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Ask the Readers: Will You Buy a Desktop Computer Again?

The news isn’t good for the traditional PCs. Desktop and laptop computer sales are taking a dive as more consumers are opting for tablets and smartphones. Unless you’re a gamer or working out of your home, there’s less of a need for a complex machine to do light computing tasks such as email and browsing the web.

According to a recent report from market researcher IDC, global PC sales are set to fall by close to 8 percent this year.

A few other considerations are that we keep getting increasing amounts of cloud storage, improved web services, powerful apps, and streaming music and video. So computers with tons of storage and CPU power just aren’t necessary these days. Of course, one can make the “what is a PC anymore?” argument, but it’s obvious the traditional form factor is going away.

So, will you purchase another traditional desktop or laptop computer again? Or are you able to get by with your smartphone and / or tablet?

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67 Responses to Ask the Readers: Will You Buy a Desktop Computer Again?

  1. Alan May 31, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    I have been and always will be a traditionalist! By that I mean I have only ever used desktop computers. I dont own a laptop and have no plans ever to buy one as to me they are clumsy to use. Of course I have a smart phone and use it quite regulary for making calls, I mean that’s what a mobile phone is primarily for – right?
    I normally build my own computers and see no reason for me to change.

    • Bruce Doney June 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Would I buy another desktop? ABSOLUTELY!

  2. Chicago Mom May 31, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I own two iPads. The iPad2 and the newest iPad.

    I would not go back to a desktop but continue to own a laptop.

    There is nothing like the haptic feedback of a real keyboard.
    I use VPN to work from home. And often have to type into Word or Excel.

    With the iPad it is a pain in the rump to type.

    Lots of typing mistakes and no ‘feedback’ when I make a mistake.

    I use the iPad as a reader (Kindle); checking emails; staying in contact using social media.
    IMHO, For everything else, iPad or Android tablet is the way to go.

  3. AlexMVP May 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Nope… My last two computers have been laptops. I just don’t need a desktop any longer.

    Not only is the laptop smaller and take less space but it’s also got a 5 hour battery / ups built right into it!


    • Paul July 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      UPS… built into a laptop? I. Don’t. Think. So.

      Mains power cord yes. UPS… uh uh!

  4. Brian Burgess May 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I’ve always had a “command central” with multiple monitors for what seems forever. I think I am going to get one more tower and after that, we’ll see where things are.

    Needs are different for everyone, and I can’t see myself writing and editing without a traditional form factor PC. Even if I only had a laptop, I would have to dock it.

    • James G June 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Brian I want to get a dock for my new HP Envy dv6-7247cl laptop but cannot find one, I would appreciate it if you could find out if there are any docking stations available for this laptop. It seems that HP only offers docking stations for their enterprise business laptops, but I would love to know if there are any third party docking stations that you can use with HP laptops.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      That’s one problem I’ve ran into — finding a laptop that can power 3 monitors…

  5. john l May 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    If I was going to go out and buy a computer today it would be a desktop every time. Having tried loads of laptops over the years, I find the batteries have usually had it within a year and the “lap” top ends up being a “desk” top as it needs to be connected to the mains to run long enough to be useful. When they end up like this you end up with a device that takes up as much room as a screen and a keyboard/mouse but without any of the advantages. If something fails on a desktop it is usually easy to fix and most jobs can easily be done in ten minutes. The only thing you can do with a laptop, tablet or smartphone in ten minutes is throw it in the bin!
    I have never had a tablet but having tried several I just cannot see the point of having a device for work without a proper keyboard. I consider them to be playthings and I have never met any rep/salesman who has to use one that would have me believe otherwise.
    I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smart phone as it is important to me for a phone to have a screen that is big enough to see and to be useful. If I had better eyesight, smaller hands and fingers then other phones might work but regardless they are really more fun items and I don’t believe any serious work can be done on them. Other people may get more out of smart phones than me but we are many years away from having the reliable fast internet connectivity for mobiles to be truly useable for work not to mention apps that are really that good. Lets face it, how many apps have you used that you couldn’t understand how they work or they have so many issues they are unusable. Out of those apps that did work then how many have you continued to use after the first few hours for anything constructive? I bet for 99% of people they will never have found an app that is that good for work purposes that they continued to use it.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and love all of the toys but when it comes down to making a decision then it is a desktop every time as everything else has far to many issues (it won’t stop me playing with them though).
    Laptops, tablets and smartphones all have their uses but for me, none of them can truly replace the allround performance, repairability, usefulness and ability that is a desktop.

