The nice thing about a blog is that you can trace decisions you blogged about to the exact date. It was July 18, 2013 when I wrote about using a desktop pc rather than a laptop. It’s been an interesting journey but it came crashing (pun intended) to a halt when my desktop died a few weeks ago.
It’s lazy writing but I’ll bullet point a few random thoughts about 2+ years on a desktop:
- Home built desktops are more powerful for the price. I was able to run a bunch of VMs, IDEs, games without thinking about resources.
- Running powerful hardware is often noisy.
- Desktops make you sedentary. It wasn’t just that I stopped leaving the house, I stopped leaving my desk. Whereas before I’d occasionally work in a coffee shop. I even forgot how handy it is to work in different parts of the house (e.g. kitchen table).
- Desktops are noisy.
- Although mobile devices let you do a lot of ‘reading’ away from your desk, they aren’t very good for writing: email, blog posts, code - you name it.
- Home built desktops make you into a hardware technician whether you like it or (in my case) not.
My experiences, especially in having to troubleshoot hardware, have led me to the conclusion that while the desktop experiment had some upside, I prefer an indestructible laptop if only because the hardware configuration is more stable. Yes, it is possible to have a flakey laptop but I’m several generations into Lenovo and they’ve all been solid. The big question going forward is whether my next laptop is a Lenovo or a Macbook. I suspect the latter but time (and the pocket book) will tell.