Although I am actually considering buying a cheap laptop just to have a highly mobile computing platform for multimedia presentations and document creation and the like, I have to say that I do not advocate owning a laptop if your needs require a lot of computing power.
In my opinion, modern laptops are a sham. Manufacturers know that, at best, laptops are a severely compromised technical solution. Their marketing presence might suggest that they are fast approaching the status of "desktop replacements;" indeed, high-end models are often classified as such. In truth, though, laptops will never come close to the performance of even a mid-range PC (assuming, of course, we're discussing hardware that belongs to the same generation).
Why are notebooks always going to be inferior to a desktop in terms of raw performance? Laptops are a design compromise; by definition, then, you never get everything you get in a desktop. The advantages of a laptop's design profile also define its major weaknesses.
For example, for the advantage of portability and small size and mass, laptops pay a penalty in cooling. There just isn't any room for any good cooling equipment inside a notebook's casing. Moreover, you simply just don't get enough air volume, much less air flow, inside the notebook. And everything is packaged so tightly inside that hot parts sit next to even more hot parts, further exacerbating the situation. This almost defines an immutable law in computing: The more power your computer has, the more cooling it has to have to operate reliably and safely. There's no getting around this.
Despite being inferior performers to desktops, laptops are always far more expensive. Assuming we're speaking of a laptop and a desktop with equivalent components (i.e., the same CPU, GPU, RAM amount, HDD size, etc.), the notebook will be far more costly. Sure, you can take your laptop around with you, but you'll certainly pay dearly for the privilege. As someone who puts a heavy emphasis on performance per dollar spent, a laptop cannot possibly compete with a desktop (especially a custom-built desktop).
Finally, although inroads have slowly been made into this development, it's just too much of a hassle to build your own laptop at this time. Parts are rare and are accordingly priced at a premium. Buying a retail notebook has no appeal for me because you get so much junk in terms of software, and you also don't have a lot choices when it comes to upgrade options or tweaking. And God forbid if a part breaks or needs replacement. The great appeal of building your own PC is that you can play engineer and artist, with only your technical ability, your creativity, and the size of your wallet being the impediments to creating a PC that you will be happy with. With notebooks, it's almost absolutely a case of "Buy what's on the shelf."
As I said, though, it's likely I'll be buying a notebook sometime in the future. I don't know when that will be, but I do know one thing: It can't play any of the games I play the way I want to play them.
At least Darth Ominous does.
As always, thanks for reading! I appreciate your time and attention, and I welcome your comments, thoughts, and discussion.