Laptop computers are wonderful.

Laptop computers are awful.

Both statements are true.

Drawbacks

When you really need a mobile computer, you need a laptop computer. If however, you're considering buying a laptop computer simply because you want a small computer or you just like the way that laptops look, consider these drawbacks:

  • For a given performance level, laptops cost more to buy than desktops
  • Laptop computers are slower than desktop computers (for a given CPU speed)
  • Laptops' disk drives are slower than desktops'
  • Laptop displays can't be upgraded
  • Difficult or impossible to upgrade graphics adapter
  • Laptop keyboards are expensive to replace
  • Most laptop components are proprietary (read: expensive to replace)
  • It's difficult to upgrade a laptop computer
  • In general, laptop disk drives fail before desktop disk drives
  • Laptops are expensive to repair because of their construction

Summary

Over its lifetime, a laptop computer costs at least twice as much to own as a desktop computer. Before buying a laptop computer, compare its total cost of ownership with that of a desktop computer. If you can justify its extra TCO, buy it. Otherwise, buy a desktop computer.

Laptop repair
Laptop's components are tiny and 90% are proprietary: you must buy replacements from the laptop manufacturer, for whatever price they wish to charge you.

Mysterious shutdowns?

Your laptop may be overheating, and triggering its overtemperature shutdown mechanism to protect itself. Make certain that you place the laptop on a hard surface that allows easy airflow into the air intake on its underside. This airflow is critical!

Configure your laptop so that its CPU slows down when idle. (Running it at full speed ahead drains the battery and heats up the CPU.) Many laptops allow you to change this setting via an applet within MS Windows' Control Panel. Some laptops allow you to increase the speed of their cooling fan: this is often accessible from the laptop's BIOS; look for a fan setting called "Silent Mode" and disable it. - Russ