Whatever happened to …

… desktop and tower computers?

My last desktop computer was actually a floor standing tower. It was made or assembled by MDG when they had a store in Windsor. I remember the purchasing experience; basically I started with this case and added components to it. I think I started with a Pentium 5 processor and then added memory, hard drive, video card, etc. It was a great computer.

The one I had before that was an IBM Aptiva. It was my first computer after owning a Radio Shack TRS-80 for years. It was a consumer product and it came with whatever components IBM thought would be good for me. All I can remember was that it came with an AMD processor. I remember it being more affordable than the Intel processor.

Obviously, I’ve outgrown both of these machines. But the MDG still does a good job as a holder for my DataShield and my old monitor serves as a second display for my laptop computer when I’m sitting at the desk.

A quick browse through the BestBuy store shows that desktops/towers still exist for sale with some pretty impressive specifications. They appear to be geared towards the gaming community. They had fairly large price tags but not as big as the Mac Pros. Don’t forget that you have to buy a monitor too!

These things were not exactly portable! I remember my early years at OSAPAC and our meetings where the first hour was spent lugging the computer and monitor in and setting them up. Power cords were everywhere because you had to plug in the computer, the monitor and sometimes an external device like a CD-ROM writer.

These days, I have a more portable computer. Companies have been fighting for years to come up with something lighter and more portable. The lightest of the light around here is an Acer R13 which is both a Chromebook and an Android tablet. The nicest thing though is that it doesn’t require a fan to keep things cool. The older computers could get really hot and the fan distracting when I was working to debug a program I was writing.

For a Sunday, what are your thoughts about desktop and tower computers …

  • do you remember your very first desktop or tower computer?
  • do you currently have a desktop or tower computer in your workspace?
  • does your school still have desktop or tower computers for student/staff use or have you migrated to portables?
  • for the tablet users, does your tablet address all your needs?
  • the desktop and tower computer takes me back to a time when I would install software on a regular basis! What was the last piece of software that you installed?
  • is your smartphone the most powerful computer you use these days?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post originated at:


If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. I’ve still seen the use of desktop computers. I have one at home, but never use it. I’ve been tempted to throw it out, but have not done so yet. Maybe my extended Break cleaning will lead to its demise.

    I still see some around schools. At my last school, a desktop computer ran our SMARTBoard. I think many schools redistributed the desktops that used to be in old computer labs and put them in classrooms for staff and student use. They can still be useful, even if a lot less portable.

    Thanks for this trip down memory lane, even if the memories are still somewhat of a current reality. 🙂



  2. I too started on the TRS-80. I had a friend with an Apple II and one with an Atari 800 so I never heard the end of it given our massoive 128×64 or something like that black and white graphics resolution.

    Still, some really cool things one could do with that. I was blown away by Dueling Droids which flashed the pixels on and off to create the illusion of greyscale.

    The printer cable was merely an exposed ribbon cable and I remember popping the back to add memory chips – something I repeated many times with chips smaller in size and bigger in memory on expansion PC cards a few years later.

    Had an early IBM-PC clone (8088) but built my own desktop and towers ever since. Still use a micro tower at work adn at home (well, they’re really more cubes).


  3. The TRS-80 was the first computer I used that was a desktop or really a personal computer. These days my computer lab at school has desktops but they are all in ones with the computer and monitor all one unit. So are the desktop computers my wife uses at home (one at home and one at the family vacation place). I’ve been thinking about getting one when I retire just because you can get more power for less money with a desktop.


  4. We still have 2 desktop computers at home still running well, so my husband and I use them. We have one tablet, but I don’t like using it much. My husband wants to replace it with a laptop.
    My workplace has many desktop computers for student use still.
    There is still a lot I prefer to do on desktop instead of on my phone. Forever old school, haha.


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