Articles Desktops

Are Desktop Computers Obsolete? Future of Desktop Computers

Floppy disks and rotary phones have one interesting thing in common. They were once the industry standard in their field.

However, these devices joined ranks with many others in the electronic graveyard for obsolete devices.

Currently, mobile devices like phones, laptops, and tablets are taking over and with each new iteration, they are getting more and more powerful.

With this in mind, let us talk about desktop computers. Specifically, lets talk about are desktop computers obsolete? What is the future of desktop computers?

They were in at their peak about a decade ago.

As years have gone by, we have seen many people adopt them and then we have seen the same people move to more portable solutions like laptops. Are desktops closing in on the end of their utility?

Should you be worried that in the next few years, or less, that your desktop will be obsolete?

Decline in Desktop Adoption – Are Desktop Computers Obsolete According to Data?

Are desktop computers obsolete

Source: Gartner, IDC, Apple

There’s a worldwide decline in desktop sales. This comes at a time when mobile devices are increasing in popularity.

Things might ne worsened by the fact that mobile devices are getting more powerful and have much more demand.

This decline has been largely attributed to the fact that desktops do not provide users with the portability they want their devices to have. They are bulky, and usually, have cords that can get messy when moved constantly.

Nowadays, mobile computers like laptops can run most applications and still provide users with the freedom to work from just about anywhere provided they have power.

This is beneficial for users who want to take their devices with them wherever they go and still run some demanding programs.

However for desktops, the real threat are not the laptops, it is the tablets, cell phones and other mobile embedded systems!

In the end, the data certainly does NOT suggest that the desktops have become obsolete. Unfortunately, it sure does prove that desktops are on a downward trend.

Also Read: What Computers Cant Do?

The Effect of Wireless Internet Connectivity

Wireless internet has contributed to making portable devices even more popular. With WIFI hotspots, people no longer need LAN cables to get internet like it was the case a few years back.

Most desktops also happen to take up a lot more space than some of their portable counterparts. While desktop computer peripherals have gotten smaller over the years, the fact still remains that they ultimately need a lot more room than laptops or tablets, for example.

Looking at some of the facts, it might seem likely that the desktop computer days are finished. But we are not moving into a new era just yet.

There’s still a lot of people buying desktop computers. While most of them have different reasons, it usually boils down to performance and upgrades.

Let us go deeper and see if desktop computers are still worthwhile.

Do I Need a Desktop Computer Anymore?

With every new device you buy, this should be your first question. It’s utility. Desktop computers have a lot of benefits for those who understand their role and are able to tap into the features they offer.

To know whether you still need a desktop, you need to consider the type of work you’re going to be putting your device through.

Desktop computers still have a lot of advantage when it comes to performance and media consumption due to their usually higher processing power and larger screens.

The era of the desktop is not over yet despite the fact that there has been a decline in sales. About 97.8 million desktop computers were sold in 2017.

This means that many people still see the value of investing in a large computer. Personal uses may vary, but with the increase in performance, many content creators prefer to do most of their work on a desktop.

In particular, those using resource-intensive applications tend to be biased towards desktops as they can easily be configured with components such as processors that give the best performance.

Choosing Between a Desktop Computer and a Portable One

Desktop computers are still around and they still hold a lot of promise.

While they can’t compare to the portability of a laptop or even a tablet, they do get all their glory from the benefits they can offer from a performance point of view.

So, do you need a desktop or not? My best answer is that you first need to consider what you will be using the device for. If your typical use case lies in the resource-intensive end of the spectrum then a desktop will be great for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to do some light work once in a while then a laptop is potentially a better suit for you.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the workload.

Why Pick a Desktop Computer

Most people can concur that desktops tie them down to just one place.

They are not as portable as we need them to be and they just end up making us have to stay in one place if we need to continue using them.

However, all things considered, desktops do have their strong points.

1. PC Gaming

Across the globe, pc gaming has taken one of the top positions in popularity and desktops are at the forefront of this.

The main reason being that with a desktop, it is much easier to maximize the performance and get the most out of a system.

If you ask any PC gamer the question “are desktop computers obsolete?”, they will probably laugh at your face for even suggesting such absurd idea.

PC gamers prefer desktop computers because of their modularity. When one needs more performance, they can easily swap the processor for a faster one and get going in no time.

Additionally, a desktop has more expansion slots for different peripherals than a laptop or even a tablet has. This is possibly due to its size. This is one of the strengths that pc gamers love to leverage the most as they can very easily upgrade parts of their computer without necessarily having to change the entire system.

The same can’t be said for laptops. Laptops are getting smaller and this is reducing the number of things you can add onto one to make it faster. In most cases, the only upgradable things on a laptop are the storage and the RAM. Almost everything else remains as it was built by the manufacturer.

Besides a a gaming graphics built for desktop is far more powerful than a gaming graphics card for laptops. Here is just one example:

performance rtx

Desktop RTX 2070 (Top) vs Laptops featuring RTX 2070, RTX 2080 Max-Q and RTX 2070 Max-Q [Source:]

2. Machine Tolerance

Desktops also tend to be more tolerant than laptops and have a longer lifespan than some of their smaller, more portable counterparts.

A desktop is able to handle heavy workloads consistently for longer periods of time. This may be true because desktops come with full-sized parts as compared to those in a laptop.

For perspective, a desktop-grade graphics card would hardly fit in any laptop due to its sheer size, however, smaller versions of the same are used in many gaming laptops.

Also, parts with the same specifications will perform much better in a desktop than on a laptop due to issues such as CPU throttling which is high in many mobile devices.

3. High Performance

Although they hardly move, desktops are able to provide just as much service to the user as any other devices.

Omitting the need to move around with it, a desktop can be a worthy asset to have.

Desktop computers provide the robust performance that a professional would need. They have the capacity to mow down heavy tasks with elegance as long as they are configured to do so and they will in many cases give you the choice to make additional hardware changes to the system.

As such, for high level tasks such as for engineering applications, game designing, scientific simulation, movie making etc, desktops are used in abundance.

Is this the End of An Era? – What is the Future of Desktop Computers?

To answer the initial question, are desktop computers obsolete? The simple answer is: desktop computers are not yet obsolete.

While their use has gradually dropped over the last few years, there’s still a lot of mileage left before we can truly say that the era has ended.

Mobile devices and wireless internet have taken the world by storm and it is good that people are embracing this.

However, there are still certain aspects that go to prove that desktop computers are here to stay, mostly because their ability to handle intense jobs is nothing short of exemplary.

To be frank, choosing to own a desktop computer will depend on a person’s taste and needs. These are differences between people and its okay to not need the extra capabilities that come with owning a desktop.

The fact that fewer people are buying desktops does not necessarily prove that they are going extinct. It merely suggests that most people are getting the performance they need from smaller and more compact devices like tablets.

Also Read: Can computer replace teachers in the near future?


So, are desktop computers obsolete.

Well to reiterate in brief, computers are certainly straying away from the bulky devices they were a couple of decades ago and adopting a more appealing compact design.

While this happens, we see trade offs in performance for the expense of portability in devices such as laptops and tablets. This is not exactly a bad thing.

However, this poses a challenge for desktop computers. They too have gotten smaller over the years but they are still significantly large compared to laptops.

Many people take this into consideration when making a purchase and lack of portability wounds the sale of desktops.

However, if specifications and performance are anything to go by, then having a desktop has its own set of advantages that many laptops just can’t match.

For this reason, I’d like to say that desktops are not obsolete yet.