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Laptop Or Desktop?
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Laptop Or Desktop?

This article will explore what might the best choice for you. I used to be the IT admin for a small engineering firm. I built our server from the mobo up. I took care of 25 company workstations and laptops. We used DELLs and some fast muts that I made from scratch. There's a photo of the HP Envy 14 Spectre to the right. The outer shell is glass instead of machined aluminum. There's gorilla glass, aluminum and magnesium in there. It looks like a large smartphone, doesn't it?

Business or Commercial computers:

Let's face it. Business likes using a conventional desktop tower and a monitor or multiple monitor setup. This view is changing rapidly, though. Our firm had the philosophy to change over completely to laptops. We were on the way to dong this when the economy made the decision for us. That's another story.

Today, a laptop computer can do 99.5 of the work a conventional desktop can do. We have hurricanes and severe weather here in Florida from June through November. If there is bad weather coming, every laptop computer in the office can be quickly unplugged or undocked and quickly taken to your car. Then take it home or wherever there is decent internet access. Continue working.

The server can be a laptop too. That's a non issue. I could have easily have moved the server computer to my apartment. I had a 40 meg connection. The OS on the server was version of MS small business server with exchange for the company email. Our website was on the server. Everything on the server was automatically backed up online.

We had Remote Desksktop, FTP and VPN configured on the server. Every employee could access the company server wherever she or he might be. Drawings could be printed with the large format plotters at the office from the field. Text docs could be printed on the networked HP laserjet. The boss used to hang out at a place called the Ale House. He met lots of clients at his "offsite office." He had a setup in his van too. He drove a 15 passenger Chevy Express with most of the seating removed. That was another sales tool he really liked.

Your Personal Computer:

How long do we keep our personal computer? That's a hard one. When I was really into the hobby and playing with overclocking and high end cooling systems, I had 2 laptops, 3 game rigs and a small business server all running 24/7. I was upgrading something every 3 months. I was a very regular customer of newegg and performancepcs as I remember. I spent way too much money. I was a power user. That was my addiction before I got back into sportbikes which is my passion today. Tip: being a sportbiker is a lot more fun than being a computer nerd.

My needs are different now. I'm currently using a maxed out DELL M-90 Precision Workstation laptop. It's about 4 years old. It runs everything including some rather demanding 3D CAD software. I don't game anymore. I'm using a Samsung 32" LED TV for my monitor at present. This works perfectly for me. I'm picking up another 23" LED monitor from amazon or hp direct in a few days. I need the 2nd monitor to work more efficiently. It's easy to get used to working on multiple displays. HP has some very nice displays at the present.

I think many people keep their personal computer for 5 years. Can anyone please tell me why anyone would buy a desktop computer now? Go ahead, please. I'll listen. I respect your opinion. Many laptops have 2 monitor ports on the back of the laptop. You can easily run dual displays. The higher end laptops may have a docking station where addition video cards can be installed. How many displays do you need for your home business? Is 4 enough? You can do that.

Do plenty of research for your next laptop. Is this prospective notebook buy easily upgradable? How about customer service after the sale? This should be a big issue for everyone. Seems like electronics stuff either breaks right away or it lasts forever. Do you like a glossy screen or an ant-glare screen? Do you want a built in webcam?

Think about this:

  1. Battery Life
  2. The laptop Weight
  3. Do I really need an optical drive? Movies, music and software is bought or rented online now.
  4. Solid State drives are becoming the standard. The question is do you want a multiple drive raid array?
  5. Buy a 2nd AC power supply?
  6. Security and a fingerprint reader? Lojack is available.
  7. Windows, Mac or Linux? You could run all 3 Oses on a Mac by multi-booting.
  8. Software purchased and pre-installed?
  9. Antivirus and Internet Security. I'll pick something myself thank you. The pre-installed stuff on many laptops is a real memory hog. Something is better than nothing, though.
  10. Bluetooth? Definitely yes.
  11. Modem? This is old technology now. I would pass unless you really need it.
  12. USB 3.0 ports? Definitely yes
  13. E-Sata port? You'll have to decide.
  14. HDMI port? Definitely yes.
  15. SD Card Reader? Yes. You may have to pick a notebook larger than a 13" ultrabook.
  16. Firewire? It's still popular for video devices like camcorders. You can't have everything unless you buy a 13 pound monster of a laptop. I wouldn't want to lug that sucker around an airport like Houston. No way.
  17. Do you need an Air Card slot for receiving the internet in the field? Note: You can probably tether your smartphone to the notebook with a 4g connection in a pinch.
  18. How much internal memory do you need?
  19. What about a fast processor?
  20. WiFi and Wireless capability built in is a must have. Get the latest and greatest available. Everything is online now.
  21. Nic or Ethernet port? This is still something to have in case the wireless goes down or bluetooth isn't working. If there's a cat 6 cable available for an internet or LAN connection, I'll use it instead of wireless.
  22. PRICE.... It all boils down to this, doesn't it? Look for those specials online. OK. HSN runs some great technology specials. HSN sells the name brands too. You are NOT getting the latest technology no matter what the TV personality is saying. HSN has cheap prices to move stuff fast. If it works for you, great.
  23. Best Buy? They have the Geek Squad, right? Best buy is a reputable company. I'll buy from DELL, HP or maybe Samsung. Tip; If you talk to a DELL business sales rep over the phone, you may save some additional cash from the already great deals occasionally found on DELL's website. I like the gorilla glass HP Envy 14. It's cool.

Resale:

A laptop can be sold real fast on craigslist. No one wants to buy a used desktop. If you buy a desktop tower today, plan on throwing it in the trash in a few years when you finally wise up and buy something portable. I'm sorry if it sounds cruel and crude. Buying a desktop is a waste of money. Desktops are dinosaurs IMO.

Sure, that shiny new desktop replacement laptop is not going to be cheap, but you may have it for 5 years or longer. If you equip your new notebook with the highest performing processor and graphics option in the beginning, then you can upgrade memory and hard drives for years and keep the laptop current. Well, this works for me.

Please think about buying a state of the art laptop unless you can get by with a high end smartphone with a laptop dock or a tablet PC. I need more power to run commercial 3D design software, otherwise I'd consider the latest and greatest tablet. Screen size is important for many of us. Can you get buy with a smaller screen?

I plan on upgrading my laptop next year. It will be 5 years old. I feel it's time. I'm still considering a Mac, but I always change my mind and go back to Windows PC. I know it's possible to run windows on the mac. Since computer hardware is pretty much the same now days, I can't think of a practical reason to buy the Mac. To me, the mac is like buying a "designer" product. It's really cool and has that certain snob appeal.

Conclusion:

Many of you already know this stuff. Everyone doesn't. Maybe this article will help a few computer buyers looking to upgrade thier personal computer. Pick a laptop or tablet for your next personal computer. Desktops are dead.


Street Talk

Nice article. I think both are essential.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

You funny Frank. A wise man lets the wife drive the good car and use the laptop first.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

We have both but I am more comfortable using the desktop. Maybe that's because then I won't have to wait for my wife to finish using the laptop so I can have a turn.!!!.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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