  6. Brian Burgess May 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    @John that’s a good point about it being generational. I am sure kids growing up today will look at desktops and be amazed that we used huge honking towers for our computing needs.

  7. john l May 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    I am pleased that their size is coming down but I am not a fan of the existing small boxes as it loses some of the ability to fix them easily. I like the look of the direction that AMD are taking with the graphics being part of the CPU. As the graphics card is often the biggest item found in a desktop case other than the motherboard and power supply then it must be a step in the right direction of making the boxes smaller in the future.
    I bet you have had a Dell desktop computer in the past. Very well made but huge, massively heavy, over complicated boxes that really just need to do a simple thing of holding several parts together so that they can work. I know I make it sound simplistic but when you get down to it that is all a desktop is. Obviously there are a small minority where basic is not good enough but I can only really comment on my preferences and usage.
    The problem with laptops, tablets and smartphones is that they are very close to becoming a disposable asset in that when it fails you throw it away and get another. My desktop has seen out three hard drives, two fans, two CPU’s, one stick of RAM, two graphics cards and one power supply. It is noisy but every morning I turn it on and it works and every time something goes wrong I can fix it for very little money. My computers in my office are umpteen times faster but my home desktop just keeps on going and is fast enough for what I need. Guess what would have happened if it was my smartphone, a laptop or a tablet that had a CPU failure? Yep, in the bin and unless they were under warranty you would be looking at a large bill to replace them. Many repairs are just not economically viable on these devices.

  8. Adam June 1, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Yes. The ability to upgrade components without needing to purchase an entirely new unit every year (or even every 6 months) far outweighs the benefits of having a sparkly new device that does the same things as my smart phone.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Very very true… you got me there. Being able to add ram, SSD drives and even drop in a new CPU just can’t be matched with a Laptop (or a Mac….).

  9. Jack Busch June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    After a couple years of being laptop only, I went out and specifically bought (well built) a desktop. I mostly use it to store all of my multimedia. Because I have way too much stuff to store in the cloud. And I sort of want to keep control over it all, rather than letting some third party own it.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Have you thought about a NAS vs. a desktop? Curious why you went back to a desktop since you were already on a laptop.

      • Jack Busch June 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

        Funny you should ask – because I am now thinking of killing my desktop and getting a NAS, and then using my monitor / speakers / keyboard as a “docking” station for my laptop.

        I guess I just wanted to build a computer.

        As the years go by, it seems a NAS was the right thing to do.

  10. James G June 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Because I find it uncomfortable to sit on a chair in front of a desktop computer, I now only buy laptops, since I enjoy being able to bring them around the house wherever I want to use them, but I do plan to buy one more powerful desktop/server to use as a Hypervisor to run all my system center virtual machines on. For now I use my laptops and several virtual machines as servers and they do the job. I hook my laptops up to my big screen TVs and Network Attached Storage devices. I do have a 3 year old desktop at home that my family uses, but for me laptops are so much more convenient when I am laying on the couch or in my bed. However, the server can never die so there will always be a need for desktop-like computers for any type of server/client infrastructure, even though for smaller scale servers, you can now use virtual machines on powerful laptops that will do the job for small business infrastructures. At work, I often deal with small companies that are moving away from the large desktop type servers and moving to the cloud for a lot of their storage, however I often recommend that they do not move completely to the cloud, since restoring bulk data from the cloud can destroy bandwidth and is also a security concern.

