Laptop or Desktop computer?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Osaban, Aug 1, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    When I bought my first computer I was advised to buy a desktop as it would provide a better performance/price ratio. Nowadays laptops/notebooks are light and very powerful, still a bit more expensive than desktops but not that much.

    I'm using almost exclusively my laptop and I'm thinking of buying another one.

    Are there real advantages in getting a desktop? (bulk is a big issue for me).

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Posts:
    4,221
    I am also very interested in the experience and opinions of those here. Although I have both, I would not want to do without the laptop now that I have used one for several months.

    My own considerations would be a balance between screen size and portability, and how under continued use each day the laptop would hold up.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,047
    Depends on your needs. I am used to more powerful desktops, and I bought a powerful high end laptop. P4 3.4gh, 1g ram Hi end graphics card, and two drives in Raid 0. Ran great, but also ran real hot. I think the heat got the mother board, and it's now getting repaired under warranty. When it returns I am going to try one of those under machine cooling fans.

    Bottom line is if you need power, and have the space, a desktop is the way to go. But if you need mobility, then the laptop.

    Pete
     
  4. yahoo

    yahoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    290
    Location:
    nowhere
    It depends on how you use your computer. If your are a hardcore gamer, or need to use some applications with high requirement on hardware (graphic card and etc), you probably still need a desktop. Otherwise, laptop is enough.

    Several years ago, laptop was expensive. A low-end laptop would cost at least $1,000. For that money, at least a mid-end desktop could be purchased. So desktop had a high performance/cost ratio. However, at the current time, a low-end laptop would just cost $400~$500, and the performance is not really that bad at all. With $400, one can not find a really decent desktop either. So the difference in performance/cost ratio of laptop and desktop is getting closer nowadays.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2006
  5. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Posts:
    23,873
    Location:
    SW. Oklahoma
    If you like or need a laptop they are alright but as far as durability goes a desktop will out last a laptop on average 4/5 to 1 in favor of the desktop. The size of a laptop is it's own enemy, they can't cool as well as a desktop and the smaller passages and air spaces collect dust and lint that compounds the problem. I can't link to it because it was in a tech magazine I used to get at my computer shop but the article stated that in the first two years the likely hood of having a laptop fail or need repairs is in the 60% range where as a desktop after five years that is used compariably to the laptop is only in the 12/15 percent failure or need for repairs. Of course a desktop is not a good choice if you need portability, so there is a trade off in the different needs of a portable computer with that being the possibility of earlier failure for having the benefit of being portable
     
  6. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Posts:
    23,873
    Location:
    SW. Oklahoma

    Actually you can purchase a very good and powerful desktop computer for under $400.00
     
  7. yahoo

    yahoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    290
    Location:
    nowhere
    I am not so sure. Those desktops usually do not include monitor. But a laptop comes with the LCD monitor for "free", which can cost around $150 for a desktop.
     
  8. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    You've probably raised the main issue: Heat. As a matter of fact mine is an intel centrino pentium M which should not heat up easily, but I had to change the motherboard after 3 months of use. I have been using a cooling fan base for a couple of months and it really drops the internal temperature dramatically (I'm only monitoring the HD temperature though) especially during virus scans or backup creation.

    I've noticed that desktops too are shrinking in size, so what's the point in the end to get one?
     
  9. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Posts:
    23,873
    Location:
    SW. Oklahoma

    My last four desktops including this one that is only two months old have all been almost identicle in size. And this last one has three cooling fans that are about four inches across. It runs pretty cool. the hottest thing in it is the ATI Radeon graphics card.
     
  10. yahoo

    yahoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    290
    Location:
    nowhere
    It really comes down to the point whether you want the motibility of a laptop or not as other people said.
     
  11. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    Another consideration is upgradability - desktops offer more space and the option of a motherboard upgrade, effectively giving you a new computer without having to repurchase a case, monitor, keyboard or other peripherals. Laptops are limited to memory only in most cases meaning that in 4-5 years you would likely have to purchase a totally new machine.
     
