Why the desktop PC is far from dead

Rumors of the demise of the desktop PC have been greatly exaggerated. The desktop PC is here to stay.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Pundits love making bold proclamations that things are dead, and if the commentators are to be believed, the desktop PC needs to get ready for the biggest die-off since the dinosaurs. The idea is that the more agile notebooks are leaving the lumbering desktop PCs in their dust.

Do the people who make these boldly overconfident claims even use PCs?

Don't worry, the desktop PC isn't going anywhere. Yes, I know that the bottom has fallen out of PC sales in general - with desktops being harder hit than notebooks - and people nowadays find tablets and smartphones to be far more exciting, the desktop PC isn't going anywhere.

Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Repairability. Desktop systems have higher reliability, are easier to repair, and suffer less downtime. If the keyboard breaks on a notebook, that's a show-stopper. If the same thing happens on a desktop system, you replace the keyboard. The same is true for any number of components.
  • Power. While Moore's Law has made it possible for hardware makers to cram a lot of performance into a small space, the desktop PC is still where it is at if you want power. In fact, the more power you cram into a notebook, and the less useful it is as a portable system because of the greater weight and power requirements.
  • Upgradeability. Head over to your favorite component vendor and browse the PC upgrades on offer. Everything from CPUs to GPUs to coolers. Now notice how most of these upgrades are for desktop systems. This speaks volumes for the continued significance of the desktop PC.
  • Usability. I've been using notebooks since the dawn of time. Back then they were so heavy and cumbersome that they had handles. Seriously. But for all that time using notebooks, I still think that the desktop is more effective. Part of that is down to the customizable nature of the keyboard, mouse, and screen, but a big part is down to something that's easily overlooked - the chair. A fixed desktop allows you to craft an effective working environment
  • Customizability. Want a bigger display, better keyboard, or more powerful speakers? Well, you can add all these to a notebook, but they become a ball and chain that ties it down and makes it impractical to move. On a desktop, adding these becomes a non-issue.

The bottom line is that there is still plenty of life left in the desktop PC. In fact, unless you want the portability and freedom from the power outlet that a notebook PC offers, then you are probably better off with a desktop PC.

The old idea of a desktop PC being some huge, expensive, noisy, hulking beige box with a power station of wires and leads coming out of it are long gone. The modern desktop PC enjoys the same benefits that notebooks do from improvements in performance, power consumption, and design.

The desktop PC is here to stay.

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