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Laptop or Desktop

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I am buying a new computer as my PC needs replacing. I would like to ask for advice from others. What will you choose if you will buy a new computer, a desktop or a laptop? And why?
 

Zack T

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For me, it's always a desktop. Laptops are more expensive if you want good quality ones, and I do all my gaming on the computer instead of consoles and gaming laptops are extra expensive.

I built my own PC almost 2 years ago and it's still quite beastly.

I would suggest to think about what you want to do with your computer to decide whether you need a laptop or a desktop. Do you need to move from spot to spot on a regular basis? Do you play graphically demanding video games on the computer? Do you simply do web browsing and show-watching?

I think for most people who don't do gaming, laptops and desktops are fairly interchangeable. You'll be able to do things on both. But I'd be wary of cheap laptops, they're often built with very lackluster processors and thus will slow down real quick as they age. Cheap desktops are often a bit better, as they'll at least come with a good (albeit slightly older) processor.
 
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I actually have both and I only carry the laptop when I need to travel and perform some tasks on the go. Like @Zack T says, it comes down to what you want to do with your computer. If you can afford it, then go for both.
 
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I like the portability of the laptop, but I wanted the power that the desktop. I've seen a few laptops that are not that expensive and have great hardware specs in it. I'm just afraid that it might become slower as time goes by, like what Zack said.
 

Zack T

Active Member
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One way to avoid that slowdown issue for awhile is to get the most current generation of processors/graphics card (though you only need a dedicated graphics card if you do gaming).

So for example right now, Intel processors are on their 9th generation and all current models begin with 9 (9700K for i7's, 9500 for i5's, 9300 for i3's). AMD Ryzen processors are on their 2nd generation and begin with 2 (so like Ryzen 7 - 2700).

AMD Radeon Graphics cards are on Sapphire and Vega 64 and 32, while NVidia are on GTX 2060/2070/2080/2080 Ti's.

I personally built my computer using a 1st generation AMD Ryzen 5 - 1600x (I bought it a couple months after the initial release) and an NVidia GTX 1070 graphics card. I did this because AMD processors experienced a huge upgrade with a brand new chip being released in the Ryzen series and they've always been cheaper but nearly as good as Intel's processors. The 1070 graphics card was the 3rd best gaming graphics card in the world at the time I bought it, and it's still in the top 10 even today, so that's something to consider too.

If you want to put the components together yourself, that's the absolute cheapest/most powerful way to build a new computer. It's truthfully not that hard to assemble the pieces, I did it for the first time 2 years ago with the new computer I've been describing. I put in about 12 hours of research over the period of a week to ensure I was making the best purchase decisions that I could, and then I sort of just figured it out when I got all the pieces in. The hardest part was hooking up everything to the motherboard, but they do come with instructions to tell you what plugs in to what, so you'll eventually figure it out.

However if you'd rather not put it together yourself, another good alternative is to use a website like cyberpowerpc.com or iBuy to customize a PC - you get to pick out all the parts you want, seeing the prices as you go. Then they'll put it together for you and ship the finished product to you. I bought a PC from Cyberpowerpc many years ago and it was a solid machine, and I know online friends who've used them and iBuy as well. It costs a bit more than putting it together yourself because you're paying for the labor + a markup on the parts themselves + shipping, but you get the customization without the hassle of assembling it yourself.

I'd be happy to assemble a wishlist for you if you wanted to build it yourself or have it customized, if you gave me a budget to work with. I love doing stuff like that.
 
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You make a good point @Zack T because the kind of processor determines a laptop's overall performance. Which are the best processors if we are to make the purchasing decision based on brand?
 

Zack T

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Intel and AMD are the top dogs, regardless of whether you want to do gaming or just general computer use.

For gaming, you'll want to choose between the following:

Intel
i7 9700K - 419 on newegg
i7 8700K - 379
i7 8700 - 319 (The difference is that K processors are "unlocked", making overclocking much easier)
i5 9600K - 269

AMD
Ryzen 7 - 2700X (X means the same thing as K does for Intel) - 309
Ryzen 7 - 2700 - 249
Ryzen 5 - 2600X - 199

Ryzen 7 and i7's are the most powerful, while Ryzen 5 and i5's are still quite powerful and good for gaming. It's important to note that Intel and AMD processors use different Motherboards, so you have to make sure the Motherboard you're looking at says it's for the chip you're getting. They all easily identify themselves, you don't have to look hard. But you just gotta be sure of that :p Typically, Intel chips and their Motherboards are a bit more expensive than AMD products. AMD is trying to provide the same power as Intel, but at less price to attract customers. Been their strategy for years, and Ryzen is doing a great job at achieving that goal.

If you aren't doing heavy gaming and just focus on watching Netflix and browsing the internet type of activity, then I'd suggest sticking to any of these:

Intel
i5 - 9400F - 169

AMD
Ryzen 5 - 2400G - 139
Ryzen 3 - 2200G - 94
 
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I've always liked desktop computers over laptops because of the speed, but lately for my job and for studying I need a laptop and I have found that my Macbook is fast enough to cover what I need. I still use my desktop every now and then, mainly for games, but anything else a laptop is best for me, because of the portability.
 
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Portability is very important to me so I will stick to my laptops. I don't play lots of computer games (I have a game console for this) and I mainly use my laptop for Microsoft Office, social media and watching movies every now and then so that's enough for me.
 
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Thanks for that explanation @Zack T; I had only heard about Intel processors but now the picture is now much clearer. @whothe_h_isshane, I thought that not all desktops are faster than laptops? It all (probably) comes down to the nature of the processor.
 

