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Old 05-05-2010, 11:11 AM   #1
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


The old PC of my younger sister died and she wanna buy a new one. So we wonder whether we should buy a desktop or a laptop PC?
- The desktop PC is cheaper than laptop. With the same price, we can have a stronger desktop PC, but
- The laptop PC safes more energy. Furthermore, it's small and mobile, so that we don't have much space for it, and can get it to everywhere if we want.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:18 AM   #2
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


My next PC may be a laptop
I'll use my existing screen, KB & mouse
All depends upon if the price difference is worth having the laptop capability
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:28 AM   #3
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


I suggest you strongly consider a laptop unless you have reasons to NOT want the mobility. Historically desktops got a lot more for the money than laptops...but that gap is pretty small these days.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:28 AM   #4
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


If mobility is important to you then I'd say go for the laptop. On the other hand, if your sister doesn't need to bring it around with her a desktop is a cost-effective and more durable choice - you could get a PC with the same features as a laptop but the PC would be way way cheaper. I have and prefer a laptop because I need to be able to work when I'm away from my home or office desk. It all depends on what you want your rig to be able to do for you.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:59 AM   #5
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


You might consider refurbished computers. I buy mine from Dell:

http://www.dell.com/outlet

and some other manufactures have a similar refurbished equipment site.

The advantage is that you can get current models (at least at Dell) + a three year on-site warranty for less than the same equipment "new" and only covered for a year - it's been years since I've purchased a computer, printer or monitor "new", and I've been very satisfied with my refurbished purchases,
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:31 PM   #6
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


The Dell Outlet is a great suggestion. I've bought a couple of laptops from there. You can also find some good deals on refurbs from Microcenter. Get a laptop, unless you are planning to play lots of video games on it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:29 AM   #7
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


I'm an amateur when it comes to household repairs and upgrades, but computers are my profession and passion.

You're already identified that the desktop will be 'stronger'. As so many others have stated, "Just how mobile do you need it?" Where will you be taking the laptop? What do you do with this laptop? (Or rather, what does your youngest sister do with it?) Will she actively tote this thing around? How much does it weigh? While many laptops are indeed portable, I intentionally purchased one that weighed about four pounds, as I assure you, toting around much more all day becomes a burden, and many are as much as seven or more pounds. There's little sense purchasing a weaker machine for the 'possibility' of mobility when lugging it around is such a chore that it no longer makes it an attractive alternative.

Finally, you should be aware that laptop hard drives are traditionally much slower than desktop drives. As this is the current bottleneck in PC technology, it is a major consideration. When you first boot, all the OS files are read from the hard drive and placed into memory. This is why desktops tend to boot much faster than laptops. Additionally, many laptops, in attempts to save power, are equipped with weaker processors.

This doesn't mean you can't buy a lousy desktop, but traditionally desktops are warhorses and laptops are scouts. So...are you going to be scouting?

Although, given the date of the original post...you probably already made your purchase!

Last edited by Fox; 07-08-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:47 AM   #8
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


I'll say it again....the performance gap between a laptop and a desktop at the same price point is pretty negligible to the point of almost nonexistent these days. To think otherwise is living in the past.

So it comes down the need for portability and other ergonomics. I have two young kids who'd destroy a laptop in minutes. And some adults might like a traditional keyboard and monitor vs those of a laptop.

Once again...unless you are doing some serious gaming or have pretty unusual requirements...the average computer user will realize zero performance difference between a laptop and a desktop at the same price point.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:21 PM   #9
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by piste View Post
I'll say it again....the performance gap between a laptop and a desktop at the same price point is pretty negligible to the point of almost nonexistent these days. To think otherwise is living in the past.

Once again...unless you are doing some serious gaming or have pretty unusual requirements...the average computer user will realize zero performance difference between a laptop and a desktop at the same price point.
Um...no. Laptops are going to be slower in the same price range, period. That's not living in the past, it's living there, the present, and the future. It's simply Moore's Law: Sure, we have the technology to make the processors from 6 months ago in half the size...but we've still got processors much faster today that are bigger than those 6 month old processors. And those ones fit into desktops quite nicely.

