I moved down to South Florida, Lock Stock And Barrel as the saying goes, in 2006.
Shortly after moving here, Florida Power and Light “decided” I didn’t need that desktop computer that I built. There was a power spike and Poof! It was gone.
I was “That Guy”. The one everyone leans on to fix their computer after their 10 year old discovered this cool website sitting on a server somewhere in Russia… that infected it with a virus. The guy who built computers since Back In The Days of the 486.
I would say it’s fair to put the number of Desktop PCs I’ve built in the area of 200, perhaps more. It was never my job to do so, but it was always something that I found fun enough to do that I kept up with the trends.
Until I moved here.
Here is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1200 square foot house. Down from a 3 and 1 1/2 1900 square foot in Philly.
I kept my skills up, but there were some things that I found I really didn’t care for about a desktop computer.
The main reason why I stopped using a desktop computer was space. My desk is in The Florida Room, and that room is the warmest one in the house. The Redundantly named Florida Room would be between 5 and 10 degrees warmer depending on the time of year, and since I keep the house at 78 … I migrated to the living room.
The thing is that it required that I keep a desk out there. That desk got used less and less and became a thorn in my side that illustrated what was said about Possessions Enslaving You.
While I was migrating off of that old desktop computer, I kept the desk there to do computer repairs when I needed to, but I realized that I was using the laptop more and more. They got cheaper to the point where the laptop I use now costs less than some of the motherboards that I bought in the past.
Unless you were playing a game, you really didn’t need a cutting edge desktop computer in the home.
I noticed that many of my friends and clients were doing the same thing. Why keep a boat anchor next to a desk in a house cluttered with “goodies” when you really wanted to be in the comfy chair in a living room or media room with your feet up?
A cutting edge desktop computer got less expensive as a result. You can get a good desktop computer from many vendors for less than $500 these days, but when you can get similar laptops for the nearly the same price it led me to ask why.
I still have parts laying around the house. A spare power supply here, a fan there. For the most part, that Hardware Closet I used to keep in Philly is reduced down to a box of odd junk and a computer case. I haven’t been asked to repair a desktop computer in over a year – fix a Virus problem, yes, upgrade a laptop, yes, but fix a desktop? Nope!
Besides, you’d be shocked how much benefit you’d get out of a couple gigs more memory, and a really hard look at what you have installed on the computer. If you don’t need it, uninstall it!
It seems that a casual glance in a big box electronics store will prove my point. Rows of Laptops being hovered over by people, curious folks tapping at a tablet to try to wrap their head around what it is, but the desktop computer aisle is empty. It’s even hard to get someone to tell you about a desktop computer in a computer store these days.
There used to be a great amount of strategy that you’d have to employ to get just the right computer. Now, you pick your price point, buy a laptop, and within two years you start looking to see what’s out there again.
Which is great for me, since I have a nice stack of Hand-Me-Down laptops from people who know I’ll pass them onto someone who needs them. Your computer “slowing down” is usually because something installed itself on your browser that needs to be banished – toolbars, for example are useless.
For the vast majority of us out there, those home users of the world, you do not need the high end computer that the salesmen of the world push you toward. In fact, I’d wager if you really look at what you need, a 3 or a 4 on a scale of 10 would be more like it.
Yes, I’m being deliberately vague there, this isn’t intended to be a specific discussion of what to get now, since many of these articles are re-read in the future.
So if the salesperson is trying to sell you a computer for the home that is a laptop, at least these days, if you’re paying more than around $500 or so, step back and think about it. You may be happy with the ego side of the purchase, but you probably do not need the extra expense. The one I’m using to write this on, I paid $225 for in September 2012, and I’ll probably get another 2 years out of it.
But the Desktop? Stick a fork in them – in the home, they’re done.