PCs

Poll: Are desktop PCs still the standard in your organization?

Most of the attention of the tech industry is pointed toward mobile computing devices, but desktops still dominate in business. Do you agree? Take the poll.

Most of the attention of the technology industry is now pointed toward mobile computing devices -- laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones -- since that's where most of the innovation is happening. But, while many organizations are looking at mobile computing and considering the ways they can use it to untether workers from computing stations and push technology out into the field and closer to the customer, there are still tons of workers who labor away every day at the tried-and-true desktop computer. At least, that's our perception.

We'd like to confirm that, and that's why we're running today's poll. We'd like to know if desktop PCs are still the predominant computers in your organization. In other words, does your average worker use a desktop unless there's a good reason to get a laptop or another mobile device?

Answer the poll and then jump in the discussion to share your organization's approach for deploying desktop versus the various mobile options.

Take the poll

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Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

60 comments
kbalenzuela
kbalenzuela

People still like to work at static stations where they can have their personal space and personal effects close by. Mobile devices for those that need to be mobile, personal space for those that grind away day in day out, a significant part of our work force.

rwbyshe
rwbyshe

Overall desktops are much cheaper and easier on the whole to repair when hardware is the issue. Yes, we have several laptops for various reasons and for specific personel. The other issue we have is that many of our employees are over 40 so eyesight is a concern. In dealing with that issue we upgraded all the monitors in our firm to 24" monitors and the employees can select for themselves the resolution level they want to use. We make sure that they know how to do so. Most employees, from our person to person surveys during tech support visits, still like the full sized keyboards that are in use along with the smaller wireless mice. So the desktop and full sized accessories seem to fit in our organization. Down the road when all the 20 somethings that grew up with laptops, this may change to wanting laptops. Personally, in supporting them, I must say that personally I still prefer to work on a desktop but I know that is going to continually change as time goes one and I fully expect that the laptop will become the dominant type of computer in our organization. That's my 2 cents!

kwilson
kwilson

In those departments where employees might reasonably be expected to travel for business, laptops are issued. In other departments desktops are used. Traveling employees also get smartphones. A few employees are also expected to be able to work from home in the event of an emergency. Some of them have company-issued desktops in their homes but most have laptops.

bondr006
bondr006

My wife is an Electronics Applications Engineer at Texas Instruments and in her office of 40 to 50 people, the vast majority of desks and lab benches have laptops on them.

ted
ted

Portable devces are popular, but they get dropped, stolen, best not contian valuable or sensitive data, are more effort to keep connected to a domain, are slower (per $ invested), usually have 1 samller screen, have less comfortable keyboards, break easier, etc. Most of my customers with portable devices use high end netbooks or low end laptops to remotely access their desktop or to web brouse / check email. Not as a replacement. WIth the new anti-theft technologies and I5 calibre compact laptops etc new people will try to use them as desktop replacements rather than addons, but many who have been using laptops/netbooks as desktop replacements are moving the other way too.

brucer
brucer

Yes, they last longer and are more reliable.

jfuller05
jfuller05

so we don't have a major need for mobile computing. I have setup gotomypc on some users' personal laptops so they can login to their desktop from home. Our Road Department trucks have laptops in them synced with GIS maps. Most, if not all, office employees are desktop users though.

moodytx
moodytx

Some may consider the thin client a desktop PC (since you are tetherd to the desk). We support 89 campuses across the State of Texas and on site support is impossible. Mobile Devices are not an option in our environment (Dept of Criminal Justice). We migrated to thin clients and Terminal Services for our users.

rosskr
rosskr

Yes we use PC's in our Org. Easy for office environment. We do not prefer small keyboard.... etc.... its not good when u r there for 12 hours....

alopez
alopez

I reecently conducted a study at our organization and found that through systematic refresh, we are trending more towards laptop than desktop. This is across all business units and I have a sense that this will continue.

chitok
chitok

need, hardware and data security (hence bias towards desktops)

