Laptop vs Desktop?

Many people buy laptops thinking they are a good replacement for a desktop. However, for most this is not the case. The only real advantage a laptop has over a desktop is it's mobility, and if you're not on the go, you will end up paying more for less.


Laptops are more expensive and you get less performance per dollar than you would with a desktop. The life span on a laptop is generally shorter plus repairs are considerably more expensive. Unlike desktops, because of their confined space laptops have many of their parts built right into the motherboard. For example, if your wireless card quits working you may have to swap out the entire motherboard costing $400+ in parts alone not to mention the labor costs to have it repaired. In contrast, a desktop wireless card averages $30 requiring only a minimal amount of time to replace it. Because of the demand for a compact size on laptops, they have minimal cooling features that sometimes result in problematic overheating issues soon after you buy them. Often users keep their laptops stationary and plugged in as they would a desktop resulting in their battery not being used thus reducing it's battery life. In a dusty environment a laptop's ventilation can quickly become clogged and unlike a desktop where you can remove the side and vacuum or at least use some canned air on it, a laptop's design causes it to be quite a puzzle to disassemble. Parts for a laptop are usually proprietary meaning you have to buy a replacement part from the manufacturer because no other will work in that laptop's design. A desktop, especially a custom built one, will offer a lot more flexibility and have a variety of brands and parts to choose from keeping replacement part costs down. For example, a 92mm replacement case fan to fit an HP Pavilion cost $40-60 depending on where you buy it. A case fan for a standard desktop PC cost around $3-10 (for both the 80mm or the 120mm sizes which are both standard). Because of the proprietary parts a user is also limited in what options are available for upgrading their laptop. Because of their compact size they are limited in things such as available USB ports. Desktops are first to receive new technology upgrades whereas Laptops receive them once they can make a compact version, and even then the performance usually suffers. For example, new laptops featuring the latest Intel processor may bear the same brand name such as the "Core i7 processor" but the speed of the processor averages 50% less than a desktop bearing the same processor at comparable costs.


Now that said, laptops do have their place. Their compact size does offer some advantages in confined spaces, and their mobility is priceless for those who make use of it. Having the built-in battery protects them against power outages. But for those who leave their laptops plugged in on their desk, it would be quite advantageous to purchase a desktop instead, and possibly a battery backup where there's a concern about power outages.


Helpful Tips

Did you know that building your own computer - or having one built for you - can allow you to have top brand parts in a quality built machine while saving money compared to the cost of a computer from most major manufactures such as Dell or Hewlett Packard?