  11. cruelas June 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    yes. I’m lucky my desktop of 9 years is still going, and I’ll most likely buy another desktop to replace it. I’m not the type that’s interested in owning a smart phone and I’ve never been comfortable with touch screens and laptops…I like massive keyboards and a mouse I can hold in my hand. However, I haven’t seen how much desktops cost nowadays, so if I can get a laptop for half as much, I may just have to get with the times.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Yup — my desktop is about 6 years old and I just installed 16 Gigs of additional memory (Amazon, $150) and a 512GB SSD drive. So it’s basically brand new now.

  12. Brian Burgess June 3, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    The ability to continuously upgrade a tower system, like you guys are talking about, is definitely something I enjoy about the form factor.

    I like to have the ability to swap out RAM, Drives, Video and Sound cards easily. Plus, if you need to, popping in a new or more powerful power supply is a snap.

    Or, if you don’t use an optical drive — take it out and stick a storage drive in its place.

    I usually buy my desktops barebones or build from scratch. That’s why I think with the new Hasswell Intel processors, I am thinking of building one more, with plenty of expansion slots, and maybe call it my last one. Then I will use it until it dies. Probably get at least 10 years out of it — hopefully.

  13. Jay June 3, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    I probably will, and a laptop. I love the portability of laptops, and need them on the road. My desktop is great for writing at home, and for music production. I’m sure a laptop is, too, but the power in my desktop vs. price is much better for a poor blogger/musician such as myself.

  14. Jim June 3, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    I will probably always have a need for a desktop of some sort. I do game and also work from home. The thought of doing all this through a tablet is scary. I think maybe a better question is will people continue to buy Windows computers or search for a viable alternative. After 27 years as a die-hard PC user my next computer will most likely come from Apple. I do not like where the quality of even high-end brand PCs have gone. I switched to Mac exclusively at work (although I do have a virtual PC running in Parallels for my system admin needs).

  15. Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    For me — the family uses a few laptops and I’m on my desktop at home.

    More and more however, I find I’m the only one using the Laptops as the family has all moved over to the 2 iPad’s we own.

    Looking forward, I will probably buy a new Laptop however before I do that I need to find a good NAS device which I can use to migrate all the data from my Desktop and the two external eSata drives hooked up to it.

    The main reason I would probably goto the Laptop is simplification. I need to consume less space and we are trying to downsize and simplify at the house to make more room for other things non-tech related.

    • Brian Burgess June 3, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Steve, you can always take an unused desktop and stick WHS 2011 on it. I think WHS is supported through 2018 or something. I have a dedicated WHS — HP Proliant Microserver. But, I am starting to rethink my whole system here.

      I need to downsize I think. I still have the old school mentality that I want control over everything I own — but most of the videos and music I have stored can be accessed via online services anyway. Media takes up SO much space.

      If you want to do a NAS, I read about this NAS server software which looks interesting:

      I haven’t tried it, but looks like it’s light and powerful.

      • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

        WHS….. Yeah, but I just want to simplify. I don’t want another box hogging power and in need of getting patched.

        That NAS software looks interesting. I’ll take a look. That said, having just a slim, low profile hard drive with a network card — that’s really all i want. Small and quiet. My new motto. 😉

  16. Gregory Ziglar June 3, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    With the introduction of Windows 7 and 8 my desktops is no longer a work stations.
    They are just devices occupying space on my desktop, limited to being used for email.
    I have several color laser printers that cannot be used because of the lack of drivers.
    I feel like I have been defrauded by Microsoft, and the dealers who push this puzzling
    Operating system. Another desktop? Most likely never again, be damned Microsoft!

  17. Marty Spain June 3, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    I am a computer builder and retired. I say all the new gadgets are cool but I prefer my desktops. I have full size tower systems (10 plus). Mostly I use them for photos , music and gaming. I also build Christmas displays computer controlled systems, and use a system for running them. I see laptops phasing out before desktops due to the intuitive androids that can do all the things that laptops do from a mobility stand point and also use as a phone. My smartphone is nice but can’t replace my desktop for its power and display size. I love surround video and sound! There are sill many techies like me that will keep buying desktops!

