Desktops are from Chrysler™ & Laptops are from Refrigadare™

Should You Buy a Desktop or a Laptop?

So why would I compare a car manufacturer to an appliance maker? And what the heck does any of that have to do with your computer?

When people ask me to either upgrade or repair their laptop for them; I usually tell them to take it to an authorized dealer, wait 1 to 3 weeks and be prepared to take out a second mortgage. I'm just kidding, but only a just a little bit.

Of course you can replace parts in a laptop like you can any other PC, but the point I'm trying to make is that desktops and laptops are fundamentally different.

Ok, smarty-pants, we both know that laptops were designed to be the ultimate, portable computing tool for road warriors, students on the go and other users who desire mobility (i.e. surfing the web from bed or paying the bills from the kitchen table). While desktops, on the other hand were designed to be the stay-at-home workhorses.

Desktop computers (either a true "desktop" model or a floor-based "tower") are designed like automobiles in that they can be easily modified or upgraded with standard after-market parts. This is called "open-source architecture" since any hardware producer using standard sizes and configurations; can sell their components to the public (and to PC vendors) and be assured that it will fit inside most industry standard computers.

Laptops, on the other hand, are designed to be more like a household appliance. Sure, you can upgrade a laptop but all the parts are extremely proprietary and custom made for that laptop manufacturer to fit inside that specific model.

With the exception of the memory (RAM) and the hard drive (which is smaller than a typical desktop hard disk), often the only other "standardized" items are the connector ports on the back and sides for phone/network jacks, mice, USBs or printers.

Everything else, from the keyboard, pointer device or glide pad and LCD screen not to mention all that other nifty internal stuff is designed to either be smaller or lighter weight than the norm. In addition, laptops use "molded" high impact plastic cases that don't contain any easy, user-friendly way to open or modify things.

Like refrigerator manufacturers, laptop producers really don't want you monkeying around inside their products. Everything is more or less designed to function within that single unit and to run "as-is" for its lifetime. What you buy is pretty much, what you get.

Don't like your laptop's size or style? Buy a new laptop!

Is the screen too small? Buy a new laptop!

Is the keyboard awkward and you can't type using those tiny, little keys? Buy a new laptop!

Can't get the hang of a glide point? Buy a new laptop...

Check out part two for the rest of the story...