×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Flight of the Desktops

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the look-out-below dept.

Cellphones 430

theodp writes "Slate's Farhad Manjoo has seen the future of computing, and it's looking mighty bleak for desktop computers. In the last decade, portable computers have erased many of the advantages that desktops once claimed while desktops have been unable to shake their one glaring deficiency — they're chained to your desk. Last year, sales of laptops eclipsed sales of desktops for the first time, and it's been projected that by 2015 desktops will constitute just 18% of the consumer PC market."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

430 comments

Uh huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623478)

When the Amiga finally dies, then I'll take your dire predictions seriously.

I still prefer desktops. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623482)

And I always will.

Re:I still prefer desktops. (5, Interesting)

thePig (964303) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623644)

I also prefer desktops, but where I am from, (India), we do have power cuts quite often. Since there is no battery, it means that a UPS is a necessity. Also, here, most desktops do not sell with wireless adaptor - which means I have to buy the wireless adaptor separately.
Now, considering all those, the price difference does not match up - and most UPS can carry 20 minutes worth of power, so compared to my laptop (4-5 hours battery on average), it does not even come close.

I would guess that in India, one of the major reasons people shy away from desktops is because of these factors - many friends who moved from desktop to laptop - is because of this. Most have a desktop setup though - with multiple monitors and keyboard, and they dock their laptop to it.

Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (4, Insightful)

Wee (17189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623490)

If so, I'll buy the premise. If not, it's stupid.

Oh, I'd like a mouse as well.

-B

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623508)

It's by theodp. Mindless speculation and unjustified hype. Just ignore it.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624036)

Heck a better future form factor would be a small portable computer whose display outputs feed directly to your brain's auxiliary inputs. And it's main input comes from some device that reads your brain patterns. No physical display, keyboard or mouse (but it may have the connectors for those if necessary).

That way you can just think (stuff between < > are your own personal thought macros/patterns that you've trained your auxbrain to recognize):

<start><recall><object's pattern><do it><recall><another object's pattern><do it><end> followed by normal thought stream that's ignored by the computer.

Of course if you only want to recall one object quickly you'd use:

<start><recall><object's pattern><do it and end>

The object could be a picture, audio, video, file, etc or even the computer's representation of a stream/group of thought patterns (based on what it reads from the sensor).

As a result we might still have desktop computers since they would still be way more powerful, but notebooks, laptops and PDAs could vanish :).

Of course the **AA would want DRM built in, so certain things might have limited recall ;).

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623516)

It has come to my attention that the entire desktop PC using community is a hotbed of so called 'alternative sexuality', which includes anything from hedonistic orgies to homosexuality to paedophilia.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (1, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623594)

I can inform you that most current laptops have an external monitor port, and a few USB ports.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (3, Insightful)

swilver (617741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624058)

...and a foldable 24" screen and full-size keyboard?

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623678)

Most decent laptops have a full-sized keyboard.

Shit mine's got the 10-key pad.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (2, Funny)

emj (15659) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623742)

Most desktop replacements got a full size keyboard, everything over 1.3KG or 13" is us too cumbersome for. But since people want to replace desktops they need those 17" with numpad,

I wish there were someway I could bring more power if I need to. I can settle for a sub 13" screen at 1920x1200, and moderate performance, but a small server farm in the backpack would be interesting.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624068)

That's actually doable, although whether it's saleable is another matter.

There have been several models of laptop that have an optional expansion module that clips on underneath and adds extra ports, DVD drive and other extras. It wouldn't be impossible to put other things in such a thing as well; a second battery, more CPU cores, memory, larger and/or faster hard drives, a second graphics card that could run in SLI mode... Going a step further you could make it modular too, so you could only install the bits you need for the type of work you expect to do on the day to help keep the weight down and battery life up.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624100)

I take it you're not familiar with ssh -X me@my.domain.tld ?

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623804)

Yeah, but:

a) "Decent" laptops are way too heavy to carry around. Once you've tried a netbook there's no going back.

b) You still have to plug them in if you're going to do a full day's work.

c) You can't adjust distance between screen/keys or raise/lower the screen or tweak the ergonomics in any way.

d) Nasty laptop keys vs. Model M ... you decide.

The article may turn out to be correct for home users but it makes no sense at all in the corporate world.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623906)

a) "Decent" laptops are way too heavy to carry around. Once you've tried a netbook there's no going back.

I never understood this argument. My laptop is 7.5 pounds and it's got a 17" widescreen and a full keyboard + number pad. I've brought it to work with me most every day for the past 3 years and have never suffered a hernia or exhaustion or even noticed it. And it's in a bag that adds several more pounds when I'm transporting it. At home, I move it around constantly (a couple times a day, easy) and it's no problem there either.

I've tried a netbook. I went back. Tiny keyboard. No number pad. dinky screen. No thanks.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623990)

But those sort of laptops tend to lighten wallets significantly, so it somewhat balances out.

