The desktop PC is not dead

Not by a long shot and neither should it be...

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

computer_web-withtext The death of the desktop PC was rather prematurely announced and as far as I can see it might be the laptop that will lose out to netbook and smart phone rather than the desktop PC.

The desktop is easier to assemble and far easier to repair or upgrade and hence is superior to the laptop, though not, maybe, in terms of energy consumption. That could, however, also be solved by changing the type of power supply. On the other hand, the desktop, because of its ease in repair and upgrade, will outlast a laptop and netbook and therefore its environmental footprint, even with the slightly higher energy consumption is smaller than that of the laptop.

There are also desktop PCs about that are very good with energy and which are also nice and compact, such as and especially the “Broadleaf” PC from VeryPC, and UK company with the PCs being made in Britain. The entire PC, with the exception of the screen, is no larger than what was an external hard drive or DVD drive some years back and takes up very little space indeed.

Then there is/was also the Cherry Pal PC, though it would appear not much has been heard of this one for a while now, though, according to their website they still seem to be in existence. When it comes to the specs, however, it would appear that the Broadleaf PC from VeryPC is superior, as it has a proper internal hard drive of 250GB rather than just a 16GB flash memory.

The old larger machines, while, maybe, as said, not all that energy efficient, and that is due to the power supply, which all too often is far to big, in more than one sense of the word, still have much to offer too in way of sustainability than other computers. The latter simply because of the fact that they can be easily repaired and upgraded and that because of the way they are constructed and the fact that they are in a large (metal) case.

I am at a loss, to be perfectly honest, why people wish to declare the desktop PC for dead and try to get consumers and businesses onto laptops and netbooks and the cloud. If I would be so inclined I would, maybe, begin to read a lot more into this and one, possibly, should ask the “Quo bono?” question here.

One of the biggest problems with power consumption in a computer is bloated software, from operating systems to the rest. Microsoft Windows is getting bigger and bigger and, Windows also has the nasty habit of permamanetly doing something in the background. Even when the PC is not, actually, processing information the hard drive is spinning most of the time, which is noticeable from the HDD light being on. Not something that happens with, for instance, Linux operating systems.

Linus Ubuntu, even in its latest reincarnations, still comes on a CD (700MB) with all the additional software you may wish for, even for small business use, while MS Windows takes up several DVDs by now at 4GB each. It is therefore no wonder that old PCs are “obsolete”, as far as Windows OS is concerned, within a couple of years. No such problem with Open Source Operating Systems and general Open Source software.

An old(er) desktop PC, with Linux, can still outrun a dual-core laptop with Windows Vista or Windows 7 in startup time and general operations and thus we, who wish to keep things out of the waste stream should very much consider hanging on to those machines and improving them with the right software and the right hardware upgrades, where possible and affordable.

The desktop PC is not dead...

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