Desktop Computer Vs Laptop Computer

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When deciding between buying a desktop or laptop computer, you need to consider a few criteria and determine what best suits your needs. Below is a chart that compares the two types of computers, providing pros and cons for each to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Desktop – A variety of component options are available for desktops, allowing for a greater range of prices, but the starting point is relatively inexpensive. Desktops can start for as little as $600 and still be a very powerful system.

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Laptop – Laptops can have a fairly wide variety of component options, but they are more limited than desktops. To get a more powerful laptop (higher speed, better graphics, more storage space, etc.), the price can be quite high, up to $1000 or more depending on the brand.

Bottom line: Desktop wins this category. A desktop computer is always cheaper than a laptop.

Desktop – Desktops are larger and have a separate monitor. While it is possible to move a desktop from one place to another, it is cumbersome and portability is not an option. They are designed to be used in one place and if not move at all.

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Laptops – Laptops are very portable due to their compact size. They were designed to be carried from one place to another in a backpack or laptop carrying case. They are great for use on the go.

Bottom Line: The laptop wins in this category. If you need portability, laptops are the answer.

Processor

Desktop – Desktop processors tend to be larger, but this also means that desktop processors can be more powerful than laptop processors. Newer, advanced processors are often the first desktop computers available on the market.

Laptop – Laptop processors have almost reached desktop processors, but are still limited in comparison to desktop processors. Gaming laptops may have similar performance but cost a lot more.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. Because desktops don’t need to worry about conserving battery life, they will always have better processors.

Internal Storage

Desktop – Desktop computers can have multiple internal storage drives installed.

Laptop – Laptop computers usually have room for only one internal drive. If more internal storage is needed, the drive must be replaced entirely, or the storage must be removed or used.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. Although both computers can have external drives connected or use cloud storage, desktop computers can have multiple internal hard drives and other drives.

Assembly And Installation

Desktop – Setting up a desktop takes a little extra work to add everything up, start it up, and start using. It also requires more space to be installed. Although it’s not difficult to tie everything together, it’s still more cumbersome than a laptop.

Laptops – Laptops are built to be easy to use, requiring little time to operate. Take it out of the box, plug it in and press the power button. Within minutes the laptop is ready for use.

Bottom Line: Laptops win in this category. A laptop can be up and running in just a few minutes.

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Keyboard

Desktop – Desktops can use a full-size keyboard, including a number pad. There are no limits.

Laptop – Smaller laptops with 14″ and 15″ screens have smaller keyboards and no number pad on the right side. Larger laptops with 17″ screens tend to have larger keyboards and may include a number pad, but laptops tend to be bulky and bulky.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. However, a desktop keyboard can connect to a laptop, which, if done, can make more connections.

Desktop – Desktop monitors can be 19″ or larger.

Laptop – Since portability is a big feature of laptops, smaller screen sizes are necessary, and screen sizes often range from 10″ to 17″.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. However, both laptops and desktops can connect to larger monitors, TVs, and projectors. If any of these larger displays were to be used, it would be considered a tie.

Desktop – Desktop computers use more electricity than laptops. They have to power a high-wattage power supply, several components inside the computer, and a monitor. If the power fluctuates or goes out, including a brownout, any documents that are being worked on and not saved can be lost.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. Desktops are larger and upgrades are easier.

Desktop – Desktops are able to use higher powered video cards that have higher power requirements and require better heat reduction/dissipation. Virtually any video card can be used in a desktop, including two or more video cards at the same time. Thus, they always give better performance for gaming.

Laptop – For most users, opening a laptop to repair a part can be difficult, and finding a replacement part often requires calling the computer manufacturer or ordering from another online site.

Bottom Line: Desktops win this category. Desktops are easier to repair than most laptops.

Result

Ultimately, the final decision depends on what your needs are. While the above overview might seem like the best option for those leaning towards desktop computers, if you need portability, laptops are the best option. There are some limitations to consider, but they are not overly significant for most users.

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However, if you want to get the most bang for your money and portability isn’t essential, a desktop is probably the best option. Desktops are the optimal choice for graphic-intensive gaming, use of CAD applications, and those who prefer the option to upgrade more easily. However, they’re also perfectly fine for the basic computer user, who only needs e-mail and Internet access.

Related Information

See our definitions of desktop and laptop for more information and related pages.

Computer comparison.

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