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These days over 80% of households in the UK own at least one computer and in many homes it is the laptop computer that we will notice more often than desktop PCs. Smaller, more portable, more stylish and oh so 21st century, laptops have fast become one of the must have gadgets around the house. So does this mean the end of the desktop computer?
There are many positives and negatives with both types of computer and it largely depends what you want to do with it whether you will be better off with one or the other.
In general laptops are more expensive than desktop computers if you match the specifications exactly, so depending on your budget you should be able to get higher specification and more powerful desktop computers for the same money as bottom of the range laptops.
Desktop PCs also tend to have more cutting edge technology packed inside as it can take some time for new features to be made small enough for the laptop market, so if you tend to use your computer for lots of gaming, music creation, photo or video editing or anything else requiring high processor speeds and outstanding graphics capabilities, you may find that a desktop is more capable than a laptop.
One of the biggest advantages of a laptop is, of course, its portability. Unfortunately this is also its biggest downfall too, as millions of laptop computers are stolen every year from homes, public places and offices. Consider if you really need the computer to be portable and think about how often you will really use it outside of the home. University students often buy laptops thinking they will take them to lecture theatres with them, but in reality they never do and University halls of residence are one of the worst places for laptop theft.
Another major difference is the ability to upgrade components of the computer as your needs change or technology advances. Laptops can have their memory upgraded, the hard drive can be replaced and the CD/DVD drive can be changed, but that’s about it. This means there is little that can be done to upgrade the overall performance of a laptop, particularly in terms of gaming and graphics upgrades.
Desktop computers however, can be infinitely upgraded with as many new components as you can fit into your case. Even if you run out of space in your case you can always transfer your hard drive into a bigger one! The downside is that desktops do not hold any resale value, although if you have upgraded sound cards, graphics cards and memory you might be able to sell on these individual components to get some money back.
As the situation is currently it is unlikely that we will see the end of desktop PCs. Until there is a way to increase the longevity of laptops by enabling more plug and play upgrading, serious gamers, designers, musicians and photographers will always have a need for the highly customisable desktop computer.