DadsPad
DadsPad

I have both, most people here have desktops, but most seem to be getting laptops more and more. Especially if they have only one computer. I sit, mostly, at a desk/cubicle all day and use my desktop with 2 monitors. Since we have to support during disaster emergencies, we were given a laptop to do remote support.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Most of our product test / inspection personnel have desktops supplemented by Windows CE devices; a few have laptops for internal use but aren't permitted to take them outside the building. Those who travel at least one week out of the month have laptops - executive and sales staff, field technicians, and some engineers and purchasing staff. Most remaining cubicle dwellers have desktops, with laptops available from a loaner pool. Demonstrate you need a laptop and you'll probably get one, but don't expect two have two computing devices. All told, about 60 out of my 240 systems are laptops; around 25%.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'd like to move everyone at my location to laptops. Studies show increase in productivity in every corporation who has moved from assigning desktops to assigning laptops. They're not necessarily tremendously more expensive. Arguably, the life-cycle is more dependent on the FACT that laptops are mobile and therefore more subject to risks and extra wear a desktop would not face. In trade-off, you get systems that can sit at a cube BEING a desktop, and likely having the same or greater life-span than an actual desktop - but that are far more flexible in where and how they can be used. Security and theft are the only other significant concerns and these can be mitigated somewhat by good policies. In fact, many businesses have laptop employees who sign for their devices and acknowledge that if the laptop is not returned at the END of employment, the original price of the laptop will be withheld from their last check. Who is going to keep a laptop that will cost them $1200 when it has depreciated to $200 worth of value, and if they do... well, that works out great for the company. I'd love to be able to use all my corporate electronics for 2 years and then sell them at the end for what I paid for them. When I left Intel - they got their notebook back. ;)

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

My company has small locations (circa 100 employees each) in the US and Israel, and huge locations in India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. In the US and Israel offices, most people use laptops. I'm the company's sole IT person for the Israel office; it's all laptops here. I recently finished transferring the remaining office employees (administrative staff) to laptops as well, reasoning that if the entire company except for the administrative core staff are able to work remotely, that means that in case the office cannot be used (fire, weather conditions, war - who can tell) the company would not be able to continue functioning, since the core staff (like HR, payroll) are unable to work. By transferring them to laptops as well, business continuity is assured in case of such calamities. At the moment I have about 70 laptops deployed, all HP (Pavilion, Compaq and EliteBook); some employees (mainly the part-time, short-term workers on projects without security requirements) use their own computers. I didn't answer the poll, since I'm not sure how I should answer: if I should answer on behalf of my entire company (thousands of users), desktops dominate - but if I should answer on behalf of my facility, laptops don't just dominate, they have a monopoly.

chris.green
chris.green

My place is mostly moving to laptops because of their low cost these days, plus flexibility in giving people the capability to work from home if they need to. Mobile devices are really only given to senior staff or staff who go out visiting clients (sales/engineering etc)

richard.artes
richard.artes

Yes, but laptops are becoming more prevalent. Desktops are still more popular, but more and more people are chooisng for a laptop and docking station.

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

only the uppers get notebooks & docking stations no one else is expected to take their work home and of anyone else who does take anything home, a notebook etc. is not a good enough system for the work being done

Mad Mole
Mad Mole

Very similar scenario here. Typically Managers are offered laptops but 25% of those prefer a desktop for speed, practicality and cost. We have Manufacturing facilities with very few road warriors. The need for mobile email for example is limited to 3% of staff. Others comms are so urgent only a phone call will suffice. If anything the percentage of 'fixed computing' will increase here as we move key paper-based systems to wired all-in-one touchscreen PC's with keyboard.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Something like "Where appropriate". In the case of my co-workers and I, the field techs all have laptops or (ewww!) netbooks because mobility is part of our job. Those in the organization that don't require laptops have desktops. Some have both.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Desktops are still the standard and rightfully so in my opinion. Laptops cost more for similar specs and unless the user actually has a need for mobility there is no reason to even consider a laptop.

