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45 comments

Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

Posted November 04, 2010 12:00 AM by Kaplin

There are two types of people in this world: desktop people and laptop people. I've always considered myself squarely in the desktop camp, even though I may be in the minority. With a desktop, you get a quicker and more powerful machine for a lower price. Coming from a graphic arts background, choosing a desktop has always been a no brainer for me since graphics intensive programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver are known to be system hogs that will utilize whatever resources your PC has available.

Over the past few years, laptops have made quite the leap in performance, closing the gap on desktops a bit. However, desktops will always have the upper hand as they have a larger case for components and require less worry about power consumption.

Death of the Desktop (Not Really)
I have seen many articles over the past few years claiming that the desktop is on its last legs. Although it is true that laptop sales have eclipsed desktop sales by a wide margin, I don't believe the desktop/tower will ever go away completely, and in some cases might even make a bit of a comeback as people move their media collections to the digital realm.

The Light at the End of the Laptop
When I get home from work, most nights I spend an hour or two on my desktop organizing MP3s, TV/movies, and pictures while listening to music. Recently, my wife started to work from home most of the time and is on conference calls for much of the day. Since she works with people in California, she doesn't finish until a few hours after I get home. Instead of sitting in the office with her and bothering each other with our noise, I have been firing up an old laptop and working on the coffee table while I watch cheesy movies. For the first time, I could almost consider a laptop over a desktop as my next PC.

Home Server?
As I said, I would "almost" consider a laptop as my next machine, but I still can't make that leap. The reasoning behind it is that even if the computing power of a new laptop met most of my needs, laptops are still lacking sufficient storage. I am a media junkie with an ever-growing collection that fills almost 5TB; try finding a laptop that can handle that much storage! Another option I've been considering is a home server, which is basically a stripped down desktop with bays for multiple hard drives that share media throughout your house. The one drawback of this is that I would need a home server + a laptop to completely replace my desktop. At that point, I'd be spending over $2000 instead of closer to $1000.

Incoming Tablets
The Apple iPad has been out over 6 months now and even with my scathing review, many laptop/netbook makers have already noticed a significant drop in sales that they attribute to the iPad. Couple that with the fact that many other manufacturers are set to release their own tablets that run Android or Windows, a case could be made that tablets are the PC of the future.

What is your computing form factor of choice: desktop or laptop? Or is it tablets FTW?

More Info:
Desktop or Laptop? (from Intel)
Buying guide: Desktop PC vs. Laptop
Gigabyte: Laptops Will Die Off, Desktops Will Rise

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#1

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 6:34 AM

I'm a free cat!
Del
Ok I use a desktop

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#2

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 7:00 AM

I switched to laptops when I went to college and haven't looked back. The flexibility of being work anywhere in the house and take my own computer with me when I travel, which used to be pretty often, is great. To combat the lack of storage I use several external hard drives to store my thousands of photos and other media as well as big programs like photo and video editing software. My laptop becomes a desktop when I work with these programs because of the hard drive I happen to have them stored on, but it's not a big deal.

The iPad is something I haven't tried but I doubt I will switch to a tablet. Sometimes my laptop's screen is too small and I'm grateful to have a big monitor on my desk to plug into for detail work (or to use as a second screen).

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#3

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 9:32 AM

"There are two types of people in this world: desktop people and laptop people."

I don't know about that. I'm both a laptop and a desktop person. I user my laptop most of the time these days, but that's just because my wife has usurped my desktop and I let it happen because it really needs an upgrade anyway.

My desktop has historically been my first choice for gaming, but my laptop is great for taking to class as well as doing stuff while watching television on the couch.

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#4

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 12:20 PM

I had both until 2 years back when thieves stole my laptop.

Haven't bought another as I prefer the desktop anyway.

Years back when I constantly traveled a laptop was a must but no longer! Freedom!

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#5

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 1:13 PM

I'm 100% desktop because I do CAD.

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#6

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 1:36 PM

I'm a laptop person now, but I've never had anything against desktops. I bought a laptop in college because I wanted something portable. Even now, I like move around my apartment and work wherever I want. I recently got a good-sized portable hard drive to store a lot of my pictures and documents, so that I can keep my computer's hard drive pretty open.

As for tablets, I personally don't have any desire for one. While they're even more portable than laptops, I don't always need or want to be connected to the Web in the kind of way tablets allow.

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#7

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 3:55 PM

I like both or I am both, I think I resemble a laptop lately. I bought a new desktop about 6 months ago, mainly because I could get a larger monitor. I find myself using my husbands laptop a lot though, as I like to move around and work in different places and the laptop allows me that freedom. If fact, I am thinking of replacing my desktop with another lap top and using an external hard drive for storage and keeping the larger monitor. I really don't think the desktop is dead. It is still used in many offices and has features that the laptop still can't duplicate.

