What Do I Really Need As A College Students

As a college student, you will agree with me that having a personal computer, be it a desktop or a laptop, is as important as our textbooks. Gone are the days when a computer was an option or luxury for a college student, it is now a necessity because academic reliance on computer technology keeps growing. So knowing what you really need between a desktop and a laptop as a college student and choosing the right pc is a big decision.

Generally, college life can be demanding, and having a laptop or a desktop is an essential tool for any college student. Having one is as important as essential as your textbooks and school ID—and not just because of your schoolwork but also your big extracurricular activities.

In fact, both laptops and desktops serve the same purpose; they both give you a personal computer. However, your needs for any of them may vary depending on your field of study and how you intend to use your new computer.

So, this article has been written in a bid to settle the debate on desktop vs laptop, which is better for a college student. Here, you will get to see the major distinctions between a laptop and a desktop, as well as, decide on what will really suit your need as a college student.

Here is what to expect:

Why You Need A Laptop Or Desktop For College?

As said earlier, as a college student, having a laptop or a desktop is more of a necessity than a luxury. Here are some reasons why you need one:

Firstly, having a solid pc is necessary for the ever-growing trend of online courses, and also, for interacting with professors and classmates.

Secondly, you need a laptop or a desktop computer for doing the numerous coursework and research work given to you in college.

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Also, you need a desktop or a laptop to be able to keep in touch with your family and loved ones. Most times, heading off to college is the first time that many students leave home. So, as students who are moving away from home, having a personal computer is a great way to keep in touch with family. With standard, built-in webcams and microphones you can make it much more personal to communicate via the web

Furthermore, with your pc (example laptop), you can create memories. You can take pictures and record videos, edit them and send them home for your family and friends to enjoy, completely paperless and without a single stamp or postage fee.

Laptop For College

Generally, laptops give students the flexibility and freedom they need to work on academic assignments anytime, anywhere. Any kind of computer will assist you in your college years. For most, the freedom that laptops offer is a convenient luxury. No matter where you are, a laptop allows you to bring your work with you.

In fact, the best laptops for college students need to last for the long haul, preferably through four years of undergrad and maybe a year of grad work.

Laptops generally come in lightweight frames that encase screen sizes under 17-inches with full-size keyboards. The simple clamshell design allows for easy opening, closing, and toting. Also, Laptops feature internal battery sources that give users the ability to continue using their PC away from a power outlet.

Desktop For College

Most media junkies and gamers in college will want to opt for a desktop because it lets them have a big-screen experience. Also, you can upgrade it over the years to keep pace with the latest tech if you want to as a college student.

Although having a desktop with your TV shows and your homework on it a college student can be challenging, it is also a good way to learn how to multitask.

In addition, most desktop computer have lots of storage; having one as a college student means you have no limits on songs, movies, and games.

Desktop Vs Laptop: What Do I Really Need As A College Student

When deciding between purchasing a desktop or a laptop computer as a college student, you’ll need to consider a handful of criteria and determine what best fits your needs.

Although most students opt for laptops, modern desktop computers offer a number of exclusive perks that leaves the debate wide open.

According to HP, 2008 marked the first year that laptop sales surpassed desktop sales, and since then, the popularity of portable devices has surged.

So, here are some distinctions in the Desktop Vs Laptop debate:

  • Size
  • Portability
  • Cost
  • Internal storage
  • External storage
  • Ease of assembly
  • Screen size
  • Power Usage
  • Upgrading
  • Gaming
  • Repair
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#1 Size

The first and most obvious advantage laptops have over desktop computers is in terms of size. Laptops use smaller components unlike desktops; this means that they are substantially more compact.

Basically, a laptop is a fully self-contained computer that takes up much less space in the sense that it has built-in displays, keyboards, and trackpads.

#2 Portability

The easiest distinction between these personal computers (laptops and desktops) is their portability.

Basically, desktops are large in size and have a separate monitor. While it’s possible to take a desktop from place to place, it’s quite cumbersome and not the choice for portability. This is so because they are designed to be used in a single location and not moved around much, if at all.

