Laptops and Desktops: What’s Right for You?

Computers and tech have been making headlines recently in the news. With Apple’s new M1 processors coming out, and AMD taking the marketplace by storm, PC parts and news have been all the rage.

Whether you just code, or have to do your work, or do school work, or play games, or even just play online casino games, there is some form of computer that would be best for you. How does one choose the right computer for themself though?

Programmers

Programmers are going to be spending a lot of their time on a computer obviously. So, it stands to reason that they are going to need a nice PC in order to run and compile the code they write. However, there are some things to keep in mind for this.

First of all, programming is very CPU, or Central Processing Unit, intensive. This means having a powerful CPU that can quickly compile code is essential.

So, what should someone look for in a PC? Well, nowadays, it’s gonna be AMD all the way. Intel used to be the big boy on the block, but now AMD has just taken over.

This is because AMD has been making better processors for cheaper prices. With AMD’s new Ryzen processors shredding their Intel alternatives, if you are doing anything that requires a CPU, you are gonna want to go AMD.

That isn’t to say that Intel is a bad company that makes bad processors. That just isn’t true. Intel certainly knows how to make great processors, and have been doing it for decades.

If you bought a machine with an Intel processor in it, you are going to have a fine processor for your machine. It’s just that if you bought an AMD processor in the same price range, it would outperform it.

So, what exactly is best for a programmer? If they had to choose a desktop or a laptop, what should they go with?

Well, when it comes to programmers, the way to choose is simple. Will you need to bring your work with you to other places? Do you want to be able to work while out and about? Do you have to go around to clients and do work in many places?

If the answer to any one of those questions was yes, I would probably suggest getting a laptop. It just simply is not practical to lug around an entire PC everywhere you go. And good luck getting an internet cafe to let you use all the outlets and power you would need to run one anyways…

Working Professionals

When I mean someone who is a working professional, I mean anyone from the bloke in the office who just uses Microsoft Excel, to a full-fledged Architect or Engineer.

Although they may be in the same overall category, the requirements for their machines will certainly be very different.

For example, if you are just the average office worker, you probably don’t need a whole lot of power in a computer. Look for something that isn’t complete garbage with a decent amount of RAM, or Random Access Memory, and you will be fine.

The RAM will allow you to have all the Chrome tabs open you could want, and you don’t have to break the bank on something you probably don’t need like a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) or RGB (Red, Green, Blue).

Also for the average office worker, a laptop would probably be the best bet for you. You probably don’t need the power and advantages that a full desktop would bring. Especially if you have to sacrifice your portability.

Now, if you have to do anything more intense like CAD drawings or architectural work, you are probably going to want to get a desktop machine. Unless you absolutely need the portability, you will simply just never quite get enough power from a laptop.

This is in fact what the Nvidia Quadro line of GPUs was made for. They aren’t meant for gaming. They are meant for professional engineers and designers to do work with.

Artists

Now, for most artists, there are going to be a few criteria for choosing a computer to do art with. The first is that it is reasonably powerful enough to be able to smoothly do the kind of art you want to do.

The second, for many, is a touch screen. This will allow an artist to use a pen/stylus to draw on the machine like it is a pad of paper. This is of course far more comfortable than using a mouse or a trackpad style drawing tablet.

As for portability, that will mostly depend on if you want more power or want more ease of use. If you want more power, you should probably choose a desktop, but this does have some issues.

If you want to do art on a desktop, you are going to have to buy a specialized touchscreen monitor to go with it. This could become very expensive and tricky because it will be more difficult to find a full-sized monitor that would work well for art.

An alternative might be something like the Microsoft Surface Studio line of products, but that will run you thousands of dollars, and might not be exactly what you are looking for.

This is why it might be better to go for a 2 in 1 laptop. This is a laptop that can double as a tablet. It will have a touchscreen, and the keyboard can usually fold out of the way.

Now, once again, I’m not sure this is the best option. If you want a lot of power in order to do other things, it might be better to go a different route than buying a 2 in 1.

That is simply buying a PC and a tablet separately. This will allow you to get all the power you would want out of your PC, and have a separate portable tablet for art and drawing.

School

If you go to school you should most likely get a laptop. Plain and simple. There is just simply no reason to buy a full desktop PC that you won’t be able to bring to class.

Now, if you wanted to game as well as do schoolwork, I actually wouldn’t suggest buying a gaming laptop. It would instead be better to buy a cheaper laptop for schoolwork, and just build a desktop PC for gaming at your dorm or house.

This allows you to have a portable work device for all of your schoolwork, and have a powerful machine for playing games. Remember, you will never be able to get the same power and quality out of a laptop as you will be able to get out of a desktop.

Especially not for comparable prices. So, if you are a gamer at heart, keep the PC for home and the laptop for school.

Gaming

Finally, we come to the coveted “Gaming PC”. This is simply going to be a beast of a machine as you are going to want it to have all-around great specs, as games are intense on almost every part of your computer.

When it comes to gaming, a desktop PC will simply always be ‘better’ than a laptop. You simply will never be able to get the same power out of a laptop that you can get out of a desktop PC.

This is because of size constraints. This means the parts have to be smaller in a laptop and are going to have less area to hold transistors and processors etc.

This also means that a laptop will never be able to cool itself down as well as a desktop PC will. This is absolutely essential for a computer, as a computer that overheats will slow down, thermally throttle, or even destroy itself.

Heat is the biggest thing that will destroy your computer’s parts. The heating up of your computer’s parts will absolutely lower the longevity of your system, and will certainly make you have to repair or replace it more quickly.

A desktop just has more space for all of its parts. It can also have huge fans and heatsinks on it to blow around air and pull away heat from important components. Or even liquid cooling systems to cool down parts even more.

The only real reason you would ever want to get a gaming laptop is if you really need or want the portability. This is probably an important factor for college students, people with mandatory army service, or any other reason they might have to be away from a permanent “home” for long periods of time.

Even if you will be staying in a dorm, the dorms may not always be very big with lots of space for each roommate. So, your roommates probably wouldn’t appreciate you taking up a whole bunch of outlets for your “epic gaming PC battle station.”

But, despite what I have said, there are still some really good options on the market out there for gaming laptops. So, if you really want the portability, don’t let anyone dissuade you with rude comments or snobbishness.

Buy the machine that will make you happy. After all, gaming is all about happiness. If you aren’t having fun while you game, then you are probably doing something important wrong.

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