Why Are Desktop PCs Superior

Long time no write!

I would like to apologize all of readers and viewers for my long absence. Quite unfortunately, I was swamped with work and had hardly any spare time for sleep. Now this has changed a bit and I finally have time to write once more!

For the last 2 months I have been playing around with old computers – mostly Pentium 4 and Core Duo. Everything was surprisingly new to me, especially Core Duos. Then it hit me. As I probably mentioned in my very first entry, one of my first computers was a Pentium 1. Years later my parents bought me a Pentium 4 desktop PC…which was my sole computer until 2011, when I finally bought myself a gen2 core i5 Samsung laptop. While I read a lot about Pentium 2 and 3, back in the ‘good, old days’ in computer magazines, I entirely missed all of the processor series between P4 and core i. I heard some of my colleagues had a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo. Two cores – that was incredible! No more virtual cores through Intel’s hyper-threading technology! However, for a very long time I was fine with my Pentium 4. It was simply that good a computer. Yes, I could barely play Oblivion (not to mention other, more demanding games), but with Win XP, everything else worked smoothly. Now I finally have a chance to get back those ‘lost’ years of technological development!

Roughly two weeks ago I found this very nice Core2 Duo vPro HP Compaq Elite 8000 convertible mini-tower. It doesn’t have hyper-threading, like all of the current core i3, i5 or i7, but still gets the job done nicely. Actually, this C2D is much faster than my i5 Samsung laptop! When I switched from desktops to laptops due to my rather nomadic lifestyle, I completely disregarded desktop PCs as heavy, clunky and immobile. They might be so, but the power is simply incredible!

It was clear to me then – laptops are not designed for heavy computing. They provide significant versatility through a multitude of built-in components (microphones, cameras, SD card readers, etc.) and superb mobility (especially the current ultrabooks). However, in terms of performance they lose badly. CPU and GPU processor frequency is reduced to avoid excessive heat generation and extend battery life. The majority of key components cannot be exchanged. This was a huge problem in laptops with only a soldered, dedicated GPU – once it burnt down, the whole motherboard had to be exchanged. Laptop cooling systems are a poor joke, especially in so-called ‘gaming laptops’. Two metal pipes connected to two small fans? Really? To properly game on a laptop, you need a cooling pad. It works, but I would say that instead of a 17″ laptop + a cooling pad, it’s so much more economical to buy a desktop PC. Same price, better performance. Especially that current small form factor setups are quite powerful (saw one the other day for roughly $700-800) and occupy hardly any space.

Hence, a lesson for me and for all other potential laptop buyers. Laptops mean mobility, NOT performance. Don’t be fooled by the empty claims of vendors!