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Laptop or desktop?

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  • User profile image

    Time to upgrade the computer Smiley

    I've used laptops exclusively for the last 5 years or so. Basically, I treat my laptop as my only computer and love the convenience of just "picking up my work and leaving" at anytime.

    I just checked the desktops on now and realized that even the FASTEST laptop available today (1.7ghz) is only about half as fast as desktop PCs (3+ Ghz).

    So, question is, am I sacrificing too much performance for portability? Does it make sense to get a desktop instead of a new laptop this time around? If an average desktop's performance will be twice as good as the best laptop I can afford today...I have to wonder about the value of portability.

    What do you guys use?

  • User profile image

    I have two laptops, desktop, and a server.

    For me, portability is a non-issue, as I don't move around all that much.  Having a laptop was great for when I was living in a friggin hotel (can't exactly take my desktop on the plane with me).

    It really depends on how you use computers.  Me, I'm pretty firmly rooted to my blazing fast desktop machine, and all my major work happens on it. 

  • User profile image

    Depends on the CPU...

    I think I read somewhere that Intel's mobile parts are actually more or less on par with their higher-speed desktop parts.  (e.g. 2 GHz mobile = 3 GHz desktop)  And yes 2 GHz is not that uncommon...

    Occasionally you see a manufacturer shove a desktop part in a laptop... they tend to have lower battery lives & run hotter... so compare apples to apples...

    Of course on the mobile side, you often (not always) have to deal with a lower FSB speed, lower memory capacity, lower disk capacity, lower graphics ability etc. to be able to lug all that around with you.

    It depends on what you are doing... I think I a high end laptop or Tablet would suffice for 80% of what people do... if you have high-end needs (Maya, Mathematica, etc.) yeah you're probably gonna want a 64-bit CPU in a desktop...

    Though the dual core mobile CPUs are due out in January; the benchmarks on those should be interesting...

    For me personally, I have to sacrifice performance for portability.  No use having a 3.3 GHz monster that I can't get to...

  • User profile image

    Performance does matter... but the day since I have got my laptop, I rarely spend my time on Desktop, most of the time u see me on my laptop.

    My Desktop is 2.6GHz HT

    and Laptop is 1.6GHz

    but I love portablity.. Big Smile

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    I've got a laptop and a headless desktop. I can't imagine how I would have gotten along without my laptop last year, but now that I live closer to campus, the only place I take my laptop is to the living room. Sure it's nice sitting on the couch and surfing the net, but I'd much rather have a nice big monitor for my fast desktop PC.

    As it stands right now, developing software using this laptop is a joke. Using XAMLPad requires 5 seconds to render content. Laptops available today are very nice and have decent specs, but I would personally, currently, sacrifice portability for performance.

    I think that basically, if you have to ask yourself the question as to if you should sacrifice performance or portability, you should go with performance. If portability really was an issue, you wouldn't even be asking this question in the first place.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    I simply prefer to work at a desk, rather than 'on the run'.  I find I'm more productive that way (regardless of computer speed).  I also generally work at the same desk because I'm a creature of habit, so the portability of a laptop is a non-issue. Last time I opened up my laptop, I actually had to blow the dust off ...

    I also compile code a lot (unit testing and all that) so I suppose the faster the machine, the faster my code compiles, the faster I work?

  • User profile image

    Beer28 wrote:

    A 2Ghz will never be faster or as fast as a 3Ghz unless there are more registers and it can process wider instructions on wider data, or unless the ALU is drastically different.

    *bzzzzt* wrong answer

    Clock speed is a tiny part of what makes one CPU faster than another. The internal design of the pipeline, ability to perform superscalar operations, number of actual registers (all modern CPUs do register renaming internally), breakdown of how instructions execute and numerous other factors will play a much, much larger part overall.

  • User profile image

    And yet, AMD processors can complete running the same machine code (in some applications) faster than Intel processors clocked at much higher speeds.  It's not all about raw clock speed.  The fact that all the registers are the same is irrelevant.  The underlying architecture can make a large difference.

  • User profile image

    Well, my Toshiba Satellite Laptop is running on a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 3.06 GHz with Hyperthreading, so... It was only AU$2199* including RAM upgrades.

