DESK TOP COMPUTER VS. NOTEBOOK

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 21, 2009 8:54 PM GMT
    The time "hath" come (so to speak) to review the computers in my office and consider replacements. We have several that are networked, two are especially used and all were purchased in 2003 and 2004. Time to consider new purchases......

    For my own office and use, I just can't see any need to buy a desktop again.
    This is a nice computer, but I'd prefer to have the flexibility of moving it around (that a notebook provides). One assistant has commented about enjoying the 19 inch flat panel (thats about 3 years old). In my usual anal style, I'll have to consider the problem carefully and make a thorough decision.

    LOL.. actually I started to do the same thing with our company copier (my original from 1994).. then it busted.. I replaced it in two days and I love the new one... I guess I like the idea of making an informed decision and with all the constant changes with computers, it should be prudent.

    Am I missing something? What are good reasons you have a desktop or your notebook?
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    Oct 21, 2009 9:08 PM GMT
    Looking forward to seeing the results. I think you may be looking for a laptop for the office and a notebook to use at home and for travelling. I am thinking that with all the trips I have been doing lately a notebook would be the way to go. Will be checking for suggestions! icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 21, 2009 9:18 PM GMT
    Support your fellow gay business (and the Michigan Panthers; $25 savings for you AND $25 donated to them)....

    SCS Intel Computer Catalog

    Coming the first week of November are Intel desktop systems based on the DP55 motherboard/chipset and utilizing the newest i5 and i7 quad-core processors.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 21, 2009 9:24 PM GMT
    For most needs these days, a laptop is sufficient unless you do high-end graphics work. I just don't see the need for a desktop system. I have a computer desk where I dock my laptop when I want to print things or backing up (both of which could be done wirelessly these days), or if I'm working on a project like my taxes. I have a laptop stand to elevate the display, and a keyboard and mouse. But, otherwise they don't get much use. You can always plug a laptop into a display if you need a larger screen. I prefer the mobility a laptop provides.

    Of course, laptops are an easier target for theft and breakage. So, backing up on a regular basis is probably more important than if using a desktop.
  • Tiran

    Posts: 227

    Oct 21, 2009 9:25 PM GMT
    In my office most of the more senior engineers have laptops with docking stations in the office instead of towers. The applications and storage for all project related work is on the network servers (or something, I am not in IT). Would a system like that work for you?

    I think at home a tower is only really needed if you are a serious gamer or maybe have a home business with special needs.
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    Oct 21, 2009 9:46 PM GMT
    If people want to keep a large monitor and you want to get a laptop, almost every brand laptop maker offers a port replicator which makes things nice, and might even secure the laptop from thieves, depending on how it's set up.

    Regardless, whenever the laptop is on the go, keep a security cable. After mine was stolen from my home this year, I never leave it uncabled when I'm gone.
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    Oct 21, 2009 10:17 PM GMT
    I have used a laptop exclusively for about 6 years now and have no regrets with doing so. Most laptops are plenty powerful for all but the most serious graphic or gaming apps.

    I will offer this to you and any of the other RJ Members. Avoid Dell at all costs. My first laptop was a Dell and it still works fine. Last summer I elected to upgrade to a newer version, so I purchased a Dell Inspiron 1525 Special Edition. The numbers as far as processor and ram seemed good and the price was right - or so I thought.

    This computer has never worked right. The cursor skips all over the screen, sometimes it minimizes all the windows open or, very irritatingly, it backs up to a blank screen when you're trying to fill out and online form. Dell has had this thing at their "Depot" 3 times and sent a service tech once. Every time they either fix things that don't need fixing, like the DVD Drive, or they make excuses. Now that it's out from under warranty they tell me "We have provided you with the ulitmate support, the computer must have a virus, or it's defective. You'll need to pay $50 to talk to a tech and then for parts and labor to fix it". In other words - we sold you a piece of crap, that's your tough luck.

    I did have a neighbor who overheard me talking to them while carrying in groceries who told me this may be a glitch with the HORRID Windows Vista. He suggested upgrading to Windows 7 when it comes out. Avoid Vista Operating systems too. This thing with Vista is as slow as an old 286 system.

