Compared to desktop PCs, laptops have disadvantages in the following fields:

[edit] Performance

While the performance of mainstream desktops and laptops is comparable, laptops are significantly more expensive than desktop PCs at the same performance level.[45] The upper limits of performance of laptops are a little bit lower, and "bleeding-edge" features usually appear first in desktops and only then, as the underlying technology matures, are adapted to laptops.

However, for Internet browsing and typical office applications, where the computer spends the majority of its time waiting for the next user input, even netbook-class laptops are generally fast enough.[46] Standard laptops are sufficiently powerful for high-resolution movie playback, 3D gaming and video editing and encoding. Number-crunching software (databases, math, engineering, financial, etc.) is the area where the laptops are at the biggest disadvantage.

[edit] Upgradeability

Upgradeability of laptops is very limited compared to desktops, which are thoroughly standardized. In general, hard drives and memory can be upgraded easily. Optical drives and internal expansion cards may be upgraded if they follow an industry standard, but all other internal components, including the CPU and graphics, are not intended to be upgradeable.

The reasons for limited upgradeability are both technical and economic. There is no industry-wide standard form factor for laptops; each major laptop manufacturer pursues its own proprietary design and construction, with the result that laptops are difficult to upgrade and have high repair costs. With few exceptions, laptop components can rarely be swapped between laptops of competing manufacturers, or even between laptops from the different product-lines of the same manufacturer.

Some upgrades can be performed by adding external devices, either USB or in expansion card format such a PC Card: sound cards, network adapters, hard and optical drives, and numerous other peripherals are available, but these upgrades usually impair the laptop's portability, because they add cables and boxes to the setup and often have to be disconnected and reconnected when the laptop is moved.


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