I consider booting up the PC to be a requirement that isn't too usual. Or any other program for that matter.

Check the hard drive specs for a current laptop from dell:
http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/noteb...17&cs=19&s=dhs

See that hard drive spec? 5400RPM. On all their laptops. Go check out Dell's desktop hard drives. 7200RPM. On all of them. Saying 7200 vs 5400 doesn't make a difference is like stating "As long as my package gets shipped overnight, I don't mind if it takes you a week to haul it out of the warehouse to mail it." The bus speeds might be the same (shipping) but the time it takes your HDD to find it (especially in a heavily fragmented drive) makes a significant difference. You're talking 30 to 40% longer access times any time the computer accesses the hard drive. In case anyone is wondering, that's pretty much any time you see that hour glass where your cursor should be.

And here's just a tidbit of citation to back up what I'm saying: http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/33C6A76DF9338B0A86256D34007054C0/$file/Why7200MobileHDDs.pdf

From Dell, for about 550 bucks you either get a dual core laptop, or a quad core desktop. Save the monitor if it ain't broke and use that.

If you still don't believe me, go state that laptops of the same price are just as fast as desktops at the forum of a well known site that rhymes with "CardOCP". Let me know the response you get.

This isn't rocket science: Do you need to be able to move if often or not? You will take a performance decrease if you get a laptop but you can't move a desktop as easily. End of story.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:46 PM   #10
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox View Post
Um...no. Laptops are going to be slower in the same price range, period. That's not living in the past, it's living there, the present, and the future. It's simply Moore's Law: Sure, we have the technology to make the processors from 6 months ago in half the size...but we've still got processors much faster today that are bigger than those 6 month old processors. And those ones fit into desktops quite nicely.

I consider booting up the PC to be a requirement that isn't too usual. Or any other program for that matter.

Check the hard drive specs for a current laptop from dell:
http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/noteb...17&cs=19&s=dhs

See that hard drive spec? 5400RPM. On all their laptops. Go check out Dell's desktop hard drives. 7200RPM. On all of them. Saying 7200 vs 5400 doesn't make a difference is like stating "As long as my package gets shipped overnight, I don't mind if it takes you a week to haul it out of the warehouse to mail it." The bus speeds might be the same (shipping) but the time it takes your HDD to find it (especially in a heavily fragmented drive) makes a significant difference. You're talking 30 to 40% longer access times any time the computer accesses the hard drive. In case anyone is wondering, that's pretty much any time you see that hour glass where your cursor should be.

And here's just a tidbit of citation to back up what I'm saying: http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/33C6A76DF9338B0A86256D34007054C0/$file/Why7200MobileHDDs.pdf

From Dell, for about 550 bucks you either get a dual core laptop, or a quad core desktop. Save the monitor if it ain't broke and use that.

If you still don't believe me, go state that laptops of the same price are just as fast as desktops at the forum of a well known site that rhymes with "CardOCP". Let me know the response you get.

This isn't rocket science: Do you need to be able to move if often or not? You will take a performance decrease if you get a laptop but you can't move a desktop as easily. End of story.
I would suggest you pay closer attention to the words I choose as I choose them carefully. Failing to do so has allowed you to completely miss my points. It's not a matter of difference or not...it's a matter of degree and materiality. I can talk bits and bytes all day long at any level you want. I've been an IT professional for 25 years and starting writing code in the mid/late '70's on line printers...no CRTs. You are coming at this from a technologists perspective....not from the perspective of the average consumer. The performance gap today at a given price point (pay attention there as I'm ackknowledging there IS a gap) is immaterial to the average consumer. That was not true as recent as 2 or 3 years ago (like 2007 when that Hitachi report came out..which has some good stuff in it though) but it IS today. To byte-heads like me...sure you can talk about dual core vs quad core....chip speeds, bus speeds, drive speeds, solid state drives, amount and type of memory, 32 bit vs 64 bit operating systems, etc etc. But you've made no case that the gap makes a material difference in the experience of most consumers.