Zack T

Active Member
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Not all desktops are faster. It's entirely based around what's inside the machine. However, Laptops have to deal with a much smaller space to fit all the parts inside, and that means sometimes they deal with less powerful parts due to size restrictions. Graphics cards are a big example - Graphics cards for desktops can be 280 millimeters long for some big powerful ones, but laptops can't fit a monster like that, so you get something about 1/4th of the size and much thinner.
 
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Thanks so much for that explanation @Zack T. I have always assumed that laptops are far more superior than desktops, but there seem to be a few restrictions that have to do with laptops. Could this explain why most gamers prefer desktops?
 

Zack T

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The main reason most gamers prefer desktops is due to cost efficiency and also performance/cooling efficiency.

You can get a really powerful gaming laptop, but it's gonna be much more expensive than a desktop of comparable power.

On top of that, it's a lot harder to cool down a gaming laptop than a desktop. Plus, you're going to need to have your laptop's battery plugged in while you game anyway, so you're not really making much use of the mobility of the laptop. Some people may like to go to a public place and use wifi to game, but most don't because it's slower than at home and probably less comfortable.

Gaming gets your computer hot. That's why you can look up these fantastic artistic liquid cooled gaming rigs that use colorful tubes - those things are not just to look awesome, they're extremely effective cooling measures designed to allow the computer to be overclocked for even more power/speed than normal. The more intense the games graphics, the hotter your graphics card and processor get.

A laptop is tiny and not very well ventilated, even in the best cases. If you do gaming with a laptop, you'd need an external cooling pad to set it on or else you likely will eventually overheat - possibly damaging the systems, or at least forcing your laptop to restart and take a breather from the game to cool down.


Obviously laptop gaming is not impossible, it's just slightly more difficult and much more expensive than desktop gaming. But if all your doing is watching videos and browsing webpages, a laptop can handle that without great expense or heating issues easily.
 
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I have a laptop which I essentially use as a desktop. I got it because I need to have portability. It's a gaming laptop (Asus ROG) which I got because I play a lot of games. It's very fast and powerful, though the downside is, as @Zack T mentioned, I need to have it sitting on a cooling pad when I'm gaming. It's set up on my desk like a regular PC would be. I have a wireless mouse and keyboard attached to it as well as a second monitor. I love my set up, but it wasn't very cost effective. If I didn't need my computer to be portable at times, I would have invested the money in a really great desktop PC.
 
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Thanks to Zack, and the others, for your input. I have a budget of around $1,500. I asked a friend about this matter and he told me that i7's are overpriced because I can use an i5 which can do the same performance as an i7 so long as I have a high RAM and a fast graphics card. What do you think about this @Zack T ?
 

Zack T

Active Member
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It's true that i5's are cheaper, and they're still quite good processors. You're gonna get more performance out of an i7, but the top end i5 is still really damn solid too.

With a budget of 1500 though, oh boy. You can afford that i7 9700K without an issue.

The 2 most expensive pieces of the computer are often the processor and the graphics card when building a powerful rig - if you want, I could set up some links for you to give you options. Either I could set up a wishlist for you to look at of each individual part and you could put it together yourself, or some customized options from a place like cyberpowerpc or iBuy and have it assembled then shipped to you.

With 1500, you can get a damn good system. Top of the line processor on either AMD or Intel side, plus I bet we could manage you a GTX 2080 if you decided to assemble it yourself. If you don't, I think a 2070 would still be within reach at that price and that's the 3rd best card in the world right now (arguably).


EDIT: Here, for example are 2 wishlists I have on newegg. Basically they're identical builds, except 1 uses AMD processor and 1 uses Intel (and as a result, they have different motherboards too. But otherwise identical)

AMD Build - 1742

Intel Build - 1847

Now these builds are mostly without cost in mind. If we wanted to save some money, we could go down to a GTX 2070 card instead which would save about 250, or we could go down to a 2-fan GTX 2080 which would save about 70 or 80.

We could also change the case to something cheaper, a good case often can be in the price range of 30 to 70 depending on what aesthetic you want and certain features. We'd have to pick up a CPU fan because that case I've got in these lists comes with a liquid cooling unit built in which is really rad, but we'd save money by switching to a cheaper case and picking up a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo air CPU cooling unit, those are cheap and really really effective so that'd be about 100 dollars saved as well.

We could probably search RAM to find a better deal there. Could also shift the SSD from 1TB down to 500 to save about 100, or down to 250 to save 150, then just pick up a simple 1 TB regular hard drive, those are only like 30 bucks.


So it'd be pretty easy to get a bomb ass amazing system down in your 1500 budget price range, and then you'd have top of the line everything and not need to upgrade for several years.


Alternatively, if you wanted to save even more money, we could look at a top of the line i5 processor or AMD processor and then at the GTX 1070 as your graphics card. That'd drop the price down by 500 dollars or so, and would still be a very excellent option.
 
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Thanks for the help Zack. I decided to buy the Razer Blade 15 laptop. I chose to buy it because it is a laptop that has the power of a desktop. I just hope it will last long, so I won't have to buy a new computer in the next few years.
 

Zack T

Active Member
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Did you go basic or advanced model?

Overall it's a great laptop regardless of which customization options you picked.
 
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I only upgraded the storage space because I'm sure that is the one that will get full once I started playing games with it. I think the overall specs of that laptop is great.
 

Zack T

Active Member
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Yea that makes sense. The specs are good, albeit expensive, but you knew that heading into it due to it being a laptop. Good stuff, I think you'll be happy with that for awhile :)
 
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