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10 reasons why the desktop PC will live forever


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#1 Crisp

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 15:26

Desktops are definitely not dead, and tablets and laptops aren't necessarily the future.


Steve Jobs piqued consumer curiosity when he unveiled the iPad and declared "the post-PC era has begun." And now with the imminent release of Windows 8 RT tabletslow-powered slates running a touch-friendly version of Officeit might seem that perhaps the world actually can live without desktop computers.



It's an intruiguing proposition, but don't count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you're trying to conduct business on the go, it's nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you're trying to complete serious work in an office environment.
Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it's computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag.
No, friends, the so-called post-PC world is not yet upon us. But if you're still not convinced, here are ten reasons you shouldn't give up your desktop any time soon.

- Desktop PCs are cheap

Desktops are cheaper than laptopsboth when you buy them new, and when you have to make repairs. There are a few reasons for this, but the main reason is that mobile components are more expensive, because they're, well, smaller, and expensive engineering is required to make them fit inside your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Desktop components don't have to be nearly as small or fit together like jigsaw pieces, because a roomy desktop tower is a heck of a lot larger than even the most generously sized laptop.
Of course, to be fair, you pay for more components when you purchase a laptopyou're also purchasing a screen, keyboard, and trackpad. But, of course, you can pick up a keyboard and a mouse for around $5 each, and a decent 24-inch monitor can cost as little as $50.
But laptops usually cost at least (if not well over) $60 more than corresponding desktops. For example, a Dell XPS 8500which has a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon 7570 discrete graphics cardcosts $799 on Dell's website. Meanwhile, a similarly-equipped Dell Inspiron 14z laptopwith a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon HD 7570M graphics cardcosts $999.

- Desktops are more powerful

Desktop processors are more powerful than corresponding laptop processors. And I'm not even going to get into mobile ARM processors (that is, the processors running in most phones and tablets), since the comparison is laughable. Let's just say this is a case in which size definitely matters.
Laptop processors are not only smaller than desktop processors, they're designed to use less energy and produce less heat. There are a several reasons for this: First, laptops usually run on battery life. Because of this, mobile processors are designed to conserve battery life. Second, laptop processors are fitted into a tight, closed chassis, and surrounded by a couple of small fansand they're still prone to overheating.
Desktop processors, meawnhile, are lucky enough to sip an endless supply of juice from a wall outlet, and they can be surrounded with fans or even a liquid cooling system to keep their temperatures down. Thus, they're not only more powerful, they can also be easily overclocked to run at even higher speeds.

- You can plug a ton of peripherals into desktops

Let's say you want to plug in an external mouse and an external keyboard. Can you also plug in a USB-connected headset? If you've got a laptop, probably not.
As laptops get thinner, port offerings decline. Most laptops these days have a couple of USB 2.0 ports, though higher-end systems might throw in a USB 3.0 port here and there. Most tablets have one USB 2.0 port (except for the iPad, of course, which boasts a whopping total of zero USB ports).
Desktops, on the other hand, usually have a minimum of four USB 2.0 ports, and most have many more. Plus, desktops have tons of other connectivity options that only the highest-end, most gamer-oriented laptops might includethese options include eSATA, VGA, DVI, HDMI, and multiple audio lines.

- You get extra screen real estate with desktops

Studies have shown that more screen real estate can make you more productive (or more productive at being unproductive). Need more screen real estate? This can be accomplished in two ways: with a larger screen, or with multiple monitors.
The largest laptop screen you can find on the market is 17.3 inches, and it's hugefor a laptop, that is. But a 17.3-inch laptop screen is nothing compared to a 20- or 24-inch stand-alone monitor. Plus, a 17.3-inch laptop is usually too bulky for you to tote around comfortably, which means your laptop may essentially become a desktop.
Most laptops don't support multiple monitor set-ups, though you can try USB-powered displays or using your tablet. Desktops, on the other hand, are built for multiple monitor setups and, depending on your graphics card, you can support two or three or four (or more) monitors for maximum productivity or maximum gaming.

