. If portability is not the driving factor then I lean more towards the desktop. For me portability is key.
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
The company provides a laptop for work and personal use while I'm on the road. But I'm on the road less these days, so I need something on my own for home use.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Junior
I had always had desktops, since '99, when I began using PCs. A year ago my workplace relocated to smaller quarters where a personal desktop wasn't feasible. A friend recommended a Thinkpad T-120 by Lenovo and that is what I have at work now. Running Windows 7 on the laptop and Linux Mint , at home, on the desktop. I can highly recommend the Thinkpad based on my experience of the past year.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I would rather use an iPad (with Logitech keyboard that doubles as a case) for surfing the net and doing many functions with the inexpensive QuickOfficePro that allows me to create and edit Microsoft Office apps (newly upgraded for free to do 2010 documents) for less than $20.

Heavy lifting would be better served with a heavier duty, better airconditioned, larger harddrive capacity desktop with a good sized monitor. I am plugging my little Acer notebook into a monitor and tapping my fingers at the slowness (partly due to the processor, partly due to the clutter of things like anti-virus software.

If iPad keeps improving, I may never purchase a laptop again. A desktop at home to handle Libronix and big number crunching ops and an iPad fills all of my needs. That 10 hour battery is fantastic on the iPad. Plus it works effortlessly with Netflix to screen movies on my large screen television. Incidentally, I am using the Kindle app, Logos app, Olive Tree app, Pocket Bible app, Bible.org app, WordSearch app, and e-Sword Live app in order to access books on the road. As for PDFs, the QuickOfficePro does a great job with them. And, if you need to annotate your PDFs there are a number of competitive programs for that too.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Get a laptop. Make it a Lenovo one, too. Can get them with same power as a desktop and they have the old IBM Thinkpad quality, too. Been running my old T60p Thinkpad since 2006 virtually non-stop. Had to replace the fan last year but it still serves me well.

AMR
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
1) What do you need it to do?

2) Where do you prefer to work/be on the computer?
1) I need it for financial / office work (i.e. doing my taxes and online banking). I also would use it to connect to the remote server at the office when I work from home. A little internet surfing as well.

2) I usually like to be in a quiet spot without distraction when I'm working.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
While both can be made fairly secure, and someone who knows more can weigh in, it may be easier to make a desktop a little more secure for banking, etc. That said, we do ours wirelessly all the time.

You're obviously not asking the processor to complete heavy work that might tax a smaller computer, so that doesn't limit you to a desktop. There's a lot of convenience to a basic laptop.
 

JS116

Puritan Board Freshman
It all depends on how much money,usage and space you have.I would encourage you to buy a desktop for home use, more customization and less hassle if something breaks.

Check out Tigerdirect.com
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
1) What do you need it to do?

2) Where do you prefer to work/be on the computer?
1) I need it for financial / office work (i.e. doing my taxes and online banking). I also would use it to connect to the remote server at the office when I work from home. A little internet surfing as well.

2) I usually like to be in a quiet spot without distraction when I'm working.
Laptop for sure. You don't do anything that needs powerful specs and laptops have way more pros than cons.
Pros:
All in one - no need to buy separate monitor, keyboard, mouse
Around the same price as a desktop with similar specs
Portability - can take it anywhere, anytime
Battery - any power outage, blip in the grid, whatever, you will not lose your work
Space - takes up a fraction of the space of a desktop
Clutter - no wires running all over the place. Get a wireless mouse.

Cons:
Slightly less power (mobile processors vs. desktop) - which you don't need. Even the low end laptops will suffice. AND (as it's been mentioned) many laptops will outperform a desktop...just depends on how much you pay.

You can get a NICE laptop for less than $500 if you look for deals. If you check a deals site like slickdeals.net once a day, you can see if any laptops pop up. There's one right now for $810, but it is SUPER powerful - way more than you need. Just wait and you'll see a deal for a laptop less than $500 in a week.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
All in one - no need to buy separate monitor, keyboard, mouse
... Get a wireless mouse.
You don't need a mouse, but you need one?

I almost always use a mouse with my laptops. And a separate keyboard and monitor, when I can.

Indeed, the main advantage I can see for a laptop is that it is much easier to set up multiple screens.

As for travel, that market is probably going to be eaten away by tablets.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
All in one - no need to buy separate monitor, keyboard, mouse
... Get a wireless mouse.
You don't need a mouse, but you need one?

I almost always use a mouse with my laptops. And a separate keyboard and monitor, when I can.

Indeed, the main advantage I can see for a laptop is that it is much easier to set up multiple screens.

As for travel, that market is probably going to be eaten away by tablets.
Well, one could argue you don't need a mouse since a touchpad is included, but if he were to get one, that a wireless one might be useful. Though counting the number of USB ports, etc. is a good idea when comparing laptops, too. You might need one for a mouse, a printer, a memory stick, etc. and they don't always fit side-by-side. My mouse USB is oddly shaped and can't use an adjacent port with another oddly-shaped USB.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
I would suggest you not do your banking through wireless but plug in an ethernet cable and it will as secure as a desktop.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
All in one - no need to buy separate monitor, keyboard, mouse
... Get a wireless mouse.
You don't need a mouse, but you need one?
No. You don't need a mouse, but get one. You can use the mouse built into the laptop and therefore don't need a separate one, but a wireless mouse does not add that much weight or space or clutter and makes it easier to navigate.

Another (small) benefit of laptops is power consumption. Although computers, both desktops and laptops, do not draw much power, laptops typically draw half as much. You'll save a quarter a month that you can buy a third of a Coke at the vending machine. :cheers2:
 
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