As more and more people are having to do work digitally, it can be hard for people to find the right workspace for themselves. There are many options that all have their pros and their cons.
However, there are about 3 different categories of machines that people can do work on that I think most people would consider. These 3 categories are desktop PCs (Personal Computers), Laptop PCs, and some form of tablet such as an iPad.
Now all of these have different strengths and weaknesses, so it is not so simple to just smash everything off the list until you are left with just one option that you want. It is important to invest time and thought into the workspace you buy so you will not become frustrated with it later.
Think about it like you are playing an online game at Thunderbolt. Now, you could fold at the first sign of trouble, and sure that would be a safe option. However, you may come to regret it once you realize your opponent was bluffing and you lost what could have been a big pot of money.
So too can we say about picking the right workstation for you. Sure, you could pick whatever seems easiest, but is that really what is best for you? Does it really fulfill all the things you will need it to without causing you trouble later down the road?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself when you go to buy a machine to do work on. This could be a machine you spend hours of your life on. Just like you wouldn’t want to spend hours on an uncomfortable chair, you probably wouldn’t want to spend hours on a machine that doesn’t suit you properly.
Desktop Personal Computer
We are going to start with the big boy in the group which is the Desktop PC. Desktops are the classic idea of a workstation, and it has, is, and probably will be used as one of the primary devices to work on for most people for years, decades, or even centuries to come.
There are just so many benefits to using a desktop especially if you have very intensive work to do. These things can give it the killer edge over laptops and tablets especially if you are looking in a similar price bracket.
The first and biggest advantage of a desktop PC is the power you can have in your machine. Desktop-grade components are just plain better and faster than laptop and portable parts. This means you will be getting a much better price to performance ratio with a desktop PC than a laptop or tablet.
Now, I am not talking about a couple bucks difference here. It can literally be hundreds or even thousands of dollars difference to get a computer with comparable performance in a laptop or tablet form!
It is just simply very expensive to try and pack power into a small package. Potability just comes with a cost and many people cannot meet that price. Now, this may change in the future, but as it stands, if you have a budget and you need processing power, then going with a desktop is essentially your best bet.
Another great advantage of a desktop PC is that you can keep your computer relevant over the years for much cheaper than you could a laptop. By this, I mean that you can keep its power up with whatever the most modern machines are relatively cheaply.
This is because the most common thing a computer needs an upgrade on is its memory, graphics card, and RAM. And these will probably not have to all be swapped out at the same time, so it spreads an upgrade cost over a longer period which could be easier on your wallet.
Even nowadays, top of the line desktop PCs from 5 or even 10 years ago are still more than adequate for less heavy workloads. So, unless you are doing things that are very graphically intensive like animation or modeling then you should be alright for a while.
Now, one final thing to mention about desktop PCs is that they have a big disadvantage of not being portable whatsoever. So, if you need to take your work with you on the go, a desktop PC is immediate off the table.
Now, I may have said desktop PCs are the most classic idea of a workstation as they are what is used in many offices, government buildings, hospitals, etc. However, that does not mean they are the only primary work device.
Now more than ever, laptops have become the dominant form of a PC for many people. The simple fact is, cheap laptops are getting more powerful, and more powerful laptops are getting cheaper.
They are still expensive of course, but that is really only if you are looking at the price to performance ratio, or if you need a lot of power in a PC. The average person just needs enough to run a text editor and their spreadsheet program.
Therefore, the portability of a laptop has begun to become invaluable to most people. The ability to take your work with you wherever you want is a lifesaver especially if someone needs to fly a lot and is worried about having downtime on the plane that they wouldn’t be able to work during otherwise.
In addition, portability also allows you to easily show what you are working on to another person. You can literally just bring them your whole computer instead of having to send them a file over the internet or with a thumb drive.
Now, it has some great upsides, but there are also some downsides to using a laptop. Specifically in the departments of price, power, heat, and replaceability/upgradability.
The first category is price. Now, laptop prices may be cheaper as I said, but that doesn’t make them cheap by any means. To buy a laptop of comparable power to a desktop you are going to have to spend quite a bit more money as I have stated many times.
Next, there is the problem of power. If you need a lot more processing power in your computer for the kind of work you do, then it is going to be quite expensive if you choose to buy a laptop.
In addition, having more power in a laptop leads to problem number three which is heat. Laptops generate a lot of heat, and that heat is harder to get rid of than in a desktop machine.
This could lead to your computer thermally throttling in order to stop damage, or just actually getting damaged as time goes on.
Finally, there is the problem of replaceability and upgradability. Other than the RAM set and the hard drive, there isn’t really much you can upgrade on a laptop easily. This means when a component in your PC isn’t good enough, you may have to just buy an entirely new laptop.
There is also the problem that a laptop has a big lithium-ion battery in it! It is not a question of if, but a question of when your battery will wear out. You are going to see battery life performance drops, and eventually a battery that can barely hold a charge. It is just another thing that can go wrong.
Tablets are basically a laptop that just has everything taken to the extreme. Ultra-portable, more expensive, and harder to upgrade or replace things when they get broken.
To be honest, tablets are more like big phones than small laptops. Sure, they have more than enough power to do what you need if it is basic nowadays, but they will be much more expensive to get even similar performance to cheaper laptops or desktops.
The only reason to get a tablet is if you need the portability or if you need a touchscreen to draw on as an artist. Otherwise, just go with a laptop or desktop.
You cannot upgrade or easily replace anything on a tablet, and once the battery starts to go bad, you basically can’t replace it like you would be able to on a laptop. It’s better to just stick with the standard unless you absolutely have to for your specific field.