The desktop computer may not be the powerhouse it once was in the computer industry, but it’s still a great choice for your next computer. However, owning a desktop is different from owning a laptop, and it’s not the right fit for everyone. Knowing which machine is right for you is important if you want to be happy with your purchase and get lots of use out of it over the next few years.
That’s where we come in. We are huge fans of desktop computers here, but we recognize and understand that even the best desktop computers may not be for everyone. Today, let’s examine five pros and cons of owning a desktop so you can see both the good and bad of these machines and how they could fit into your lifestyle and the way you work and play. My hope is that once you finish reading this, you will have enough information to decide if a desktop is the right machine for you.
Pros of Owning a Desktop
I always like to stay positive. So, I thought it right to begin on a positive note with the pros of owning a desktop. This is by no means a be all, end all list, but it should provide you with more than enough information to make a decision that’s right for you.
1. More Power
Desktop computer are often much more powerful than a comparable laptop. That’s because for comparable price points, computer makers can stuff in much more powerful hardware. At the same time, chip makers and other component manufacturers often make their latest pieces of tech available for the desktop first. So, if you are on the prowl for a computer that has the latest technology that’s faster, more power efficient, and gives you access to the latest manufacturers have to offer, then a desktop is most definitely the best option for you. You simply won’t find a laptop running the very latest and greatest, at least not in any unhandicapped form.
2. Added Comfort
Laptops may be great when it comes to portability, but they create this portability by jamming every component you need into a relatively small package. Sure, there’s a keyboard and mouse included and even a monitor for you to see what you’re doing, but they are jammed into a case that’s about the size of a binder. This means that when working on one, you will feel cramped, even on the larger laptops out there. A desktop, on the other hand, is much bigger. Because of this added size, you will be a using a full sized keyboard and mouse and have a large monitor sitting in front of you. Add to this a nice desk and you will have a very comfortable workspace to use. This translates into more comfort and longer sessions without needing a rest.
3. More Ports for Expansion
Most laptops have a very limited number of ports for you to add external devices. There is only so much room on those small, highly portable cases, after all. But, what do you do if you have a lot of devices you want to connect? I’ll tell you what you will do. You will buy a desktop. Most desktops have many more ports to add external devices. From USB ports to HDMI and other video ports, a desktop will give you more than enough ports to work with so you can connect everything from your camera to a hard drive and pretty much any monitor you own. If you have a lot of devices that you need to connect to your computer, then your best bet is a desktop, by far.
4. Easier to Upgrade
Do you enjoy tinkering with your system after you get it? Do you insist on having the latest video card or do you enjoy adding more RAM to get a little more out of your system before you finally decide to retire it and get something new? If this sounds like, then a desktop is the best choice for you. There very design enables them to be very upgradeable and easy to work on if you have a problem. Want a new video card? No problem. Just open the case, pull out the old one and insert the new one. Add more RAM to the empty slots if you want. Need more storage? There’s a good chance you have a slot for that, unless you have one of those tiny desktop cases. Compare that to a laptop. If you’re lucky, you can probably add a little more RAM and maybe a second hard drive, but that’s about it. You can forget about upgrading the rest.
5. Better Affordability
We all shop on a budget. Sure, these budgets may be larger or smaller for some, but we all want to get the most out of our money. A desktop computer is much cheaper than a laptop. On top of that, you usually get more power for your money compared to a laptop. Just take a look at a few desktops online. You will find that they are usually much more affordable than a laptop. Sure, you don’t get all the extras that come with a laptop, but I’m betting you already have most of what you need sitting in your home. If you are looking to save a little money, or you just want to get the most powerful hardware for your budget, then look no further than a high quality desktop.
Cons of Owning a Desktop
Now that we know all the good things, it’s time to examine the downsides of owning a desktop. Remember, they are great machines, but there are a few negatives with this type of machine.
1. Takes Up More Space
We don’t all have a huge desk or office where we can set up our systems. Sometimes, our work areas are very compact. In other cases, we need to work while on the couch. Because desktops are so large and you have to connect larger monitors and external peripherals to it, they often take up a lot more space compared to a nice, compact laptop. If you do buy a desktop, make sure you have a place to put it. If you don’t, you will find the large desktop even bulkier than before. You could also go with a compact model, but that often negates many of the pros we already discussed.
2. Isn’t Mobile At All
Now this probably goes without saying, but a desktop isn’t mobile at all. They are big, bulky, and often heavy. Sure, there are micro versions these days, but even these don’t come with everything you need to truly use your computer on the go. Now, if you prefer to do all your work and play in one location, then this may not be a big deal. However, if you ever need to work on the go, or you just need your computer for something quick while on your couch, then a desktop really won’t work for you. In this case, a laptop may be a better fit.
3. Requires Separate Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse
Despite a more affordable price, remember that many of these desktops don’t come with a monitor, keyboard, or a mouse. Sure you can find deals that bundle everything for a pretty good price, but it often negates some of the savings you get by going with a desktop. Of course, if you are anything like me, you have several monitors, keyboards, and mice that are just waiting to be used again. This will help you save a few bucks after you buy a desktop. But, if you don’t have them, you will either need to find a package deal or buy them separately. While this isn’t always a bad thing, as you can select the specific models you want, they will alter those price savings and you have to spend time selecting the best one available that will meet your needs.
4. Can Be Noisy
Because these machines often have some of the most powerful hardware available today, they need more powerful cooling systems to keep these beasts from overheating. Because of this, they use larger power supplies with big fans and case fans that run to keep things at a sustainable temperature. The end result is these machines are often much louder than a laptop, even if you compare them to the higher end gaming laptops out there that often run much hotter and much louder than most laptops. If you want silence, then you need to go low end or laptop, but if you are looking for something with a little power, you need to be prepared to hear those fans running. It’s simply unavoidable if you plan on buying a desktop.
5. May or May Not Have Wireless
Finally, we need to talk about the wireless capabilities. The world in which we live has gone wireless and almost every household it seems has their own wireless network. This means that you router may or may not be close to where you would like your desktop to be. Unfortunately, many desktops don’t come with wireless. While this is changing a little, often this is an extra you have to get installed or add yourself after you bring it home. If you don’t do it, that means you will have to run a wire to it to connect it to your router, and this can be difficult if your router is at the other end of the house from your desktop.
Making Your Choice
So how do you choose between a desktop and a laptop? The ball is completely in your court. Look at how you work now and think about how you would like to work in the future. While you’re doing that, take your budget into consideration and decide if upgrading your machine is something you may want to do in the future. If you find that you want the added comfort, better expansion and upgradeability, then a desktop is right for you. However, if you want to be more mobile with your work and play, then a laptop may be the best solution for you, even if a desktop will give you a little more power. It really all comes down to how you want to work and play. Do you want to sit on your couch and work or would you prefer to have a dedicated workspace for when you use your computer? All of these questions must be asked before you buy your next computer. If you don’t ask yourself these questions, you could end up with a machine that just won’t work for you or, at the very least, one that you don’t enjoy using.
Well there you have it. As you can see, there are many reasons both for and against the desktop computer. Which one will work best for you really comes down to you needs and how you plan on using it. If you need more power for high end applications or gaming, then a desktop is probably the best option for you. On the other hand, if you need the freedom to both work and play almost anywhere, then a laptop is a better fit. It all comes down to what you want from your computer.
Do you use a desktop, laptop, or both? If you’re anything like me, you have at least one of each. Tell us which type of computer you prefer and if you do use a desktop, let’s here why you made your choice in the first place. I look forward to seeing your comments below.