Laptop Vs. Desktop — Which One Rules? Essay, Research Paper
I intend to prove that buying a laptop computer is a waste of money when compared to buying its desktop equivalent. The following definitions will be helpful. A computer is a programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data. A desktop computer is a computer that is designed to be placed on a desktop, hence the name. A laptop computer is a light-weight computer that is specifically designed to travel, for purposes such as collecting field data. Transportability is how well a computer travels. Expandability is how well additions can be added to a computer. Now that I have defined those words, I can better explain my argument. By comparing and contrasting functionality, a key factor when buying a computer; data safety, or how well your computer can protect your data; cost, which is also a key factor; and health, your computer is no good if it makes you sick; I will show you the better choice when purchasing a computer.
When you buy your computer, you want the latest software and hardware, so your computer is in optimum condition for your needs. Let?s figure out which computers come packed with what you need. You?ll need hardware, because without it your computer won’t run. But if it is too cluttered with extras you don’t need, you?ll spend extra money, and you will have future problems to worry about. Let?s start out with the basics: data storage. How much space do you need for your computer? If you want the modern-day warrior of a computer with tons of data storage, then stick to the desktop. Tiny laptops don’t carry much bulk in that category. If you need to do your work out in the field, then get your trusty laptop. But beware, for extra data storage, you’ll need to buy an external zip drive which can run from $300-$1200 for the drive itself, and anywhere from $50-$300 per cartridge for the drive.
When you buy a computer, you’ll want some multimedia options. You’ll need your standard multimedia kit add-on. This spiffy little kit includes any or all of the following; CD-ROM drive, sound card, voice recognition, video capture capabilities, speakers, graphics software, and of course any number of CD-ROM titles to go with the CD-ROM drive. After you get the multimedia kit, you’ll be able to make the best presentation your company has ever seen, don’t get me wrong; a great presentation is excellent, no matter what the subject is. Although, there is one teeny tiny catch; unless you like lugging around your desktop computer, monitor, speakers for audio, and all your other presentation materials, I suggest you get the laptop computer if you frequently have presentations to make.
Another major factor when picking your computer is the display quality the machine will put out. This decision could be a little more difficult than the others. Your desktop comes with a monitor that’s anywhere from 15″ to 19″ viewable screen (measured diagonally). This means that, unless you have a $500 video card (a device in the computer that puts the screen on your monitor), the pixels on the screen will be too tiny and won’t look the way you want it to. The other choice should be fairly obvious, the laptop. If you get the laptop, you have a video card designed specifically for that laptop that should make your screen look excellent in comparison to the desktop. Remember that multimedia presentation you probably spent a few nights working on? I’m sure it looked excellent when you viewed it from the designer, but when you run the presentation by itself, the screen, being a measly 12.5″, will probably be too small for anyone else at the presentation to see. This means you have to go out and buy some hardware for the computer and install some more software. This is all fine and dandy, even though the software wants to make your pixels about twice as small as they were before, but your video card, which was specifically designed for your computer’s settings, gets a little cranky and your screen is now the size of a postage stamp. The choice is yours.
Now that we have covered display quality, let?s move on. The next topic to cover is probably one of the most important, processing power. As defined by Webster, a computer is a programmable electronic device that can do process data, and a computer processes data by electronic impulses that travel through its processor at unbelievable rates. These little electronic impulses travel by bus, yes, a bus! These buses correspond, in size, with the processor, and according to Pontiac, wider is better. This means that the bigger the processor, the better, which, in turn, means that your computer can “think” faster. Once again, you have two choices, a sluggish Pentium Processor (which by the way, is available for both desktop and laptop), or the super-charged Pentium II Pro Processor, which is also available in both computers. Chances are you’ll choose the Pentium II Pro, but if you go with the laptop, there is a very inconvenient speed limit. To help make this a little clearer, a desktop can go at 300mhz (the fastest commercially available), but the fastest laptop can go a little over half that speed, 166mhz. Unless you’re programming a multimedia presentation application, the 166mhz laptop should be fine, for a while anyway.
Even though you have the bulk of your hardware options selected, you still can’t start your computer. Why? This is because, in order for those electrical charges to carry data, there has to be some electrical charges to carry data. Without a power source, your computer is just a bunch of scrap metal and plastic. This time there is no choice: your desktop comes with a power supply cord that plugs into your computer and the wall. The laptop has 2 battery packs for as power source. The battery packs are rechargeable and supply enough power for about 2.5 hours.
As for the end of the hardware section, there are a couple of adjustments you need to make before the computer is any good to you. Input, pressing keys on a keyboard, clicking a mouse button, or even speaking into a microphone are all ways of sending input to your computer. There are many issues involving input devices for your computer, I’ll only cover a few in this section. Keyboards cause the most health problems involving computer, being square, the keyboard can cause multiple problems, but there is an alternative, for desktops anyway. Many computer manufacturing companies have stopped making square keyboards, and are making Natural keyboards, which allows your hands to rest in a position while typing that doesn’t cause stress on the wrists or joints in the hand. Since these keyboards are much larger than the standard keyboard, they cannot fit onto a laptop. Almost all laptops now come a little pad next to the keyboard, this is the laptop’s version of a mouse, you use your finger to click on objects on the screen, and since the pad is so small, you would probably have a better chance of hitting the broad side of a barn than selecting the text you want. Another incredible breakthrough in technology is voice recognition. You can literally speak into a microphone and write your reports. This requires a nifty little card which cannot be installed on a laptop, but works wonders on desktops. The durability of a computer’s hardware is very important, if your hardware is going to fall apart the first flight, your laptop is worth squat. Even though a laptop is designed to travel, it wasn’t designed to take a beating. Turbulence can render a computer useless, take precautions. What if your hardware is damaged? Good question, repairs on laptops can cost double that of a complex repair on a desktop. As I said before, laptops have tons of wires in them. And more parts than you need to know about. Around 40% of all repairs on electrical appliances are done on laptop computers. Lets move on to software.