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (2, Insightful)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624016)

ill take a netbook, myself. I had a 14" thinkpad....damn decent laptop at the time, smallish, not too heavy. I used it at work for a while. Love the thing, but for an every day carry when I dont *need* that much, it got annoying. I got a netbook (an earlyish 10" model)

Id like either a netbook with an ion chipset and dual core atom, OR (preferably) an 11" notebook with a CULV processor. 3 -4 hours is usually plenty to get my by on battery life, the netbook is just slow enough to get annoying sometimes, but Im not unhappy with it at this point

Re:Does it have a monitor and full-size keyboard? (2, Insightful)

swilver (617741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624080)

If only they would choose to lose the keypad but instead add the navigation block in the proper position... I'd buy one immediately.

Numpad = useless
Navigation block = priceless while programming*

* combinations like shift+home/end, shift+pageup/down, and various ctrl/alt/shift combination with cursor keys must be easy to use.

bleak? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623500)

My desktop has a far bigger screen than any mobile device would be comfortable with carrying. Two screens some of the time. A full sized keyboard and mouse, which is infinitely more useful than anything other than perhaps touchscreen, and even then beats it in some applications. It's far more powerful per dollar spent than any mobile device from the same year could be, a trend that is still true. It runs cooler, as it can have a near unlimited amount of fans.

So, even though they can now theoretically match it, a mobile device would have a smaller screen, smaller keyboard, cost more or be less powerful. If it did have an equal sized screen, it'd be unwieldy.

The only chance of beating my desktop a mobile device would have is when it's equally priced, transportable, but can be quickly and easily "docked" in so I can use my real screens, keyboard, mouse and speakers. I'm talking about a single override cable into a dock station here, not manually plugging and unplugging each one every time.

But that is now (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623536)

The only chance of beating my desktop a mobile device would have is when it's equally priced, transportable, but can be quickly and easily "docked" in so I can use my real screens, keyboard, mouse and speakers.

But that is most laptops today. If you really need a larger screen, you can use an external monitor. When you go to a fixed working location, you can have mice and keyboards and whatever all set up... the one thing you don't really need, is a great big CPU box.

I personally don't even need any of that. I work entirely on a laptop, when I need more space well that's what virtual desktops are for. I find working without a mouse not hampering in the least.

Re:But that is now (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623614)

I think people who are comfortable with one or the other won't necessarily understand the other sides' attachment to their equipment of choice.

I can't stand working on a laptop unless I happen to be "on the move", and then only for short periods. A docking station would help to some degree, so I do understand your point there.

I can replace parts in my desktops, I prefer the full size keyboard and a useful mouse. The GPUs are superior to anything available in a laptop.

In the end, it's just a preference.

Re:But that is now (1)

danny_lehman (1691870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623702)

mhmm, gpu's, heat management and the ability to upgrade are some major things desktops have going. idk about this article..

Re:But that is now (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624076)

I have 2 gpus in my laptop (Intel & ATI, I can switch between them on-the-fly).

If I wanted, I could upgrade the hard drive, optical drive, RAM, wireless card, and possibly even the screen (a higher resolution that fits in the same chassis) & CPU.

For heat management it also has Speedstep, or I could use an external device such as a cooling pad.

Re:But that is now (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624028)

I used a T60 thinkpad exclusively for a while...it wasnt bad, but I couldnt do much gaming on it. It was a dual-core so I could run VMs and did a little home video stuff, but that was it. Desktops clearly have their place ( I have a quad-core with 6gb of ram, 3 HDs and 2 monitors....I love it) but most people can get by on a laptop very easily. Both my parents have one and thats all they use, and its all my sister has. For email, office use, web browsing, basic multimedia....its fine.

Mine has a 23" HD display, its my media center, pc, gaming machine, workspace etc....it fits me better. To each his own, I say.

Not possible here. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623690)

I have a 1080p 24 inch monitor. I have yet to see a laptop that does this native resolution. I also have 5 drives in this machine, no room for those in a laptop. I am leaving out the 20 inch monitor that sets besides the main one for watching wants going on on the computer is part of what it is connected via KVM to the Big one.

A laptop will never do here at all.

Re:Not possible here. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623890)

A 1080p resolution is pretty poor for a 24" screen, and the 17" macbook pro does 1920x1200 - slightly higher than 1080p...

Re:Not possible here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623980)

Just how much did your MacBook pro cost? Much more than my dual screen system did I am sure.

Most laptops are not your 17' MacBook Pro. Most Laptops are 15 inch displays with crappy integrated video and shared memory that can't even do 1080p which was the whole point you missed. Where do you put the five hard drives in your Macbook Pro? Where are your dual monitors. I gave up undersized 17 inch monitors years ago.

Re:Not possible here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623946)

Sony A197-XP 17" 1920x1200 (WUXGA) circa 2004

You're not doing it properly ;]

Re:bleak? (4, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623610)

The only chance of beating my desktop a mobile device would have is when it's equally priced, transportable, but can be quickly and easily "docked" in so I can use my real screens, keyboard, mouse and speakers. I'm talking about a single override cable into a dock station here, not manually plugging and unplugging each one every time.

But these things have existed for years and years. The corporate world is full of 'em - docking stations abound to do precisely the job you're talking about.

