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Thread: Desktop vs Laptop + Monitor Combo for Graphic design

  1. #1
    Junior Member anthonyz is on a distinguished road
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    Question Desktop vs Laptop + Monitor Combo for Graphic design

    In a nutshell, what are the disadvantages of a Laptop + external Monitor (good quality) combo over a desktop PC (with same specs and same external monitor)?

    I've seen some design agencies recently choosing the laptop + external monitor route. I never purchased a laptop for several reasons, mainly because of poor performance, but nowadays you can get some powerful custom built laptops with crazy specs and I'm considering to switch. (i7; 16gb - 32gb RAM; 4gb dedicated video card etc.; $2K +)

    I'm mainly interested in the Cons of a Laptop + Monitor combo over a desktop with same specs. Since it's for graphic design, I'm concerned about for example overheating (18h+ on-time / day), hardware life-time, performance, reliability, hardware upgrades and fixes etc.

    Any experiences, thoughts? Any great and trustworthy laptop manufacturers? (only interested in PC)

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    Banned typeface is on a distinguished road
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    I'd say the reason for laptops in agencies would be so that the designer would be able to take the laptop with them and work wherever they need to.

    Can't help with the recommendations though, MAC over here.

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    Banned adamablo is on a distinguished road
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    Laptops have caught up with desktops these days anyway, they used to be too heavy and prone to overheating.

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    Banned el_panda is on a distinguished road
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    I consider the lack of expandability a big minus for laptops, especially with the new Macbook Pro's where you can't even add new memory. Of course the new iMacs are not a whole lot better with this.

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    Mir
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    Desktop systems will always have the advantage of being both cheaper and easier to upgrade. Laptops will always be deficient in every single way aside from portability.

    Laptop screens are crap. If you need to hook up an external monitor to get work done, then it defeats the purpose of being mobile. Might as well have gone with the better desktop system.

    Ask yourself if you will be on the go enough to justify paying more for less, system wise.

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    Member granmah will become famous soon enough granmah will become famous soon enough
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    Advantages of Desktop set up: Power.

    BUT

    Nowadays laptops are incredible powerful. I´ve recently sold my iMac and move to a 13" Retina Macbook Pro with Full HD external display and couldn't be happier. For the sake of my work I need to be connected/available to work and learn new skills wherever I go 24/7. And the option of both devices (Desktop + Laptop) is not for me, the cloud is not enough (drobox, gdrive...) cause I don´t have time to keep both sets completely sync (photoshop actions, brushes, fireworks extensions, apps...., not just files), I need to spend my time maintaining a single computer.

    Retina Macbook pro + Thunderbolt Display = a matcha made in heaven :)
    Last edited by granmah; 11-19-2013 at 12:59 AM.

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    Junior Member sarmike is on a distinguished road
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    Cons of laptops

    Expandability - You only have so much space before you need to switch to external hard drives.

    Slow hard drives - most laptops ship with 5400 RPM hard drives which are very slow.
    Have you heard of this fantastic new invention called an SSD drive? That's Solid State Drive, so zero moving parts and incredibly fast transfer speeds.
    Slow graphics cards - Beware of what type of graphic card your laptop ships with. If doing a lot of 3D work in photoshop you would be able to get a much faster Graphics card for a desktop.

    You pay more for the same performance, as a desktop. But then again, you are mobile!
    Last edited by Aaron125; 11-19-2013 at 02:14 AM.

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    Junior Member anthonyz is on a distinguished road
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Portability is not major for me, but I want to have the option.

    Screen quality is definitely a flaw, that’s why I would hook it up with a proper external Monitor(s). However, I would only consider a laptop with an IPS screen; in case I'm on the go the screen is not total garbage.

    Most shocking (I’ve found out recently) is the mobile version of the video cards. I had no idea they are that behind of their desktop versions; e.g. the benchmark of GTX 770M is less than half of the GTX 770. I knew they were weaker, but I had no clue they were so far apart. That’s definitely something to consider.

    What about overheating? Can current laptops handle 14 - 18 hrs/ day workload? If not, that’s a definite deal breaker.

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    Moderator Aaron125 is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamablo View Post
    Laptops have caught up with desktops these days anyway, they used to be too heavy and prone to overheating.
    No they haven't, not by a very long way. The CPU and graphics adapter are both only ably to perform at a level of perhaps 50% of what their desktop counterpart component.

    Don't forget that the upgrade path for laptops is as good as dead, for any decent component worth changing, such as a CPU or graphics adapter. Obviously hard drives and memory can be upgraded with identical components from a desktop PC but that is the exception, definitely not the rule.

    Get a laptop if you need the portability and absolutely MUST be able to do your graphic designing or photo work outside your main workplace. Otherwise, but yourself a desktop machine - you'll get something twice as fast as a laptop but for at least half the price of comparable laptop. Think about it though, how much actual paid work do you expect to be doing on the run? My guess is not exactly all that much. Maybe just get yourself a cheap lappy for use on the go.

    To answer your recent question, most brands laptops can easily handle 12-24hours constant usage. I very often have mine going for over 24hrs and have never had any issues. This is due mainly, IMHO, to the power management drivers which are constantly altering the voltage levels going into the CPU and many other places on the motherboard.

    Hope that helps mate. Keep us informed as to what system and components you finally end up buying.

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