JamesRL
JamesRL

The two largest groups at my company, software developers and software support staff, all use desktops. Sales and Marketing tend to work out of their homes, and have laptops. There are others who have the option of working from home, they chose laptops .

coolmark82
coolmark82

I Don't even use Pcs anymore on my organization, although 3 people in my organization still use them. Half of the computers are mac desktops such as the G4 Cube, G4 power mac, and the G3, G4, G5, and Core 2 Duo and i7 iMac. The other half are PowerBook G4's and Macbook pro's.

garyleroy
garyleroy

PC = personal computer. Typical a mac zealot would think himself above the vast unwashed because he uses a "~!!~M A C~!!**!", which appparently isn't a personal computer. We're impressed. Now just get rid of all the PC stuff you have on there that Macidiots used to belittle...the Intel processor, the graphics card, USB, the..oh, never mind, most of the parts in there except the proprietary ***APPLE*** motherboard; get rid of the OS too, since it's UNIX based, not an Apple original; and the mouse...oh wait, no they got that elsewhere too; oh well, you still have the big Apple logo to show the world you're better than them (or that your'e an idiot, depending on who views it).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You've been drinking the Apple-flavored Kool-Aid. Those desktop systems you describe are personal computers, regardless of Apple's attempt to convince consumers otherwise. IT professionals should be able to recognize the term 'PC' applies to this class of machines regardless of the operating system.

john3347
john3347

I disagree with popular designation that makes a Mac not be a PC, but hasn't Apple themselves perpetrated this designation with their, "I'm a PC; I'm a Mac" ads of only a few years ago? "PC" originally meant a small computer that was designed for and generally capable of being used by only one person at a time. Thus was a PERSONAL COMPUTER, aka PC. In recent years the definition of PC seems to have shifted to designate a non-Apple non-mainframe, non-server computer. Although descriptively incorrect, has common usage describing what originally was a PC not shifted to "PC" to designate a non-apple PC and an Apple PC is described as a "Mac"? I think the arrogance of Apple themselves has brought on this incorrect, yet popular, designation. (Kinda like the non-standardized definition of operating system "upgrade".)

ruby.otero
ruby.otero

since we are all techy person... i assume that we know what we are talking about, or at least have a concept of what the topic is all about

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Although descriptively incorrect, has common usage describing what originally was a PC not shifted to 'PC' to designate a non-apple PC and an Apple PC is described as a 'Mac'?" If this was a consumer-oriented web-site, I might have overlooked the misuse. This is an IT web site, and the incorrect use of technical terms should be corrected.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

That is a personal pet peeve, the misuse of the term PC as meaning something ONLY by Windows. Thanks for speaking up!

JJFitz
JJFitz

... and I'm told that Santa Clause and his reindeer deliver them. :)

jshewsbury
jshewsbury

I think price is the issue - although laptops are getting cheaper nowadays, but overall, desktop PC are still way much cheaper so if you running a business, it's logical that you will try to be economical to get certain productivity level... but if someday laptop price is as cheap as the desktop PC, then I guess, maybe many more business organization will consider in getting rid of the old fashion desktop and replace them with the laptops or any other portable devices.

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

I can get three desktop computers for the price of a single notebook, and the desktops are more reliable, and easier to work on when they break down. They're also a lot easier to expand. We only get notebook computers for those who have a real need to travel with them.

luigi.digrande
luigi.digrande

I haven't purchased a desktop for employees in about 2 yrs. Laptops have become the standard as employees today are mobile. Even software engineers get laptops over laptops as they become more productive when they can take their systems home. Today's mobile processors allow them to run the development tools which use to require more powerful hardware. Virtualized environments have for the most part replaced the traditional minitower desktop.

libskrap
libskrap

been getting custom made "white box" desktops for years. easy to work on, maintain, upgrade. we have been focusing more on "right sizing" monitors than getting laptops. the screen "work area" is most important to the users. the portability is a positive and negative -- gotta lug the laptop around. we use "floaters", laptops that are temporarily checked out for folks that only go to the field occasionally. laptops are for the folks that spend much or most of their time away from the office with a couple of exceptions. and desktops for everyone else. most of the laptop users have keyboards and monitors for when they are in the office.

paulf
paulf

Somthing about a big desk top job. No batteries to replace, nice big screen and keyboard in in place without having to plug in all the bits to a laptop.

delphi9_1971
delphi9_1971

Our organization defines base need by the formula: The user needs to travel 20% of the Month for business. Users who don't fit this mold can still get laptops, but their burden of proof on their reason is higher (and looked at closer by finance). Users denied that, still have laptops and Blackberries available via Loaner pools.