  18. Simon June 3, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I am not a power user but do fairly large spreadsheets in the form of cash flows, many very big word documents. I also do a lot of presentations and I preach often in the church. I have a fair amount of music files about 1500 songs. To manage my life I have a laptop, not the latest and greatest a few years old but more than powerful enough to manage my spreadsheets and word documents. I own an iPhone on which I keep a fair amount of music that I switch on a regular basis as the iPhone is also my “iPod” playing through external speakers. My iPad has about 50 apps on them of which about 40 are used at least once a week and some more than once a day. Would I go back to a tower, not on your life. Being tied down to a desk is not for me. Using the network I have I can print from the iPad, move files about create short documents. Irecentlybstarted studying again and I can record the lecture at the same time that I make notes and then play it back later. No tower can do this. I am not a young techie, I am 62 but find my combination laptop, iPad and iPhone perfect for my personal and business use. Judging by the stats I am not in the minority. I love your site, thanks

  19. Jim Cummings June 3, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Absolutely. I have two laptops and two tablets, but the ability to have a superfast desktop, running several monitors, connected to many terrabytes of local and cloud storage, and capable of color matching for Photoshop makes this “obsolete” configuration a necessity for me.

  20. Michael Forster June 3, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I am actively involved in real time streaming analytics. I write about 20 megabytes to my hard drive a couple or more times every second for 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. I need reliable and constant wired access to the Internet. And, I must have the fastest box with at least 16 Gig of memory. And, when anything breaks, I must be able to fix it quickly. It must be able to run constantly and use a minimum of 25% utilization of all cores without overheating.

    I have a laptop and an iPad and both are used only for casual and lightweight work and play. The workhorse for me is my tower and I don’t see that changing because of the connectivity issues and uptime requirements.

  21. Carol June 3, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    I will absolutely buy a desktop again. I just had one custom built with Windows 7. I do alot of graphic design and video editing and laptops or tablets just don’t cut it for that purpose. I do have 2 tablets which I mostly use for playing games, email, reading, etc. To me they are more of a toy than something to use for productivity.

  22. Paul Hays June 3, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    For a cheap gaming platform (homebuilt) desktops are tops. For tailor-ability, desktops excel. For configurability and upgradeability, they win again. The only category where tablets/netbooks/smartthings have an advantage (and will hold it for some time) is mobility. Getting stuck with last year’s hardware is a high price to pay for mobility, n’est ce pas?

  23. Walter V. Williams, Jr. June 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Yes, I will continue to have a desktop around. I like the large screens, the power to have many software applications open at once, and the ability to store LOTS of data and have it easily accessible to me. Tablets are useful, but for getting lots of work done, give me a full computer.

    I suspect one reason sales are slowing down is the upgrade paths needed for any size business require more $$$’s, so businesses and individuals are making older systems work longer before undertaking upgrades.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      Yup agreed. I think businesses are also looking at Windows 8 and have little patience for the thought of having to train a work-force on a new Interface before they can just sit down and get work done. I think that might be slowing things down a bit as well.

  24. Eileen Phelps June 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m a grandma who lives in two places, half the time with each son’s family. I take my laptop back and forth with me. In northern California I live in the country, where only satellite Internet is available and my cell phone can text, but is out of range for anything else. In Albuquerque the cell phone works for speech, which is nice because most of my friends don’t text.

    Laptop batteries are a joke, but I have to connect to the router through house wiring, so I do not use my laptop away from my desk in either place. I use the Internet a lot, though the bandwidth is pretty poor and very expensive in Cal. Those limitations make cloud computing impractical for me.

    I don’t have a smart phone because my eyesight is not good enough. I have an old-style Kindle that I use a lot. I like the fact it’s not back lit, which reduces eye strain. I have a second monitor in both locations as well as a separate keyboard and mouse and a large external hard drive in both locations.

