Is the desktop computer going the way of the dodo bird?

Desktops Are Here to Stay

For a long time, the relatively high costs of notebook computers made owning one more of a luxury than a reality. Over time though, the technology has become less expensive and notebooks are more affordable than ever.

But even though the price of notebook computers has come down due to technological advances over the past 10 years, they still aren't as cheap as desktops. Especially when you consider what you learned about in the beginning of the article when we talked about opportunity costs.

We decided to configure a desktop and notebook with similar specifications to see which came out cheaper. The specifications of the two systems weren't exact. The manufacturer didn't offer two systems that could be compared exactly. Upgrading the desktop computer's configuration would have included a hard drive the same size as the one in the notebook and added another gigabyte of memory -- but it also would have boosted the processor speed to 2.93GHz (for an additional $59). The two systems each have their strengths and weaknesses, but the desktop still comes out costing less.

Desktops offer more configuration options and are almost always easier to upgrade. For instance, a video editor or graphic designer may need a lot of storage space to save large video and image files. He or she could use a tower-style desktop computer with multiple internal hard disks to store the files. A notebook has one internal hard drive, at most. Cloud storage makes it possible to access a theoretically infinite amount of storage space, though this method poses security risks.

So you've read both sides of the spectrum. What about threats to both the desktop and even notebooks? The final section highlights a couple of upstart technologies looking for their share of the computing market. Turn the page to see how the balance of power may be shifting.