July 29, 2008

Computer Crash -3: Have a Desktop Computer Over a Laptop

I've heard rumors that desktops are considered dinosaurs by some, and I'm afraid that they may be right. My latest walkthru at Circuit City and BestBuy found much less choice in the desktop products, and they were displayed sort of like stepchildren, in the back - out of the laptop limelight.

Personally, I like having a desktop and a laptop -- the laptop gives me freedom of movement, and the desktop is my sturdy, reliable workaday machine.

Laptops are vulnerable because of their free spirits ... leave them in the car, and risk the heat (or cold); drop them on the floor or just slam them on the table, they're hurt; and then, there's the danger of theft that's ever-present. They are also physically smaller machines, so you can't store as much on them; they've got less graphics capabilities; they're more difficult to upgrade; and they cost more.

My desktop - until it died this month - ran for me without a single problem for 5.5 years. Five and a half years. Of course, I added memory here and there, and I used it for work. No games, no movies.

I like, and want, that kind of continuity - transitioning of computers is a big headache.

Sure, you cull your files. Sure, you get a new, fun machine with lots of purdy extras. Sure, it only takes a couple of hours to physically install the monitor, and keyboard, and mouse, and printer, and speakers, and tower all together into your workspace.

Still, I hope and pray that it's another five years before I have to change my Main Work Machine again.

So, for me, if I have to choose just one computer, it's a desktop - hands down. However, having a desktop and a laptop saved my neck this month when the desktop stopped working. That laptop - which also crashed, due to a software glitch - kept me going until I could research and buy a replacement desktop.

Today, the little laptop is stable - but it runs on XP, and I'm wary of relying on it too much now that it's crashed on me. Paranoid? Maybe. But my plan is to replace the laptop with an new model, running on Vista - because for me, the optimal choice is to have both a desktop and a laptop, working in sync.

Budget-wise, my techs tell me this is smart: buy a sturdy, basic desktop and a nice but not tricked-out laptop, rather than put all your money into one machine. The sturdy desktop will work just fine for you, and you can add memory to the laptop (and other gizmos) over time, if you'd like. Works for me.

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