- You can play (real) computer games on desktops

Okay, to be fair there are gaming laptops out there, and they're not bad. For example, the Alienware M17x R4 features an Intel Core i7-3720QM processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M discrete graphics card. But can it really compare to a gaming desktop, such as the Maingear Shift Super Stock, which houses an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and three AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards? I don't think so.
Graphics-intense PC games put systems to the ultimate test, as they require as much processing- and GPU-power as possible. And, let's face ityou can stuff three graphics cards into a desktop tower (plus liquid cooling, an awesome sound card, and, hey, even some extra gaming peripherals). On the flip side, a hardcore gaming laptop can accomodate just one measly (albeit sometimes moderately powerful) graphics cardand that's inside a device that's barely even portable.

- Fixing a desktop is easy

Three years ago, the graphics card in my husband's laptop died. We're still not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, the screen started artifacting and displaying colorful squiggly lines, making things generally unreadable. He took it to the Apple store (it was an old MacBook), and they opened it up and told him the repair job would be expensive.
Total cost of repairs: $800.
Two years ago, my graphics card died. Nvidia posted a faulty driver; I was playing a game at the time, and before they could correct the driver (a mere 24 hours later), my card overheated and fried. I went to Best Buy and picked up a new (non-Nvidia) card and replaced it myself in about 10 minutes.
Total cost of repairs: $80
The moral of the story: If a desktop component craps out on you, it's easy to purchase a new one, whether it's a graphics card, the monitor, or even the processor. But if a laptop component craps out on you, well, good luck.

- You can use creative software efficiently on a desktop

Sure, today's laptops can run creative software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Premierebut you won't enjoy your time with these applications when fighting with your laptop's trackpad or puny screen real estate. To be used efficiently, creative software requires a powerful processor, a high-end graphics card, lots of screen real estate, and peripheralsa keyboard, a mouse, and maybe even a drawing tablet.
A laptop with the required specs would either be insanely expensive or physically impossible (in the case of a much-larger screen). A desktop with decent specs, however, will be able to run this software just fine.

- You can recycle a desktop as an NAS device( a fish tank

When your laptop or tablet dies, it can be recycled as a laptop- or tablet-like device, such as a kids-only laptop, or a kitchen-only tablet. In other words, your recycling options are limited. But desktops can be recycled into a variety of different uses, such as a home server or as a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
If you'd rather not repurpose your desktop as a machine, you can always clean it out, sell your parts on eBay, and turn the tower or old monitor into a fish tank. (If you truly need the power, you can also turn an old fish tank into a build a desktop PC. Seriouslyanyone!
Not only are there tons of websites and articles dedicated to helping people build their own systems, the components also are readily available. Towers and cases can cost as little as $19 (check out this DIYPC DIY-5823 from Newegg.com), while a second-generation Intel Core i5-2500K processorthe same processor that we currently use in our PC testing modelis just $220.
By comparison, building a laptop is&tricky, if not impossible. Components are more expensive and less powerful, and you have to get them to fit inside a laptop chassis. There's pretty much no chance you can build a laptop from the ground up, eitheryou'll have to pick out a bare-bones laptop and upgrade it as much as the chassis allows.


- Desktops are secure and they last a long time

Desktops are not portable. Not portable at all. And this is a good thing when it comes to security and durability. Because desktops don't move very muchif at allthey're fairly secure from theft. There's pretty much no chance that you'll lose your desktop on the train, or that someone will steal your desktop from the library. And even if someone happens to break into your house, they're unlikely to take your desktop, which has to be unplugged from the wall and transported with all of its attached peripherals to be of the most use to your thief.
Also, because your desktop never moves, it never gets bumped or dropped or scratched in your bag. A desktop can easily last several yearsmore if you're upgrading it piece-by-piecewhile a laptop will often fall victim to an unfortunate spill.

- You can build your own desktop

Anyone can build a desktop PC. Seriouslyanyone!
Not only are there tons of websites and articles dedicated to helping people build their own systems, the components also are readily available. Towers and cases can cost as little as $19 (check out this DIYPC DIY-5823 from Newegg.com), while a second-generation Intel Core i5-2500K processorthe same processor that we currently use in our PC testing modelis just $220.
By comparison, building a laptop is&tricky, if not impossible. Components are more expensive and less powerful, and you have to get them to fit inside a laptop chassis. There's pretty much no chance you can build a laptop from the ground up, eitheryou'll have to pick out a bare-bones laptop and upgrade it as much as the chassis allows.

