College Computer Buying Guide Chapters
Related Articles on Laptops
For Related Articles on Desktops, please see our Computer Buying Guide page
College Computer Buying Guide
Choosing a Desktop or a Laptop
Once you know what type of computer hardware and software you will need, it's time for you to decide whether you want to shop for a desktop or laptop computer. To help you decide, we will list the major advantages and disadvantages of both types of computers.
Owning a Desktop
-- Cheaper to buy than laptops and notebooks
-- Easier and cheaper to upgrade
-- More ergonomic (has a better keyboard, mouse, and screen)
-- Harder to steal
-- About 20%-30% faster than an equivalent laptop
-- Good for gaming, graphics programs, audio/video applications, and other intensive computer tasks
-- Not mobile
-- Takes up space
Owning a Laptop or Notebook
-- Mobile, goes anywhere
-- Takes up very little space
-- Can use in classroom
-- More expensive
-- Slower than a desktop
-- Difficult to upgrade or repair
-- You have to lug it around all day
-- Much easier to drop/break
-- Easily stolen
What will the computer be used for?
The type of computer you choose will depend on how you intend to use it. If your school allows notebook computers in the classroom or has a wireless Internet, then you should probably buy a notebook computer.
If your school doesn't allow computers in the classroom and you have no real need for wireless Internet, then you would probably be better off with a desktop. Also if you are a computer gamer, graphics designer, artist, photographer, or have other computing needs that require a faster computer, then a desktop is your best choice.
Once you have decided on a desktop or laptop it's time to go shopping for a computer.