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Should I buy a laptop or a desktop

Microsoft will help you decide what type of computer would best suit your family's needs.

Factor in the price:
Desktop computers are less expensive than laptop computers. For example, Dell has desktop PCs that begin at about $399, compared to its cheapest laptop at $599. The price difference is because a laptop's components are much smaller, usually more expensive to manufacture, and more time-consuming to build into the final product.

Computer buyers on a budget should opt for an Intel Celeron processor, available for both desktop and laptop PCs. These CPUs take longer to process instructions, which results in slower performance than Pentium 4 chips, but are just fine for most tasks including e-mail, word processing, Web surfing, and using home finance and educational software.

Compare size vs. portability:
Desktop computers usually come with a vertical chassis, referred to as a tower, which typically sits on the floor under a desk. A monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers are all attached to the tower separately.

Laptop computers, on the other hand, are small, battery-powered, lightweight (usually between five and seven pounds) and ideal for those who require portability, such as businesspeople who travel or university students who could then easily move from a dorm room to a library to a lecture hall to a café. With a DVD player, laptops can also be used as portable entertainment systems.

Evaluate upgradeability and repair options:
Components in a desktop computer are easier to upgrade than those in a laptop. Repairing a desktop PC is also a lot simpler.