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We've pretty much reached the point at which it's probably cheaper to buy a laptop computer than it is to purchase a comparable desktop PC with the keyboard, mouse and monitor needed to make it all work. But laptops break. And they're hard to fix. Often really hard. And instructions on how to fix them are either really detailed (like those for Macs from ifixit.com) or, shall we say, "nonexistent."
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, whatever I feel like that day....
Yeah, but laptops aren't really comparable in terms of power to desktops in the same price range. My laptop cost me about nine-hundred dollars, and for that I get onboard graphics, three gigs of memory, 250 gig hard drive, wireless-g, blah, blah, blah. However, my desktop cost me around seven hundred to build and has eight gigs of RAM, a terrabyte of hard drive, a very nice processor, dedicated graphics, and what-not. Not to mention this laptop gets like 800 Mhz on the front side bus and the desktop gets 1600 Mhz. For most users that's not something that they really are going to jump out and notice, but for those of us who know what we're doing the desktop is still the way to go.
I prefer desktops, they are not only more powerful but also run cooler than laptops. You can also change out parts much easier. So, in the end, it may still be cheaper to get a desktop and be able to swap parts out.
Yep, have to agree with the two posters before me.
Another thing that can make desktops even cheaper (and in my case it normally does) is that you can cannibalize parts from your old box when building a new one. In january I spent about 200 euros to upgrade my crappy Pentium 3 to a core 2 duo with 1gb of ram and a 160gb sata disk.
Cheaper than even a netbook and tons more horsepower.