  12. cthorpe

    cthorpe Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Posts:
    168
    Location:
    Texas
    I've always used desktops, but now that my wife has purchased a laptop I want one too. I think my next computer may well be a laptop. Of course, the one thing I'll lose is the ability to have every single CD I own available for play at any time with the lower HD space availability.

    C
     
  13. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    Your arguments are valid. The latest I've seen are duo core laptops, absolute marvels and apparently they seem to run lukewarm. I still think that very few people wouldn't change their computer in 5 years, technologically speaking these machines are superseded after only 2 years, and as prices keep dropping, I don't see a bright future for desktops. Laptops are more delicate, but my first desktop was an absolute disaster: Everything failed in the first two years.
     
  14. divedog

    divedog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Posts:
    265
    Location:
    Seabeck WA
    just received a 2ghz core duo tablet pc with 2ghz ram. Its nice but the hard drives in most laptops are 5400 rpm, slow when compared to a desktop. My amd 4400x2 @ 2.4 can run circles around it. Like the other posters said if you want mobility the laptop is the way to go. If most of you're usage is at home it's hard to beat a good desktop. If I was building one now, I would take a good look at the new conroe chip it's crazy fast, and the new laptop version will be out in several months, I think they are calling it Merom.

    http://www.dvhardware.net/article10674.html
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,047
    Even the mobility thing can be an issue. When I bought my laptop I was really after a sort of desktop replacement. The machine did the job, but weighed 12.5 pounds with a heavy power brick. Battery life was about 50 minutes, which meant the brick comes along. It's mobile, but only sort of. Failure occured at about the 15 month point.

    The new desktop fills the bill nicely, but with and AMD 64 FX 62 processor, I blew the $400 by a wide country mile.
     
  16. divedog

    divedog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Posts:
    265
    Location:
    Seabeck WA
    Where did you get it? I would recommend building you're own, or have a shop do it for you, it will give you the opportunity to select the components and make sure it is a quality build. It may cost a little more but in the end you will be much happier. Many of the budget computers that are sold today lack quality components, power supply ram and hard drives are often low quality in an effort to keep price down.
     
  17. divedog

    divedog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Posts:
    265
    Location:
    Seabeck WA
    I agree, I don’t care for the big laptops, I like them in the 4-5 pound range, my new one only has a 12 inch screen but it is light and battery life is 4 hours unless I rely ramp it up. Have you seen what AMD has done with the prices after Conroe came out. Most where cut in half.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2000340343 1050717007&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=343
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2006
  18. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    Hi bigc, which software u have used for these temps? Thanks.
     
  19. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Posts:
    23,873
    Location:
    SW. Oklahoma
  20. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Laptop - the big pro for me is that I can take it to my friends or work easily and have it in the sitting room, so can watch tv or listen to the hifi and keep my wife company.

    Desktop - the big pro for me is 3 fold, its a spare machine, so I can offload slow-long tasks from the laptop, eg printer, emule, disc burning. Also means easy backup location, keeps the laptop lean and fast. It also acts as my web developement server and file backup for the laptop.

    I get far better reliability and performance out of using 2 machines, than trying to use 1 machine for everything, Id never go back to having one computer again.
     
  21. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
  22. VIPER99

    VIPER99 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Posts:
    78
    And the ultimate hardware question goes to Osaban :p

    This is a very interesting question to answer as both the laptop and PC have their own advantages and disadvantages.

    He's a bit of a breakdown by what I know and some of the other posters input.

    Laptop
    Advantages

    Portablility/Compact - easy to move

    Disadvantages
    1.Heat - lower heat disipation then a standard PC which causes the laptop to feel warm to really hot after a few hours of use.