Diigiidud
Diigiidud

Depending on what job type you're in. For a user who's job requires moving from one place to another, a laptop would be a best choice. But I still prefer using desktop as I'm using one at work. Desktops make upgrade quit easier which I also use my desktop as a game machine which makes it much more better. Digidude

rik9000
rik9000

Users + their managers must justify laptop purchase, due to its higher purchase cost (since it comes from IT budget). But we run approx 40% laptops (we don't set the bar too high).

Michael_Spears
Michael_Spears

Desktops are still hanging on for most employees. Laptops are actually dying out faster with the emergence of mobile devices like the iPad and even the iPhone. No one travels with their laptops anymore -- too much of a pain. I expect to replace our desktops with VDI possibly accessed through a thin client that can also be brought up on any mobile device through an app. This really trivializes the hardware.

wpshore
wpshore

We're in New Orleans and post-Katrina everyone wanted laptops so in the event of a hurricane we could un-dock and move them quickly, so that's our new standard. I still prefer/have a regular desktop but most people have docked (semi-permanently) laptops as their desktops..

Slayer_
Slayer_

Developers, have desktops, sales has laptops. Only one saleslady has a Desktop. President uses a netbook. Most of the company uses iPhones, the loaners are still blackberries. I personally have 2 desktops and 2 laptops at my disposal. Other devs have varying setups.

olliemail
olliemail

I'd say the majority of our users could get by with laptops, but our CAD engineers and developers need the power of the tower.

BeBoo
BeBoo

We use thin clients (Wyse) and Dell laptops and a MacBook for the staff here. We only have 2 desktop PCs (other than my own) that don't use the terminal server. More of the staff seem to be getting laptops. I'd say our ratio is 1:1.

techin
techin

Laptop are used only for those on the move otherwise desktop. On the IT side, we would like in the future to buy laptops mostly since it gives us more flexibility: Pros : -If the LAN is down, using WLAN as a backup plan could make your day! -No wires to plug (screen, keyboard), easy to move and could be up running on the wireless connection until the user get a wire one... "if" needed -The tech can take it to his office for troubleshooting -Green! So much less waste (boxes, foam, plastic) Cons -Battery has to be replaced eventually -Not ergonomic (keyboard, screen size and height) : It could be not fit for people who work intensively (secretary, accountant, receptionist). -Wireless access point congestion and connection reliability ??? -Extra cost for enterprise wireless network equipment (ex.: Cisco)

NJnewsource.com
NJnewsource.com

Mobile is highly limited due to Homeland security issues. Very few have mobile devices. Senior managers have blackberrys for email. Maintainers have laptops for connecting to equipment, like air conditioners and boilers, to do troubleshooting. For everyone else, its desktops. We print alot of paper to take to meetings.

Jalapeno Bob
Jalapeno Bob

All of our staff have either a desktop or a laptop. A few have opted to buy a Blackberry

brian.catt
brian.catt

I have worked as an interim in a number of corporate since 2003. In each and every case they gave me a dockable Laptop better than my own and a leading edge mobile phone with Data MODEM when I arrived. It is expected you will take work home, work from home, on the move and on Wi-Fi in meetings. Paper is really dead in thse environments. All laptops are loaded with the same image by IT and everything is backed up on the network servers so loss is not a crisis. I actually use a Mac Desktop lunchbox at home office now, and just borrow a computer and use my Dropbox in the Cloud (or 4GB copy of it on my Key ring) when on the move. Suits me! I now want a dockable iPhone that can be my Desktop when I'm in the office. Converge, Dammit!

