Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Handhelds Portables Hardware

Flight of the Desktops 430

Posted by timothy
from the look-out-below dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Flight of the Desktops

Comments Filter:
  • by Wee (17189) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:48AM (#32623490)
    If so, I'll buy the premise. If not, it's stupid.

    Oh, I'd like a mouse as well.

    -B
    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:53AM (#32623508) Homepage Journal

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

      • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @07:05AM (#32624036) Journal
        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 ;).
    • by Khyber (864651)

      Most decent laptops have a full-sized keyboard.

      Shit mine's got the 10-key pad.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by emj (15659)
        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.

        • by Zocalo (252965)
          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 t
      • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:56AM (#32623804) Homepage

        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.

        • by yotto (590067)

          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 n

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by TheLink (130905)
            But those sort of laptops tend to lighten wallets significantly, so it somewhat balances out.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by xSauronx (608805)

            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 I

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by langelgjm (860756)

            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.

            For those of us who aren't just carrying it to and from work, but are out all day, 7.5 lbs + a few more for a bag gets heavy quite quickly. I don't have an office, so when I'm not working from home, I might be out of the house for 12 hours, shifting between walking, public transport, a library, outside, coffee shop, classroom, conference hall, etc. The difference between having a 5.5 lb notebook and a 2.5 lb netbook is very noticeable when you have to carry it around all day long, not just to work where you

          • by bazorg (911295) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @01:09PM (#32626098)

            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.

            Shaquille O'Neal and 4 others like this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by swilver (617741)

        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? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:52AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:01AM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:18AM (#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.

        • by xSauronx (608805)

          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 displ

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        If I'm using an external mouse, keyboard and monitor, why am I bothering with a laptop in the first place?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DavidTC (10147)

          Because it can move?

          My work computer is a laptop. 80% of the time it's hooked to a KVM at my house. I plug in a secondary monitor via USB. Another 10% of the time it's hooked into one at the office. (I work from home usually.)

          That other 10% of the time it's hauled into a meeting, or taken to a client site. And because it's my actual work computer, all my shit is there when I need it, instead of hoping and praying I remembered to grab everything relevant and hoping I don't forget some password I changed on

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skater (41976)

        And when I want to upgrade my processor...oh, wait, not with a laptop, at least not if you want to make a generational jump in processors (small upgrades may be possible, but going from 2 Ghz to 2.2 Ghz doesn't really seem worth the expense and trouble). When it's time to replace the DVD burner with a Blu-Ray drive...oops, no, none of that, either.

        And when a component fails? Time to spend big bucks! Ever price a motherboard for a laptop?

        Don't get me wrong, I'm typing this on a laptop right now in a h

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by voidptr (609)

          And when a component fails? Time to spend big bucks! Ever price a motherboard for a laptop?

          The expected usable lifetime of most of this stuff is 3 years, and that's what's baked into the capital expense deduction accounting rules. In three years you'll have 2-4x the horsepower available for the same cost, a generational increase in battery technology, and a higher MIPS/watt that likely kept pace or exceeded the horsepower gains. Under three years, the good stuff worth buying is under warranty (or an extended one like Apple care), over three years you're going to get a far better value replacing i

        • And when I want to upgrade my processor...

          Sorry man, but almost no-one does that anymore, not even with desktops. Yes there are still some but you have to admit that practice is declining. At this point you get a few more cores - maybe - and possibly an incremental boost in clock. For what? A 10% gain?

          I used to be on that ferris wheel but I got off long ago when consoles started being a decent gaming alternative. I still play some things on the computer, but I'm way more into the practicality of a sys

    • Re:bleak? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mccalli (323026) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:17AM (#32623610) Homepage
      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
    • 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 i

    • by Kwelstr (114389)
      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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jedidiah (1196)

        My preferred monitor + keyboard arrangement doesn't work with a laptop. Beyond that,
        my desktop machine has way more stuff in it than you can cram into a laptop. I've
        already done that laptop as desktop machine that hardly ever moves. I'm over that
        bit of hype.

