Desktop Computers Offer Superior Value Relative to Price and Performance
With laptops becoming increasingly popular the more advanced they get, computer towers may appear to be headed for extinction. However, this is not the case. Desktop computers still have a plethora of advantages over their portable counterparts, and technology retailers will still be selling them for years to come.
Laptops are obviously advantageous in terms of portability, but most desktops today offer consumers a superior value in terms of price-to-performance. Although laptops have made great strides in price and performance, desktops nevertheless provide higher performance and greater storage capacity for what can sometimes be a slightly cheaper price than a laptop. Desktop computers’ larger size can also be a bonus when it comes to theft, as laptops are frequently stolen due to their smaller size and carrying ease. Many desktops can even be locked down to a desk or workspace.
But are all desktop computers equal? Absolutely not! The consumer must consider factors like storage capacity, speed, area space, price and even appearance before making a decision. When considering cost, for example, PC desktop computers as a whole are very often half the price of their Apple counterparts and even comparable standard laptop computers (the higher-priced laptop screens and the costs of miniaturized computer technology has seen to this).
However, the consumer should know first and foremost about the basics of what they are looking to purchase. Desktop computers can be placed into two categories— those with computer towers and those without them. As a whole, the computer tower is more or less the computer itself, minus the monitor (the computer screen). The tower contains the motherboard, power supply unit, drive bays, power buttons, LEDs and vents that allow for air circulation.
For comparison, desktop computers without towers typically have all of these components built into the same unit as the monitor (an example would be the Apple iMac). In recent years these desktops have become as powerful as many computer towers, but nevertheless remain limited in manual upgrades and modifications. For example, a technology enthusiast building his or her own computer motherboard would not purchase an iMac. They would, however, look into buying a computer case. And just what is a computer case? Because computer towers can be purchased separately without the actual computer components inside (meaning, the consumer will install their own motherboard), they are also known as computer cases. Buyers beware: computer cases and computer towers are not always interchangeable terms. Read the fine print on any online listing to make sure you known whether a product is simply the case or the computer itself.
To break it down further, computer towers come in three sizes. These sizes are often referred to as the full-tower, the mid-tower and the mini-tower. Full tower cases are the largest of the three and are used for computers with large amounts of information. They are also good for computers that run high-powered software or multiple programs at once, and therefore make excellent gaming computer towers. Full towers are around 22 inches tall (sometimes taller) and are meant to stand upright on the floor. Because of their size and high power capacities, they often have multiple built-in fans to provide an effective cooling system. Full-towers can have anywhere from three to 10 externally accessible drive bays, which is where users can load external information sources like USB flash drives and CD-ROMs. Past computer towers included floppy disk drives, but advances in storage technology and industrial design have caused these to become obsolete within the past several years.
Nevertheless, the amount of drive bays has diminished in recent years; as technology has shifted toward large capacity hard drives, flash drives and other USB devices and network-based solutions. Because of this, mid-tower cases are now the popular choice for general work computers and home computers. They are smaller, with between two and four external drive bays, and are typically no larger than 18 inches tall. They also can sit either on the floor or on a desk, if there is space. Though not very widely used, a mini-tower case typically has only one or two external bays and is usually no taller than 16 inches tops.
The best computer towers can be difficult to determine. After all, the individual consumer’s personal needs and preferences must be taken into consideration. If price is a major concern, PCs may be the way to go. On the other hand, more advanced creative software and better reliability records may make Macs the better option for some. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that computer towers do not necessarily need to be hooked up to a monitor of the same brand. For example, an HP monitor can be connected to a Mac tower. This can come in handy if one is looking to save money, or even if they simply like the features of a certain monitor but aren’t prepared to buy a whole new computer.
Something to also consider is the location in which computer towers are purchased. Furthermore, do the price differences between, for example, Walmart computer towers and Best Buy computer towers signify a difference in quality? Many times, the answer is no, but there are other factors to take into consideration. Prices and deals may vary slightly from store to store. If thinking about buying online, consumers should make the effort to go to a retail location in person to look at computers (or computer towers, if buying separately). For example, HP computer towers and Gateway computer towers are sold through many online locations, but it is always wise to try them out in person before clicking “buy.”
Last but not least, when purchasing a new computer in general, the consumer must avoid falling for the often superficial and unnecessary gadgets that are offered along with it— for example, computer cases (the storage kind, not to be confused with computer towers) and other “personalized” products. These can be fun, but it is imperative that they are ignored when the buyer is in search of quality.