I don't think I would purchase an iPad. Too large to carry around and not enough features to justify the cost. If I am home, I use my computer for the internet. Games are still fine on my iPhone.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 5:11 PM

[ X ] Desktop...BIG screen = GOOD

[ ] Laptop.....little screen = BAD

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 5:12 PM

I prefer a lap top Because you can travel with it desktop you Can't....

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#10

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 9:35 PM

I have both, My desktop for CAD and "serious" work. My laptop is for "entertainment", forums and "research".

Curiously my new laptop has 2.6 GHz duo core processor, 4 Gb ram and 1/2Tb drive where as my desktop has a 3GHz pentium with (Mobo maxed out) 2Gb of ram and a 120Gb hard drive. Effectively my laptop is "gruntier' than my desktop, but then I don't engage in "gaming", no not even on facebook.

Horses for courses, each has their place. I use the laptop most of the time and being on my wireless router allows me the opportunity to be "online" anywhere in the comfort of my home or as has happened to me on more than one occasion, when I've been banished to the garage. Just the thing for diagnosing that issue with the car/mower/ anti gravity machine/ free energy entropy generator...

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#11

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 11:16 PM

I use both, and actually have no preference one way or the other. Desktops are only marginally less expensive than laptops, unless one insists on the "latest and greatest". One thing that is much easier to do with the desktop is data acquisition- newer laptops lack the RS232 and Centronics interfaces I depend on. I use either the laptop or the desktop for CAD, FEA, etc.- but the touch pad on the laptop is totally useless for serious graphics work. My desktop is mounted on a wheeled cart so it is semi-portable about the lab, while my laptop sits on it's own wheeled cart, which makes it about as semi-portable about the lab as the desktop. Since I prefer an external mouse to the touch pad, I need a work surface next to the laptop, so I generally never use it on my lap. It is easier to transport the laptop to field locations, however...

It will be a long time before I look at tablets, because their processors just don't have the power I am looking for.

Storage capacity is a non-issue for me. That hasn't always been the case, but such is the current case, with both newer and older computers. But, then, I don't do a lot with videos or music with my computers.

Both my laptop and my principal desktop dual boot into different operating systems for different types of work. This is important. The desktop also is bilingual (when the wife logs on, it speaks Spanish, when I log on, it speaks English). I could set the laptop up for this as well, but the wife isn't interested- she's happy with the desktop (unless I happen to be running one of my long-winded analyses that can take hours to complete).

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#12

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/04/2010 11:18 PM

I have both. I am more prone too the desktop, as it has the big screen. I will go out and buy the next biggest monitor that becomes available. The reason, is eye sight. I wear bifocals for driving and most reading. There is a certain distance range that makes reading/ viewing a problem. In close, glasses off, With a laptop I remove my glasses and lean into the screen. I need a laptop in order to access building automation systems, Yet, I would rather live off of my desktop. The other thing is that I despise the touch pad. I can not master it (As my Son's have informed me: I am a fossil). I use a wireless mouse instead. Because of the overall advantage's that Laptops have, except for battery life and screen size, which will eventually eventually be resolved, Laptops will be the way go.

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#13

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 12:30 AM

I prefer the desktop because it is more reliable than the laptop. Laptops seem to die sooner. My desktops usually outlive their usefulness while the laptops crap out before their technology is eclipsed. Heat is a problem with laptops and flimsy connections, especially the power connector onto the motherboard is particularly problematic.

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#14

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 1:32 AM

Desktop PC's have substantial power advantages over laptops with the added advantage of a greater monitior size capacity; nonethless the laptop has its place in both the private and business world.

I work with high level graphic based software, and a laptop would perform very poorly in comparison with a desktop unit, even if you had a high spec, high price laptop versus a moderate spec, low price desktop.

For spreadsheets, general internet, portable presentations clearly a laptop would have a significant advantage over a desktop as I know from personal experience, since part of my consultancy job requires me to transport my own equipment because all too often the PC's used by company's are too old or too slow. Nonetheless, with the advent of the flat screen, even a sizeable 30" monitor is more than managable compared with the older 20/22" monitors that weighed an absolute ton.

Graphic designers do use laptops to very good effect, which means that laptops today do have improved capacity (and no doubt this will continue to increase even in a matter of months rather than years): however, for CAD, high graphics based software work, the desktop is the only option and as with the laptops, the power of PC's are ever increasing with new core processors being developed on a regular basis, meaning that both laptop and desktop PC's have to be replaced or upgraded quite quickly.

Cutting to the chase, Laptops have portability and remedial capacity on their side; but for high graphics and advanced design software operations, the desktop is the only solution. Equally, the main advantage is that as technology advanced so quickly in the computer world today, the number and capacity of laptop's will become more preferable to the desktops in the workplace or in general use, but like Kaplin I am clearly in favour of desktops (even though I do use a laptop for lesser tasks), and it will take a while yet to convince me to convert over fully to laptops as an all-round PC solution.