Long live the desktop!

Don't get me wronglaptops, tablets, and smartphones are undeniably essential to most people's modern-day lives. But as long as desktops are cheaper, more powerful, and more versatile, they'll always have a place.







Source: PC Advisor UK




#2 REM2000

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 15:44

most of the article seems to be desktop vs laptop, which the laptop has already won. Some of the other comparisons such as if your desktop craps out it's cheap to fix, with tablets we are starting to see the rise of disposable computing in a big way, if a tablet break generally if the manufacturer doesn't fix it, it's tossed.

However one thing i agree is that the desktop computer is not going anywhere in the near future. In the future yeah it will be gone, as the computer / chips will be in everything and everywhere, chips in clothes, furnture etc.. so really all you will need is a screen/panel/wall for large images or perhaps a contact lens or pair of glasses for personal information access. The cloud and wearable/smaller devices and computers will kill off older concepts of computers such as the desktop. However this won't be a bad thing, desktops killed off the notion of large mainframe's as the only way to access computing power, they radically changed the computing landscape in the late 70's and 80's.

However in the near future, i have always taken the post-pc term as a means to describe the era in which desktops/laptops are no longer the primary method of accessing information/computing, that in the post-pc era you can easily have people who won't even own a desktop/laptop and will instead have all of their information/computing needs serviced through smart phones and tablets. This doesn't mean the end of desktop/laptop computers as there will still be a lot of people (myself included) who like to use their desktops as there primary computing system, due to the need for larger screen space, more computing power/storage.

#3 thealexweb

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:02

No the PC won't die but they'll sell in smaller quantities. What I've noticed is that say ten years ago in the average house there would have been maybe three desktops PCs but nowadays there is one shared laptop and every member of the house has a smartphone.

The techies here will say oh everyone I know has three desktop PCs at least but remember the majority of people are not techies.

#4 -Razorfold

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:04

- You can plug a ton of peripherals into desktops

You can do the same with laptops. Mine cost $1200 so it wasn't exactly ultra top of the line and mind blowingly expensive and it comes with 2 USB3, 2 USB2, eSATA, hdmi, displayport, supports upto 16gb ddr3, 2 headphone ports (one is also a S/P DIF port), microphone port, blu-ray drive, and sd card slot. It also has 2 hard-drive slots so I have 2x 500gb 7200rpm hardrives in it.

Yes I could have gotten a better desktop for the same price but I like the portability. I like being able to sit on the couch and go on reddit, browse neowin, play games, watch movies etc. I like being able to pull out my laptop on long distance flights, plug it in, watch movies and play games (Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and other GOOD airlines have power sockets on the back of every seat now). Can't do any of those with a desktop.

- Fixing a desktop is easy

There's this thing called warranty. Dell (and others) offer accidental ones too so you can pick up your laptop, throw it to the ground and they'll replace it for free. Yes but it does cost extra (obviously).

Generally speaking though if you don't buy the cheapest piece of **** laptop you can find you'll be ok. My current laptop is 2 years old and in that two years the only problem I've had with it is the adapter. It works just fine but the rubber shielding is starting to break off in some places. Dell pretty much makes the ********* adapters around, and to make matters worse the laptop battery will only charge if you use their adapter (there's a special wiring circuit).

What's sad is a while back nVidia and a bunch of OEMs came up with the idea of replaceable GPUs in laptops (called MXM). I used to have one of those laptops and you could just take the GPU out and plug another one in. In theory it was great, in practice it wasn't. Basically all the OEMs decided what they needed to do to earn more money was make their own proprietary port connector so cards from other manufacturer's wouldn't fit. So it became a useless thing and afaik nobody uses it anymore. You can still upgrade your CPU though.

- You get extra screen real estate with desktops

17.3" laptops aren't the largest out there, sorry. You can also plug an external monitor in.

- You can play (real) computer games on desktops

You can play them on laptops tool. My laptop isn't a gaming laptop but it can still play BF3 on medium+. Also hardcore gaming laptops do come with SLI.