I'm currently sitting here with my last-gen (ie. non-unibody) MacBook Pro plugged into an external monitor, external keyboard, external speakers and an external mouse. It's one of the more clumsy of the laptops for doing this with, as no (sanely priced) docking station exists. Even so, it took me all of five seconds to do that - one USB cable, one monitor cable, one speaker cable. The PC world is better at this - shove it in your docking station and forget it exists.

The only desktops I have in my house are specialised things - a Mac Mini for a media centre, an ancient PC sat inside an arcade machine to act as a MAME box. For straight-forward computing, I don't actually use desktops at all at home. Work is a different matter, but again I'm unusual in my computing needs at work and many many people could do fine, better even, with a laptop and a dock.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:bleak? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623640)

You just wanted to post this so you could mention "...an ancient PC sat inside an arcade machine to act as a MAME box...".

I don't blame you, me want. =]

Re:bleak? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623838)

My desktop has a far bigger screen than any mobile device would be comfortable with carrying. Two screens some of the time. A full sized keyboard and mouse, which is infinitely more useful than anything other than perhaps touchscreen, and even then beats it in some applications. It's far more powerful per dollar spent than any mobile device from the same year could be, a trend that is still true. It runs cooler, as it can have a near unlimited amount of fans.

It all boils down to what you prefer. A mobile desktop replacement setup doesn't have to be a heavy and cumbersome 17" or 19" laptop. Mind you I'll still cede you your point about desktops having bigger screens, but two screens not being possible on a mobile setup?? I've got three of them... I bought a 13.3" macbook which I cram into the smallest laptop backpack I could find along with a USB driven touch screen monitor [mimomonitors.com] , a mouse and I still have enough space in my bag to cram a bluetooth numpad in there if I wanted to. I also have a 19" monitor that folds into a compact package. It fits nicely into an old laptop bag and I use it at semi-permanent work stations where I can't beg or borrow a decent monitor since I work in several different locations these days. I'm afraid I don't share your fetish for cooling fans, one of the nice points of the MacBook and many other small laptops is that they hardly ever fire up the fan. I can't claim that I don't miss the extra screen real estate I used to have with full blown desktops but on the other had this setup is infinitely more portable which is what I want. I can expand my MacBook into a tolerable desktop replacement practically anywhere but I can also dump one or both monitors and all of the rest of the paraphernalia if I don't feel like dragging it around and make do with virtual desktops.

Re:bleak? (1)

Kwelstr (114389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624060)

All those reasons work for me, plus: I've been using the same computer case for the last 10 years and just keep upgrading the parts. You cannot do that with a laptop, at most you can add memory.

Docking stations (2, Interesting)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623514)

Could cpu and ram be added to a docking station as a payoff for bringing the laptop into the office? That is, cpu and ram that could share the laptop's operating system.

Re:Docking stations (1)

nadaou (535365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623840)

probably not, the pathways are too long. perhaps along the lines of an extra node on a local cluster, but that's pushing it.

I would guess (4, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623524)

Desktops are magnitudes more powerful than what most people require from their computer these days. Probably more likely, the 'desktop' will morph into a server to manage all our files and wireless devices. I'm not about to surrender to 'cloud' just yet.

Re:I would guess (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623708)

Me neither, but I have to admit that I'm the only person I know who is still using a desktop. Even my geek friends have switched. I suppose I might if I was thinking I needed more power and laptops had come down in price to the cost of a new motherboard, processor, and RAM. Otherwise I'll just do what I usually do, and upgrade the internals. Also I'd miss my Model M keyboard... Nope, I'm just going to evolve into the old geezer using the antiquated tech and shaking my cane at the kids on the lawn.

ECC RAM (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623538)

When laptops and laptop RAM are capable of ECC operation, then I'll eagerly replace the awkward, comparatively noisy desktop with one. I have a friend who insists it's a necessity with the memory capacities we have today and another who declares ECC to be a waste of money and accordingly, time, trying to find a damned motherboard which has BIOS options for it. Thus far, I've been siding with caution.

Re:ECC RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623940)

you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and anybody that runs ECC RAM in a consumer desktop role is a fucking idiot

Re:ECC RAM (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623950)

I have never owned a computer with ECC ram and 95% of the people i know have never owned a computer with ECC ram. I'd be so bold as to suggest that 95% of all home users have never owned a computer with ECC ram. Is there some special reason that your PC needs to be a tiny bit more reliable than everybody else?

Re:ECC RAM (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623998)

Noisy? Unless you have an overclocked gaming rig, desktops can be made very very quiet. My work machine, a cheap off-the-shelf HP minitower, is nearly silent. In contrast most laptops, even the expensive business ones, have issues getting rid of excess heat. Tax them hard and they will be rather noisy.

Prophets everywhere.... (2, Funny)

dragisha (788) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623544)

I just worship those people who make years and decades of conclusions based on hype factor of gadget X.

On the second look, I am 21.321% sure that, by 2015, traditional newspapers will suscessfully move to *Pad computing devices and to A4 sized mobile phones so we'll at least free ourselves from those quasi-journalistic outlets from Internet's Stone Age, when it was still tied to desktops. You know, Slate and likes. :D

Desktops' future is bright not bleak (2, Insightful)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623546)

I haven't read TFA, but I disagree, laptops are only catching up with desktops, because more people want and have to be mobile.

