Fixing a desktop is easy
Three years ago, the graphics card in my husband's laptop died. We're still not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, the screen started artifacting and displaying colorful squiggly lines, making things generally unreadable. He took it to the Apple store (it was an old MacBook), and they opened it up and told him the repair job would be expensive.
Total cost of repairs: $800.
Two years ago, my graphics card died. Nvidia posted a faulty driver; I was playing a game at the time, and before they could correct the driver (a mere 24 hours later), my card overheated and fried. I went to Best Buy and picked up a new (non-Nvidia) card and replaced it myself in about 10 minutes.
Total cost of repairs: $80
The moral of the story: If a desktop component craps out on you, it's easy to purchase a new one, whether it's a graphics card, the monitor, or even the processor. But if a laptop component craps out on you, well, good luck.
You can use creative software efficiently on a desktop
Sure, today's laptops can run creative software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Premierebut you won't enjoy your time with these applications when fighting with your laptop's trackpad or puny screen real estate. To be used efficiently, creative software requires a powerful processor, a high-end graphics card, lots of screen real estate, and peripheralsa keyboard, a mouse, and maybe even a drawing tablet.
A laptop with the required specs would either be insanely expensive or physically impossible (in the case of a much-larger screen). A desktop with decent specs, however, will be able to run this software just fine.
You can recycle a desktop as an NAS device
When your laptop or tablet dies, it can be recycled as a laptop- or tablet-like device, such as a kids-only laptop, or a kitchen-only tablet. In other words, your recycling options are limited. But desktops can be recycled into a variety of different uses, such as a home server or as a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
If you'd rather not repurpose your desktop as a machine, you can always clean it out, sell your parts on eBay, and turn the tower or old monitor into a fish tank. (If you truly need the power, you can also turn an old fish tank into a mineral oil-cooled desktop.)
Granted, you can send your older laptop into the garage for handy weekend DIY instruction-checking or give it away, but creative alternative uses for laptops are much more limited than for desktops.
Desktops are secure and they last a long time
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.