    Good luck on your tech upgrade!
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    Oct 21, 2009 10:27 PM GMT
    Build your own machines, better product, better warranties, but you have to be semi-technical. It's really not that hard.
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    Oct 21, 2009 10:45 PM GMT
    Hmm - odd, ChicagoBriGuy.
    I own and using right now a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop. I bought it new over a year ago. The only problem I had with it was that lately the page would freeze and the mouse curser would disappear, leaving me with no option but to disconnect the power, then turn the computer base up and release the battery mechanism and detach the unit for a moment, then replace it, and reconnect the power. After rebooting, it worked fine after that.
    I wondered what might have been the cause of this setback.
    For several months I mistakenly loaded a website - Babylon translating service. But after a week's free trial, I had to buy it, which I did not want to do. But long after expiry, the file button remained and a pop-up kept showing up on the screen offering me to buy it. When the PC Guard virus scan system checked the files, there was one it couldn't scan. It was the Babylon file.
    At last I managed to uninstall the file, and the button is gone. The computer seems happier, the PC Guard scanning completes its task properly and so far,I had no further problems with the computer.
    My question is:
    Could a website file disrupt the smooth running of the computer?
  • oookellyooo

    Posts: 116

    Oct 21, 2009 10:57 PM GMT
    If you need computing power and your job is graphics-intensive then leverage desktops but if you value mobility as well as decent computing then choose laptops, obviously.

    In my company, we use laptops since I work from home a lot so that I can use the same equipment from home or work, saving the company money.
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    Oct 21, 2009 11:25 PM GMT
    sxydrkhair saidHndsmkasan, I will get both... desktop computer for office/home and notebook take around with you. I am not too crazy about the PC. I prefer Mac computer. If you are getting the Mac Desktop, then wait for few months because i have heard Apple company is going to redesign the new desktop computers. Don't waste your money on PC windows.


    The iMac or the Mac Pro? The new iMacs are already out without many real improvements. The Mac Pro is WAY overpriced- especially for what he might need it for.
    ------------------------------
    I would also recommend that you build your own. It's fast, it's easy, and it's fun. You get to choose from a wide variety of products and it'll only cost you a fraction (half-give-or-take) of the pre-built ones. If you want a Mac... you can always build a Hackintosh.
    I'm planning on building one- 1k+ for an iMac with a horrible graphics card that they are selling for $300 when it cost $69 is not one bit appealing.
    -------------------------------
    Build BUILD BUILD.
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    Oct 21, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidHmm - odd, ChicagoBriGuy.
    I own and using right now a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop. I bought it new over a year ago. The only problem I had with it was that lately the page would freeze and the mouse curser would disappear, leaving me with no option but to disconnect the power, then turn the computer base up and release the battery mechanism and detach the unit for a moment, then replace it, and reconnect the power. After rebooting, it worked fine after that.
    I wondered what might have been the cause of this setback.
    For several months I mistakenly loaded a website - Babylon translating service. But after a week's free trial, I had to buy it, which I did not want to do. But long after expiry, the file button remained and a pop-up kept showing up on the screen offering me to buy it. When the PC Guard virus scan system checked the files, there was one it couldn't scan. It was the Babylon file.
    At last I managed to uninstall the file, and the button is gone. The computer seems happier, the PC Guard scanning completes its task properly and so far,I had no further problems with the computer.
    My question is:
    Could a website file disrupt the smooth running of the computer?


    I'm not sure to be honest, computers aren't my thing really. I've had this thing to the Geek Squad and Dell a total of 6 times. I have state of the art spyware and virus protection. It's possible I just got a bad one. My neighbor seems convinced that it's a glitch in my version of Windows Vista. I am really disappointed because I like Dell Products. I may replace this with a used Latitude D820 - from what I understand the business class are far better.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 21, 2009 11:42 PM GMT
    Diffident_Sunshine said
    sxydrkhair saidHndsmkasan, I will get both... desktop computer for office/home and notebook take around with you. I am not too crazy about the PC. I prefer Mac computer. If you are getting the Mac Desktop, then wait for few months because i have heard Apple company is going to redesign the new desktop computers. Don't waste your money on PC windows.


    The iMac or the Mac Pro? The new iMacs are already out without many real improvements. The Mac Pro is WAY overpriced- especially for what he might need it for.
    ------------------------------
    I would also recommend that you build your own. It's fast, it's easy, and it's fun. You get to choose from a wide variety of products and it'll only cost you a fraction (half-give-or-take) of the pre-built ones. If you want a Mac... you can always build a Hackintosh.
    I'm planning on building one- 1k+ for an iMac with a horrible graphics card that they are selling for $300 when it cost $69 is not one bit appealing.
    -------------------------------
    Build BUILD BUILD.


