Here’s something I’ve been thinking about, and it’s less cut and dry as I previously thought.
For many people, a laptop is required for their job, as they need to move around with it. However, a desktop is still better for productivity. Assuming you’re not doing work that needs a really high-end desktop with multiple GPUs or exotic hardware, you can just use your laptop as a desktop by obviously just straight up using it on a desk, or if you want better productivity, get a monitor, peripherals, and a Thunderbolt dock, and basically get everything you could want from a non-portable PC.
Obviously, this seems environmentally friendly because laptops tend to be more energy efficient, plus you’re eliminating an entire computer from your life, which saves on materials, including rare earth elements, and reducing E-waste when the compute inevitably breaks or become obsolete to the point of unusability.
However, the major strike against this is the laptop’s battery. Heat, and constantly charging the system is really bad for Lithium ion batteries, and will cause them to fail sooner, maybe even a lot sooner. Even if you got a repairable laptop with a removable battery or one where you just have to unscrew some screws to replace the battery, that’s a still problem as batteries are toxic and their production (and recycling) is environmentally damaging. I also don’t know if those enterprise grade laptops can still work while plugged in without their batteries, but I’m going to say it’s unlikely as higher performance laptops can actually drain their batteries while plugged in if they hit their full load (please let me know if there’s a modern laptop that works plugged in without the battery).
So what do you think of this? Does anyone more knowledgeable know whether the benefits of eliminating a PC by using your laptop as one outweigh the issues of premature battery failure, from an environmental standpoint?
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