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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.

Desktop processors, meawnhile, are lucky enough to sip an endless supply of juice from a wall outlet, and they can be surrounded with fans or even a liquid cooling system to keep their temperatures down. Thus, they're not only more powerful, they can also be easily overclocked to run at even higher speeds.

You can plug a ton of peripherals into desktops

Let's say you want to plug in an external mouse and an external keyboard. Can you also plug in a USB-connected headset? If you've got a laptop, probably not.

As laptops get thinner, port offerings decline. Most laptops these days have a couple of USB 2.0 ports, though higher-end systems might throw in a USB 3.0 port here and there. Most tablets have one USB 2.0 port (except for the iPad, of course, which boasts a whopping total of zero USB ports).

Desktops, on the other hand, usually have a minimum of four USB 2.0 ports, and most have many more. Plus, desktops have tons of other connectivity options that only the highest-end, most gamer-oriented laptops might includethese options include eSATA, VGA, DVI, HDMI, and multiple audio lines.

You get extra screen real estate with desktops

Studies have shown that more screen real estate can make you more productive (or more productive at being unproductive). Need more screen real estate? This can be accomplished in two ways: with a larger screen, or with multiple monitors.

The largest laptop screen you can find on the market is 17.3 inches, and it's hugefor a laptop, that is. But a 17.3-inch laptop screen is nothing compared to a 20- or 24-inch stand-alone monitor. Plus, a 17.3-inch laptop is usually too bulky for you to tote around comfortably, which means your laptop may essentially become a desktop.

Most laptops don't support multiple monitor set-ups, though you can try USB-powered displays or using your tablet. Desktops, on the other hand, are built for multiple monitor setups and, depending on your graphics card, you can support two or three or four (or more) monitors for maximum productivity or maximum gaming.

You can play (real) computer games on desktops

Okay, to be fair there are gaming laptops out there, and they're not bad. For example, the Alienware M17x R4 features an Intel Core i7-3720QM processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M discrete graphics card. But can it really compare to a gaming desktop, such as the Maingear Shift Super Stock, which houses an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and three AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards? I don't think so.

Graphics-intense PC games put systems to the ultimate test, as they require as much processing- and GPU-power as possible. And, let's face ityou can stuff three graphics cards into a desktop tower (plus liquid cooling, an awesome sound card, and, hey, even some extra gaming peripherals). On the flip side, a hardcore gaming laptop can accomodate just one measly (albeit sometimes moderately powerful) graphics cardand that's inside a device that's barely even portable.


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