tomescano
tomescano

Thanks for your question. I work for a non-profit organization in the Philippines called PBSP. We have very antiquated desktops and some legacy applications. I am of the opinion that 80% of our workforce are typical, non-power users. Hence my recommendation is to utilize inexpensive netbooks as the CPU, along with a 17" monitor, keyboard and mouse. This would make our installation "greener". Power stability is a bit of a problem in the Philippines, so in the event of an outage, our workstations would continue to function due to the battery capability. We can also make use of the built-in WiFi capability for network authentication. Lastly, the mobility advantage is also a big plus. The only drawback would be the limited CPU power of the Netbooks. I would like your opinion on this solution. Thank you very much. IT Philippines.

paul.viacrucis
paul.viacrucis

Of our 225 odd users, about 65 have laptops, the rest are desktop. Some of our office dwellers have laptops as their primary because they travel or work from home also. Our policy right now is to deploy all laptop users with a Blackberry as well that syncs with Outlook. One thing that we are currently under development with is using the iPad with our sales support software so we can lighten the load our outside sales staff has to carry to their clients offices. Currently though, all laptop users get a Dell Latitude e6400 or e6410.

wolfshades
wolfshades

Without a doubt, the bulk of the computers in my organization are PCs. However.....we've noticed a change in direction lately. It used to be that many managers and tech staff had both a PC and laptop. We've changed it so that unless you have truly identified a need to two units, you have to make do with one. And across the board, people seem to be opting for laptops. The work we do doesn't require a lot of horsepower (and certainly nothing that requires extensive video power) so laptops fit the bill - even when the user is in the office 90% of the time. Much of our very large organization work virtually anyway, so there's a trend where people are starting to work from home more often. Laptops just make sense in those instances. It'll be a while before the ratio of laptops to workstations swings hard to the laptop side. Still, there will always be a need for PCs. (Telephone and processing centers come to mind).

Firedrake
Firedrake

I just completed our Lease Refresh analysis. I will only be returning 50% of our laptops for newer ones. The other 50% we will buy out and just upgrade the memory in, as those users needs haven't changed markedly in the past 3 years. Desktops? We will buy out 100% of those and upgrade memory, as the hardware available hasn't improved markedly in the past 3 years.

2rs
2rs

99% Dell desktops & 1 laptop on a LAN. I have 3 loaner laptops for employees when they travel.

2rs
2rs

I have a Dell desktop & Acer netbook. I use the netbook 99% the time.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I was surprised to find at my current contract that the choice is left up to the users, so many people who have no real need for a laptop (as in, they never leave their cubes) ask for one, and those of us who like more power and better keyboards opt for desktops. Standard issue is a desktop if they don't indicate a preference. While I enjoy the idea of a work-assigned laptop, in the real world, they tend to be so locked down that getting work OR play done whilst on a trip is too annoying. I'm happy to take my own along to wherever I go.

Joe G
Joe G

I work for a government agency. Our customers, the public, mostly come to us. We have a handful of folks that have two offices. We allow those staff to choose between a laptop or two desktops. The cost is roughly the same so we don't want to force them to lug a laptop around the city if they'd rather not. We also keep loaner laptops for meetings, conferences, etc. Most of our supervisory staff also have Blackberries.

lipl1
lipl1

My companys philosophy is that if your position requires you to move between different locations you get a mobile device but if you have a desk job you get the desktop. Job requirments dicate what you get

Avenge4Revenge
Avenge4Revenge

In many companies it will depend on employee need and suitability. Laptops and Netbooks are extremely useful when it comes to mobility, yet may not contain the power needed to suit a CAD Developer. So the job role, and requirments for the job role will define which system platform is best with an IT based company.

V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

Indeed, most of our users don't need or want a laptop. The ratio of desktop to laptop is 3:1. Some of our users that have had a laptop and left them plugged in on the desk for months on end have had them replaced with a space saving mini tower and LCD monitor. The costs for maintenance on a laptop is greatly increased. The cost to replace improperly cared for batteries is high. Just as home insurance is much cheaper than car insurance a desktop PC doesn't go around looking for a place to crash. Whereas a laptop is always getting bump, placed on soft surfaces that block the airflow, stolen etc. For those users that need a laptop a good training session on the do's and dont's of laptop care is essential. It is the only thing I have found that will have a laptop returned at the end of it's natural life in good condition.

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