    Can't really build your own laptop. And a Hackintosh desktop is a bit janky. Plus, if something doesn't work right who is he supposed to have it serviced by? This answer is really only for pretty tech savvy people. Most people definitely do not need a high-end MacBook Pro for their needs. To me the larger MBPs are attractive because of their screen size, but the 13" MacBook Pro is powerful enough for most office uses and is easy to transport. Even the newly revamped polycarbonate (plastic) model is pretty attractive. And Laptop blog found it comparable to similar equipped PCs out there.
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    Oct 21, 2009 11:56 PM GMT
    You can kind of build your own laptop. You have a lot more options than if you are to buy it from a manufacturer. They have 19 and 20 inch laptops, so unless you wanted bigger screens than those screen size is not an issue. Laptops due just as good of a job on everything besides generally the hard drive being smaller in capacity and slower in performance, but if you are building a CTO laptop you can easily choose a 7200rpm notebook drive. Unless you want EXTRA high end gaming abilities, or tons and tons of storage, notebooks are definitely the better, more versatile choice. Of course, having both a laptop and a desktop would be best.
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    Oct 21, 2009 11:59 PM GMT
    I have a macbook pro and let me tell you its a freakin life saver.
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    Oct 22, 2009 12:01 AM GMT
    There are tutorials for these things on the internet. icon_wink.gif
    I own a macbook and it's... er- just horrible.... the graphics... the plastic case, which has already cracked in multiple places. The new one should be much better.
    As for the Macbook pro... I would not recommend getting that over the new macbook. The are similar in nearly every technical aspect, except the macbook has a larger hard drive and the obvious... cosmetics and price.
    -----
    The low end macbook pro used to be a regular macbook after all. Damn marketing schemes.
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    Oct 22, 2009 12:01 AM GMT
    the real question is how often do you really want to move your computer around.
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    Oct 22, 2009 12:04 AM GMT
    I personally own 2 desktops and 1 laptop.

    Desktops are more flexible when it comes to enhance their specs, also 100% of the time the average laptop specs fall way behind the average Desktop specs. For example, just recently Intel manufactured their new Core I7 processors for laptops when these have been commercialized on desktops for a while now, same thing happened with DDR3(RAM memory).

    Laptops are limited on many levels, you cant upgrade the microprocessor in most cases, their motherboard have a limited amount of slots for extra cards or extra anything, and when you buy a laptop whatever you got with it is almost as much as you can get out of it.

    Desktops on the other hand can give you way more, you can put upto 16GB of memory on an average desktop if you really want to. You can get a better microprocessor for it(unless the new processor model requires a different hook like Intel Core I7) You have way more slots to put more stuff in and in the end they will totally perform way better than any laptop.

    So, how to make your decision? If you need to move with your computer under your arm then probably a laptop will make it easier jk. Just think about what you need in the moment:

    portability?
    basic specs to run business applications and other basic software?
    probably youll be also running some professional yet not that heavy apps like image editing software and sound mixers?

    go for a laptop.

    only go for a desktop if:

    1 - You dont REALLY need a portability
    2 - You will be running software requiring extensive work from the CPU and the GPU, such as latest videogames, professional video encoding, 3D rendering etc.
    3 - You think that by the time you want to upgrade your computer you might as well just get a new one.

    best of lucks!
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 22, 2009 12:26 AM GMT
    Charlitos brings up some great points.

    As a follow-up to my post, this is an interesting time to be upgrading. If you're sticking with a PC, I'd hold off a couple of months, if possible. Your new system will almost certainly come with Windows 7, and there's just no way to know yet what glitches you might encounter if you switch now. Hold off to make sure it's not another Vista experience. It shouldn't be, but it's better to be safe than sorry. And make sure your other hardware is compatible with Windows 7 (printers, scanners, etc., etc.). Also, if you're migrating files from Windows XP, the transfer is going to be a pain. Make sure all your files are backed up (twice, if possible). If you're upgrading from Vista (God bless you for making that transition.), then there should be fewer issues.