On the other hand, Laptops are very portable due to their compact size. They were basically designed to be taken from place to place, carried in a backpack or laptop carrying case. They are also great for on-the-go use.

#3 Cost

There is a wide variety of component options available for desktops, that is, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and so on. These components allow for a large range of prices, but the starting point is relatively cheap.

So, the cost of desktops can start as low as $400 for a full package (computer & monitor) and still be a pretty powerful system.

Meanwhile, laptops can have a fairly wide variety of component options, but they are more limited than desktops. Therefore, to get a more powerful laptop (that is, higher speed, better graphics, more storage space, and more), the price can be considerably higher, ranging up to $1500 or more, depending on the brand.

#4 Internal Storage

Desktop computers usually have several internal drives installed. However, Laptop computers usually have room for only one internal drive. If there’s a need for more internal storage, then the drive must be completely replaced.

#5 External Storage

Desktops can connect to multiple external drives on their available data ports (USB, Thunderbolt, and so on). Laptops can also connect to multiple external drives, however, the number of ports on a laptop are fewer than on a desktop computer.

#6 Screen Size

Generally, desktop monitors can be inches or larger. You can also hook up a desktop to a TV, so screen sizes could be as large as a TV. This, in turn, provides for great flexibility on what the desktop is used for and in what environment.

Portability is a significant feature of laptops and as such, smaller screen sizes are necessary. Laptop screen sizes often range from 10 to 17 inches. However, a laptop can still connect to an external display and support any size of monitor, screen, or projector.

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#7 Power Usage

Basically, desktops use more power than a laptop. They have to power a higher wattage power supply, multiple components inside the computer, and a monitor. In a situation where the power fluctuates or goes out, any documents being worked on and not saved can be lost.

Meanwhile, laptops use less power than a desktop. Since it has smaller components, less power is needed to make them work. In addition, laptops also have a battery, so where are power fluctuations and outages, unsaved work will not be lost.

#8 Upgrading

Most components in a desktop are easily removable and this makes it easier to upgrade. Also, since desktop cases are usually much bigger they’re easier to work in when doing any upgrading.

On the other hand, the memory and hard drive of a laptop are mostly the only components that can be upgraded. Other components are either built-in and not removable or the laptop is not designed to work with an upgraded version of a component. Therefore, a need to upgrade anything other than the hard drive and memory usually requires you to get a new laptop.

#9 Gaming

Desktops always yield better performance for gaming. This is because they are capable of using high-powered video cards that have higher power requirements and require better heat reduction/dissipation. Also, any video card could be used on a desktop, including two or more video cards at the same time.

Meanwhile, the physical space limitation in a laptop limits the graphics capabilities. Although higher-end laptops can provide better than average graphics for gaming and CAD-based applications, the heat reduction is limited by the space in the laptop case. In addition, power is limited which doesn’t allow for video cards needing those higher amounts of wattage to run.

So if your basis of selection between a desktop or a laptop as a college student is gaming, then go for the system with more power. In sheer gaming performance, a gaming desktop will always beat out a gaming laptop.

#10 Repair

Repairing a desktop is much easier since most of the hardware can be easily purchased off the shelf of any local computer retail store. On the other hand, opening a laptop to repair a part can be difficult, and finding a replacement part often requires calling the computer manufacturer or ordering from another online site.

So, on the basis of repairs, it is actually easier to repair parts of the desktop than a laptop.

From the debate, most college students will go for a laptop over a desktop because of their tiny shared dorm room. Not only do laptops provide the crucial portability a student needs for carrying to and from class, but their lightweight builds also make cross-campus treks possible.

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Furthermore, students typically, are kept busy with document creation and reading, so elite-level processing power is not at all necessary to get their tasks done efficiently.

For the screen size, integrated ports give students the option of attaching an external monitor and keyboard if they seek that full desktop feel.

Laptops vs Desktops: The Pros & Cons

From the distinctions above, here are some pros and cons of both a laptop and a desktop.

Laptop Pros (Advantages/Benefits)

Here are some reasons why you should choose a laptop as a college student:

  • They are extremely mobile, that is, they are portable.
  • They come with a screen, keyboard, and mouse built-in.