    I’m retired. I’ll turn 79 next month. What I use my computer for is desktop publishing. I edit two newsletters for genealogical non-profits, as well as email for my family, Skype (in ABQ, where it works) plus read the news, and do genealogy research. I also do research for a website.

    So–I vote for the laptop, but if a tiny tower with easy hardware upgrading comes along, I would buy an additional monitor for each location and I would carry the mini-tower on the plane with me. One son had his smart phone suddenly die, so I am not tempted to try a smart phone as a mini tower.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Eileen you Rock!

      I love it. 79 and more Geek savvy than almost anyone I now personally! I love it!

      You bring up a lot of very valid points around challenges of even using the latest technology out there even if you wanted to. Sounds like the Laptop is for sure the right option for you in your scenario. A mini tower would just be added weight and a waste probably.

      Although you already sound like you’re all taken care of, I would recommend grabbing a nice Ultrabook like the X1 Carbon from Lenovo. It’s light, durable and has an amazing screen. I’m typing on one right now. (but yeah… it’s not cheap either) Throw a few external drives in there for data backup via a free product like Crashplan (local backup is free) and your golden.

      Love the comment! Thanks for sharing your story and your setup. Keep writing!

  25. Sam-I-am June 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    I have just finished reading all of the comments and am now torn between what I want. I want it ALL. I like the convenience of my dual screened desktop at work. This thing is the most beautiful computer in the world, fast, quiet, efficient, easy to use and so much more. At the same time I can relate with some of the comments made. I like to sit somewhere comfy, be able to travel around to different locations and still have the laptop as my faithful and willing companion, although it is not as reliable as a desktop meaning it will wear much quicker, the convenience is unbeatable with work related projects on the go. I wonder if another post like this will appear in the future. Will you ever buy a laptop again with the new and inventive tablets that are surrounding us everyday? Right now they are a bear to type on, but I can easily foresee that changing in the near future. So short answer mad long yes I would buy another desktop as well as another laptop as well as tablets as well as smartphones as well as any other new and exciting technology as it develops and evolves (contingent that I can actually afford all of these things).

  26. Roger Davis June 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Yes, just take Windows 8 out of the picture…

    • Kevin Clemmer June 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      A quick comment about Win 8. It’s faster, better in all respects, and I hated it too! Until I bypassed the miserable Metro UI. I boot directly to the desktop now (ala Win 7 with my start button back where it’s supposed to be!) and it really is a step up. 2 developers have a free program to do this (Stardock “Start8” and IoBit “StartMenu8”) and both are great…I prefer IoBit’s. Extremely simple and you’ve got a big time speed upgrade that looks just like Win 7!!

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Well… Rumor has it Microsoft is taking a step back and making a 90-degree turn on it’s Metro UI. I think once that’s resolved, we will have a nice Windows 7 upgrade actually.

  27. Kevin Clemmer June 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I’ll never go without a desktop. I thrive on “expandability”. The form factor no longer matters as “desktops” are a misnomer. I’ve got no cords, no extraneous sounds other than my typing, and the actual “computer” is on top of my storage cabinet out of sight. 6 Tb’s internal, Geforce GTX 670 video, 16 Gb’s ram, multiple monitors (all of this wireless & touch), and 3 external drives. My choice of any processor/Mobo combo, 3 addt’l PCIE 16 slots…and I only play games 2-5 times a month. Yes I have a laptop, iPad, Razr MAXX HD and use them all…solely to work through the real computer. 🙂

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      OK…. Not so fast…

      Tell me again how your monitors are wireless? What did I miss because that sounds fantastic.

      • Kevin Clemmer June 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        It is fantastic, because they’re HDMI’d…got carried away with the subject matter, didn’t proofread(or think). “Only 3 cables”… my bad. 🙁

  28. Terry Hollett June 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Yes. I prefer desktops. Bought one only last April. When this one kicks the bucket I’ll be looking for another desktop.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Hi Terry — do you do anything special with your Desktops? Do you upgrade them to keep them around longer or do you just prefer the stability of the Desktop platform?