When you buy a computer, you want to be able to use the software that’s available for it. If you want your computer to be a software powerhouse, you need to think about several things, the size of the programs, speed, RAM requirements, Video requirements, and sound requirements. Buying software won’t do you any good if it doesn’t run on your computer, here is what you need to look at when purchasing software for your computer.
As far as program size, usually your computer comes packed with software. This software alone takes up about half of your data storage. If you have desktop, get another hard drive so you can have more than one program on it at a time. If you want a laptop, buy a BIG hard drive with it, your storage space will run out FAST.
Speaking of fast, speed is a problem with software, if your computer isn’t fast enough, the software won’t run. Unless you’re doing some MAJOR programming, or playing online games, either should have enough speed. Along with data storage, there is another neat little hardware device called RAM (Random Access Memory), and RAM is what is used when you start a program, it takes memory to load the program and henceforth, make it run. Although RAM (hardware) is relatively small, you can’t fit much inside a laptop. The standard laptops comes with about 24 megs (megabytes) of RAM, that should last you until the next millennium. Desktops on the other hand come with at least 48 megs of RAM and at most 96 megs, there are computers that are designed for Internet servers and some of them have up to 1 gig (1,000 megs) of RAM but those cost up in the hundreds of thousands.
Programs require video capabilities as well, and desktops strive in this category. Desktops can accommodate just about any video requirements out there. The little old laptop is still kicking though, sometimes the video card will whine if there is too much data for it to handle and will often make your screen the size of a postal stamp, literally. Now that we have finished the functionality of the two types, lets quickly move on.
Your purpose in buying a computer is to write store and process data. If you’re going to spend all this time writing down this data, you want it to be safe. When you refer to Data Safety, there are two issues to think about, data loss due to hard drive damage, or theft. Although desktops weren’t designed to be moved around, some people do it anyway. Most of the time, your computer will be safe, but if you hit a bump in the road, or drop it on accident, this can cause some major problems. If you hit a bump in the road, your hard drive might get a tiny scratch which may or may not cause problems, who knows? If you drop your computer for any number of reasons, this is not good, if you’re lucky there will be a scratch on the hard disk, which must be replaced, if you’re not-so-lucky, your hard drive may shatter, jamming other parts the are crucial to your computer’s function. Laptops, were designed to be moved, so if you hit a bump in the road, or some light turbulence, it should be fine, but drop it, and kiss it goodbye. As for theft, unless you carry desktop with you everywhere, chances are it won’t be stolen. As for your trusty laptop, it can be swiped from anyone at anytime, in fact, laptops are stolen the easiest.
When you go out to buy your computer, you want know how much it costs. The street price for the “best” laptop costs about $4,000. The street price for a desktop of the same hardware, costs about $1,500 (including monitor), see a little difference? Cost of repairs is also an issue when choosing a computer. The laptop repairs will run at least double the cost of the same repair for a desktop. Although the desktop isn’t moved around as much as a laptop, the life expectancy for both types of computers are roughly the same. There is always that little glitch of how long the technology will last, but not to worry, your computer will last you quite a while.
Before you go out and buy your computer, there is one more factor you should know about. Health issues; Yes, health issues; even though it’s a little computer, it can disable you for life. “There are more than 50 million computers in the U.S., but few users know how their computers could be hurting them. In fact, more than 10 million people a year are treated for computer-related health ailments?more than 4 million of America’s computer users suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (in the wrists) and other painful cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs)?and at their worst, permanent disability can occur.1″ As you can see, computers are the source of many problems, including many CTDs. Well, look on the bright side, you can buy a Natural keyboard for your desktop so you don’t get those pesky CTDs. In 1991, CTDs were the fastest growing complaint in the workplace. 61% of occupational illness was attributed to CTDs in 1991, up dramatically from only 18% in 1981. If CTDs were that common in 1991, imagine how many people have it now. As for ergonomics, there’s only one more Computer related ailment to worry about. Your monitor, that little screen through which you see your data, can cause some whoppers of health problems. The glare from sunlight is bounced right off of any monitor. I’m sure you know about UV rays and how you can blind from it, so I won?t go into that. But wait, there’s more, if you are using a laptop that you bought for a whole $1,500 with a 10″ or less viewable screen, you can strain your eyes really easily, so I’d suggest buying a desktop with a 15″ monitor for your viewing pleasure.
You can buy either one or the other, I have to admit, if you want to take your work with you, buy the laptop, it gets a ***** rating for traveling. But if you want power, speed, and spending cash left over, get the desktop. I hope that this has helped you to choose your computer. As far as I’m concerned, desktops wins hands down, and are far more worth the money you spend on them.