The desktop computer has been in decline for more than a decade, while smartphone and tablet sales have skyrocketed. The keyboard and mouse are becoming dinosaurs of a bygone age, along with multitasking and anything resembling digital productivity: or at least that’s what Microsoft seemed to think when they launched Windows 8. In reality, the desktop is still very much alive and here are a few reasons why:
- Cheap to Maintain
What do you do when your smartphone breaks down or becomes unreliable? Do you reinstall the operating system, download the latest drivers or open it up to replace or repair a problematic hardware component? No, you throw it in the bin and buy a new one. By contrast, a desktop computer can usually be tweaked, repaired or upgraded without having to buy a whole new machine.
- More Powerful
Mobile devices have come forward in leaps and bounds, but they’ll never be the fastest computing powerhouses. Desktop computers will always be more powerful than mobile devices. In spite of this fact, people are often mislead by specifications: for example, a quad-core CPU in a smartphone doesn’t even come close to a quad-core CPU in a desktop computer in terms of performance.
- Scalable and Versatile
You cannot upgrade a smartphone or a tablet computer other than by adding a memory card for additional storage. Desktops, on the other hand, present the benefit of being easily upgraded, making them cheaper for both home and business users alike. You can add more storage, a faster processor, a new monitor and much more at relatively little cost.
- Build Your Own
Most people don’t have any interest in building their own computers, but every sphere of technology still has its niche markets, and there will always be people who like to assemble their own desktop computers from scratch. Whether they want to build the ultimate gaming powerhouse or a machine for optimised productivity, desktop users have all of the options at their disposal.
- Superior Input Options
Have you ever heard of anyone writing a dissertation or a novel using a virtual keyboard on a tablet or smartphone? While mobile docking stations may become more popular in the future, anyone who requires a computer for productivity-related tasks, such as graphic design, typing or web design, absolutely needs a keyboard and mouse. Currently, desktops and laptops are the only way.
- Larger Displays
Similarly to the lack on input options, the displays of mobile devices are hardly suitable for extensive productivity applications or home entertainment: you’re not going to want to watch a movie with the family on a 4″ mobile phone screen. People aren’t always on the move, and larger displays will always be superior for productivity, gaming, home entertainment and just about everything else.
- Better for Gamers
Being potentially the most powerful among computers, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that desktop computers can offer the best gaming experience. However, their increased versatility also offers a substantial bonus, and many games are extensively added to and modified by their fan bases.
- Real Multitasking
One of the most controversial things about Windows 8 was that only two of the new mobile-style apps could only be displayed at the same time. A major step backwards in the eyes of desktop users, multitasking took a significant hit. With the larger displays, keyboard and mouse input and greater processing power, a desktop computer also wins at multitasking and the resultant increase in productivity.
Another niche area of computing, but an extremely important one among certain professionals, virtualization refers to emulating a different platform. For example, one might run a virtual Linux- or Macintosh-based computer within Windows for the sake of software testing or running software designed for the guest platform. Virtualization is, currently at least, only possible with desktops and laptops.
- More Storage Space
Although storage capacities are rapidly increasing across the board, any film or music lover will have trouble fitting their entire multimedia collections onto the on-board memory of a smartphone or tablet or on a memory card. For such collections, a good old-fashioned desktop or laptop hard disk remains the only practical solution until online storage and blazing Internet speeds become a widespread reality.