Last night I ordered all of the parts to create a new, and very fast, desktop computer. My current machine is about 8 years old, though it still plays many games just fine. Certainly it does most computing tasks with ease. Although it was a pretty fast machine when I built, it is remarkable that the vast majority of things people use a computer for have not changed much in the past 8 years. In fact, I am going to move my existing computer into a new and smaller case so that I can use it for office-type tasks. I might still get another 5 years out of it.
This experience differs substantially from the life of a laptop computer. All kinds of compromises must be made when constructing a very small computer that runs on a battery and fits on one’s lap. Desktop computers, on the other hand, are cheap and fast. Additionally, they aren’t susceptible to being “totaled” due to wear and mishap. For instance keyboard problems often mean the end of life for a laptop but only a $15 replacement for a desktop. If you can’t afford a new fancy laptop, you should probably consider a cheapo desktop; it will be just as fast as some shiny macbook pro and last about three times as long.