    Of course, I can't help but make my Apple pitch here. Of course, if using your PC for business the transition probably isn't as simple, but certainly not impossible these days. I was a PC user for most of my life. At my last job I used Macs for six years and was enormously satisfied with how more reliable they were than the PCs I owned and how more consistent and user-friendly the OS is. I transitioned not long after Apple turned to Intel processors, allowing Macs to finally run Windows. So now you have the best of both worlds. But, truth be told, I hardly use my Windows partition all that often. But, if you have programs that only work on PCs, it's a great solution. And there are 2-3 different virtualization software programs out there that allows you to run Windows within your Mac environment. Or, you can always set your Mac to boot as a Windows machine.

    Unlike Windows, if you need tech support, Apple is only a call -- or, even better, if you live near an Apple Store -- a visit away. The Apple Geniuses will even help transfer your PC files to your Mac. (I think you'd need to set up your Windows partition yourself, if you go that route.)

    Not always practical depending on your needs and applications you use, just something to consider. Explore your options.
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    Oct 22, 2009 1:11 AM GMT
    Laptop - hands down. It provides mobility and in today's world why anchor yourself to a single location. If someone in the office requires a larger screen you can always attach a full size monitor etc.

    My firm 100k employees all use laptops, secure remote access etc... There are no excuses as to having to stay late at the office - you simply take it with you. Of course the downside is you learn to 'walk away' - just walk away
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    Oct 22, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    I read somewhere that most notebook users don't use their notebooks on-the-go. It stays put on their desk, plugged in, all the time.

    The only reason to get a notebook is to save desktop space. These days, you can get a "notebook" with a 17" widescreen. Not very practical for lugging around with you. But it serves the purpose of saving space. And gives you a large screen. Alternatively, you can get any size notebook and hook it up to a large LCD screen.

    I guess it all comes down to what you use your computers for. If you're going to be doing some CPU intensive tasks, the I would recommend a desktop. The cooling systems on all notebooks still kinda suck. Plus, RAM and hard drives are cheap. If you're doing simple office tasks and internet stuff, then a notebook will suffice.

    For me, I have a desktop that does heavy lifting tasks such as video encoding. And I use it as an HTPC for recording TV shows and storing music. I also have a notebook that I use for programming only.

    But yeah, this is a pretty broad topic. Your decision should be based on what your needs are. And of course, how much you want to spend.
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    Oct 22, 2009 1:33 AM GMT
    xrichx saidI read somewhere that most notebook users don't use their notebooks on-the-go. It stays put on their desk, plugged in, all the time.

    The only reason to get a notebook is to save desktop space. These days, you can get a "notebook" with a 17" widescreen. Not very practical for lugging around with you. But it serves the purpose of saving space. And gives you a large screen. Alternatively, you can get any size notebook and hook it up to a large LCD screen.

    I guess it all comes down to what you use your computers for. If you're going to be doing some CPU intensive tasks, the I would recommend a desktop. The cooling systems on all notebooks still kinda suck. Plus, RAM and hard drives are cheap. If you're doing simple office tasks and internet stuff, then a notebook will suffice.

    For me, I have a desktop that does heavy lifting tasks such as video encoding. And I use it as an HTPC for recording TV shows and storing music. I also have a notebook that I use for programming only.

    But yeah, this is a pretty broad topic. Your decision should be based on what your needs are. And of course, how much you want to spend.


    You're absolutly right xrichx. It all depends on what your needs are and applications you require.

    However in my experience the notebook does move with the user. Travel, moving from office to home office etc are imparitive in my line of work so a laptop is a must. Heck for that matter taking a week to work remotely at some sea side beach with my laptop and EVDO card is sweet.
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    Oct 22, 2009 3:26 AM GMT
    This is a decision process I went through a while back myself and it does, as other posters have said, depend on your needs and your budget. Without knowing more, we'll just be throwing our uninformed opinions around (but hey, that's what all these forums seem to be these days -shouting matches). For example, what kind of central server do you need? What are your mobile computing needs and what kind of uptime do you need? How much reliability, error compensation and capital outlay are you talking about and can you go cloud with your office server needs? Is environmental sustainability part of your office agenda, and if so, have you investigated your cooling and power usage for the server and individual workstations? Also, how many end-users are you talking about? Do you have a dedicated sales division which has different mobile computing needs?

    For the server, obviously a laptop will not do as the cooling and temperature control would be crazy and it will not be moving around at all.

