QOTD: For Which Apps Do You Need a Desktop?

Laptop sales have already surpassed those of desktops. For the longest time, laptops were a premium item as they were far more expensive than their stay-at-home equivalents. But now thanks to mainstream-friendly prices, laptops are now the preferred computing form factor, as indicated by the sales split.

Even Microsoft's latest ad campaign shows fictional shoppers trying to find the perfect computer, all of which only look at laptops. An examination of brick and mortar retailers also reveals the preference towards the portable computer.

Here at Tom's Hardware, however, a lot of the products we review and report on are for the desktop computer. While the latest AMD and Intel CPU architecture eventually do find their way into laptops, the latest and greatest in technology almost always makes its debut on the desktop.

Perhaps for the reason of technological lead alone is why we still cling to our desktops. We'd like to find out why you still have a desktop (or why you got rid of it). We know that cutting-edge games is a big reason, but what about for other specific applications that demand a desktop?

For our QOTD, what we'd like to know from you is which applications do you use that still require the use of a desktop?

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Asinger93
    Well, in my experience, GTA 4, Dead Space, Fallout 3 and Oblivion don't run well on anything but a desktop
  • hopiamani
    Prime 95, Intel Burn Test, LinX, cpu-z, realtemp, 3dmark vantage, PCmark, Sisandra Arithmetic... are there any other programs than that?

    All joking aside I need it primarily for games like Empire Total War, Mass Effect, Crysis, Oblivion, and of course, folding@home (smp+vmware and gpu)
  • ph3412b07
    No apps I use strictly require a desktop. Rather, I use a desktop for the massive speed gains running macro's, computing finite element methods (ANSYS and NX Nastran), using parametric solid modelers (CATIA, Solidworks, UGS NX). Running any of these on a desktop is faster (given the same price level), and much quieter. Also very easy to hook up dual monitors to a desktop.
  • apache_lives
  • I still use a desktop mainly because I don't like buying from brands such as Dell, HP...etc. Building a custom desktop can be a lot of fun, and save a little bit of cash while doing it.
  • I use Daz3d, Softimage XSI, Adobe CS4 Extended and quite a number of games.

    I have a fairly powerful laptop, a Dell XPS m1530 with a 2.33ghz Core 2, 3gb ram and an Nvidia 8600m GT 512mb.

    Rendering video or 3d still absolutely chugs on the laptop.

    I will always prefer my Core i7 for heavy graphics work because the quad core is a huge speed boost and I like having huge dual monitors.

    My laptop is great for light work, but serious stuff i turn to the desktop
  • I prefer a desktop because I find that Windows Me runs much better on a desktop form factor.
  • brendano257
    Well....errrrr....games obviously, to get a laptop capable of doing what a 1000$ pc does you would need...hmmmm ~3k laptop? And I have no reason for portability at the moment. Except for mobile browsing a bit on my iPod XD
  • GreatKratos
    Desktops have countless advantages over notebooks and netbooks but the majority of people only use their computers for checking emails and the like.

    This is why the netbook buzz is so strong. They are cheap and they provide the functions most people require.
  • tayb
    Nothing. Haven't owned a desktop in years. Don't compile anything too large at home.