What to Buy, a Notebook or Desktop PC?

The performance capability of notebooks has been increasing for years: in many respects, mobile computers no longer lag behind their desktop counterparts. When purchasing a new computer these days, many users wonder whether a bulky tower CPU is even necessary, given the advantages of a notebook.

desktop vs notebook

If you decide to purchase a notebook, performance is often not as decisive a factor as design, or various additional functions such as wireless capability or the ability to eject CDs when the notebook is turned off. Even if such features tempt you to buy, it pays to keep a cool head, because when compared to desktop computers, notebooks can be difficult or impossible to upgrade. You should consider the hardware very carefully, to ensure that it meets all of your needs.

If watching movies on the go is important to you, then a DVD-ROM drive and a sizable screen are musts. In this respect, notebooks with 17″ screens are considered the cream of the crop. Now that Blu-Ray has won the exhausting format battle to become DVD’s successor, we can expect to start seeing a large number of notebooks equipped with Blu-Ray drives. However, playing such high-resolution video material puts even higher demands on the hardware. Intel has already responded, and in the course of introducing mobile processors in its 45 nm manufacturing process, has also rejuvenated its mobile computer platform (Santa Rosa). These modifications have also improved the playback capabilities of high-resolution video material (see also article: Notebook comparison: Penryn vs. Merom).

Manufacturers are reacting to these changing circumstances in the notebook market sector. Acer, for example, has produced various models optimized for multimedia use, to attract customers. The 6920 and 8920 series boast 16″ and 18.4″ displays respectively, and promise complete viewing satisfaction in full HDTV resolution. However, performance like this comes at a price: interested buyers have to reach deep into their pocketbooks. The smallest model in the 6920 series costs $1,855.13, while the largest 8920G-934G64BN model is tagged at a whopping $2,937.30.

But is it really worth it to anyone to pay so much for a notebook? What could you get if you were to invest an equivalent sum in a desktop? The following article will address these questions.

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  • mi1ez
    or the ability to eject CDs when the notebook is turned off.

    Most notebooks I've seen won't let you eject the CD when it's turned off except using a paperclip in that tiny hole, which is something you can do on a desktop drive anyway.
  • mi1ez
    8800GTS 320 seems an unusual choice...
  • americanbrian
    This is obviously a newbie article. You could easily build a far superior machine than the one specced out here.

    For example I have just bought a new budget gamer machine (own build)

    680i SLI mobo
    single 8800GT (for now)
    2 GB of dominator xr2 1066 ddr2 (who needs 4 GB if you have no intention of running vista EVER)
    Q6600 2.4GHz Quad intel (soon to be oc'd to ~3.2GHz)
    funky case, extra large dia fans, 3rd party cooler, etc etc etc.
    (will reuse old HDD's for the mo'. I had to get this past the wife so this concession was made)

    Comes in at £445 or ~ $870 US

    Being conservative and adding £60 to get a 500GB HDD that still is only ~$995 US

    And this system will smack the quoted one around like a dirty Biatch in games productivity etc.

    As mentioned the beauty of a desktop system is upgradability. For the $1800 US you could get dual 3870x2 in quad crossfire, multiple TB's HDD's etc.

    This is article is for the Sucker Chump looking for new stuff that performs worse than cream of the last crop but for a higher price cause its new (the same people who buy new cars and sell them a year later to get a newer car, talk about throwing money away), and for advertising hard to shift stock, 8800GTS 320's anyone?
  • VirtualMark
    To the same extent, you can get a much better suited gaming laptop for the money. A 8800m gtx would be much better than the 9500m card they're using.
    "If watching movies on the go is important to you, then a DVD-ROM drive and a sizable screen are musts" - Its 2008 now, do they actually make laptops without dvd drives? Apart from the macbook air, i think every new laptop has at least got a dvd drive.
  • christopherjabingham
    I got an Asus Z7000 laptop with an ATI X700 128 meg video card and 1.5 GB ram and Pentium-M 1.7 GHz for £160 GBP with a years warranty! It has a 15.4 WXGA screen and quadruphonic sound. It didn't have a HDD or optical drive so I installed my own hdd. Unfortunately my DVDRW drive does not fit the ultrabay connection so I use my usb to ide adapter and psu so connect a desktop pc dvdrw drive via usb and the transfer rate is fast (usb 2.0) and the drive is seen in the cmos setup at bootup so excellent!
  • christopherjabingham
  • americanbrian

    BARGAIN. where did you get that deal. I'd get me one.
  • christopherjabingham
    Hi there!

    I got it on ebay.co.uk and they only post to the UK but you could check. It was at the ebay.co.uk shop spiredream trading in Oxfordshire near Oxford.

    Hope you can find it as they sell many units. Search for barebone or barebones.