Whether your choosing a new computer for work, school, gaming or personal use. Many different factors play a part in choosing the right system for your needs. When deciding between purchasing a desktop computer or a laptop computer, you’ll need to consider a handful of criteria and make a determination that fits your needs the best. Below is a chart that compares the two types of computers, providing pros and cons for each to help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
|Cost||There is a wide variety of component options available for desktops, allowing for a large range of prices, but the starting point is relatively cheap. Desktops can start as low as $400 for a full package (computer & monitor) and still be a powerful system.||Laptops can have a fairly wide variety of component options, but they are more limited than desktops. To get a more powerful laptop (higher speed, better graphics, more storage space, etc.), the price can be considerably higher, depending on the brand.|
|Portability||Desktops are large in size and have a separate monitor. While it’s possible to take a desktop from place to place, it’s cumbersome and not the choice for portability. They are designed to be used in a single location and not moved around much, if at all.||Laptops are very portable due to their compact size. They were designed to be taken from place to place, carried in a backpack or laptop carrying case. They are great for on-the-go use.|
|Processor||Desktop processors are a little bit larger in size, but this also means the desktop processors can be more powerful than laptop processors. New, advanced processors on the market are often available in desktop computers first.||Laptop processors have nearly caught up to desktop processors, but are still limited when compared to desktop processors. Gaming laptops can have an equal performance, but have a much higher price.|
|Screen Size||Desktop monitors can be 19″ or larger. It is even possible to hook up a desktop to a TV, so screen sizes could be as large as a TV. This provides for great flexibility on what the desktop is used for and in what environment.||Since portability is a big feature of laptops, smaller screen sizes are necessary and screen sizes often range from 10″ to 17″. However, a laptop can still be connected to an external display and support any size of monitor, screen, or projector.|
|Power Usage||Desktop computers use more power than a laptop. They have to power a higher wattage power supply, multiple components inside the computer, and a monitor. If the power fluctuates or goes out, any documents being worked on and not saved can be lost.||Laptop computers use less power than a desktop computer. Smaller components means less power is needed to make them work. Laptops also have a battery, so power fluctuations and outages will not cost any unsaved work to be lost. The battery kicks in immediately when power fluctuates or goes out.|
|Gaming||Desktops are capable of using high-powered video cards that have higher power requirements and require better heat reduction/dissipation. Due to the space in a desktop and the capability of using 1000+ Watt power supplies, virtually any video card could be used in a desktop, including two or more video cards at the same time.||Physical space is limited in a laptop, which can limit the graphics capabilities. While higher-end laptops can provide better than average graphics for gaming. The heat reduction/dissipation is limited by the space in the laptop case. Power is also limited which doesn’t allow for video cards needing those higher amounts of wattage to run.|
|Upgrading||Most components in a desktop are easily removable, making it easier to upgrade and since desktop cases are usually much bigger they’re easier to work in when doing any upgrading.||Memory and hard drive are about the only components that can be upgraded in a laptop. The remaining components are either built-in and not removable or the laptop is not designed to work with an upgraded version of a component. A need to upgrade anything other than the hard drive and memory usually requires a new laptop.|
|Repair||Repairing a desktop computer is much easier since most of the hardware has easier access and more commonly used parts. Should only be done by a professional||For most users, opening a laptop to repair a part can be difficult and finding a replacement parts can be difficult. Should only be done by professional|
In the end, the final decision depends on what your needs are. However, if you want the most bang for your buck and portability is not necessary, a desktop is likely the best choice especially if price is important. Desktops are optimal choices for graphic intensive gaming, use of CAD applications, and for those who prefer to have the option of upgrading more easily. However, they are also perfectly fine for the basic computer user who only needs e-mail and Internet access.