[Editors Note: This article was written by Nadav Biran and originally appeared on the Catz Audio Blog.]
The first thing you should focus on when building your home studio is the computer you are going to use. For us making the choice between a laptop or a desktop was very frustrating and it took us quite a long time before we made up our mind.
Desktops vs Laptops
The first thing that comes to mind when comparing desktops and laptops is portability. Obviously, laptops are more portable and are the ultimate solution for those of you who are gigging or like to produce on the road.
Choosing a laptop is a no-brainer if you are a traveling producer/DJ and we highly recommend these music production laptops
Desktops are more cost-efficient and offer a much better value in terms of how powerful they are. In our opinion, they are the perfect solution for those of you who are looking for the most power for your dollar.
You probably already know if you belong to the first category or the second one, however choosing between a desktop or a laptop will probably be the most important decision you make when building your studio, much more complicated than just power or portability.
Music Production Laptops
In our opinion, the only reason you should pick a laptop instead of a desktop is if you plan to travel or gig with your new laptop.
As we have mentioned before, laptops offer the worst value when compared to desktops. And this is why you should only choose a laptop if you are a 100% sure you will travel with your laptop.
Another downside of laptops is they easily break and are not really upgradable. Both of these factors are a major downside of owning a laptop and make them way less appealing for VST intensive producers.
Some of you have probably seen laptops with I7 CPUs and GTX GPUs and believe you are getting the same hardware components you would get in a desktop for relatively the same price.
But don’t let it deceive you, almost all laptop CPUs and GPUs have a weaker laptop version and from our experience laptops almost always perform worse when compared to a desktop with the “same” hardware components.
Reading this you are probably convinced that you need to choose a desktop instead of a laptop. However, that’s not the purpose of this article and we believe no amount of power will help you if you can’t take it with you.
That’s why we have previously mentioned a laptop should only be chosen if you are a DJ or traveling producer.
Music Production Desktops
Desktops are our go-to choice when producing in our personal studio. In our opinion, you should definitely pick a desktop if you mostly produce in your home studio.
The reason being: desktops simply offer a much better value for the dollar and are much more reliable in their performance.
Desktops are also easily upgradable. This is in our opinion the biggest upside of owning a desktop and we constantly upgrade our studio desktops when they start falling behind in their performance.
From our experience, laptops tend to last 3-5 years on average while desktops tend to last up to 10 years if you take proper care of them and upgrade when needed.
As you can probably tell choosing a desktop is the rational decision for most home studio owners and we definitely recommend you to pick a desktop instead of a laptop if you are not actively gigging or traveling.
And the winner is
If you made it this far you already know the major upsides and downsides of owning a laptop or a desktop.
To recap, laptops are suitable for the traveling producer/DJ while desktops are suitable for the rest of us.
Even though we went hard on the laptops we believe they are the much better option if price isn’t a factor for you, The reason being: you can get both portability and power if you are willing to spend upwards of 2,000$+.
With that being said, we know most of you aren’t willing to spend such high amounts of money for a computer. That’s why our winner is the desktop and we honestly believe that most of you should pick a desktop if you are serious about your music!