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10 reasons why the desktop PC will live forever

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Oct. 10, 2012
Steve Jobs piqued consumer curiosity when he unveiled the iPad and declared "the post-PC era has begun." And now with the imminent release of Windows 8 RT tablets—low-powered slates running a touch-friendly version of Office—it might seem that perhaps the world actually can live without desktop computers.

Steve Jobs piqued consumer curiosity when he unveiled the iPad and declared "the post-PC era has begun." And now with the imminent release of Windows 8 RT tabletslow-powered slates running a touch-friendly version of Officeit might seem that perhaps the world actually can live without desktop computers.

It's an intruiguing proposition, but don't count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you're trying to conduct business on the go, it's nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you're trying to complete serious work in an office environment.

Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it's computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag.

No, friends, the so-called post-PC world is not yet upon us. But if you're still not convinced, here are ten reasons you shouldn't give up your desktop any time soon.

Desktop PCs are cheap

Desktops are cheaper than laptopsboth when you buy them new, and when you have to make repairs. There are a few reasons for this, but the main reason is that mobile components are more expensive, because they're, well, smaller, and expensive engineering is required to make them fit inside your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Desktop components don't have to be nearly as small or fit together like jigsaw pieces, because a roomy desktop tower is a heck of a lot larger than even the most generously sized laptop.

Of course, to be fair, you pay for more components when you purchase a laptopyou're also purchasing a screen, keyboard, and trackpad. But, of course, you can pick up a keyboard and a mouse for around $5 each, and a decent 24-inch monitor can cost as little as $50.

But laptops usually cost at least (if not well over) $60 more than corresponding desktops. For example, a Dell XPS 8500which has a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon 7570 discrete graphics cardcosts $799 on Dell's website. Meanwhile, a similarly-equipped Dell Inspiron 14z laptopwith a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon HD 7570M graphics cardcosts $999.

Desktops are more powerful

Desktop processors are more powerful than corresponding laptop processors. And I'm not even going to get into mobile ARM processors (that is, the processors running in most phones and tablets), since the comparison is laughable. Let's just say this is a case in which size definitely matters.

Laptop processors are not only smaller than desktop processors, they're designed to use less energy and produce less heat. There are a several reasons for this: First, laptops usually run on battery life. Because of this, mobile processors are designed to conserve battery life. Second, laptop processors are fitted into a tight, closed chassis, and surrounded by a couple of small fansand they're still prone to overheating.

 

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