On the other side, desktops have a full-size keyboard, a big and nice display, sitting at the desktop doesn't make you bend down and breaks your bearing (I mean doesn't cause malposture), you can play all the latest games, you can quite easily interchange desktop components and upgrade your PC up to three years after you've bought it, you can enjoy crystal sound (by using a decent audio system/speakers), you don't have to burn your balls and lose your precious sperm cells.

Re:Desktops' future is bright not bleak (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623688)

I haven't read TFA, but I disagree, laptops are only catching up with desktops, because more people want and have to be mobile.

On the other side, desktops have a full-size keyboard, a big and nice display, sitting at the desktop doesn't make you bend down and breaks your bearing (I mean doesn't cause malposture), you can play all the latest games, you can quite easily interchange desktop components and upgrade your PC up to three years after you've bought it, you can enjoy crystal sound (by using a decent audio system/speakers), you don't have to burn your balls and lose your precious sperm cells.

For full size keyboard, displays, and sound, what about using a docking station at home?

Laptops generally aren't very far behind desktops for graphics cards, and if the market continues to shift towards laptops I think you'll see the graphics industry focusing more on the mobile graphics which should reduce cost and bring the latest stuff to market a little quicker.

As for upgrading... people just don't upgrade like they used to. Let me put it this way... if you're not buying hardware that will last at least 2 years for your purpose, then you're not buying the right stuff. And after 2 or 3 years when you start thinking about upgrading and go shopping around you'll see all this wonderful hardware that's ever so cheap and ever so fast... but it won't fit in your computer because those sockets didn't exist. So you'll look at the upgrades you can buy and compare them to the new stuff... and more often than not you'll end up just buying a new computer.

Personally I'm a desktop guy, but I can definitely see myself switching in the future.

Re:Desktops' future is bright not bleak (2, Interesting)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623918)

I have to agree with you on the upgrading bit.

As an example, when I built my current system 2 years ago, I planned on a 10 yr. operational period. This did mean an upgrade would be needed and the only one I expected was the GPU. Things like Hard Drives and burners are all normal replacement parts as I expect them to fail at some point in time seeing as they include moving parts.

Another reason I'll stick with a desktop revolves around monitors. As I get older and my vision gets worse, I find myself needing larger displays at standard resoultions just to be able to see things. My next one is going to be a 19 inch running 1280x1024. The size increase means I'll get about a 15-20 percent increase in font size and since I'll need to replace the blasted display anyhow (stuck pixels) it's not a big expense.

Re:Desktops' future is bright not bleak (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623978)

Yo grandma, 2002 called and wanted to let you know you can do this sweet thing called "DPI scaling" in which you don't have to settle for resolutions that were cutting-edge back in the days of Quake 2. It even allows you to manually adjust it on a "scale" so that you don't have to spend ten hours googling whether they make 24" 640x480 LCDs.

Apps that aren't compatible with DPI scaling (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624008)

Yo grandma, 2002 called and wanted to let you know you can do this sweet thing called "DPI scaling"

2002 also had something else to say: A lot of applications never got tested by their developers under DPI scaling, so they break in interesting ways.

News at 11 (4, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623548)

FTA, the article's only novel point is that "the cloud" will do the heavy lifting for gamers and professionals. Yeah right.

Everything else is just the standard mainframe -> mini-computer -> desktop -> laptop -> iPad -> neural link and retinal implants meme that's been done to death more times than I care to count.

Re:News at 11 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624096)

laptop -> iPad -> abacus -> pebbles.
This better describes the trend.

No notebook in my near future. (5, Interesting)

guytoronto (956941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623550)

Dual 24" screens, one oriented as portrait. 8GB RAM (max 16GB). Upgradeable CPU. Two internal HDs, with space for two more. Upgradeable video card. Full-size keyboard with numeric keypad + trackball. Decent computer speakers. No notebook can offer that.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (4, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623600)

Near future, perhaps not. But what if you could take your iPhone/AndroidPhone version 15 and set it on your desk next to a a pair of monitors, keyboard and fancy speakers and this FuturePhone would detect the devices and ask if you want to use them as your display/input/sound devices. When you're done, just pick up your phone and walk away without skipping a beat.

Give it 10 years, I could see this being how we work.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (2, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623626)

Why would you have to sit it? Just keep it in your pocket and do the same thing! Everything will be wireless in the future!

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623892)

Why would you have to keep it in your pocket? Just be awake and do the same thing! Everything will be implanted in the future!

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624006)

Why would you be there at all? Robots will have replaced humans in the future.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (0, Offtopic)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624078)

Have you been living under a rock? Future will end in 2012. The Mayans said it. Nevermind they are extinct now.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623646)

Your right, I dont have dual 24" screens on my dual HDMI ports on my laptop, I dont have 8GB ram on my laptop, I dont have 2 internal HD's. I dont have a full size keyboard. I dont have Good speakers.

Oh wait I do, Asus Republic of gamers designed.

There is in mine (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623686)

Atom core processor, 1GB of RAM, 30GB of Disk pace used,mused primarily for web and email. (Actually this is a laptop). I'm probably a more typical user.

