Desktop vs. Laptop: What Should Your Next Computer Be?

Desktop vs. laptop, an age old debate ever since the introduction of the laptop into the internet world. This is your ultimate guide for deciding which to own.

Planning to buy a new computer?

Even with mobile devices taking the world by storm, the traditional PC isn’t dead. There are still many things you can do on a PC or laptop that you can’t achieve on a tablet or smartphone, like playing high-end video games or video editing.

But should you get a laptop or a desktop? Deciding between a desktop vs. laptop is the real debate for some folks.

We’re here to help you figure it out and ensure you buy what you need. Read our guide below to better learn which device best suits your needs and wants.

Are You on the Move?

This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself. Deciding between a desktop vs. laptop largely depends on when and where you’ll use it.

Get a desktop if you know you don’t need to bring it with you everywhere you go. If you have a personal office in your home and that’s your spot for work or gaming then a desktop is a suitable choice.

It’s a smarter move to get a laptop if you tend to work on the go. Writers, for example, can work at home, at a cafe, or even at the airport. Laptops work best for people like this since you can pick up work and continue wherever and whenever.

Yes, you can bring a desktop with you but it’s more of a hassle than anything else. You’ll need a special type of luggage to bring one and setting it up is nowhere near as simple as opening up a laptop and turning it on.

What Will You Use It For?

If you’re going to use the unit for hardcore video gaming or if your work involves using demanding resources, like AutoCAD or video editing on Premiere Pro, you should get a desktop. Desktops allow you to keep upgrading, which means you can add more RAM, change graphics cards, and install a better SSD hard drive or processor as your tools become more demanding each year.

After all, why get a laptop if you want to experience a game like Resident Evil 3 remake in full Ultra HD 4K resolution and at maximum frames per second, with ray tracing and other graphical upgrades enabled? Why get a laptop if your work requires a system capable of rendering videos in 4K while post-processing special effects and audio simultaneously?

However, laptops can still get the job done if you don’t require an overtly powerful unit.

Writers, artists using Illustrator or Photoshop, and office workers in need of Excel or InDesign can do fine with a mid to high-tier laptop.

One Unit for Years

When is a computer outdated?

For laptops, you can expect them to feel out of date in 2-3 years. Within that period, most games and productivity software updated and now require more powerful hardware. Games from 2020 require much beefier CPUs and graphic cards compared to the titles released in 2017.

Laptops, unfortunately, can’t swap out parts. Most laptops use integrated parts, meaning the manufacturers built items like the graphics card into the motherboard. You can’t simply remove and replace them.

Desktops, on the other hand, could potentially last for a decade. Most motherboards and processors can handle multiple upgrades for years. You could go through three laptops before your desktop computer finally requires replacement.

However, if you know you only need something for school work or office work, a laptop is a decent choice. By the time the laptop gets outdated, you’ll no longer need it.

Budget Limitations

Of course, you’ll have to limit yourself according to your budget.

Desktop computers, particularly those as powerful as some desire, can cost well over $1,000 to $2,000. These figures come from the average price of high-end processors, graphics cards, RAM, and the latest motherboards. You’ll want a good monitor too, one with a high refresh rate and resolution.

Laptops can cost a pretty penny too. However, you can find mid-tier laptops for $300 and below.

If you’re okay with something not too powerful and you’re not on the go, you can look for budget desktop computers. A $500 desktop is going to be more powerful than a $500 laptop, simply because you’re not paying for portability.

Miscellaneous Peripherals

Laptops don’t have a lot of options when it comes to peripherals. Most laptops come with a couple of USB ports and an HDMI out port. For everything else, you’ll need to use Bluetooth connectivity.

Desktops, on the other hand, have more ports and this allows you to add things simultaneously. Do you want to use a microphone while also connecting an external camera and a headset to your system? Do you want to connect your PC to a high-end VR system to play games in VR or offer a virtual walkaround for real estate property?

A desktop can do all these without a hitch while a laptop might need a USB hub first. It all depends on whether or not these peripherals are a priority for you.

Number of Users

Laptops are great for homes with only one user. Since you’ll always be on the move, laptops aren’t great for people who need to share the device. If you’re the only one using the computer, get a laptop.

Desktops are a better option for houses with multiple users. The unit stays in its corner, meaning more people can sit down and use it. No one has to worry about one of the users suddenly picking it up and taking it with them.

Desktop vs. Laptop: The Verdict

Deciding between a desktop vs. laptop isn’t as difficult as some make it out to be.

It’s all about preference, number of users, intention, and budget. Use our guide here to figure out whether or not a laptop or a desktop better suits your needs.

That said, there’s a lot more to discuss when it comes to computers and staying tech-savvy. If you want to get the most out of your experiences, feel free to keep reading our guides right here.

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