Unlike laptops, desktop computers aren't intended to be portable. They consist of several separate components, including a tower, a monitor and various other peripherals like a keyboard, mouse and speakers. Most people keep their desktop on a desk (imagine that!) in a home office or family room.
Everyone knows that desktop computers allow users to check their e-mail, surf the Internet and do some word processing, but savvy consumers know that they can go beyond that. The best desktops on the market today are intended to be used as multimedia machines. They allow you to manage your photos, record music, make movies, play video games and a whole lot more.
Although the P in PC stands for personal, the truth is that most desktops are so versatile that a whole family can share a desktop computer. Mom and Dad can use the computer for doing work like making budgets and doing their taxes, while the kids can play educational games and send instant messages to their friends.
Features that you should look for when shopping for a family desktop include a large hard drive (250 GB or more) for storing all your family photos and parental control software for surfing the Internet. If you're the kind of parent who's always snapping photos and making home movies, you may want to think about buying an Apple computer, as they come with user-friendly multimedia programs like iMovie.
For the Businessperson
Desktop computers aren't ideal for traveling businesspeople. After all, it isn't exactly easy to pack a desktop computer into a suitcase. If you're always on the go, a laptop is probably the best choice. Desktops are, however, a great option for people who work out of a home office.
Desktops for the average businessperson don't require too many special features beyond the ability to run standard e-mail, Web surfing and word processing applications. Graphics and sound aren't usually much of a concern for businesspeople, so you can save some money by getting a PC with a lower-end graphics card. You may even want to consider saving a lot of your hard-earned dough and buying a refurbished computer.
For the Student
Many students prefer laptops to desktops because they can take a laptop with them to class, but desktops can still be a great computer for students, particularly those who are college-aged. Desktops can serve as a multimedia center for students who can't afford a television and DVD player. Just grab some DVDs and before you know it, your dorm room will be the hot hangout in your residence.
Features to look for include a DVD burner and a big hard drive (250 GB to 500 GB) to store all the movies and TV shows you'll probably download. For students who care more about the World of Warcraft than the world of Psych 101, a powerful gaming computer is the best option.