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Desktop vs. Laptop

by Ben K.
The first step before we begin to talk about the hardware that we need to focus on. We need to figure out if we need a Desktop or a Laptop.

It is an important decision to make, and we need to answer the following questions:

  1. What CPU/GPU options do we have?
  2. Try to estimate, what are you going to do one year from now, if you will need more power from your hardware?
  3. What if the CPU/GPU is not performing as expected or stops working?
  4. Mobility.
  5. Budget!

Now, the following table is a general Desktop vs. Laptop. This will also give you some good points to think about.

(1) There are Mini and Micro computer cases which could help with the portability issue.
(2) Thermal throttling happens when your CPU/GPU (OC CPU or Laptops) takes a lot of loads, gets hot, and reaches a point where the cooling solution that you have implemented, fails to dissipate the heat that is being generated, and when it fails, the thermal throttling kicks in. Thermal throttling helps cool the chip when it gets too hot by lowering the speed
(3) Depends on the situation. In some cases where portability is really necessary and it’s part of your job, then a Laptop solution will outweigh the cost.

Now, let’s take the info from the table and turn it into some practical questions:

  1. Does your work require you to be mobile and you will need access to the best application performance at all times?
  2. Does your project/s are becoming more and more complex and demanding more and more power?
  3. Would you like to have the option to upgrade the CPU or the GPU in the future (1-2 years)?

The following story is from a real-life business-case, and it will help you to understand and the previous questions:

A good friend asked me what hardware does she needs to buy for her animation, rendering and 3D design applications. So I asked her the following questions and her answers are in orange:

What applications are you going to work with? 3D Animation, rendering.
Is it for a business or a hobby? This is for a business.
Are you going to meet with clients and show them a video presentation or a live demo? For the initial meeting I’m just going to show them a video presentation, but if I win the project then I’ll need to carry the computer with me.In 1-2 years from now, can you see your projects growing? Yes!
Would you like to have the option in the future (1-3 y) to upgrade your CPU/GPU? Yes!

The results – A micro desktop ITX.

Now, for those of you who are wondering why we decided to go with the Micro ITX and not a Laptop, then here you go:

As perfect as a laptop could have been for her mobile situation, it would have cost her double and the option to upgrade the main components is just not possible with a Laptop. So, in her case, a Micro ITX is the best solution. It is upgradeable and easy to carry around (depends on the case).

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