Desktop v.s Laptop

When buying a computer you will be faced with two options: a desktop PC or a laptop. Which one you end up buying will depend on your needs and, of course, your budget.

A desktop PC is one that will reside on a desk in your office or bedroom. It will come with separate parts — usually a tower, which contains the brains of the PC as well as the DVD drive. It will usually come with a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

On the other hand, a laptop (or notebook) is an all-in-one device that is portable. It can be carried with you from room to room, between home and work, or used while on the road (when travelling on a train, for example). Laptops have a battery that can last anywhere between one and a half hours to four hours, depending on the type of programs you use. Laptops have a built-in monitor, a built-in keyboard and a built-in mouse, and they can vary in size from 10 inches to 18 inches.

Do Specifications Really Matter?

The key specifications to look for when buying a desktop PC or a laptop are the CPU, RAM (memory), graphics adapter and hard drive. The CPU is the brains of the computer; the RAM is the space where all your programs will be loaded (the more RAM you have, the more programs you can load); the graphics adapter (also known as the graphics card or graphics controller) determines how well your computer will play games; and the hard drive determines how many programs, music files, documents, videos and e-mails you will be able to store on your computer.

Laptops will generally have lower specifications than desktop PCs, although there's not much in it these days. A typical laptop might have less RAM and a smaller hard drive than a similarly priced desktop PC, and it will also have a less powerful graphics adapter. The CPU, which makes a big difference in computer performance, is often the same between a laptop and a PC. For the best performance in a laptop or a desktop PC, look for a model with Intel's Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, or AMD's Phenom II CPUs.

The Need for Speed

In the old days, if you wanted a fast computer, you had to buy a desktop PC. Currently the performance of a desktop PC and a laptop is similar and, in some cases, equal. The only area in which desktop PCs and laptops can differ greatly is in their ability to play games; although there are gaming laptops, they tend to be less powerful than desktop PCs. If you want a computer to play the latest games, then you should definitely consider a desktop PC. If you want to buy a computer just so that you can view photos, use the Internet or type up documents and spreadsheets, then a laptop is a good choice.

In the laptop vs. desktop debate, the question of speed boils down to price. Some high-end laptops are very competitive when it comes to speed. But if you're willing to pay the price, there isn't a laptop out there that can keep up with a high-end desktop. If you're looking for top-of-the-line speed and have the cash to spend, a desktop is the way you'll want to go.

What Will You Use it For?

The bottom line is determined by how you'll use your new computer. If you're looking for portability and your requirements are everyday functions like email, surfing the web, and streaming video, a laptop would be the best option.

But when your usage extends to programs that require a lot system resources (such as video and photo editing, streaming high-definition video, and high-end 3D gaming), a mid- to high-end desktop is probably your best bet.

 

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