Desktop or Laptop for Remote Work

When I started working in a corporation, I was assigned a desktop. No choice of hardware and upgrades were extremely rare and limited. This was in the early 90s, and laptops were rare, and they were coveted by those that received them. I was lucky to get to use one when on call, to allow me to remotely dial in when we had issues. Yes, I dialed in after being paged.

Over time, laptops became more common, and as I began traveling for work, I had one full time. The last few years, I’ve depended on laptops while working for Redgate. I even ask for advice periodically when I look for a new one. Today I have two active laptops that I carry when (and if) I travel.

However, I also have a desktop. In fact, I’ve maintained a desktop all throughout my time at Redgate and use that for most of my daily work. I like the multiple screens, and I can’t beat the multi-TBs of storage, lots of cores, tons of RAM, and more. I like my desktop, and I prefer using it.

This week I saw an article on the reasons why a desktop PC makes more sense than a laptop. With the move to more virtual, and solo work, does a laptop make sense? Certainly there is a tradeoff. Being able to move to a different room in your house if others are using the same space is helpful. Having kids pick up your laptop and leave it elsewhere is less helpful.

These days, I wonder how many of you feel? Some of you have dedicated office space, some do not. Some like the more powerful desktops, some prefer to flexibility of laptops. Some want to control their hardware, some want to just have a pre-assembled package.

This week, how do you feel? Do you like desktops or laptops more? Have you changed your mind through this pandemic? What about the future, will you change for your next machine?

Steve Jones

Listen to the podcast at Libsyn, Stitcher or iTunes.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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5 Responses to Desktop or Laptop for Remote Work

  1. pianorayk says:

    I used to use a desktop years ago, but then I started working a job that made me use a laptop (also, my desktop died around the same time; right now, it makes a very good table stand). These days, I use a laptop exclusively; I find them to be much more convenient. That said, if I need to switch back to a desktop, I feel I can do so.

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  2. way0utwest says:

    Why is it more convenient? Do you move it around more?

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  3. Greg Moore says:

    I LOVE my desktop. Just upgraded the dual monitors and got a stand. LOTS of power, screen space, etc. And lots of room on my desk for papers, etc.
    That said, I also use my server in my basement to host some of my VMs.
    This is important because I also LOVE my Surface Pro. Honestly, single best portable device I’ve owned I think. Mine is I think 3 years old, but was top end, lots of RAM, larger HD, etc.
    But I find myself 1/2 the time when traveling using it as a glorified RDP client to my VMs on my server, or sometimes back to my desktop.

    I’ve thought about getting a portable monitor (I didn’t even know such a thing existed until a fellow SQL Saturday speaker showed me hers) but it wouldn’t be the same.
    I also value the full size keyboard and mouse on my desktop. If I’m staying an extended time someplace, I want the full-size keyboard and mouse.

    That said, got my wife a Pro for her personal use and with the docking station, she loves it. More than enough power for her and she can grab and go. But that said, she doesn’t do nearly the computer stuff I do, so her needs are far less.

    So my choice… all 3! A desktop for my day to day stuff, a Pro for presenting and travelling, and m server with VMs for additional horsepower.

    That’s the way I roll!

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  4. Barbara Cooper says:

    I have a desktop at work but I am WFH for now and I use my work laptop at home with a 27″ screen and I love it. I rarely unplug it (since the laptop doesn’t have an HDMI docking station for it) however I like the portability of a laptop. I tried using a Surface Pro and I Iike it but the screen is very small. My son has a Surface Book that I bought him last year and that is 13″ so it is better. If I had to buy one I’d consider the Surface Laptop although the gaming version has had some heat issues (last year anyhow).

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  5. I have a desktop sitting at my desk at work and a laptop that I use for remote work (initially just for on-call work). For the most part the laptop was just used to remote into the desktop but with more regular remote work it’s taken on more a role recently. It probably isn’t an option for most people but I am able to run more intensive workloads from my desktop while still having the portability of the laptop.

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