Other features of the desktop not completely duplicated in the laptop include expansion devices, such as DVD burners, and bigger and better hard drives. There is room in the larger desktops for these devices, but the laptop must either use an external connection, or use swappable drives, for example a cd/dvd drive can be unplugged, and a floppy drive, or HDD substituted. The standard, in the early days, PCMCIA card (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) later known as the PC card was used for many different kinds of external connections, from network adapters to modems to various drives etc.
The PC card connection has largely disappeared from laptops, being replaced by many of the components being incorporated internally, for example network, both wired and wireless. At the same time the USB, or Universal Serial Bus, introduced many years ago on laptops, but only taken up by component manufacturers comparatively recently, has made it very easy to attach devices without powering down the computer, a task often fraught with risks in the earlier days of unstable OSs and devices.
Other possibilities available to the laptop user include the Docking Station. This allows the user to connect external devices such as keyboard, mouse, network, monitor etc. plus power merely by ‘docking’ the laptop. This is now the equivalent of having the desktop under the desk, where it can be kicked and the cables tangled! When the user wishes to go home, or to a meeting, etc., he merely undocks the laptop and takes it with him.
So what conclusions can we draw to answer our initial question? Is there really any need for a desktop when the laptop has equivalent features, including, now, price? Notebook test after test carried out by reputable organisations show the improved, and improving capabilities of the laptop. A glance at the sales figures shows what people are thinking. Laptops are selling in greater numbers than desktops. Of course there will always be a requirement for a computer which can sit there on the desk, or bench, which can be expanded or adapted at will, and which can control or link to a network. But even this is changing. Already familiar in the service bureau environment, the desktop computer now exists in a drawer, which can be slid out of the cabinet to monitor or operate the bank of servers, or whatever it is attached to.