Desktop or Laptop? Choose the Right Computer For You!

When considering the purchase of a new computer, many people find themselves asking – should I buy a desktop or laptop computer? I buy over one hundred computers a year for my clients, and am often asked this same question. In this article I will share with you the same advice I give my clients.

Cost Considerations

Laptops are generally speaking, more expensive than desktops. A similarly equipped laptop going to cost at least 25% more initially, but the lifetime of the average laptop is generally shorter than than the lifetime of the average desktop. Face it – laptops are fragile, and the inevitable bumps and bruises eventually take their toll. The bottom line is, the portability of a laptop comes at a premium price.

Some people create a “home space” for their laptops, with include such accessories and peripherals as an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, scanner, and/or printer. If you can afford it, this scenario gives you the best of both worlds.


Laptops, generally speaking, are slower than desktops. There are many factors that go into the speed of a computer, and obviously some laptops are faster than some desktops. However, generally speaking:

— Laptops are designed to run on battery power. Their components begin to power down after brief periods of non-use, and it takes time for them to come back to life.

— All but the high end laptop hard drives are 5400rpm, whereas entry level desktop hard drives are 7200rpm. More RPMS means more speed, but also requires more power.

— Laptop processors use much less energy…and therefore can’t perform as many operations in the same amount of time as a desktop processor.

Do you NEED Portability?

If you don’t need the portability, get a desktop. I have clients who paid big money for a high dollar laptop, docking station, separate keyboard, mouse, and monitor…only to have it sit on their desk. Maybe portability to you means you like to sit on the couch at night and surf the web – fine. (I do that myself!) But if your computer is not going to move, save the money and get a faster computer – buy a desktop.


Due to the very nature of laptops, they do not typically provide as good of ergonomics as desktop machines. If you spend a lot of time on your computer, and plan to buy a laptop, you may need to create a space with good ergonomics to work. There are many resources on the web to help you do this – just Google ergonomics.


Another consideration is the possibility of theft. Laptops are at the top of the list for petty thieves, and you must guard them carefully when you are out and about. There are theft recovery systems such as Lojack available to help you recover your computer if stolen, for a price.


The decision of whether to buy a laptop or a desktop is an important one. Carefully consider your budget and the other points discussed above, and then make the right decision for you. Once you have your new computer, visit my website for plenty of other great information on keeping it running fast and smoothly.

Source by Rich Pryor

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