    *This may seem expensive, because its in Australian Dollars

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Beer28 wrote:
    Since this isn't a discussion on CPU speed, I'll leave it at this. x86 CPU's have the same registers. They have the same micro op branching. And if you take advantage of CPU specific instructions(non-386 say), then it means incompatibility. The clock speed amongst x86's are a fairly good benchmark of how fast the machine is. It's not like 8051 or 8052 or ARM where there are a million kinds of the same chip.

    So, the fact that this AMD Athlon64 3000+ (which runs at 1.8GHz) is significantly faster than the Pentium4 2666MHz I had before is just my imagination then?

    Clockspeed isn't everything. Cache makes a big difference (the Athlon64 3000+ and 3200+ for instance are both 1.8GHz, the latter just has bigger cache), superscalar ability, the pipeline, and if nothing else the actual number of microops a CPU op breaks down into.

    I used to have laptops exclusively, but if you know you're going to be using it at one location, get a desktop. There's no substitute for a real keyboard and a big monitor. And another advantage of a desktop is that you can replace and upgrade components. In my old laptop, the DVD drive broke and it could not be replaced without sending it to the manufacturer (and it was outside warranty so it would've been expensive, whereas a new DVD drive for a desktop would've set me back just €25).

  • User profile image

    Sven Groot wrote:
    In my old laptop, the DVD drive broke and it could not be replaced without sending it to the manufacturer (and it was outside warranty so it would've been expensive, whereas a new DVD drive for a desktop would've set me back just €25).

    You can buy modular components for most laptops from companies other than the OEM.

    I know a number of sites that provide (standardised) laptop CD drives, floppy drives, HDDs, and RAM.

    I just hate it when companies like Sony, Alienware, etc, don't stick to the standard and make you pay more for a single component.

    Who remembers the time when 256MB extra RAM for a Dell cost £120 when it was 768MB RAM for £120 for DDR.

  • User profile image

    I only use my laptop.

    I have a Dell Inspiron XPS. It has a P4 Extreme Edition which is Hyper Threaded and runs at 3.4ghz. It has a ATI Radeon 9800 card with 256M, lets see. 2 Gigs of memory, 120 Gig harddrive, Blue tooth, 802.11ABG.

    Basically it's loaded down good and I am faster than most desktops I see out there, but there is a price to pay... about 6 grand. But it depreciates alot slower.

    The next laptop will I get will be from Alienware and I will get a Dual Core and a Raid 0 drive set so I can have 240 Gig hard drive. I'm tired of carrying my external drive to store my virtual machines.


  • User profile image

    IBM (Lenovo)  Thinkpad


  • User profile image

    I bought a laptop a year ago from AJP (specs below) for only 1430GBP (a reasonable price). So it's not true to say that laptops are less powerfull than dektops.

    - P4 3.4GHz HT 800MHz FSB
    - ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 / Ultra AGPx8 / 256Mb DDR SDRAM / HDTV support / DualView / S-Video
    - 17" WXGA TFT LCD @ 1440x900
    - Audio: SPDIF 5.1 / 4 built-in speakers
    - Full size multimedia keyboard
    - 3xUSB 2.0 / Mini IEEE 1394 / IrDA1.1 / DVI-Out / RJ11 / RJ45 / 802.11G Wi-Fi
    - 16x Dual Layer DVD-RW

    My advice - buy a beefy laptop

  • User profile image

    Lightweight laptop, 64bit desktop, network and back-up solution.

  • User profile image

    Is there a difference between 1024 MB RAM and 1GB RAM? Some models are listed as 1024MB and some are listed as 1GB, often on the same company's catalog.

  • User profile image

    a giga = 1024 dont worry about it you are fine.

  • User profile image

    i use laptops as an away from desk convenience - but Id go desktop if you want:

    - WAY bigger monitor  ( 17 - 19" LCD - or 21 - 24"crt)
    - WAY higher resolution (most laptops still stuck at 1024 (i run 1600 on desk)
    - WAY faster (by price)
    - way more disc space (by price)
    - Better video (if you do gaming - many laptops use system ram not video ram)
    - upgradability ( desktops easy to add stuff too)
    - Multiple monitors - i have 3 - working on getting a 4th added Wink
    - Mouse and keyboard ( type with space - get a good mouse no silly little finger pad)

    that said - i do want a tablet laptop - but only for painting

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