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#15

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:26 AM

I've used both...

but for home use.. I have a desk top.. a 42" monitor.. and a floor to ceiling wall to wall desk I built for it all.. (with a window ac unit for summer cooling)

Chris.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:30 AM

Did you do the renderings on the laptop or the desktop? And, WHERE ARE THE BOOKS????

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:47 AM

I'm uh in between cleanings right now...

there are 3 bookshelf units in my other room.. and 4000 books in a storage unit back in ontario... don't know how to transport them to alberta... $$$

did I mention how the design was all modular.. (so I can get it out of the room when I move) and has lots of holes all over for routing wires and airflow etc. I regularly stand up on the desks... very sturdy 5/8" plywood. (haven't got round to finishing them yet.. will probably just sand and paint cream color) I think dark colors will be wrong... (see blue stain below) the whole desk probably cost me 1000$ to build... but hey, I'm old enough..and have wanted a desk like this for years...

most all the laptops I have used were owned by my employers... had to give em back.

Chris

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:35 AM

Chris,

Nice setup you have there, you must be very proud of your workspace that you built yourself and ergonomically it looks much better than most offices that simply provide a small desk and a few sockets for the equipment.

With a 42" screen do you use 64bit processor computers to generate your graphics to their full potential, or are you still using 32bit technology because of the lack of support from the likes of Microsoft, etc.. on the higher system currently?

Great stuff, I am genuinely impressed.

Regards,

Apexmaster

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:39 AM

apexmaster-

If one really wants to take advantage of 64-bit technology, one should try Linux. Both my laptop and my desktop use 64-bit...some of the software I use in Linux REQUIRES 64 bit...

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 2:52 AM

ya no... i'm still using an old computer...

i would have to get a job to have more money to get a better computer... and that will have to be soon anyway. otherwise I'll start to lose weight...

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#23
In reply to #20

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 8:42 AM

Chris288,

What's your engineering background?

Send your reply via enquires@apexappliedexperience.co.uk if you do not wish it to be put on the forum.

Regards,

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#29
In reply to #23

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 5:09 PM

I sent you my resume. thanks.

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#21
In reply to #15

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 4:42 AM

Chris that's just a picture...
If you are going to answer on that premise....
then I have tone of girl friends.
Del
(Actually tht's a nice setup you have there....I wan't one...I want one... scampers off to scribble on Santa list)

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#27
In reply to #21

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 4:33 PM

Thanks allot, now have a serious case of desk and book envy!

The set up I have, is a result of the local University having a habit of throwing out items that are 1: in perfectly good condition, 2: The desks, filling cabinets, and the drawer assemblies are virtually indestructible. 3: I am recycling!, 4: It's free!!!!!!!!!!

I did have to paint some of it, as it came from the 70's era. Not to mention they weigh a ton.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 4:41 PM

If you are in Ottawa, you could get to be the proud owner of thousands of books for little money.

I've had those old gov't desks... when I lived in Ottawa. I know what you mean.

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#32
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 6:44 PM

My youngest son is doing his Master's at Carlton. Unfortunately, he went over to Dark Side. Yes, he is doing political science. "The horror, the horror".

Fortunately he has not devolved to the point that he can not use tools. And now that he is involved with a house, with his Lady Love and her parents (not with them), he is to provide the sweat equity. More like blood equity. I did not say he was good with tools.

This means that I make runs up to Ottawa in order to bring the usual; food, food and more food, and now tools, parts, band-aids as well as the occasional computer and bicycle. I did mention food?

Maybe one day we could meet and discuss what you wish to part with. When I am up next.

Both of my boys and I, are total book junkies!

As for the desk that I am sitting at now, it was a dead man's desk. Apparently if a professor dies, "not while at their desk" at the University, the desk is treated like a Skunk at a picnic. I took me well over an hour just to break it down, in order to move the parts. It required two people. When I managed to get it home, I had to cut down that massive slab of a top in order to get it into the room.

If the world ended tomorrow, what would be left, are cockroaches, rats, sea gulls and that desk.

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#41
In reply to #21

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/20/2010 1:29 AM

Hi there,

Guess I was on the road during the conversation. Desktop.

I've an idea of a recliner and a retractable backlit keyboard and a short throw projector would round it out nicely too.

Just remember only a month from now the daylight hours start getting longer, time to get ready for spring! lol

Check this out:

So many x-rays show foreign bodies inside people. Any of which could be filled with C-4, PETN or SEMTEX.

Terrorism is a very lucrative business. Not quite as good as banking, but better than vaccines. The latest business is noted below:

http://www.flyingpasties.com/

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#22

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 7:54 AM

Desktop for sure! Hot graphics card, TV card, Smart card reader, dual monitors (large) Etc. All are inexpensive and easy to install, try that with a laptop and look at the costs.