- You can use creative software efficiently on a desktop

bull****.

- Desktops are secure and they last a long time

I've had a laptop for 7 years now. Want to guess how many times its been stolen? Oh wait 0.

#5 Denis W.

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:16

I may be on laptops more these days but desktops are fun. Fun to build, cheap to swap out parts, and you can't beat the longevity factor of desktops - the beauty of picking exactly what you want to go into a machine.

Its form factor may completely go away one day. Or it may not. No biggie really.

Also about gaming laptops: despite the performance-cost ratio being worse, even if it does play games fine you still have the heat output affecting the laptop's underside (and sometimes keyboard and palm rest) and the relatively small CPU fan turning into a mini vacuum. Simply put, the cooling systems in laptops cannot compare to desktops. And this is coming from a "gaming laptop" owner.

#6 -Razorfold

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:23

Also about gaming laptops: despite the performance-cost ratio being worse, even if it does play games fine you still have the heat output affecting the laptop's underside (and sometimes keyboard and palm rest) and the relatively small CPU fan turning into a mini vacuum. Simply put, the cooling systems in laptops cannot compare to desktops. And this is coming from a "gaming laptop" owner.

You can always buy cooling pads.

That said, I've never really found the appeal in a purely gaming laptop (note I mean gaming not just good specs). They're usually ugly as hell, made of the cheapest plastic around, and like you mentioned they get hot. Might as well get a desktop if you really want top of the line specs. But the option still exists for those that have the money to spare. This article makes it seem like the only laptops you can get are ultrabooks with 15" screens.

You can game just fine with a regular good specced laptop though, I do it all the time. It doesn't get hot (2 years running and no damage to the palm rest or underside). A good thing to do with any laptop though is open it up and replace the thermal paste, most OEMs use a really cheap ****ty one so you can drop your temps a good amount just by using artic silver or w/e.

Downside you can't play every game on max settings, but if that's important to you then get a desktop. Other thing is so so so many games are just console ports nowadays (its just pathetic) so the graphics requirements aren't a whole lot.

#7 Anton2k

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:24

I think small desktop form factors will be the way the desktop market goes, should be titled keyboard and mouse will live forever lol, but i get where you're coming from, long live the pc! tbh i think pc gaming will always be around as well maybe not in the form we see it just now, i can picture tiny graphics cards in the future that will perform 100x the likes of the best we have today, lets face it go back to windows 95 era when 1gb was considered a luxury lol! who knows any things is possible, one thing i know will change eventually is processing architecture of the desktop market.

#8 qdave

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:26

Desktop pc's will not go away because there is no sense to have laptops/tables in corporate environments.

Home usage of pc's however will decrease indeed!

#9 Dashel

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:32

Duh

#10 Hum

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:36

Amusing, but the desktop of today will be eventually obsolete, and will disappear. :laugh:

#11 Shadrack

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 16:52

If the article were just talking about "workstations" (as we know them), then I would agree. But I see businesses (at least my business) moving more towards laptops as they offer a lot more flexibility over a desktop. I just dock my laptop at my workstation in my office. I don't see myself working off of a desktop again...

Now, my home gaming desktop is a whole other subject as I agree: gaming laptop isn't a good concept.

#12 giantpotato

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 17:03

I see tablet/desktop hybrids as a possibility in the future. You have a tablet with a CPU, RAM, MB, SSD, then you have a dock at the office where you can work at a desk with a bigger monitor + KB/Mouse. You can take the tablet to meetings or for note-taking. They could even devise a connection in the future where you can add a GPU or other cards to the dock, while keeping the main components in the tablet.

#13 jakem1

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 17:16

Desktop pc's will not go away because there is no sense to have laptops/tables in corporate environments.


You'd be surprised. I have a couple of clients that already use laptops, rather than desktops, almost exclusively.

#14 LaP

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 17:16

The desktop as we know it today will enventually die. Maybe it'll take 50 years. Maybe 100 years. Maybe 500 years. But it will eventually die. Saying otherwise is just foolish.

#15 vetsanctified

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 17:19

Desktop pc's will not go away because there is no sense to have laptops/tables in corporate environments.


Not all corporations operate the same. I work at two that heavily use tablets.