Here's a few Dells for ya:

{links removed - not working}
Laptop for $800:
Desktop $760 on sale:

I have at my house basically both of these machines and see no material difference in performance...and I'm a technologist who's made a career out of paying attention to these sorts of things. I'm not gonna nit pick every technical detail but ...
-they are both Core i5 processors though the desktop is a "bit" faster one
-desktop has 1TB disk vs. 500GB in the laptop....that's just storage space...not performance. Nice to have...but worth about $50 at most in today's market.
-desktop's hard drive is faster....and that's good because the speed helps marginally at startup as you say...so if someone boots up and uses their computer for 3 hours...they boot up slightly quicker during those first few minutes which represent about 1% of their total 3 hours of usage time because there typically ain't much disk I/O happening outside of startup that constrains overall performance. So the remaining 99% of the time that faster drive does very little for the user.
-both have DDR3 SDRAM...desktop has 8GB vs 4Gb in the laptop...but to have apples to apples ya gotta buy a monitor to go with the desktop cuz the laptop comes with one and so for that money you spend on the monitor for the desktop you can put another 4GB into the laptop so that's a wash.

So to me....these two machines are certainly in the same ballpark as far as performance and price. And the average consumer will experience little to no performance difference. OTOH...if you want to nit-pick tech specs with a fine tooth comb then you can always find "some" difference....it's just that in today's world....outside of a very small percentage of unique requirements... that difference simply doesn't matter anymore. If someone wants to factor performance into the laptop vs. desktop decision...by all means...but IMO....it's pretty much the LAST thing to consider behind many other considerations....yet some folks jump right to that as the first and sometimes only consideration. Used to be...not anymore.

PS. As I know you know...Moore's Law pertains to the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit and the fact that that number doubles for a given chip size approx every 2 years. but physical space in a laptop chassis or motherboard does not constrain chip speed/sizes that can be fit into them ...at least not anymore.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:24 AM   #11
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


This is a waste of time.

You concede boot-up speeds will be faster, because it's accessing the hard drive. That's 1% of time that it will be faster. Great, now stare at your PC and do nothing, because that's the only way they'll be equally fast. Do NOT open Firefox, or Internet Explorer, or even Chrome; those will access the hard drive, and the laptop will be slower to do this than the desktop. Do NOT open Outlook to check your email. Do NOT open Microsoft Word, or any other word processor, as it needs to be pulled off the hard drive. Do NOT attempt to open any program, as it will need to be pulled off the hard drive, during which time you will traditionally see the "hourglass cursor" and know your machine is waiting on the single biggest bottleneck that has plagued all computers since...well, you're old enough to know the answer to that, you were there.

So sure, if you don't care how long it takes to open a program, or that it will take about 30% longer any time you'd like to access your hard drive, that is, in a matter of degree and materiality, your call. But 30% is not pretty negligible to the point of almost nonexistent, but maybe someone who wrote code on line printers doesn't mind the wait.

The bottom line of all of this is the author of this topic asked for opinions, not for an argument. I stated mine, I placed down facts and backed it up with sources. Anyone who has ever double clicked on an icon and listened to their PC grind away as it revs up the hard drive and blinks that little light at them knows how annoying it is to wait for a program to load. Can you fix it? Yes, but in the end, the desktop is going to be faster unless you spend more to beef up the laptop. If the difference was as marginal as you state, no one would sell desktops anymore, and we'd all have super computers in our phones...


You can have it

Cheaper, Faster or Mobile

Pick two.

End of story.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:39 PM   #12
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Desktop or Laptop PC?




Just in case anyone was wondering....there's little to no difference in price/performance between a laptop and desktop computer any more. Don't let any technodweebs try to convince you otherwise!!
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:21 PM   #13
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


I've yet to see a laptop & desktop with the same CPU & memory priced the same
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:05 PM   #14
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I've yet to see a laptop & desktop with the same CPU & memory priced the same
I never said you would. If you take that perspective..$599.98 is NOT the "same" price as $599.99

When was the last time you shopped? The gap is gone for all intents and purposes.....
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:06 PM   #15
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Desktop or Laptop PC?


I have been shopping
Laptops are not in the same price category

Celeron 900 2.2 laptop 3g memory 800mhz $400
Athlon X2 processor 2.8 4g memory 1066 mhz $400

Those are some big differences
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