      • Terry June 4, 2013 at 5:52 am #

        I’ve been fixing computers for a few years now and the main problem with the laptops bought to me seemed to be crashed hard drives. I don’t know if it’s where the laptops are getting banged around or overheating.

        I do enjoy the easier upgrades and cleaning of desktops. Some laptop manufacturers still do not make it easy to get at the inner parts without dissecting the entire thing.

        I still have two old XP computers up and working that I use for various reasons. And yes I will upgrade and repair my current Acer desktop until it’s no longer practical. But if for any reason I decide to buy a new computer I’ll still be going for a desktop.

  29. Stu June 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Buy one. No. build one myself; absolutely. My iPad is a nice big ereader/ camera remote. My Surface Pro rocks but is lacking in graphical oomph & I love video games: so big ass gaming rig is the only thing that I need, otherwise I could probably make do with the Surace Pro for all other areas.

    • Steve Krause June 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Gamer Alert!

      Yeah I hear ya Stu. For me, back in my gaming years, desktops were the only way to go. Drive space is just too precious on the laptop not to mention the CPU and Video card oomph (as you call it).

      Are you going down the path now of the “All-In-One” Desktops or are you sticking with the Tower of Power?

    • Godzonekid June 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

      Yeah, I’m being pedantic, but even if you are building a desktop, you are still buying it. Just in pieces.

      But yeah, Desktop’s rule. Even my 19 year old son going through university (college to all you USofAer’s) has a desktop. He had an old HP clunker that I got cheap from work and took that to his flat. But, to do any real work he needed something a bit gruntier. Built it himself and OMG the size of that box??!! Uses a 37 inch tv for main monitor with a dedicated real 2nd monitor. Uses that for extended desktop. Try doing that with an iPad or Galaxy Tab. Not gonna happen is it? Got 6 tb of disk space plus about another 4 tb on portable drives as well. Works for him.

  30. zillah warner June 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    yes Love my Desktop but also have a laptop and a smart phone

  31. Mary June 4, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I just had an HP desktop computer with Windows 7 built for me and I’m anxiously waiting for it to be delivered. The 8 gigs of memory and 1 Terabyte hard drive will be able to upgrade to future Microsoft OS… other than Windows 8. I have only owned desktops, and that’s what I will continue to purchase. Hopefully the one I’m waiting for will hold up for years as my others have. I am the type that wants a TV in the living room, and a computer in an office. I don’t have an actual office in my home, but since my dining room is huge and only gets used on holidays, I made up an office in there. In the past 15 years, I’ve owned 2 brand new pc’s, and number 3 is on it’s way… I doubt laptops would last that long.

  32. Noor June 5, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    A couple of years ago I purchased a Vaio All-In One and I can’t really imagine anything better for home use.
    I tried a Toshiba laptop (Satellite) for a while and it was generally useful, but Toshiba turned out to be such an ugly company to deal with when things went wrong, not to mention their blatant false advertising and multiple suits for that sort of thing, that I just turned off to laptops.
    I’m sure other large companies have the same issues, but because of toshiba’s way of dealing with the consumer, I am off of laptops. Okay, I know that’s irrational but hey…

    • Adam June 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      I too purchased a Vaio All-In-One a few years back, but I later regretted my purchase. I now feel that the All-In-Ones are the worst of both worlds; All the power and upgrading of a laptop and all the portability of a desktop. So my next computer will be a true desktop.

      • Noor June 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

        Wow! I am really surprised to hear that. What is it that you regret about the purchase? I know that we each have our own experience so comparisons are sometimes futile. But for me the Vaio All-In One has been a complete dream of a machine. My only real complaint is that it seems to be difficult to find out how to upgrade the memory from 8 to 12. I am hoping that my next purchase may be the HP Z1 All in One Workstation. Now that’s! an incredible machine.