Re:There is in mine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623992)

My netbook is 11.6" dual core , dedicated graphics, 500 gb HD, and 4gb ram.

Why are you all in the dark ages?

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623710)

"Upgradeable CPU."

How do you think it got put on the board in the first place? It's a socket just like any other modern CPU.

"Two internal HDs, with space for two more"

I've got dual hard drive bays in my laptop.

"Upgradeable video card"

MXM slot. Had them forever.

"Full-size keyboard with numeric keypad + trackball"

Got that too, minus the trackball, because I hate the damned things and it's just another dust ingress.

"Decent computer speakers"

I've seen some laptops with built-in subwoofers, man. Dell, specifically.

"No notebook can offer that."

You very clearly aren't looking or have no clue.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624070)

Oy vey. Ok, I will feed the troll.
I have upgraded the cpu in many machines, often I needed to replace the motherboard in order to work with the new cpu. Good luck getting another motherboard that will fit in your netbook.

2.5" apples and 3.5" oranges. I had a laptop that had a 3.5" hard drive bay, but it was a 286. I seriously doubt any laptop has space for a couple of 3.5" hard drives, let alone a couple of 5.25" drive bays.

I recently upgraded my video card. The card, with all its cooling fins, is easily a third of the volume of a netbook. The laptop video cards must be either less powerful or using magical elves to cool them.

Re:No notebook in my near future. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623938)

How many people actually need specs like this?
And despite being the cpu, video and memory being upgradeable, how many average users will actually do that rather than simply replacing the machine?

Also, i have yet to find any "computer speakers" (or built in laptop speakers for that matter) which were any good, my laptop has optical spdif output which i connect to a proper amplifier if i want to listen to music on it.

Pure bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623562)

The netbook market has not yet reached saturation; when that happens, these magical numbers will drop off

What are these people smoking? I want some. (1, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623578)

Articles like TFA are written by people who don't really know what they're talking about. Desktop and laptop computers serve different purposes - they don't really interchange well. If you need lots of power for gaming / rendering / compliling then you can't really get it from a laptop. Even when they're equipped with high powered processors, the design compromises made in shrinking a machine to laptop size take a heavy toll on performance. If you need portable "use it anywhere" computing then a laptop is your answer.

For heavy work - the desktop machine does the job and doesn't roast your tender bits. That desktop is hard to take along on a trip, though.

What's probably going on is that the "writers" have noticed that Ipads are selling like hotcakes and everybody and his dog has a tablet computer waiting in the wings - they're lumping these in with the laptops and calling desktops dead. That's a pretty poor analysis of what's really going on in the market but we don't expect much from that crowd, do we?

I'm sitting in the living room typing on a laptop right now. I'm noticing that my lap is getting uncomfortably warm so I'll put this thing aside and go in the other room and sit in my comfy chair at my desktop if I'm going to be writing a lot tonight. My Ipad is sitting on the table; it's fine for what I use it for but not for lots of typing - not because the on-screen keyboard is useless - it's actually very usable. You can't use it while you're holding the tablet, though - it needs to be on a table to type on it. Fooey; give me the full-sized keyboard with real key travel and a real mouse.

Re:What are these people smoking? I want some. (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623718)

But most people need neither portable use it anywhere, or heavy power. Laptops will sit on a desk quite happily, and can take an external mouse.

Common tasks are email, word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing. Any games are likely to be budget games aimed at low end systems or systems from a few years back.

Re:What are these people smoking? I want some. (3, Insightful)

risinganger (586395) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623942)

Finally somebody with a little clarity! I haven't read every comment in this thread but a pretty big sample and what almost every person (with very few exceptions) seems to be forgetting is that we don't represent the majority type of user. If you're machine is spending a significant amount of its time compiling or you ponder what RAID setup to use then you're not the common user!

A laptop will be more than sufficient for the average user these days. I'm not saying the article isn't total rubbish but my seriously, some of the people here have to get a grip. We're tech geeks and our requirements from a computer aren't the same as Joe public.

You're already smoking it ... (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623740)

If you need lots of power for gaming / rendering / compliling then you can't really get it from a laptop.

Only slashdot "nerds" do that. You'll need to take off your "nerd coloured" glasses and realise that the very large majority of the market for PCs are normal people - and they're the ones buying the laptops instead of desktops.

Re:What are these people smoking? I want some. (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623798)

You're right, it a poor analysis.

I'm sitting in the living room typing on a laptop right now. I'm noticing that my lap is getting uncomfortably warm so I'll put this thing aside and go in the other room and sit in my comfy chair at my desktop if I'm going to be writing a lot tonight.

Ah, but IMHO the reason why the analysis was poor is because the laptop/desktop overlap is very large. The differences are that desktops run demanding games better while laptops can move around... that's all nothing more. And since the smaller, simpler games are all the rage now the functional difference is minimized even further for most people.

BTW when I want to sit at a desk, I put my laptop down on the laptop stand and connect it to the USB hub -- instant desktop replacement! :)

People are using laptop hardware for everything now, even servers. The desktop share shrinks while laptops increase, but they're still all personal computers with the same ability to buy 3rd party applications and install them, or to easily write your own programs. To me, that's what matters more.

