Today’s consumers often prioritize portability when it comes to their Internet-connected devices, hence the reason why desktop computer sales are at an all-time low and sales of portable devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, are higher than ever. Nonetheless despite the relentless hype surrounding the small device market, including the ‘post-PC’ era that Steve Jobs promised was coming back in 2010, the desktop remains the clear winner in almost every application. Of course, portable devices are the only practical option for those on the move but, if portability isn’t a priority, then you’ll definitely be better off with a desktop.
#1. Big-Screen Productivity
When it comes to productivity, the more on-screen real estate you have, the better. While many of today’s laptops and even tablets and some smartphones sport full high-definition screens the smaller physical screen sizes render the extra pixels largely irrelevant. However, with a desktop PC, you can choose a monitor of almost any size and resolution you want, including ultra-high-definition 4K displays for four times the screen area of standard high-definition displays. Additionally, you can easily connect multiple monitors without having to use any extra hardware, such as docking stations and other additional peripherals.
#2. Superior Expandability
Most laptops only allow you to upgrade the hard disk or memory, and tablets and smartphones cannot be upgraded at all beyond adding a small amount of additional storage space by way of memory cards. However, in a typical desktop computer, each and every component can be swapped out and replaced with ease. In fact, even assembling a desktop computer from scratch is well within the capabilities of the average computer user thanks to standardized component and connections. A typical desktop motherboard, for example, can take multiple hard disks and 16GB of RAM or more and, even if it can’t, you can even replace the motherboard as well.
#3. Greater Power
With portability comes sacrifice, but the trusty old desktop doesn’t have to forgo any power or functionality in the name of small form factors. As such, a desktop PC remains potentially by far the most powerful home or office computing option available. The fastest processors and graphics cards, for example, always make their debut on the desktop before they’re scaled down for laptop computers and other devices, often still sacrificing some performance and functionality in the process. Although they’re not as common as they used to be, some desktops, particularly servers and ultra-high-end machines, may even have multiple CPUs.
#4. Affordable Flexibility
Desktop computers are cheaper than their more portable counterparts since considerable costs are saved by the fact that components don’t need to be scaled down and redesigned to fit with a smaller form factor. However, the main reason why desktops are more affordable is that you can choose exactly what you need and forgo any of the components that you have no use for. For example, there’s no point in paying extra for a graphics card all you need is a productivity machine. Even beginners can easily assemble a desktop PC that is perfectly suited to their needs, whether it’s a gaming machine, home entertainment centre or office workhorse.
#5. Better Ergonomics
If you’re in the habit of spending many hours per day in front of your computer, as do most people who rely on them heavily for work, then ergonomics should be a major priority. A more ergonomic setup is not just more comfortable to use; it’s also much better for your health. In fact, an article published in 2007 by the UK-based newspaper Daily Mail, claimed that laptop computers were crippling many people with severe back problems. However, with a desktop computer, you can take a keyboard, monitor and mouse of your choice and create a setup that provides optimal comfort and productivity at all times.
#6. Easier Maintenance
Repairing, cleaning and upgrading a desktop is vastly easier than it is with a laptop. Thanks to standardized interconnects and form factors, working on one desktop PC is much the same as working on any other, since you generally don’t have to deal with any manufacturer-specific components. Also, if a particular component stops working, such as the memory, processor or graphics card, you can simply swap it out with a new one. Taking a laptop apart, by contrast, tends to be far more complicated, and it may void your warranty. Cleaning out dust from inside a desktop is also much easier, since all you need to do is slip the cover off.
#7. Greater Security
Obviously, the more portable a device is, the better it looks to opportunistic thieves. Laptops and, to an even greater extent, smartphones and tablets are stolen all the time. Since desktops tend to stay in the same place, they’re also much less likely to get stolen or accidentally damaged. However, not only do desktops offer greater physical security; they also offer greater data security. For example, you can easily install additional hard disks to configure backup drives and redundancy so that your data is kept as safe as possible. Desktop hard drives also tend to last far longer than the relatively fragile laptop counterparts.
#8. Streaming Capabilities
In-home streaming now allows you to turn almost any tablet, laptop or smart phone into a high-end device by streaming the necessary data from a more powerful machine, namely a desktop computer. For example, popular gaming platform Steam now allows you to turn absolutely any laptop running Windows, Linux or OS X into a gaming machine simply by streaming the game from a high-spec desktop to a client device. Since all rendering is done on the server computer (i.e.: your desktop), the specifications of the device you’re actually using to play are irrelevant. All you need in addition is a fast wireless router, which you probably already have anyway.
Despite the hype, a desktop computer is still the clear winner in just about every usage scenario where portability is not a necessity. It’s for this reason that the desktop remains the favourite platform for productivity applications home entertainment and high-end gaming.