Laptop Cons (Disadvantages)

Here are some disadvantages of a laptop for a college student:

  • They’re more expensive than desktop computers.
  • They have to be charged.
  • Most laptops can have issues with excessive heat.
  • Laptops typically have a shorter lifespan than a desktop.

Desktop Pros (Advantages/Benefits)

Here are some reasons why you should choose a desktop as a college student:

  • Desktops are more powerful than laptops.
  • Desktop computers cost less on a dollar-for-dollar basis. That is, purchasing each component of a desktop separately costs less money.
  • They can be upgraded more easily.
  • Desktops typically run a lot cooler than laptops.

Desktop Cons (Disadvantages)

Here are some reasons why you should choose a laptop as a college student:

  • Portability is a major disadvantage of desktops; they’re typically not very mobile.
  • They don’t come with an inbuilt monitor, keyboard, or mouse.

Ultimately, the sole benefit of a laptop is mobility. If it wasn’t for the mobility of a laptop, there really wouldn’t be any reason to choose a laptop over a desktop. But, the reality is that mobility is a huge benefit for certain types of users. And, as such, laptops are a necessity for those individuals.

FAQs On Desktop Vs Laptop: What Do I Really Need As A College Student | Full Guide

Why you need a Laptop or Desktop for College?

Here are the reasons why you need a laptop or a desktop as a college student:

1. Ever-growing trend of online courses.
2. Doing numerous coursework and research work given to you in college.
3. Keeping in touch
4. Creating and saving memories

Why do students choose a Laptop for college?

Most college students choose laptops because of their portability and the flexibility and freedom they give them when they need to work on academic assignments anytime, anywhere.

What type of Laptop is good for college?

The best laptops for college students need to last for the long haul, preferably through four years of undergrad and maybe a year of grad work

Why do students choose a Desktop computer for college?

Most media junkies and gamers in college will want to opt for a desktop because it lets them have a big-screen experience. Also, you can upgrade it over the years to keep pace with the latest tech if you want to as a college student.

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What are the differences between a laptop and a desktop?

Here are the major distinctions for the desktop vs laptop debate:

1. Size
2. Portability
3. Cost
4. Internal storage
5. External storage
6. Ease of assembly
7. Screen size
8. Power Usage
9. Upgrading
10. Gaming
11. Repair

What are the pros of a Laptop for a college student?

1. They are extremely mobile, that is, they are portable.
2. They come with a screen, keyboard, and mouse built-in.

What are the cons of a Laptop for a college student?

1. They’re more expensive than desktop computers.
2. They have to be charged.
3. Most laptops can have issues with excessive heat.
4. Laptops typically have a shorter lifespan than a desktop.

What are the pros of a Desktop for a college student?

1. Desktops are more powerful than laptops.
2. Desktop computers cost less on a dollar-for-dollar basis. That is, purchasing each component of a desktop separately costs less money.
3. They can be upgraded more easily.
4. Desktops typically run a lot cooler than laptops.

What are the cons of a Desktop for a college student?

1. Portability is a major disadvantage of desktops; they’re typically not very mobile
2. They don’t come with an inbuilt monitor, keyboard, or mouse.

Conclusion

Today, choosing between laptop vs. desktop has shifted from settling for less to maximizing your choices. With continual improvement in technology and more options than ever, you can choose the perfect computer that fits your individual needs.

Although both desktops and laptops serve the same purpose as personal computers, most college students will opt for a laptop due to its portability. Some others who enjoy games or media junkies will, however, go a desktop because of the screen size, storage, and power usage it provides.

So, as a freshman or a continuing college student, I advise you go through the distinction and choose what suits you the most between a desktop and a laptop.

Good Luck and Success!!!

References

  • ComputerHope – Desktop computer vs. laptop computer
  • NewEgg – Choosing Between a Desktop and a Laptop
  • BestCollegesBest Laptops for College
  • CollegeChoice – Best Laptops For College
  • PcMag – The Best Laptops for College Students In 2020
  • NBC – For College-Bound Kids, It’s a Difficult Question: Desktop or Laptop?

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