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Should I Buy A Laptop Or Desktop

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The laptop vs desktop conversation has been going on since the very first portable computers started being manufactured decades ago, and the arguments on either side for which is better haven't really changed much.

The best computers sitting on or under a desk are often more powerful but less portable than even the best laptop you're going to be able to buy, which you'll be able to take just about anywhere, but what you can do with it will be more limited.

Fortunately, we've been reviewing both laptops and desktops for a long time now, and we are very familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of each. So if you're trying to figure out which form factor is best for your needs and budget, we're here to break it down to help you make the right choice. And with so many back to school sales going on right now, we'll even help you find the best possible deal on whichever side you ultimately decide upon.

PCs are generally more customizable than laptops as well. You can put together top-of-the-line parts for every aspect of the PC when you choose a desktop computer, whereas your choices are more limited with a laptop.

A laptop (also called a notebook) is a portable, all-in-one device that usually has USB inputs on the sides for optional peripherals. Laptops have a built-in screen, a built-in keyboard, a trackpad that acts as a mouse, and can vary in size.

Laptops are best used for light work: reading, word processing, streaming videos, or using social media. If you or your child wants to have freedom to roam while using a computer, a fully charged laptop should last an entire day for working or learning.

If you want a computer with a lot of versatility, a desktop PC is for you. Desktops can store huge files and run games with high quality graphics easily. Desktops can also be changed to fit your needs.

Desktop PCs are great for a home-schooled or distancing-learning scenario. A desktop computer can be used during the school day for learning and word processing, and during off-hours for gaming and entertainment.

There are also all-in-one PCs, which are stylish devices where their components are built behind the screen. This means they are easier to move and set up, as you don't need to connect as many wires, and they take up less space on the desk as well. However, they are also more expensive, and not as easy to upgrade as normal desktop PCs.

If a desktop PC and a laptop have the same specifications, the general rule is the laptop will be more expensive. Top-of-the-line laptops generally have higher price points than desktop PCs and they also have all of the limitations listed above. High-end laptops are still a great investment because they can be used for gaming and streaming in addition to schoolwork.

A top-of-the-line desktop can be used more often by a distance-learning student, with a lower up-front cost for parents. Eventually, upgrading the PC can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but the initial out-of-pocket costs don't have to be sky-high.

If your current desktop computer is over three years old, it may be more work than it's worth to try to source the parts needed to upgrade. Regardless, the key things to upgrade are always going to be the memory, CPU, hard drive, and graphics card. If you upgrade the processor, you'll need to also upgrade the other parts so they'll be able to keep up.

High-end pre-made desktops are usually more expensive than buying the individual parts and putting them together yourself, but they usually also come with a generous warranty. Pre-made computers will also come with some software installed, like Windows 10, so you can just plug in the computer and begin using it right away.

That said, putting together a PC is fairly straightforward, and there are many guides to putting together a computer can be found online. Check out our guide on how to build a PC for more advice on building or upgrading your desktop PC.

In the end, buying a computer for your student isn't hard as long as you u


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