Why does anyone still need a desktop computer?

Who are these people that are still buying desktop computers? You would think this is a moot point in the year 2013. The writing has been on the wall for several years now that laptop prices have made them significantly more affordable. Modern laptops are powerful, light-weight and best of all portable. Tablets are running a close second to laptops.

But, I do know some folks (who have requested to remain anonymous at risk of being made fun of) who insist that a desktop is the only way to go. Yes you may be shocked and surprised to learn that many non-geeks don’t have the latest, fastest, sleekest, quietest, thinnest, greenest, most powerful, highest resolution, lightest devices. I know that’s crazy, right? Yet, these people do actually exist. So over the last six months I’ve compiled a list of the desktop crowds desires:

  1. Need a larger screen
  2. Need the full-size keyboard
  3. Need a larger hard drive
  4. Need more power for processing images and videos
  5. Corporate security reasons where they don’t want laptops leaving the building
  6. Laptops are significantly more fragile and don’t last as long.

Now let me briefly present some corresponding counter-arguments suggestions.

  1. You can always hook up an external monitor to a laptop or some tablets.
  2. There are also external USB keyboards that rock.
  3. External storage is awesome these days. There are high-performance 128GB thumb drives, for example and even multiple terabyte external drives.
  4. Number 4 above might be the only reason for making a concession towards using a desktop. If you are professional or graphic artist that has video or image processing jobs that take currently many hours on a high-performance quad-core desktop, then you might not want to heat up your laptop to that extreme. For everyone else doing Facebook processing there are definitely some high-powered laptops that can crank on image processing.
  5. You could always use a permanent security cable like I’ve seen at some hotels and airport lounges.
  6. One of the most common causes of laptop death is failure to keep it cool. Make sure it sits on a hard surface like a table and not on top of your puffy down comforter all night. If you have a problem with dropping your laptop get it a protective case.

In conclusion, there are very few reasons where a desktop computer is the only solution. The next question you ask me should be “so, what type of laptop or tablet do you recommend?”!

3 thoughts on “Why does anyone still need a desktop computer?”

  1. Not sure what is the benefit of this article? Anyway, you are wrong on many level…

    Laptop are still fragile… They don’t last as long… generate more problems for non geek user… and for many, does not provide any advantage. Servicing them, even for the professional, is often more problematic and lengthly.

    #5 is a major reason for many entreprise. A security cable does not replace a desktop computer providing the same level of security… But yes, some compagny install “Security Cable” on desktop. Believe me, when a security gard see someone going out of the building with a desktop… he generally ask questions… not so for laptop.

    There is also several more application better on desktop — for example, advance gaming.

    Anyway, I have two I7 with 32 Gb memory ,… One is a Laptop and the others is a desktop. Both show 8 processors… but the Desktop always offer a more consistent response time.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Now that I’m re-reading this post I agree it could have been improved upon and clarified a few things more clearly. Desktops do have their advantages like you mentioned. However you would most likely agree that the overall consumer purchasing trend has moved towards smaller laptops as well as notebooks, tablets and smartphones. And, because of that world-wide PC sales are on the decline and the aforementioned smaller device sales are trending upwards.

  3. I’ve stuck to core2 as it was fast enough for me when Sandy came and then when it started to feel slow I was kinda waiting for something new, like cheap 10 gbe or pcie ssd or a jump in cpu speed or some new isa etc. I’d have jumped on Haswell weren’t it for the change in the thermal interface (non-soldered). Now I’ve figured I might want the new ISA instead that aren’t on the K model, so the thermal interface doesn’t matter so much. blah blah.

    I finally specced a new desktop but really I’d want the desktop power in a sff/mobile. However I’ve read that if you run those compact builds at 100% use, they are throttling to keep with the specd TDP. And I still have a ton of HDD’s I want full speed access onto. So 10 GBe on a laptop or SFF… not available.

    Now that I started getting some CPU errors I’m about to do some upgrading. Here’s what I’ve figured out for a new desktop:

    -G1.SNIPER B5

    -Mushkin Blackline – 2x 8GB, 1866 MHz, CL11, 1.35 V
    or Mushkin D3 8GB 2133-11 Blackline Frostb. MSK, 8 GB, CL11

    -Intel Xeon E3 1200, 3.4 GHz, 4 Kerne, 8 Threads, 8 MB

    i7-4771 would be 30$ more at one shop as there’s a special (much more at others). Not sure it’s worth it even then though. 0.1 Ghz just doesn’t really do anything for me.

    The Xeon is really bit of a compromise. I want to OC but I also want HT and TSX, for future prooving as I don’t like rebuilding my pc unless there’s a damn good reason (I do it every ~4-6 years).
    Ideally I could wait for Broadwell, if it brings a 128MB L4 that would help the future prooving even more.

    On the other hand I may just upgrade with Skylake again, in which case getting the overclocking model would make more sense as I don’t see anything using TSX soon.

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