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Ken's Corner

kens corner laptop or desktopThat’s a common question, especially since both have their merits. Some people want the flexibility and mobility a laptop provides while others believe a desktop computer is the only way to go. So which is better?

That depends on your usage and what you want to be able to do with your computer.

It used to be laptops couldn’t keep up with desktops. They had fewer features, they couldn’t carry the same amounts of memory, they were slower, etc. That’s not quite the case anymore. Processors for laptops and desktops can compete on a fairly level playing field in the low-to-mid-range of cost, although each processor brings its own pluses and minuses (but that’s a topic for another day.). Similarly, both systems can carry the same amount of storage and memory for standard daily use.

So what’s the difference?

  • The laptop carries some big advantages over desktops. First, obviously, its smaller size and weight make it a lot easier to take with you for work or play. The battery capabilities help in the portability department since your laptop doesn’t have to be plugged into a power source to be used. Finally, unlike the majority of desktops, laptops are wireless. They don’t have to be plugged into the Internet by ethernet cable, they can receive wi-fi signals nearly anywhere.
  • Desktops bring a couple of advantages to the table. It carries a lot more ports than a laptop, which results in two things: more accessories can be plugged in to add more storage area, speakers, microphones, etc. Plus most desktops carry two or more output ports for monitors, allowing you to use multiple monitors for the tasks you’re running.
  • But the big difference with a desktop is efficiency, and that reliability comes from one of its drawbacks. While the bulky tower on your desk isn’t very portable, it’s more efficient because it dissipates heat quicker. There’s a lot of empty space inside a desktop which allows for more room for circulation and bigger fans to bring in cooler air from outside. There’s very little empty space inside a laptop and fans are much smaller. Heat slows the flow of power and data and while both systems can cope with heat for a fair amount of time, a laptop will power off due to heat before a desktop under similar conditions.

So if your computer is not a heavy-use system and what you do is basically a combination of checking mail, bill pay, and some browsing, then a laptop is a pretty good choice. If you’re planning on doing tasks that flex the muscles of your processor and video card, desktops are going to be a better choice for the most part.