        If I am going to take a machine on the move, I want it to be more expendable.

        I specifically don't want my main machine at the coffee house or the TSA checkpoint.

        A desktop replacement laptop makes little sense in cramped spaces like airplanes.

  • Docking stations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fotoguzzi (230256)
    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.
    • by nadaou (535365)

      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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arcite (661011) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:58AM (#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.
  • ECC RAM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by swilver (617741) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @07:31AM (#32624126)

        I noticed I got single bit errors during big copies (about 1 bit error / 100 GB copied). I could not find the cause, and I could only conclude the data being transferred was damaged in memory before being stored again to an error correcting medium (harddisk). The busses used for the transfers also use CRC/ECC so I don't think they could cause it.

        The problem was reproduceable (and different every time). Memory checks resulted in nothing.

        Since then I always verify the big copies. After upgrading to ECC RAM, I haven't seen anymore verify errors.

        Whether I had bad RAM, or some other problem, I don't know. I do know that the price difference between a regular system and one that can support ECC RAM is very small.

    • 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.
  • 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

  • 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 a

  • News at 11 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wisty (1335733) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:03AM (#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.

  • by guytoronto (956941) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:03AM (#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.
    • by BoberFett (127537) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:16AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheKidWho (705796)

        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!

        • by tnok85 (1434319)
          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!
          • by zmollusc (763634)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bloodhawk (813939)
        And by then the standard desktop will still be infinitely more powerfull. Why can't people just accept there is more than one market, a portable device can't offer everything a desktop can just as a desktop can't offer everything a portable device can. There is no reason why these devices must merge, they fill different roles even though they are both computers. For those that want something inbetween there have been docking stations around for 20+ years.
    • There is in mine (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      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.
    • by Khyber (864651)

      "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, specifical

      • by zmollusc (763634)

        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

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      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.

  • 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 y

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      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.
      • by risinganger (586395) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @06:42AM (#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.
    • 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.

    • by Burz (138833)

      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 replace

    • 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 ki

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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).

  • by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:13AM (#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.

    • by Burz (138833) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:40AM (#32623716) Journal

      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.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      "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?

    • by jimicus (737525)

      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

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      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.

    • by Isaac-1 (233099)

      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)

  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:17AM (#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.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      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.

  • proyections (Score:5, Informative)

    by papabob (1211684) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:38AM (#32623712)
    just remember this [xkcd.com] ;)
  • by Zeussy (868062) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:45AM (#32623748) Homepage

    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.

  • by fredmosby (545378) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:59AM (#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.
    • by mikael_j (106439)

      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 expe

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @06:36AM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by voidptr (609)

      Or we just grew up.

      Seriously, I used to do that crap. Spend 2 months trying to find parts that all played nicely with one another and were reasonably priced. Ordering from 3 different vendors online. Spending half a day putting it together, and hoping you didn't accidentally ESD damage something on the way. Spending another day setting up Windows or Linux the way you wanted it.

      Then, 6 months later, spending half a day figuring out which part just went bad, where the reciepts were, and which parts to RMA fir

  • Desktops are for CPU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @07:04AM (#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.

  • 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

  • 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 constructio

  • "There's a star ship circling in the sky.
    It ought to be ready by 1990.
    They'll be building it up in the air,
    ever since 1980."

    The difference between Paul Kantner's Hugo nominated album (and soon to be Broadway musical) and TFA is that despite having equal veracity as predictive statements, the former was intended to be taken as a work of fiction.

    I wish someone would start collecting such futurisms and create an award ceremony a la Ignobel Prize, to honor them when time punctures their balloon. They could sell

  • maybe not (Score:3, Informative)

    by phrostie (121428) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @07:50AM (#32624190)

    i've been using laptops more and more up until this past year.
    now i'm finding myself moving back to a desktop.

    i can upgrade the hardware on the desktop. the laptops, you get what you get.

Money is the root of all evil, and man needs roots.

Working...