What Does Your Computer Say About You?

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what does your computer say about you

A personal computer is, well, personal. Assuming like most people, you bought your own computer (or had some say about what it’s going to be), your choice of hardware likely reflects quite a bit about you. So, what sort of person are you — just an occasional user? A nerdy coder? A hard-core gamer?

Tell me what your hardware is, and I’ll tell you who you are.


what does your computer say about you

And by “age” I mean the age of the system, not of the user (I don’t think there’s any correlation). Of course, maybe you had the same computer for 15 years and just happened to trade up for a newer model this year, so this is one of the least accurate metrics in this highly scientific post.

  • Less than a year old: Cutting edge! You’re hip, trendy, and up-to-date with the latest in the world of computer hardware.
  • 1-3 years old: I would say you’re just about average. Nothing to get excited about here — maybe other categories would prove you more unique?
  • Older than 3 years: You’re not a demanding user. You need your computer to be there for you, but it doesn’t have to perform extraordinary feats of number-crunching and graphics.
  • “No simple answer”: If you can’t exactly say how old your whole computer is, because it contains a mix of parts you’ve been carrying over from previous builds and adding to over time, well, that certainly says something, you huge nerd, you.

Desktop or Laptop

Laptops have outstripped desktop sales a while back, so sticking with a desktop as your primary computer definitely means something. Again, I’m talking about your own computer, not the one you have in the office.

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  • Run-of-the-mill Laptop: I mean just a regular 15″ machine, a cute little laptop you got for a good price. This is the bland option: You wouldn’t terribly mind had it been a desktop; it was cheap, and it gets the job done.
  • Ultrabook, MacBook, etc.: This is what I would call a “laptop on purpose”. You actually wanta laptop. You like your technology slick, tightly packaged, and portable. You’d never crack the computer open, and you like having the freedom to work outside.
  • Desktop: You like being able to pop open your trusty ATX box and reach inside to stick in a fourth hard-drive; you don’t mind being tethered to your desk because you never go outside, anyway.

Screen Size (And Count)

what does your computer desktop say about you

The screen is pretty much the primary mode of communication from the computer to us, so there’s a lot to consider here:

  • 10″: Wait, is that a netbook you’re toting? Aww, how quaint! I remember those devices.
  • 11″: Yes, a single inch makes a difference… With an 11″ screen, you may well be a MacBook Air user, in which case I just wanted to say your computer isn’t a netbook, so don’t be mad. Hey, and do you have an envelope I could use?
  • 13″: Being mobile is important to you. You actually tote your computer around, and maybe use it in coffeeshops and so on.
  • 15″: We’re still in laptop territory, but this is definitely your primary computer. You don’t have to carry it around too often, though.
  • 17″:  This is as big as a laptop’s going to get. You should have gone with a desktop, and you know it. Maybe it’s one of those enormous gaming laptops, which are really just desktops in disguise.

On to desktop territory:

  • 19″: You’re using an ancient monitor which you’ve been wanting to upgrade forever now.
  • 21″-24″: Still a single monitor, but we’re definitely getting somewhere now. You like your desktop computer, and if you’re a Linux user, you may even have a tiling window manager.
  • 27″-30″: You’re enough of a nerd to know what IPS means, and you love your enormous Cinema (or equivalent) display. You secretly think people with dual-monitor setups aren’t as chic as you are.

And now, multiple-monitor time:

  • Laptop + display: You’re savvy enough to plug an external monitor into your laptop and enjoy the benefits of dual-monitor productivity. You’re not addicted, though, and could quit at any time (or so you like to think).
  • 24″+24″: You’re a desktop user with a penchant for ergonomics, who likes dragging windows around a vast landscape, but you didn’t want to go crazy.
  • 3 monitors: I don’t even care what size your monitors are; you’re in love with pixels. Each monitor has a specific role, and one of them is probably a “Facebook monitor”. You like to turn off the lights and sit basking in the glow of the LCDs.
  • More than 3 monitors: And we’re back in gamer territory; you’re obsessed with flight simulators or racing games. The only other option would be that you’re a day trader. You may rarely turn on the lights in the room — the screens provide more than enough illumination for all of your needs.

Choice of Keyboard and Pointing Device

what does your computer desktop say about you

If the screen is the main way the computer talks to us, then the keyboard and pointing device are how we talk back.

First, keyboards:

  • Whatever came with your machine: If it’s a laptop, you use the built-in keyboard and trackpad; if it’s a desktop, you use the keyboard that came with it. This probably means you don’t type very much. You might be a coder, but I can already tell you’re not really into input devices.
  • ThinkPad keyboard and pointing nub: These are the exception to the laptop rule. If you use a ThinkPad, chances are the keyboard was a major part of your buying decision, and that you just love those smiley keys.
  • MS Natural 4000: You care about keyboard ergonomics, but you’re not about to go crazy about it.
  • Happy Hacking, Filco, IBM Model M, and friends: Your keyboard looks like it was made in 1985, and that’s how you like it. The loud clickety-clack of the Cherry MX keys drives anyone near the computer crazy, and that’s how you like it, too.
  • Kinesis Advantage or Maltron: You care about keyboard ergonomics, and you did go crazy about it. You spend much of your free time over at Desktority and Geekhack debating Cherry MX Red vs. MX Brown, have strong opinions about grid layouts vs. staggered ones, and are seriously considering taking a Dremel to your board to add a few extra keys.

