It’s not that I’m anti-Apple—I switch freely between iOS and Android, and I’m currently wearing an Apple Watch—but my preference for working in Windows has started to feel like a blind spot in my tech coverage. Even when I can borrow my wife’s MacBook to try the occasional app or MacOS trick, it’s not the same as living inside MacOS full-time.getintopc
But unlike the average Mac buyer, I didn’t end up with a MacBook. Instead, I went with Apple’s diminutive Mac Mini, which is now sitting on my desk beneath my main monitor. Whether it’s Windows or MacOS, one thing I know for sure is that I’m an enthusiastic desktop PC user.
While the laptop’s portability benefits are obvious, here’s why I still appreciate the desktop computer—whether it’s running Windows or MacOS:
Desktops can be cheaper
Apple’s Mac Mini starts at $700, which is $300 cheaper than a MacBook Air with nearly identical tech specs. Essentially, you’re not paying for the display, trackpad, battery, and webcam, which means you can put that savings toward better desktop accessories or use what you’ve already got.
The math gets a little trickier on the Windows side, where pricing can be all over the place. Still, you can generally find decent desktops in the $500 range (one example), whereas the quality of laptops in that price range can be iffy in terms of keyboard, trackpad, and build quality.
They’re better for certain applications
The always-on nature of desktop computers also opens up some use cases that aren’t practical with a laptop. If you want to use Plex or Channels DVR to record over-the-air TV or stream your personal media collection, you’ll need a computer that’s plugged in and running around the clock. Same goes if you’re rolling your own home automation service or sideloading apps on your iPhone. With a laptop, you’d lose access to these services whenever you put it to sleep.
They afford more power
Intel and AMD ship different sets of processors for laptops and desktops, with the latter being more powerful. After all, they don’t have to worry about keeping your lap cool or burning through too much battery life, and they can use bigger fans to dissipate heat. Apple, meanwhile, is clearly leaning into the strength of desktop computing with its Mac Studio, whose optional M1 Ultra chip outperforms any MacBook.
A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose microcomputer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large, costly minicomputers and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers. Primarily in the late 1970s and 1980s, the term home computer was also used. The advent of personal computers and the concurrent Digital Revolution have significantly affected the lives of people in all countries.
Institutional or corporate computer owners in the 1960s had to write their programs to do any useful work with the machines. While personal computer users may develop their applications, usually these systems run commercial software, free-of-charge software (“freeware”), which is most often proprietary, or free and open-source software, which is provided in “ready-to-run”, or binary form. Software for personal computers is typically developed and distributed independently from the hardware or operating system manufacturers. Many personal computer users no longer need to write their programs to make any use of a personal computer, although end-user programming is still feasible. This contrasts with mobile systems, where software is often available only through a manufacturer-supported channel, and end-user program development may be discouraged by lack of support by the manufacturer.
Since the early 1990s, Microsoft operating systems (first with MS-DOS and then with Windows) and Intel hardware – collectively called ‘Wintel’ – have dominated the personal computer market, and today the term “PC” normally refers to the ubiquitous Wintel platform. Alternatives to Windows occupy a minority share of the market; these include the Mac platform from Apple (running the macOS operating system), and free and open-source, Unix-like operating systems, such as Linux. Other notable platforms until the 1990s were the Amiga from Commodore, and the PC-98 from NEC.
When would you use a desktop vs a portable PC?
Stationary, or desktop, computers are usually very fast and powerful. And they typically have higher performance and better functionality than portable PCs.
In addition, desktops typically cost less and they’re cheaper to upgrade.
Users may prefer a desktop computer because they are relatively flexible and versatile. This means you can customise them to best fit and suit your individual needs and tastes.
Desktops are used mostly in enterpise computing and you can do any kind of work using one. They’re the computer of choice when you’re working from home of from an office, since you can’t move them easily.
Desktops are also a popular choice for gaming, as well as for using graphic design and video editing software. This is because they have higher processing power and capabilities which result in higher quality graphics. There is more space available on the screen while working, thanks to the separate monitor.
On the other hand, portable PCs or laptops are the computer of choice for users who often work ‘on the go’ or are digital nomads.
They are helpful when you want to work while traveling or when you simply want to work from a coffee shop for a day.
Laptops and other portable PCs are also a good choice for students, who can take their work from one class to another.
Laptops typically have a higher price tag both initially and when you want to upgrade them. They’re also a bit harder to customise. But their main selling point is definitly their portability.
You can do the same work on a laptop as you would on a desktop computer, such as edit documents and spreadsheets, play games, edit videos, create compelling graphics, and use a variety of software. Just keep in mind that their power is significantly less than that of a desktop computer.
Thanks for reading and making it to the end of the article!
We went over the definition of a computer, the different types of computers, and the parts all computers have in common.
At the end, you learned the basics of Personal Computers – the most popular computers today.