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February 10th, 2005

Laptop or Desktop?

I’m in the very early stages of playing the game called, “What will my next computer be?” But I find that one of the big questions in the game is one I faced four years ago, when I bought my current machine: laptop or desktop?

The adage has been that one can get more power in a desktop unit, but that’s not really holding true anymore. Desktops are generally more expandable, but again, not always. Laptops are the only machines for a lot of people. I guess the only thing I’d really miss out on from a component perspective is a big honking monitor. Chances are good that if I get a laptop, I’m looking at either a 15″ or a 12″ screen.

I’m curious what Pingers use, though: desktops or laptops? And why’d you choose what you chose?

Posted in Technology

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 8:58:10 am
I've got a laptop to work, but I only use it for client demos or when I go into the office. Otherwise I work on a desktop.

I will say though that the Gateway Tablet laptop are the best laptop I've ever used.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 9:27:21 am
I use a desktop at work and at the office and prefer desktops for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with computing power over laptops: laptops have cramped keyboards, small squinty screens and fiddly drive drawers.

The only reason I'd get a laptop is if I had a job that required me to bring my computer with me. Right now, I don't and I'm liking it.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 10:01:11 am
I think I'd have a hard time getting used to a laptop as a primary machine. Yes, you can get a docking station so it essentially feels like a desktop when you're at a desk, but I like to add stuff to my computers too much and most laptops aren't easily enough expandable for my needs. Of course, I also seem to kill computers with a quickness, so maybe I should chill out on the expansion.

My ideal setup: powerful desktop as the main machine with a middle-of-the-road, but capable, laptop for wireless use around the house or travel.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 10:15:36 am
desktop. More drives!

FROM: Greg
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 10:24:21 am
A P3 800MHz desk top. It rocks! But, it's got two hard drives with tons of space.

I got to work on a lap top the other day that used the same slot for a DVD Rom and a 3 1/2" floppy. Just pop out one and put the other one in.

FROM: Cat [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 12:06:59 pm
I suppose if I had to travel a lot, I'd go for a laptop. I'm not one of those folks who needs a computer with them everywhere--but don't listen to me, I won't even get a cell phone. Bottom line: if there's no compelling reason to get a laptop, then a desktop is the obvious choice.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 1:51:49 pm
I have a desktop, mostly because I like building my own and I don't think I could get used to gaming on a screen like that.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 3:20:39 pm
I haven't "bought" a computer since my very first one back in '97. I have an old case and I just keep cramming stuff into it.

My main machine is a desktop. I need a desktop b/c I can't live w/o dual monitors. I do have a laptop that I hook up to my monitor but it's just not the same. I got my laptop primarily for testing. I kept having to go to kinko's to test projects that were dual platform. So I got an iBook to make my life easier.

I will say that laptops make commuting a helluva a lot easier. I used to grab a netflix and watch a movie a day during my roundtrip 2-hour commute.

DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 4:59:48 pm
Laptops with wireless internet are pretty cool, then you arent stuck at a desk. I would probably get a laptop cause if you r in a rush to finish something you can take it with you.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 5:37:30 pm
I will probably go for a desktop, in the end. But since I have a train commute now like you, aharris, that's what I was thinking about.

Maybe I'll just go for a desktop and consider a laptop later, but two computers for one person seems a bit much. (Although, Pinger Terry M. would have something to say about that....)

FROM: Dave [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 11:34:04 pm
Well, if you purchase a laptop, don't cheap out.

You can get away with it on a PC, just upgrade parts left and right, but with a laptop (without a lot of pain, suffering, and warranty voiding) you can really only upgrade the hard drive and memory. Anything else is both expensive, and a pain.

I actually have both a laptop and a desktop. The desktop sits in a corner and serves files, and as a workstation if need be.

The laptop is the general use computer, and being an Athlon 64 with a gig of memory I'm really not hurting on computing power or speed. I'm happy with the setup.

Pair the laptop with a bluetooth phone and it's beautiful anywhere, including the train. :

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 12, 2005 -- 3:38:10 pm
I've been a desktop guy for years because I love reusing old hardware. That said, I keep a few laptops around for those rare days when I want to sit elsewhere.

So I'd argue for: get a desktop, but pick up a free "obsolete" laptop from someone who doesn't want it anymore. My workplace has been throwing out P200 notebooks. They do just dandy at word processing, email, etc.

On the other hand, I have been considering buying a laptop. Most desktops (unless you build your own) come with monitors, keyboards, etc. I do not need those. If you already have a monitor/keyboard/etc that you like, the laptop takes up less space, and you can keep your current peripherals.

It'll just cost twice as much.

DATE: Tuesday March 8, 2005 -- 9:55:41 am
I have been getting the bug to get a laptop for some time. I am a retired guy and belong to a PC club. I end up putting several program presentations a year about various things. I am glad when I can borrow someones else's laptop, otherwise I have to lug one of my desktop systems from home to the meeting and back.

I have one more payment on my younger son's Toshiba (12 months 0% interest) and have been chomping at the bit for some time. I have been saving my rebates and recenty picked up a little extra $$ helping someone on a big computer project. So I am straining at the reins here. Looking at all kinds but narrowing my search to the HP Pavillion zv54xx series. AMD 64 based with dedicated video... among other things.

I am also going to start working part time "in the field" driving around in unfamiliar locations. Sounds like I need the GPS/software from Delorme too! With a trip to Floriday looming later this month, I REALLY want to get one.

Just have to find a way to make the old girl cave in. She can not see how I need one more, as I have several desktops all around the house. "Gee with a laptop, I can use our wireless network and not need (all of) those others." Almost there! (I WILL hang on to the better of the bunch however... just in case!)

I am glad both of my sons have one... My best friend has one. But it pains me to see in the comics today that "Crankshaft" even has one, (though his use is on the low end.)

I recall getting sidelined when I wanted to get a motorcycle after I retired. (I have had 4 over the years. Sold the last one I had to get my first PC, a refurbished ATT 6300... to replace my TI99/4A. But a bike would not have been that practical, I admit... [ah HA! There's something I can use to appease the old girl!]

Somehow, I will put my foot down and then some cash and get one real soon. You know, it will cost about the same as one of the first systems I got: an IBM 486SX25! But it would rip the socks off of that old thing!

Do any of the arguments above some plausible to you? I GOTTA GET ONE! It is just about Spring and an old guys fancy turns towards... TOYS!

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday March 12, 2005 -- 7:21:30 pm
I got a Minibook from a while back. That might be easier than lugging a big desktop system around; my TX-3 is about the size of eight CD cases.

On the other hand, it's as noisy as a jet engine. It makes most desktop PCs feel quiet. So *I* am disappointed by it. But it's very portable, so long as you have monitor/keyboard/mouse on site.

And it looks cool. You wanted a toy, right?

You can buy preassembled, but can save $2-300 if you buy it in parts (I used Be forewarned that although they *claim* to support linux, their winmodem and ethernet are not supported by any of the major linux brands (*cough* "distributions"), so unless you want zero networking, it's not really compatible.

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