Now that you've been liberated by the mobile age, you may be ready to consign your clunky desktop PC to the scrap heap. Not so fast. Though it's certainly past its prime, the desktop PC is far from useless. For some tasks, it's actually still the superior tool. Here are six compelling reasons to keep the old workhorse around.
Easy multimonitor productivity
Nothing gives you more flexibility in setting up multiple monitors like a full-sized desktop PC. While USB display adapters, graphic expansion modules, and docking stations make multimonitor configurations possible on laptops, they have varying limitations and cost a premium. DisplayPort 1.2 and its support for multi-streaming shows promise, though it is not widely available at the moment.
On the other hand, a typical desktop machine can be easily upgraded with the use of additional graphics cards. Depending on individual requirements, these can either be purchased new, or cannibalized from slightly older desktops. High-density deployments are also possible with specialty graphic cards that support up to eight displays.
Mobile devices emphasize battery life over performance. Indeed, a significant proportion of laptops and almost all Ultrabooks today sport Intel's energy-sipping microprocessors under the hood. That's fine for the average office worker, but for power users with heavy multi-tasking needs or those running computationally intensive applications, nothing rivals the horsepower of a desktop machine. This could come in the form of the latest workstation-class 12-core CPUs, or the use of multiple graphic cards in SLI configurations. And though they have fallen out of favor in recent years, dual CPU systems remain an option for the most exacting tasks such as CAD (computer-aided design), media editing, and encoding.
With a desktop PC, you don't have to shell out for a brand new PC just because your RAM or disk storage requirements have increased. Bought a NAS equipped with 10GbE support for your growing business? Install a 10GbE network adapter to take advantage of your new storage device. Looking for a speedy storage subsystem to gain the maximum benefit from your souped-up network storage? Add a fast solid-state drive, or even a RAID 5 volume if there is sufficient space in your desktop chassis. And if there's not, you can upgrade to a bigger chassis.
You may not be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but you're probably still concerned about the security of the cloud. Without having to purchase an expensive NAS, you can leverage your desktop machine to serve as a storage server to keep your files in sync. Data can be synchronized on the local intranet on a self-hosted solution such as SparkleShare or over the Internet with apps such as GoodSync.
After you've lugged your laptop and its myriad accessories to work, you still have to plug in the power cord, external monitor, ethernet cable, and more just to have a functioning workstation. With a desktop, you just sit down and boot up.
You don't have to give up access to files you've worked on from home, either. With some initial preparatory work, IM conversations, bookmarks and digital notes can be kept in sync across your laptop and desktop .
Leave your desktop PC powered on and you can have your own computer in the cloud. Access your Lightwave models, legacy apps and backend order management system from any mobile device through remote desktop apps like Wyse PocketCloud Remote Desktop, LogMeIn Ignition and Citrix GoToMyPC.
This story, "Six reasons you still need a desktop PC" was originally published by PCWorld.