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#24

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 11:03 AM

Desktop definately. My main use for the home machine is gaming so I need the huge screen and top end graphics card.

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#25
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 11:16 AM

Oh yeah? My screen is sooo big I have to drive half a mile away to get it all in my field of vision.
Del

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#26
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 11:22 AM

I love your setup and I just thinking .......

We have a great contractor working on several projects around our condominium, my wife and I have become good friends with him. She feeds him most nights after he's done working and we catch up on how all the projects are going. Thinking of proposing a "build me one of these for food deal" After all Christmas is coming and I've been a good boy ........ most of the time.

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#31
In reply to #25

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 6:00 PM

Always manage to get some laughter out of me Del... thanks, needed that.

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#33
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 8:33 PM

Outstanding! Where can I get one of those, and does it come with the speaker that hangs off the car window, or is that an extra?

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#30

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 5:58 PM

Hard to say for me. I have a high powered desktop hooked up to my HD flatscreen in the living room for movies/TV/games etc. I have a laptop on the coffee table for basic computing functions, cruising the web, word processing etc. At work I use a brand new extremely high powered quad core desktop with a massive video card for creating Solid models, and running photoshop etc. At home I use both simultaneously... watch a movie (desktop) while working on a spreadsheet (laptop)... At work I primarily use my desktop, but will grab the laptop to do presentations to customers, or work in the field. a tossup really. In reality, I would have no problem at all reverting back to a pencil and paper, reading books, hunting, and growing all my own food... Please?

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#34

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/05/2010 9:59 PM

I used to have a family desktop, then I bought my own laptop. My brother took the desktop when he moved, and I did not find it necessary to buy a new one. So now I have one personal laptop and a company laptop. So a 100% laptop person currently :) The only complaint is that the screen is usually too small for truly portable machines, being a lady that I am, unless you have a high-end one e.g. Fujitsu (which I am eyeing for my next replacement).

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#35

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/08/2010 11:41 AM

We use a laptop here in Spain, as a desktop machine ie it sits on the desktop .

This avoids the use of an UPS that we would need with a desktop running on Spanish come and go electricity.

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#36
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/08/2010 12:52 PM

spanish computers use more electricity? huh?

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/08/2010 3:37 PM

MY desktop is bilingual- depending on who logs it, it either speaks Spanish or English. I COULD do the same with the laptop, but then the wife would be taking off with the laptop all the time to attend meetings...

So far as I can tell, the computer uses no more electricity when it's speaking Spanish then when it is speaking English...

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#38
In reply to #35

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/08/2010 4:26 PM

The 'free' UPS in a laptop is good point - and has saved much lost work drama in many places.

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#39

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/19/2010 8:37 PM

It's the same difference between having a Desk Typewriter, or a Portable typewriter really.

I've enjoyed this tread for getting to see or read of my friends work spaces. Chris's work area, and CW's lab story were of particular interest since I've known them for so long.

I'm inspired to take a picture of my desk and office and post it here, or in the new thread about pictures of your desk...

Anyway in an ideal world one would have both, and both would be as powerful. Savvy Exacta seems to have a good system.

There will probably eventually be a nice small hardware where you can stick the laptop in the desktop, and pull out the laptop when you need to go out. This would be space saving for some. No doubt about it that for soldiers and students, journalists, filmmakers a laptop is indispensible. (Is there a laptop with a fast printer to paper?") -You guys would be amazed at some of the trips I made with typewriters in a duffle bag, and a bus trip with the Smith Corona 9050. It is a good thing I have paper copies of work done on machines and in programs on discs or in whatever, that are long gone.

It makes sense that towers will be outsold by laptops since all students and youth internationally need and want computers, but are often forced to move around, or simply move and smaller lighter and good enough push that trend.

P.S. Plywood a saw, and a screw gun will allow you to throw things together right fast, that apart fast too. Folding furniture is desirable in my life. The band U2 owns a steel stage of genus as far as engineering and design are concerned. That stage uses wedges and slots and tubes of steel that can be put together in many configurations depending on the space, and the dramatic design desired.

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#40
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Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/20/2010 1:03 AM

There will probably eventually be a nice small hardware where you can stick the laptop in the desktop, and pull out the laptop when you need to go out.

I call' em port replicators.

The egg nog is very good this year or could be the Captain too

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/20/2010 9:12 AM

They used to be called "docking stations" when laptops first came out...

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#44
In reply to #42

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/20/2010 12:04 PM

Missed that.

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#43
In reply to #40

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

11/20/2010 11:59 AM
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#45

Re: Are You a Desktop or a Laptop?

12/01/2010 5:59 AM

I prefer the desktop.

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