This was inevitable (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623822)

I agree with you 100%. If you look at internet users as percentage of population:
http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=it_net_user_p2&idim=country:USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=internet+usage+america [google.com]

You would see that in 1995 it was 10%. In 2001, beginning of Bush2's term, it finally broke 50%. Now it's 75%. Now, back in 1995, I assume 90% of anybody who had a computer connected it to the internet. That means there was an explosion of computer users as well!

So if the internet is the killer app, meaning that without it people wouldn't have bought a computer, then this was inevitable because today's laptops have easily the power to run any browser.

This type of article is no different than declaring the death of PCs because consoles make up a bigger and bigger market each generation (my video game store hardlly even has two shelves for PC games, around 2000, it was closer to 1/3 to 40% of the store IIRC). But that conclusion would be off the mark as well, because this concerns packaging and the console is just a computer packaged in a way to optimize the overall game experience from installation to playing it, as well as doing more with less hardware just because it's a specific purpose machine instead of a general purpose one.

Now, smartphones are just computers again but yet smaller packaging omitting things like keyboards for size. I'm sure they stole more than laptop sale -- because they are people who need mobile internet but don't need a keyboard. I know my own notebook usage went down. But does that mean notebooks are going to die? No, they'll always be a significant portion of people who need them. Same with desktops. The marketshare is only shrinking because the killer app was not the desktop itself but rather the internet, and since people have been using the killer app, it's delivery has branched into other form factor that are more convenient for their needs. But the desktop has uses that these devices can't address well - compiling code, rendering polygons whether it's for games are animation for movies, CAD, and the like. That core will always stay.

Nonsense. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623580)

Please point me to a mobile solution that has three 24" monitors, a decent fullsize keyboard (preferable a Model M) and a top of the range GPU.

No? Well, then I guess my desktop isn't going to be replaced anytime soon. Sure, I have a laptop in addition to my desktop. But that's not replacing, now is it?

Re:Nonsense. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623720)

Top range GPU?

Most everything from nVidia is just a rebadged 9800GTX+ going up to the 200 series. There is no need for a top range GPU. Even the newer cards don't offer that much of a performance difference.

As I play Crysis on my mobile Radeon HD4200.

Desktops, yes. Not workstations. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623582)

A laptop can easily replace most common "office desktop" tasks. Where a laptop doesn't yet really compete, is for the traditional "workstation" jobs, since you rarely see laptops with GPUs that routinely handle a teraflop of computing power (and gulping 300watts of power. There's a reason you don't see those in a laptop).

Desktops last and are cheap to repair (5, Insightful)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623592)

It will still be many years before laptops are as durable and easy to repair as desktop computers are. Laptops are built with everything crammed close together on the inside. Even a small kinetic shock can damage a part, as can minor overheating from a ventilation problem. Repairing them yourself is quite risky unless you're a hardcore hardware geek, and expensive if you have a pro do it.

Desktops, conversely, have lots of empty space on the inside; they are easy to open up and reach into if you want to swap parts around or clean dust. (At least, the ones I've had are. I can't speak for Macs.) I've had the same desktop computer for six years. It's suffered a dead graphics card, a dead sound card, and a dust-choked fan that caused a CPU overheat. I repaired each of those problems in no more than a few hours each, and gave it a RAM upgrade too. I love my laptops too, but there's no replacement for having a machine you can safely upgrade yourself and won't break by dropping six inches. Laptops may outsell desktops but they won't drive them out of the market completely—at least, they'd better damn well not.

That's their main problems (3, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623716)

The longer desktops last (and they're lasting longer than ever these days) the fewer sales the PC industry can make. And the lower the overall price tag on a system, the less wiggle room there is for taking on a margin.

But I think the posted article has the wrong focus... Desktop vs. laptop is a non-issue because they both cater to the same "personal computing" way of doing things.

The real drama is now between PCs and managed handhelds like iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. If all these smartphones end up with bigger-brother tablets that sell well, then PC culture will shrink and the new normal will be systems like iPad that operate within walled gardens that have an anti-Web bias.

Re:Desktops last and are cheap to repair (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623728)

"I repaired each of those problems in no more than a few hours each, "

Too slow.

Hell I do laptops full tear-down repair and reassembly in under 15 minutes.

Never had a quota to fill?

Re:Desktops last and are cheap to repair (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623736)

Except the great majority of computers aren't bought by geeks who are equipped to repair them. They're bought by companies (who are unlikely to repair computers themselves anyway, that's what the warranty is there for, and by the time it's out of warranty it's probably not worth repairing because it'll cost more in man hours than it's worth) and by individuals who would need to pay to have someone repair them anyway - they may as well get the benefit of portability.

This is before you even consider the vast number of computers being sold today that are so cheap it will never be cost effective to repair them. Never mind hardware issues, I've seen computers so infested with various virii the only cost effective repair if you want to consider "cost per man-hour" is to rebuild them from scratch - which starts to fail horribly if they're owned by an individual who says "Oh I threw out those CDs" or "I had to make them myself?!"