        • Adam June 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

          It was great at first. Then the CPU got too slow for me, then the graphics processor died and the whole motherboard had to be replaced (thankfully under a recall warranty), then the hard drive died (a common problem with everything). I would love to just purchase a new graphics card. Or upgrade my processor and mobo but its just not an option with an All-In-One. I will say the Vaio All-In-One looks very sleek and sexy and I get alot of compliments on that. 😉

  33. Noor June 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Yeah that kinda sucks. It’s probably luck of the draw more than we’d like to think. I’ve had my machine for about 3 years and I’ve not had any problems. At least none that were actually related to the computer itself. You do raise some very good issues that I really did not think through when purchasing this system. Oh well, here’s hoping…

  34. Chris June 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I have a ipad, iphone, laptop and desktop. I find that at home I use my desktop more than anything and couldn’t really live without it. And I mainly use it for simple web browsing and a little gaming but Ill definitely be buying another desktop once my 3 year old acer has its final days. I DONT believe the desktop pc is dead, its market share is simple declining which is natural when you have a massive saturation of tablets and smartphones, but that will stabilise and growth with regain.

    • Steve Krause June 12, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Hi Chris. If you don’t use the desktop for gaming or complex App/Dev or Spreadsheet work why not consider a laptop?

      I agree — I don’t think the desktop is dead today however…. long-term I can’t see buying more desktops over laptops especially if you buy a few monitors with a docking station…

      Granted, desktops are less expensive…. so that might be a way to lean that direction long-term at least for now.

  35. Nichi Smith June 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    I use a laptop exclusively. (I have a phone with mobile web, but it’s the very oldest variety only useful for a few text-based sites.) When I upgrade, I do tend to go for the highest power available, often imitating a desktop in many ways; my ideal laptop has a full size keyboard, 21″ screen, top-of-the-line processor, multiple terabytes of spaces, etc.

    Desktops require a lot of space with the desk and all. I have a very small amount of room to work with and generally do a lot of computing from bed (sue me, it’s comfortable and I have physical issues) so I contemplate the economics of a desktop, but the laptop wins.

    With my mobility expected to rise, laptops seem to grow in usefulness. The battery is a nice feature, but the main reason I prefer a laptop is the ability to move it anywhere with an outlet easily. Desktops are bulky and impractical to move.

    I heard some tablets have external keyboard support. When they become more powerful for less money, I may get one, especially if the battery life keeps up. Until then, I like my i5 processor and 6GB of RAM and 1.5 TB of storage. (I also prefer the compatibility of standard, non-mobile OSes as they tend to be more friendly towards more software. With as many small freeware things I use day to day, switching to something designed for more propietary “apps” just aggrivates my workflow.)

  36. Frankly Frank June 13, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    While this is an interesting question, what “does” the future hold? Tablets, smartphones and the like in the hands of the novice will still be overload. For whatever reason, the industry is pushing us in that direction. Goodness, some of us have been using computers going back to the days of clay tablets. (Windows for Workgroups and DOS) Why do we want to change?

    When it comes to tablets and smartphones they lack much in the area of word processing. They keypads on smartphones are fit for a little fingered person not and person with ham hocks for hands. Tablets? Well alright. Swipe the screen and do whatever, but one and add a keyboard or for that matter get a Windows Surface. Touchscreen technology is being pushed by popular television programs like Hawaii 5-O where they sweep images from one screen across the room to another. Tabletop computing. So, I don’t know. Is it a good idea and will it catch on? It seems it may by the looks of some “smartphones.”

    I’m not sure I’m ready to change. I don’t like “Cloud Computing” and here again is another area we are being pushed into. How much easier will it be for the government to spy on us? Oh dear, did I say that? If it’s “in the cloud” you don’t own it. What’s that all about? Na, I’ll wait and see. Maybe my next transition will be to an all in one with a storage device. I’m for the old school. I’m up on technology but not sure about it’s validity.

