According to eHow, desktops typically consume 150 watts during moderate activity, while a laptop consumes 30 to for watts.
Take this with a grain of salt, however, they aren’t achieving quite the same thing. The performance of the “same” laptop chip is significantly slower than when in a desktop. The desktop screen is liable to be better and bigger, because you can choose whatever model you want. The options for expanding a laptop are limited, which means you could run into a brick wall a few months or years down the road when the laptop can no longer do the job. If a laptop needs to be replaced under those circumstances … then in a larger sense it may have been much less energy effective … because now energy has to be expended producing you a new computer.
One other laptop energy upside is that its battery acts as an Uninterruptable Power Supply. Most people don’t have them on desktops, but when they do, they can consume a lot of energy.
For people who are moderate users, i.e., not power gamers, not running a Web server, etc., the laptop seems to be enormously more energy efficient.
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