Re:Desktops last and are cheap to repair (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623966)

How many people actually repair defective machines?
They're either under warranty and get replaced by the manufacturer, or are obsolete and get replaced. Very few people will even strip a broken desktop to retrieve any parts which are still functional.

Re:Desktops last and are cheap to repair (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624088)

Have you looked inside a modern mass produced desktop lately, there is not much in there, almost everything is on the motherboard?

accessible parts
desktop---vs---notebook

cpu------------cpu (maybe)
hard drive-----hard drive
optical drive--optical drive (maybe)
memory---------memory
power supply---power brick
screen---------screen (getting better)
keyboard-------keyboard (usually easy)
video card ??--video card (probably not)

In other news (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623608)

It's looking mighty bleak for cubicles too. Unlike mobile pieces of paper which can be written on pressed against the wall while standing in the hallway, a cubicle just takes up room and chains people to one place where their managers can easily sneak up on them.

Projections indicate that by 2015, just 18% of white collar workers will have cubicles while the others will lurch aimlessly about the building, filling TPS forms while sitting on the floor of the lobby using each others' backs for support.

Re:In other news (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623758)

You may not be far from the truth, but not for the reasons you envisage. The great majority of offices in the UK don't have cubicles at all - they're open-plan.

Sustainability (1)

keyboarderror (1596427) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623616)

While I see portable devices only increasing in popularity, It's hard to beat a desktop for replaceable components. Want a ton of storage? Add more drives. Cool new game? Update the video card and add some memory. Something breaks? Grab the stuff that still works and rebuild. Most laptops, netbooks, and multi-touch gadgets are not made with this in mind. Even standardization between makes and models is difficult, with vendors preferring as much lock-in to their platform as they can get. If you like the notion of replacing the whole system every couple years, fine. It's an unnecessary waste and expense. In practical terms many people are quite happy using/reusing many components for as long as possible.

Re:Sustainability (2, Informative)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623692)

I agree that many of us prefer to re-use as many components as possible, I don't think it is as realistic as you might believe. The problem with this is that technology develops at such a rate as to obsolete everything in a desktop enough to make replacing everything in it practical.

How many of us still have motherboards with ISA connections? Sure, that's a little old. IDE? AGP? Those are both only a couple of years old. I don't think re-using an AGP or IDE card is realistic. How much digital stuff do you have that you want or need to keep? Can your old 80GB drive store it all? Do you still use SD-RAM? Moore's law?

People seem to be only just noticing this. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623660)

I've noticed for a while. Most of my friends with laptops don't even carry them about. The advantage is that they don't need their own entire desk. Just a bit of space on a shelf or in a cupboard. And you can use it while watching television, or show people something without going to the machine. They're better in so many ways that the price, keyboard and monitor position aren't a big issue.

Stupid Sentence (2, Funny)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623748)

In the last decade, portable computers have erased many of the advantages that desktops once claimed while desktops have been unable to shake their one glaring deficiency -- they're chained to your desk.

Reading that, made me stupider.

Yeah, but you're all geeks! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32623792)

Everyone here develops software, or is a gamer or does 3D graphics or video, or is just a fan of gadgets and needs heaps of power and lots of screen real-estate.

That's all fine. but you're not a typical cross section of PC users. You would have been in 1990 or so but people want PCs to play videos browse the web, chat to friends, email... You don't need multiple screens, advanced 3D grpahics or a quad core CPU for that.

I'm planning on switching back to desktops (5, Interesting)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623818)

After owning laptops exclusively for the last 5 years I'm planning on selling my laptop and buying a desktop. Ever sense I bought an iPad my laptop has been confined to my desk. There's no need to take it on trips, to the coffee shop, or use it in my living room anymore. I still need a computer for programming and graphics work, but I'm going to get a nice dual 24" monitor system with an extended keyboard and tons of RAM.

Re:I'm planning on switching back to desktops (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624024)

That's actually close to my experience. I used to have a fairly high-end laptop and loved being able to bring it everywhere but when it was time for my last major upgrade I went with a high-end iMac instead, and I also have a small netbook which is great for those times when I need to bring a computer somewhere and I suspect I could make do with an iPad (despite its limitations) instead of the netbook for the times when I need portability.

The desktop fills one niche and the laptop/tablet another and my experience is that even among my friends who are far from geeky but spend a lot of time with their computers is that they tend to gravitate toward owning desktops or at least having a a real keyboard + mouse and a large monitor or use their 42-50" TV as an extra monitor.

It used to be that laptops were extremely expensive compared to the performance they had, these days they've finally gotten to the point where those who really don't need high-end performance, large monitors or such things settle for just a laptop or people who already have a good desktop also buy a laptop ("good" isn't just a matter of raw performance, a desktop that's three years old but has some extra RAM and a good monitor is still perfectly usable even for stuff like graphics work (three years old means it probably has a C2D CPU in the 2+ GHz range and can take at least 4 GiB of RAM btw)).

Posture (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623884)

Call me laptops have decent keyboards and screens that can be raised up/away from the base into a position appropriate for viewing without wrecking your posture/eyesight.

a work life balance (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623910)

For me, my desktop at home is as much about the situation than its horsepower (at a good price).