    • Larry Jackson June 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Although many consider desktops ‘dinosaurs’, but there hasn’t been a laptop, tablet, or cellphone equal to the capabilities of a desktop. I have been a desktop user since the early eighties and I regularly upgrade mine with bigger better faster newer technology as it becomes available and necessary. A laptop with 24GB of RAM or 10 TB of disk space like my desktop is hard to find and wouldn’t be upgradeable if you did find one. Try editing 1 GB image file on a laptop. It probably wouldn’t even load.

      The desktop has too much capability for it to be totally replaced by a less capable device like a laptop or tablet. My primary desktop has dual 24″ flatscreens, 8 storage drives, 3 optical drives, 2 scanners and four printers attached. A laptop or tablet that can come close these capabilities isn’t available yet.

      As far as the cloud, I just don’t trust it! Anything you put in the cloud is no longer in your control. Uploading and downloading to and from the cloud is a waste of time and resources.

      Additionally, my 2 laptops, 2 tablets and 2 android phones each have their place, but don’t replace the desktop in speed or capability, and none are upgradeable to add newer CPU’s, sound cards, graphics cards, optical or storage drives…

      Thanks, but I’ll keep upgrading my desktops as long as there are components for it.

  37. Godzonekid June 15, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Well for me personally, yeah the desktop works best for me. For 3 reasons. Upgradeability. Big screen (which ain’t glossy and reflective), and ergonomic keyboard and mouse. And that last one is the deal breaker for me. Having damaged hands from a factory accident back in 2000 I can no longer use the diabolical bog standard flat keyboards. I use a Mickeysoft Natural Keyboard (used to have a 4000 at my last job) or my Kinesis ergonomic keyboard. My preferred mouse is an Evoluent. Amazing piece of kit. I. Kid. You. Not.

    While laptops are good for portability (hey, ask any thief) their upgradeability is poor (and choice of components extremely limited), keyboard doesn’t work for me, and glossy screens, the bane of my life. Ok, samsung make laptops with non reflective screens, but they are pricey with it. Smart phones are a pain in the arse to use on websites. Screens are too small. Decent tablets are ok, and to tell the truth the Galaxy Note 8 is certainly a lusting after piece of gear. Great to be able to actually “work with” Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. Great for on the go work that needs to be done, data entry isn’t an issue. Actually creating a decent spreadsheet on one might be. Again, no physical keyboard so not so easy to do “real work” on it. Much easier on a desktop.

    So, my dream kits:

    Full tower with dual monitors for extended desktop

    Smartphone (galaxy s4 or note 2)

    Galaxy note 8 – for on the go stuff

    Laptop – for working on the road but I’d have to have an ergonomic keyboard to go with it

    NAS – but using Linux software, not mickeysoft

    NAS – offsite for security reasons

    Oh, and a Startrek Transporter so I wouln’t actually have to spend time on the road… LOL

  38. Barbara Stapleton June 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I have been using a laptop for many years and it canNOT compare to a desktop (my next purchase). I had to use a desktop at my local Library recently and I felt I was “home” again. The keyboard is so much better and faster and – omg – no typo’s!

    I will buy a used iPhone (prepaid service plan) for classes, as a great camera, and “toy” use. I need an iPod for business presentations and games.

    My HP laptop stopped working properly as soon as the warranty was up – same with my expensive HP printer…

    My 1 week old Acer laptop (using at this moment) lost 2 directional key covers and Acer wanted me to ship it to them in Texas where they “might also replace the hard drive”. With many crashes I can see why. WHY didn’t they just do a “recall”. Also Acer told me there are NO authorized places I could bring it to for service, BUT MicroCenter IS authorized. If it smells like a lie, there is something to hide.


  39. RD707 July 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    I don’t have a problem with smartphones, laptops, tablet PCs, etc. etc. They are extremely useful in their own right. But where these devices fail in comparison to ordinary desktop PCs is that they are not very versatile.

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