Fixing a desktop is easy
Three years ago, the graphics card in my husband's laptop died. We're still not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, the screen started artifacting and displaying colorful squiggly lines, making things generally unreadable. He took it to the Apple store (it was an old MacBook), and they opened it up and told him the repair job would be expensive.
Total cost of repairs: $800.
Two years ago, my graphics card died. Nvidia posted a faulty driver; I was playing a game at the time, and before they could correct the driver (a mere 24 hours later), my card overheated and fried. I went to Best Buy and picked up a new (non-Nvidia) card and replaced it myself in about 10 minutes.
Total cost of repairs: $80
The moral of the story: If a desktop component craps out on you, it's easy to purchase a new one, whether it's a graphics card, the monitor, or even the processor. But if a laptop component craps out on you, well, good luck.
You can use creative software efficiently on a desktop
Sure, today's laptops can run creative software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Premiere—but you won't enjoy your time with these applications when fighting with your laptop's trackpad or puny screen real estate. To be used efficiently, creative software requires a powerful processor, a high-end graphics card, lots of screen real estate, and peripherals—a keyboard, a mouse, and maybe even a drawing tablet.
A laptop with the required specs would either be insanely expensive or physically impossible (in the case of a much-larger screen). A desktop with decent specs, however, will be able to run this software just fine.
You can recycle a desktop as an NAS device…or a fish tank
When your laptop or tablet dies, it can be recycled as a laptop- or tablet-like device, such as a kids-only laptop, or a kitchen-only tablet. In other words, your recycling options are limited. But desktops can be recycled into a variety of different uses, such as a home server or as a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
If you'd rather not repurpose your desktop as a machine, you can always clean it out, sell your parts on eBay, and turn the tower or old monitor into a fish tank. (If you truly need the power, you can also turn an old fish tank into a mineral oil-cooled desktop.)
Granted, you can send your older laptop into the garage for handy weekend DIY instruction-checking or give it away, but creative alternative uses for laptops are much more limited than for desktops.
Desktops are secure and they last a long time
Desktops are not portable. Not portable at all. And this is a good thing when it comes to security and durability. Because desktops don't move very much—if at all—they're fairly secure from theft. There's pretty much no chance that you'll lose your desktop on the train, or that someone will steal your desktop from the library. And even if someone happens to break into your house, they're unlikely to take your desktop, which has to be unplugged from the wall and transported with all of its attached peripherals to be of the most use to your thief.
Also, because your desktop never moves, it never gets bumped or dropped or scratched in your bag. A desktop can easily last several years—more if you're upgrading it piece-by-piece—while a laptop will often fall victim to an unfortunate spill.
You can build your own desktop
Anyone can build a desktop PC. Seriously—anyone!
Not only are there tons of websites and articles dedicated to helping people build their own systems, the components also are readily available. Towers and cases can cost as little as $19 (check out this DIYPC DIY-5823 from Newegg.com), while a second-generation Intel Core i5-2500K processor—the same processor that we currently use in our PC testing model—is just $220.
By comparison, building a laptop is…tricky, if not impossible. Components are more expensive and less powerful, and you have to get them to fit inside a laptop chassis. There's pretty much no chance you can build a laptop from the ground up, either—you'll have to pick out a bare-bones laptop and upgrade it as much as the chassis allows.
Long live the desktop!
Don't get me wrong—laptops, tablets, and smartphones are undeniably essential to most people's modern-day lives. But as long as desktops are cheaper, more powerful, and more versatile, they'll always have a place.