The first thing to consider is whether a laptop or desktop will best meet your needs:

A laptop computer

Why buy a laptop?

  • Portability. Laptops are light, portable, and take up less space than a desktop PC.
  • Energy use. Laptops typically use less than 20 percent of the power of a desktop. Good for the power bill.


Why buy a desktop?

A desktop computer
  • Price. Desktops offer better performance at a lower price.
  • Power. If you're into gaming or media applications using complex graphics, desktops usually have more power to handle them.
  • Upgrading. If you want to improve the memory, graphics card, or other components, it's far easier (and cheaper) with a desktop.
  • Ergonomics. A desktop is better than a laptop if you do a lot of computing or typing. Alternative ergonomic mice and keyboards are available. 

If you decide a laptop meets your needs better than a desktop, see our separate Laptop report.

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