When you start to think about buying a new desktop computer, you essentially have two options: a desktop or a laptop.
Laptops have been enjoying a moment lately, especially in a more remote-friendly world where people can work from wherever, whenever. Even if this debate has seen more time in the limelight as of late, the desktop versus laptop debate has been raging since the mid-1980s when the first laptop was released to the public.
If saving space is a big priority, a laptop is an easy choice but buying a new computer shouldn’t be as simple as just having more free space on a desk.
Let’s take a look at why for your next computer purchase, you should go with a desktop.
History of the Desktop Computer
Desktop computers, often abbreviated as just a desktop, have been around since the mid to late 1970s in various form factors. Companies like IBM, Apple, and HP have long dominated the space as brands like Commodore, Gateway, and Compaq, once giants in their field, have disappeared.
It wouldn’t be until the mid-1990s that desktops would start to take the form factor we’re familiar with today with a tower next to a monitor that contains all of the computer’s main components.
The popularity of the tower form factor has also given way to other form factors over the last two decades, with the increasingly attractive All-In-One model that combines the tower and monitors into one case. Compact desktops have also grown in popularity as people seek out the power of a desktop in a smaller form factor.
7 Reasons to Buy a Desktop Computer
A desktop computer is arguably more powerful, better for gaming, reduces concerns over battery life, and is more customizable than laptops.
Let’s break down the reasons to buy a desktop.
Upgrading for the Win
One of the biggest reasons people still love the idea of a desktop computer is the ease with which it can be upgraded. Desktop gaming computers, in particular, can upgrade almost every component they come with out of the box direct from the manufacturer. This is contrary to laptops, which often limit you to just RAM and hard drive upgrades.
On a desktop, you can upgrade your graphics card, motherboard, CPU, and your RAM and hard drive. As all of these upgrade options can be done on a case-by-case basis, you can continuously update to the latest components if your budget allows.
Moreover, a desktop computer often has enough storage to let you add multiple hard drives so you can double or even triple your available storage space. This is something a laptop can almost never accommodate due to a lack of placement for more than one hard drive. Apple laptops, for example, cannot be upgraded at all after they are purchased, so what you see is what you get, and you might have to spend even more initially to plan for potential upgrades you may need down the road.
More Attractive Pricing
There is a better than good chance that if you compare two comparably specced computers, a desktop, and a laptop, the desktop is going to be less expensive — potentially significantly less expensive. Part of the reasoning is that you are not paying for extra components like a keyboard, mousepad, or monitor, whereas all of these things are required as part of any laptop purchase because it’s one piece of hardware.
This is yet another reason to consider a desktop as you can choose any type of mouse or keyboard you want and swap between them regularly. Of course, you can do so on a laptop, but this assumes you only work from the same location, which is contrary to the intent of a laptop and its portable nature.
If you are on a budget, purchasing a desktop is going to help you get more for your money while still affording you the right to customize down the road.
You Can Build Your Own
This may not be something every desktop buyer wants or feels comfortable doing, but the knowledge that you can conceivably build your own desktop is a big reason to consider it as your next purchase. You can go online through Amazon, Best Buy, or NewEgg, not to mention dozens of other online computer stores, and purchase every component you need to build your own desktop.
Doing so will give you a much more tailored experience so you can give yourself exactly what you want in terms of power, cost, and performance. This is something you cannot do with a laptop as the idea of building your own is out of reach as the casing and components for laptops are not readily available. On the other hand, you can pick up a casing for a desktop to start adding your own components at any of the stores mentioned above.
No Worries Over Battery Life
As good as laptops have gotten over the last few years with battery life, including those that can exceed 20 hours on a single charge, battery life is not a concern with a desktop. There is a certain level of freedom with never having to worry about recharging or adjusting the dimness of your screen in order to conserve battery life with a desktop. Nor do you ever have to worry about the longevity of a laptop battery and what the cost and process will look like if and when you need to replace it.
What’s worse is that it might cost as much to replace a new battery as it does a new laptop, so you might be forced to purchase a whole new computer. As most laptops still hover in the 6 to 10 hour range of battery life, that’s still not enough to say with 100% certainty that you can get through a full day’s worth of work.
Even if you can get through a full day of work, there is still additional battery drain that comes from entertainment options like streaming movies or playing games.
For anyone who wants to regularly game in the PC world, a desktop computer is going to likely offer better performance for the price.
Laptops have come a long way in the gaming space, but circling back to the idea of customization, you are going to be more limited compared to a desktop. From everything between a more powerful graphics card, increased RAM, and a larger hard drive, there is no question that pound for pound, a gaming desktop is going to be more powerful and less expensive than a comparably specced gaming laptop.
There is a reason why you see all of the top-performing streamers on Twitch and YouTube running these large and colorful gaming desktops as they work the best for gaming. Gaming is one of the most demanding and power-hungry aspects of using a desktop computer as it requires as much horsepower as possible.
