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Laptop or PC? 3 Factors to help you decide your best option

We all have been in that situation. While many think the only difference between a laptop and a PC is the portability, it does not end there. Here are some factors to consider when making that decision.


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Linto Lingson

3 years ago | 5 min read

So your birthday is coming up and your parents ask you what do you want as your birthday present. And you say a laptop. A few minutes later you think maybe a PC (Personal Computer) is better?

Or your laptop is a decade old and is showing signs that it wants to be dismantled for good. But you just cannot make up your mind whether a laptop is better or a PC.

We all have been in that situation. While many think the only difference between a laptop and a PC is the portability, it does not end there. Here are some factors to consider when making that decision.

Purpose

Do you mainly use a computer predominantly for writing, surfing, watching videos and making presentations? Or do you use your computer for video editing, 3D rendering, gaming or other heavy applications? Your purpose is a major factor to consider when choosing between a laptop or PC.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Laptops work optimally when you run light applications. They can easily handle your daily writing, surfing and similar applications that do not put a lot of load on the laptop. The reason being is heat.

The trade-off for small and portable size is the low heat dissipation. It means laptops struggle to cool down your CPU when they run heavy applications. No, the laptop won’t burst into flames. It would just throttle. The CPU would slow down to let the exhaust fan cool down the components.

So, if you find yourself hearing your fan working overtime most of the time you use your laptop, then it may be time to look at a PC. PC have better cooling mechanisms and so can withstand the load from heavier applications.

But that does not mean laptops cannot be used for heavy applications. There are laptops purpose built for video editing and gaming in the market. They are in the expensive side, but if portability is vital for you then have a look at these laptops.

Upgradability

Are you someone who would rather throw away your old computer when a fault appears? Or are you someone who like to tinker with computers and would not mind opening up the computer with a screwdriver?

Well if you are the former, then you can have a laptop or PC. But if you are in the later group then a PC is a better choice.

(Image by atimedia from Pixabay)
(Image by atimedia from Pixabay)

That is because PCs are much more upgradable than laptops. While you can upgrade laptops with ease, they are limited in the components you can swap out. One of the biggest drawbacks of laptop upgradability is not being able to upgrade the CPU or GPU.

These are usually soldered into the motherboard of the laptop. And while you can increase your storage and RAM capacity, having an ageing CPU and GPU means you are stuck in the past.

PCs meanwhile are a DIY paradise. You can change anything inside that case as long as the new components are compatible with the case. And you can also custom build PCs and have it assembled by a vendor or by yourself.

It is the ultimate expression of computer freedom and choice. Compare that to a laptop where you are stuck with the same chassis, it is a no-brainer for those who love to upgrade to choose a PC.

But that does not mean everyone should buy a PC. Not everyone is a DIY enthusiast especially when it comes to upgrading one’s computer. If upgrading your computer is trivial to you then choose a laptop or PC according to the other factors.

Budget

See, if you are a student who does not need to take a computer to your class, then buying a laptop is a waste of money. I do understand the urge you may have to buy a fancy gaming laptop and to take it to school so you can rub your classmates’ faces in that RBG-lit keyboard. But very soon that novelty will run out.

If you are thinking about pursuing a career in a field that will need you to do a lot of video editing in iMovies, engineering drawing in AutoCAD or 3D rendering in Blender, then a PC is an automatic choice. You may think that as a student it is better to have a laptop. But if your institute does not need you to bring a laptop or provides you with one on campus, then a PC is the best option.

Image by Hitesh Choudhary from Pixabay
Image by Hitesh Choudhary from Pixabay

The simple reason being that laptops are more expensive than PCs. Laptops are refreshed frequently with newer components and technology; therefore they have a high R&D expenditure. Companies therefore charge extra for that reason. If you compare a laptop and a PC with similar specifications, odds are that you will find laptops more costly than their PC counterpart.

Another thing to keep in mind, laptops and PC do not share components, even if it says so in the specifications. For example, if you see a laptop and PC with Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU, they are not the same.

There are two versions of these GPUs, the laptop version being the less powerful because it is programmed to run on a lower voltage that their PC counterparts, so as to produce less heat.

Another reason to buy a PC if you work with heavy applications is that you do not need to buy a rig if you decide to go out own your own. Freelancing means you are competing with big companies out there who buy the best rigs for their employees.

So, if you have a PC already, then you may just need to swap out the GPU and CPU to get started instead of buying a new PC. Laptops may get you started, but you may not be able to handle large projects and that can seriously hurt your chances of making a living via freelance.

To conclude,

Whether you chose a laptop or a PC, go into the shop thinking it as an investment. Buying a new computer just to dispose it in couple of years is not a good idea. Not only does is it a waste of money, it is also harmful to the environment, even if you diligently dispose of your computer in a recycling center.

It is better to use it till the computer dies. If you have to get rid of the computer for some reason, then try selling it on second hand websites. Someone may take it off your hands for a price.

Laptops and PCs are like a companion that will last us a decade easily if we take good care of it. Therefore, making a decision to bring a companion into our life should not be taken lightly. Keep these three factors in mind so that the decision becomes a easier one.

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Linto Lingson

Hi, I'm Linto. I write about technology, sports, and everyday stories. Check out my Medium page https://medium.com/@lintolingson for other stories and my Sportskeeda page https://www.sportskeeda.com/profile/lintolingson-1 for my take on football.


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