I struggle with a work/life balance. At least having a desktop means I cant access work from a laptop or handheld while at my girlfriends birthday, which I would sneak out to do(like an alcoholic sneaks out for a swig).

I sit down at my machine and play some Left 4 Dead 2, or surf the net. I can define it as recreation.

TFA is wrong. Flight of the geek is more like it (2, Informative)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623928)

What makes the Desktop model work is:

    - ordering the parts
    - interchangeability of the parts
    - price of parts
    - choice of parts
    - longevity of parts
    - upgrades are easier
    - a learning tool
    - pride
    - fun

It used to be that when you bought a "boxy machine that sat on or under your desk" you (and usually a friend that knew way more than you) would sit down for months figuring out what parts you were going to put in. When the parts finally came, it was like a second christmas. You (and usually a friend that knew way more than you) would sit down and put all the bits into the proper places and pray you would got only one beep when it would post. Then you would set about installing all the software from floppies most of which was pulled off a BBS somewhere. When it came time to upgrade, your friend or someone your friend knew, would know someone that was in the market for a new computer or an upgrade. A deal was made, you'd get some cash or do a swap, and the whole process would start over again (Incidentally, most people that made it to this point eventually started learning something about software programming).

The *whole* process of researching/learning/building/selling a desktop is where the legacy of the Desktop comes from. You can't do all these things with a proprietary piece of locked up iCrap that needs center-pin metric torx bits to open and violates some warranty for even thinking about it. The parts in portables have very little interchangeability. Geeks love investigating where the magic smoke comes from, but portables just aren't that accessible. The knowledge factor has devolved as well; used to be everyone knew what kind of cpu, ram and video card was in their "boxy machine that sat on or under your desk", but these days the only knowledge anyone really cares to retain is what colors are available.

The Geek is what has taken flight, not the Desktop.

STUPID NONSENSE !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624002)

This is stupid. Year of the linux. Last year of the desktop. Slashdotter gets laid. All bullshit. All bullshit for a very long time.

Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624004)

"Desktop" units may go away, but our computing needs aren't going to be "enough" anytime soon. The non-portable unit is many times more capable, consequently more detail in games, more room for pictures/videos, etc. Why portable when same money will buy you a more capable home rig?

Also, in the long run, computing installments may (in part) replace the home heating systems. Think about it. Why run a 2kW dumb electrical heater when you could heat your apartment while "folding" for community benefit? Electricity is high-quality energy, converting it to low-temperature heat is wasting it.

Desktops are for CPU (2, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624032)

I use desktop machines purely for CPU now-a-days; my time (except for data-wrangling) is spent on my laptop.

By the way, was I the only person who thought that "Flight of the Desktops" was going to involve, you know, actual desktops actually traveling through the air ? Suckered me in.

Sales vs units in use - desktop vs laptop lifetime (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624050)

If you look at the data (Forrester Research) in the Slate article, you'll see that it's for SALES, not UNITS IN USE.

If you look at the data that way it makes sense. Laptops/netbooks/iPads have a much shorter lifecycle than a desktop PC. Heck, most of us techies are still using a desktop "PC" box we bought in the 1990's, just upgraded CPU/memory/hard-disk/power-supply wise every couple of years. In the Forrester Research stats I bet that counted as one PC sale.

OTOH while there do exist hard drive and memory upgrades for laptops, the tendency is not to replace a laptop every few years.

So yes, in terms of sales I see this trend as absoultely necessary. But sales are not units in use.

The overall trend I see, is that there will be big screens at home, and they will be hooked to a computer. That computer might be called a media center. Or a desktop.

Heat and noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624090)

Desktops don't have problems with them. Invariably laptops have a tiny fan spinning at maximum speed to keep the CPU cooled when under stress. It gets even worse when you try to play a game on a laptop.

This is rubbish (1)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624094)

Exactly what has a portable ever replaced from a desktop? Nothing I can find.

To this day, any portable that can deliver, "near" desktop power is pretty much a desktop effectively. This laptops are ridiculously expensive (so the portable factor is more from this desk to that desk; and not much for playing Crysis in the woods on a rotting tree stump while hunting deer), fans everywhere so you have to find a decent surface to place them (again, no rotting tree stump, or dusty hood of a truck at a construction site). They get too hot for your lap even if you ignore it's needs for air flow (not a good choice for the flight). Then, we connect gaming mice to them... requiring more accommodations and making them that much more semi-permanent once settled (again, the table at your seat on an airplane just won't do for this).

At this point, your laptop may not be "chained" but it is glued to your desk. At least we accept the "chained" aspect of the desktop. I've had a number of "bad ass desktop power" laptops... and the "glue" factor really becomes a massive annoyance and deterrence to portability. Even the mediocre laptops sometimes have these stupid little maintenance issues that "glue" it to a desktop or table top... heck, even finding a power outlet and having to heave that adapter around with it everywhere is a major pain. My laptops are desktops virtually. They never move, too much of a hassle to move them, they weigh too much, the brick adds a few more pounds, it's just too much to hassle at Starbucks. I'll keep my iPad for mobile movie watching and checking email and I'll keep my desktop for playing games, CAD or everything else that requires a lot of computing power.

The laptop will disappear, not the desktop.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...