Both desktops and laptops can be found at traditional locations, such as computer stores, electronics retailers, and office supply stores. The Internet can also prove a great place to find the right machine, whether it's from the online outlet of a brick-and-mortar store, an online-only retailer, eBay, or the manufacturer.
Many online entities also offer customization. Customizing at the time of purchase has the added benefit of being easier, obviously, but unlike upgrading after-the-fact, there are no installation costs since it's being done at the time of production.
Purchasing a Desktop or Laptop on eBay
Whether you've decided to go with a powerful desktop or portable laptop, eBay can fulfill your needs. You can start a search by looking for the type of machine (within the desktop or laptop categories) that best suits your needs. Search for portable or ultra - portable laptops, or performance laptops. For desktops, try searching for high performance or gaming desktops.
Some eBay sellers offer the customization options, which can be a good way to make sure you get the right computer for your needs, be it desktop or laptop. You will be able to select each component from a drop-down menu, and the amount by which the price will be increased right there next to the description of the component.
If you're concerned about your seller, look for eBay's top-rated sellers. Although you shouldn't worry, eBay's Buyer Protection program has you covered in the event of a problematic transaction. For more information on the buying process, check out eBay's help center, dedicated to informing you about the inner-workings of the world's most popular auction site. If you would prefer to make an immediate purchase rather than bid in an auction, look for computers that are being sold with the Buy It Now option. Since computers, particularly desktops, can be fairly heavy, be sure to factor in the cost of shipping.
In the past, deciding between a laptop and a desktop meant deciding whether or not you wanted power or portability, because having both wasn't an option. While the most power still comes in the form of a desktop, you don't have to go to the high-end of laptops to find one that's capable of multitasking and above-average performance. It may be slightly less powerful than a desktop of the same price, and desktops may be easier to upgrade and repair, but having a computer that you can take with you to do work, play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, and everything you may want to do can be invaluable. Furthermore, given the significant decrease in the performance gap between desktops and laptops, coupled with the doubling and tripling of battery life for laptops in recent years, the laptop has never been a more viable option for those needing an all-around machine with portability. If portability is a must, a laptop will be worth the slight loss of performance. If performance is a must, the only options are to expand your budget or accept a desktop.