Are Desktops Obsolete?


Are Desktops Obsolete?

Having previously written about evolution of computers it got me thinking more about the fate of desktops. Some 20-30 years ago, desktops were the de facto computers – nothing else than them was available. Laptops, tablets and smart phones were a big unknown, perhaps only existing in the heads of engineers and futurists. However, much has changed since, and in 2017 it is evident that desktops are getting less and less popular every year. Does this mean that desktops are absolute useless, miserable and out of function today? Not at all – there are still many uses for them. Hence this article where I have gathered some of the main benefits desktops have over laptops and other mobile devices.

Performance Beats Laptops

OK, I lied to you, the above statement is not always true. There are cases where laptop performance is higher than desktop. A notebook that costs 2000 dollars will be faster than a desktop that barely costs five hundred. However, the gist is, when comparing similarly-priced desktops and laptops, desktops will win the performance race hands down. The reason is the available space – it’s cheaper for manufacturers to produce bigger components which in turn fit well to roomy desktop cases. In the same vein, laptop components need to be smaller due to notebook shells being so compact. This, in turn, means slower performance, or much higher costs if you want desktop-level performance in a laptop.

Monitors Are Large

There are many of us for whom the small laptops screens just don’t cut it. Maybe you are working with huge images, videos or just want the extra screen estate desktop monitors bring. Indeed, for some people, it will be more comfortable to work with over 25” desktop monitors than on 15-inch laptop displays. Another feature playing the key role here is the resolution which actually dictates how much things you can fit on the screen at the same time. A physically small laptop screen can have a high resolution – say 1920×1080 and beyond – which will surely give you a lot of screen estate. But the downside is, everything on the display will look goddamn small: the icons, text and all.

In essence, if you think you will enjoy a big monitor, desktop will be the best choice for you. It will be a walk in the park to edit images coming out of your digital camera the bigger the display is and the more resolution it has. Similarly, if you are a movie freak and can position your desktop monitor freely, watching flicks on these bigger screens will be a pleasant experience.

Desktops Often Run Cooler

There is a lot of space in desktop cases, at least usually. Hence, the air flows much more freely than it does in a laptop (to be honest, the air hardly flows freely in notebook anyway). In addition, desktops often include a couple of fans to make the cooling effect even greater. As a result, the components inside will stay cool. But why would you care about this? Aren’t components supposed to heat up? Well, a little, but if they become very hot the operating system might lag or freeze, and eventually the component might entirely break down. That is why there is so much concern about notebooks heating up, whereas these concerns don’t really apply to desktops because of the way they are built. In a word, heat dissipation in desktops works well naturally.

Easy to Upgrade and Repair

Connected to the above point, thanks to the big cases desktops have, they are convenient to upgrade. You need a screwdriver to open up the opposite side of the desktop where motherboard is situated, and now you have access to pretty much every component inside. Want to add more memory? No problem, just push the new RAM stick in place. Want to add a solid-state drive? No problem, put it in the free drive bay in front. Want to upgrade the processor? Admittedly, it takes some effort because you’ll need to install both CPU and the heatsink/cooler, but it will be a very doable maneuver once you have an online guide at hand. Similarly, if something is broken, replacing the parts are easy through the opened side case. In laptop, however, upgrading components can be much more complex process. There might not be free memory slots or drive bays available. Even if there are, it’s sometimes a difficult task to make your way to the laptop’s motherboard in the first place – opening up the notebook bottom often takes great effort!

Are Desktops Obsolete?

Gamer There? Desktop is for You

There’s an user demographics that really benefits from the performance desktops offer. That demographics is the gamers. Those who play computer games day in day out know the importance of high performance – it will directly dictate the smoothness, or frame rates per second, of the game. Especially in fast-paced games such as first person shooters it is very important to minimize lag, and to have high frame rates per second, to ensure you don’t get killed because you couldn’t move the crosshair first due to a sudden slow-down on your computer. Also, gamers often want to play on a bigger monitor due to a more realistic experience. And for this, as we know, the large desktop displays are an excellent choice.

As you can see, the mobile devices are not the right solution for everybody. Of course, for the majority of people a combo of laptop and smart phone is all they need. Indeed, the main benefit of desktops is their fast performance and better upgradeability, which obviously caters to the more geeky demographics. Me being a geek, I must admit that I sold my desktop more than five years ago and exclusively changed to a laptop (a high-end one, similar to this). So while I’m not currently practicing what I preach, I still have over a decade of experience of using, building and configuring desktops. With a full certainty I can say they come very handy provided you value high-performance, easily expandable computers that offer great bang for your buck!

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