Like gaming, for things like video and photo editing, you will often find the best work for these fields is done on a desktop. The primary reason is that a laptop only offers up to 17 inches of screen real estate at best before adding on a separate monitor and its related cost. With a desktop, you can go as high as 27, 32, 43, and 49 inches in screen size, which gives you ample room to work with video and photo editing software.
Not to mention these applications, like Photoshop, are very power-hungry, and when you compare comparably specced desktops and laptops that can handle this software, the desktop is almost always less expensive. This is the second reason why powerful software is so much more impactful on a desktop. The larger area of a desktop allows for more room to fit in more powerful components, so you can not only utilize these power-hungry software applications but multitask while you are working with them.
If you consider the idea that a laptop is likely to be carried with you on any given day, it’s going to be more vulnerable to a potential drop, bump, or bruise. As a desktop is stationary and is unlikely to ever move from one place, it’s more likely to last longer as it’s not susceptible to any sort of external factors that could impact the hardware lifespan. A desktop is also unlikely to be stolen, left on a plane, or at an office since it’s built to stay in one place.
The idea that you can also replace many of the internal components of a desktop as mentioned above also ties into it having a longer life cycle. Upgrading the RAM or adding a larger hard drive can help the desktop last longer because you can increase the overall power to help you manage your day-to-day computing needs as they grow.
The Best Desktop Computers to Buy Today
- Supercharged with the Apple M1 processor which means exceptional performance
- Available in seven vibrant colors including a color-matched mouse and keyboard
- Offers a cinematic 24-inch 4K display with support for more than one billion colors
- Equipped with a 256GB SSD standard, can upgrade up to 1TB of storage
As popular as Apple’s laptop lineup has become, it’s the iMac that is the biggest staple among its computers.
As an all-in-one computer, the 24-inch iMac offers Apple’s vaunted M1 processor that starts at $1,299. Between Apple’s beautiful display, excellent performance, and best-in-class keyboard, the iMac is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to have just one piece of computing hardware on a desk.
You can safely expect the iMac to handle just about anything you want to throw at it, and it’s good for both personal and work-related use thanks to its 1080p webcam and colorful hardware choices.
Lenovo IdeaCentre 5
- Comes with a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with up to 4.90Hz boost
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 helps you get started with AA and AAA games
- Windows 11 Home edition is standard and ready to go out of the box
- Includes Wi-Fi 6 technology for enhanced speed including faster downloads and more reliable online gaming sessions
When you want a relatively inexpensive way to get into gaming on the desktop, the Lenovo IdeaCentre 5 gaming desktop is the answer.
Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, there is plenty of room here to play AAA games after work. Throw in 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 2TB HDD, and you can comfortably throw any four dozen Chrome tabs at this Lenovo and it will just keep on smiling.
With a price tag of just over $1,000 dollars, you not only get the desktop but also a keyboard and mouse, which just leaves a monitor as the lone extra purchase if you want one.
- Includes 12GB of RAM for solid multitasking and 512GB of SSD storage for lots of space for movies, photos, and more
- AMD Radeon graphics allows for entry-level gaming
- 23.8 FHD IPS Touchscreen offers crystal-clear visuals and an anti-glare panel
- Comes with matching keyboard and mouse
Similar to the iMac, the HP All-in-One is a great way to bring a desktop into your home with one piece of hardware that’s ideally priced for budget-conscious computer shoppers.
Running a 23.8-inch touchscreen display, the internal components offer enough horsepower for all-day computing. An AMD Ryzen 5 processor, AMD Radeon graphics with 12GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD round out the internal components and help make this HP All-in-One power through daily tasks with ease.
Built-in speakers sound great for both streaming movies as well as any video call you can take with the built-in 720p web camera.
Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop
- Equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 ti graphics card which is great for AAA gaming
- Comes with a 12th-Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
- Unique design allows for optimized airflow to help keep cool during gameplay
- Supports full RBG lighting with up to 16.8 million colors for lighting up while in use
Among the sea of gaming computers available, the Alienware Aurora R13 stands out thanks to its unique design and its outstanding performance.
Powered by a 12-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD, you have both the power and the storage to fit all of your gaming needs. Of course, you can easily upgrade your available RAM to triple or quadruple the amount included from Amazon to ensure you have all of the memory you need to handle AAA games for a long time into the future.
The NVIDIA GeForce 3060 ti GPU will also ensure that AAA games run smoothly and with multiple air vents, you can keep your system cool while you’re trying your best to win your latest Call of Duty multiplayer match.
Even though there are plenty of reasons why you might want to think twice about owning a desktop, the reasons to own a desktop vastly outweigh the reasons to not.
Laptops have become the computer of choice for many people and for good reason — their portability, above all else, can help you work anytime, anywhere. Still, desktops can offer more power, better pricing, helpful customization, and a longer life cycle, which should make them an easy consideration for your next computer purchase.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Studio Romantic/Shutterstock.com.