    Desktops are certainly cheaper for any of the workstations which are permanent. Things which need to be left running for a long time or semi-continuously would be better as desktops for two reasons; efficiency and computing power. Most dedicated workstations fall into two types; basic permanent stations for clerical work and service terminals; and specialist processing terminals like for modelling and crunching.

    For the first, a slim desktop PC is all you need - they don't take up much space, look good and can be connected to a variety of output devices and screens easily, they can run all day without having temperature control problems and can also be more energy efficient and better for the environment. You will not need much graphics ability or computing power for this sort of terminal. Additionally, for the specs you need to do everything you want on that terminal, it is much cheaper to go desktop. For the second, a desktop makes much more sense as you will need the best CPU/GPU setup with superior memory, great buses and very efficient cooling to get the maximum power out of the workstation, thus increasing efficiency by reducing wait-times for tasks. A laptop just doesn't deliver value in this category and it will always run slower and heat up faster. Also, it reduces your upgrade costs for these terminals down the line when you need to catch up with technology.

    For everyone else, laptops will probably be fine. The sales division could probably make do with netbooks, like the Asus Eee Pc 1008ha/1005ha or HP mini 5101. Acer One and Toshiba also make good examples as do Lenovo and MSI. (dell's is less inspiring, forgive the pun). And Macs don't make one at all (this is true, please don't troll my statement, I'm not 'mac-bashing'). They're cheap ($250-400), super-mobile (half the size of normal laptops), perfectly suited to work-only applications by not having the power needed for games or the screens for watching movies, so they limit the staff to using them for professional application. If you can afford to wait, there will be a revolution in technology, die size reduction and energy efficiency within the next few months with a concordant reduction in price for the existing tech (which honestly is already enough). There will also be more integration with HSDPA and 3.5G usability integrated into these netbooks like Nokia and Asus are introducing with their latest releases so your mobile sales team is always connected to the office wherever there is mobile phone coverage.

    As for PC vs Mac, there really isn't any need to talk about it these days. Macs can run Windows too so compatibility is not a problem, but it is only a very wealthy, image-conscious office which would need to go with Macs. For the same processing power, you can pay up to 25% more to go Mac, although their power consumption is lower and inter-office networking compatibility is higher. However, the Mac tech is deliberately very compartmentalised and your upgrade costs will be much much higher in the long run as Macs are not machines made to be at the cutting edge of processing power technology - they are made for device stability, internal compatibility and aesthetics; therefore you will eventually need to get a whole new set of computers for your office when the current setup gets 'obsoleted' by Apple. That said, I did consult for an office with a full mac setup a while ago and when things go wrong, they go very wrong and service techs cannot operate on Macs like they can on PCs. So instead of the usual 2-6 hour downtime, they had to wait for Mac techs to come and take the equipment away and fix it. Unless you have a specific need to be seen using a Mac, there probably isn't a reason to. If the individual staff member needs a Mac for personal reasons, then they should buy their own Mac for exactly that - personal use.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Steve
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    Oct 22, 2009 3:39 AM GMT
    For servers you want to go with the Intel Xeon 3400 or 5500 families, but that appears to be beyond the scope of this topic.

    One thing that you can do with a desktop which you can't do with most notebooks is drive mirroring. Gives you real-time redundancy should a hard drive fail. Given how cheap hard drives are these days,...

    Notebooks are slower (e.g. bus speeds of 1066 vs 1333 MHz), with optimizations focused on size and lower power consumption to use less battery. Traditionally new CPUs and CPU support chipsets come out first for the larger desktop market (though notebooks are threatening there), with maybe a 6-month lag.

    If you're replacing computers that are from 2003 & 2004, then I'm guessing you're not a speed queen and the above doesn't really matter.

    That leaves the mobility question. If you'll be taking the computer with you, it's got to be a notebook. This is useful not only if you travel frequently, but if you spend time in more than 1 location (e.g. spending the weekend at your BF's place and want your computer - after the honeymoon period, of course).

    I'm a fan of big screens (love my 26" - I can have multiple documents open side by side), but notebooks with big screens get both expensive and heavy. I'd go with a notebook with a 15.6" screen and an external LCD panel (22" is now under $200).
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 22, 2009 5:25 PM GMT
    Update on my last post, re: Macs in the business world. A new article out reports 80% of businesses now use Apple hardware:

    http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/22812/