    2.upgrading issues - you are very limited to what can be upgraded for hardware. Essentually only RAM and possibly hard drive. (everthing else is likely built into the motherboard)

    3.greater cost for lower performance - though it is improving the amount of money you can spend on a new laptop can very likely be used to get a better PC
    An example is from a Dell flier I have right infront of me
    2 systems 1 a laptop 1 a PC both $899
    Laptop Specs
    Intel Core dua Processor T2500 (2GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB)
    wireless card
    XP Home
    14.1" Wide-Screen XGA Display with TrueLife
    512MB RAM
    80GB HD
    8x CD/DVD

    PC Specs
    Intel Pentium D Processor 820 dual core (2.8GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB
    XP Media Center Edition 2005
    1GB RAM
    160GB HD
    19" E196FP Flat Panel
    Integrated Intel Media Accelerator 950
    16x DVD Burner

    Notes: Another thing you have to keep an eye on when getting a laptop is that it is designed to be portable, heat friendly, and have a long battery file. One way this is done (atleast in windows, is to actually cut your system resources in half through power management settings. If you have a new laptop and have never looked at this, take a look at your my computer properties. I bet you will see under the computer header that your system speed and memory is actually about half the designated rating. This is becuae the laptop is likely set to laptop power mode (int the control panel). This allows the laptop to run longer by using less resources and it also decrease the amount of heat produced.

    PC Advantages

    Easier to upgrade
    More internal room
    better heat dissipation (depending several factors ex. cooling system (water or fans), case type, air flow etc.)

    Disadvantages
    Size

    Final note:
    If I could I would like a laptop also, but for what I do a laptop would be a secondary system for me. One which I would use for casual webserfing at home or away and multimedia entertainment. My PC (for now) will still be my primary system which I would use for gaming and resource intensive projects.
    So really it comes down to a few questions when you are looking for a new system and your debating between PC and laptop:
    1. What am I going to use it for
    2. Do I want mobility or centralization
    3. How much am I willing to spend

    If you are wanting to spend less than a $1000 (Canadian, you'll have to figure out the conversions :p). I would not recommend a laptop as you will be having to upgrade sooner rather than later which could become costly or give you issues when wanting to run newer apps.

    Anyway here is my 2 cents. Hope it helps ya out.

    VIPER99
     
  23. VikingStorm

    VikingStorm Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Posts:
    387
    Though keep in mind that the laptop can actually smash the desktop in performance since Core Duo(Pentium M) wipes the floor against the less efficient architecture in the Pentium D. I believe the factor is still around 1.5x more efficient so 2ghz (PM) = 3.5ghz (P4). Will be a moot point when Conroe starts to be utilized more however.

    This is basically what I am looking for, a laptop with a "super dock". A dock that has it's own PCI-Express slot for discrete graphics, and SATA ports. I believe Dell is planning on reintroducing this. I will be on board for this if it is true.

    At this point, my laptop is a desktop replacement since it is too heavy. In retrospect, a desktop is better if you are never going to move the thing. (Yes, now I am stuck with the conundrum of not being able to upgrade the video card).
     
  24. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Posts:
    263
    The only advange of a notebook is SIZE. If you purchase a notebook for portability, then get a good insurance policy because you will drop it, or spill liquid on it. Most users do not have the skills to repair or clean a notebook.

    A well-designed desktop PC runs cool and quiet (+5 to 7C above ambient). Many pros keep the same case and PSU for several years.

    All PCs benefit from regular cleaning. One can vacuum the inside of a custom desktop in about 5 minutes!
     
  25. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Posts:
    1,400
    Location:
    California - USA
    There is another major benefit that isn't so obvious - they have a 'built-in UPS'. If the main (AC) power fails, you don't miss a beat because your battery is there. We had several power outages resulting from our record-breaing heatwave. My desktop crashed every time, but my laptop didn't mind a bit. ;)

    That said, I would hate to have to do all of my computing on a laptop, with its cramped keyboard and touchpad pointer. I really value my desktop's full-sized (tactile-key) keyboard and MS Explorer mouse!
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.