Now, pointing devices:

  • Whatever came with your machine: See above.
  • Razer Boomslang, Logitech G9x, and friends: You’re a gamer! Shocking, I know.
  • Logitech Trackman: You have limited desk space and/or just don’t like moving your arm around so much just to push a tiny cursor across the screen.
  • Kensington Expert Mouse: You have a thing with trackballs, the larger, the better. You also don’t care much about aesthetics, and may win this year’s ugly Christmas sweater contest.
  • Wacom: Ah, an artist! You get funny looks from people when you play Minesweeper with your pen, but hey, it’s fun. Let the good times roll!

Hard Drive

If your drive is hard, that means… okay, let’s not go there. Seriously though, if you’re running out of space, chances are you’re an obsessive downloader, or maybe an amateur photographer with enough budget for a DSLR but not for an extra hard drive.

Graphics Hardware


what does your computer say about you

Okay, this one’s easy: Either you have discrete graphics (and know your card’s make and model), or you don’t. I don’t even need to know what card and make it is to tell you the rest:

  • You have discrete graphics and can tell me the model: You’re a gamer. Maybe not an extreme gamer, but you care enough about graphics to actually think about it when getting a computer. There’s also a slim chance you do some Bitcoin mining on your GPU, so I’ll put that in as an option (Bitcoin miners, tell me about your GPUs in the comments!).
  • You just plug in a video cable: In other words, you don’t know what discrete graphics are, or maybe you do know but you just don’t care. You’re definitely not a gamer, and you probably don’t do anything that has to do with 3D graphics or Bitcoin mining.

What, No Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux?

Guess what: no. I’m not even going to go there. And you shouldn’t go there in the comments either. Just tell me: What’s your computer like? Did I get my prediction right?

Image Credits: geek biting keyboard via ShutterStock, old computer via ShutterStock, office with many monitors via ShutterStock, workstation via Amir Mohammad Saied, graphics card via ShutterStock

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Comments (44)
  • Isaac

    Brand new desktop, custom built know everything in it my main computer now (windows 8). Also have that 13″ macbook pro so i sport the best of gaming, savyness, and portability. I just wish I had the money for the mechanical keyboard I wanted…..sigh….

  • BenN

    I guess I am a cheap, hermit, huge nerd, maybe coder with no game. I might be offended but you were incredibly accurate.

    Cheap – 19″ monitor, Hanns G for $150 back when that was a great price. But I do keep adding them to my Amazon wishlist so I am getting close.

    Hermit – Desktop, if I am going to do computering then I am going to sit and focus on computering.

    Huge Nerd – Pieced together PC with some parts dating back farther than my memory can recall. My wireless b works awesome! Huge – true, but this is a family website so I won’t go into details.

    Maybe Coder – $20 wireless keyboard and mouse combo. I can code in 8 different languages, but I code equaly poorly in all of them.

    No Game – oh wait, does playing Gem Craft online count?

    I think you should take your Mentalist like abilities into software too. What do my browser(s), graphics program, email, etc choices say about me. Although considering what I learned about myself today maybe I don’t want to know anymore.

    • Erez Zukerman

      Just wanted to say this is the best comment I got for this post yet! :)

      Re writing one on software: A tempting idea (I have strong opinions about software), but I fear it would just end up being needlessly divisive, you know, a Mac vs. PC sort of affair…

  • Deimarr Callender

    hmmm…. just about average

  • Swaroop Hegde

    I’ve got a configured desktop. Its five yeas old. It has a 17″ Acer monitor, Logitech mouse and keyboard(to which I gave a hot coffee bath last week. ;) so the keys are hard to press), 1GB RAM, 250 GB Hard Disk, and no graphics card. Yet it serves most of my purposes(mainly studies; i rarely play games). Its loaded with many softwares. Sometimes I feel like I’ve entered a really slow motion world, when my computer slows down, but after a while it speeds.
    I love my computer :)

  • Dmitriy Tverdov

    Disclaimer – full-time office worker here, and secuity forbids usage of computers other than issued, configured and tested by company’s IT, so i talk ’bout personal suff only.

    As desktop concerned, author right on the money – both it’s more than 3 y.o. and mix of hardware from previous builds or minor upgrades – as it’s home PC, i do not need power beyond my Core2 Duos to convert video/ebooks, do small-time CAD drawings or occasionally print some text. Only reminder of my gaming past is Saitek ProGamer Command Unit (as none of my still gaming friends asked for it :( )

    BUT – in multimonitor section he definitely missed common enough set-up – older, “SysOp only mode” (17″) display + (in my case 42 inch) LCD|Plasma panel (which also adds secondary wireless 2-in-1 keyboard w/ pointer device to input devices) – my XBox360 just can’t compete to PC in multimedia capabilities and ease of use.

    Also – while i sill tend to think of my desktop as “base of operations” , really my “main” PC is 10″ ASUS EEE PC 1025c netbook, which lacks additional keyboard/mice – exactly by reason many people adopted tablets, i.e. portability and ease of use “on the couch”. Keyboard is large enough for taking notes, though sadly inferior to previous MSI Wind’s, it’s fast enough for fully functional surfing, occasional videowatching and as central node for various organization tools (first i replaced my older netbook w. 8″ archos tablet, but it was just… unusable imo, thanks for horrible evernote and office experience, and it was replaced woth 4.2″ android smartphone for things it could do really good). Maybe netbook will be replaced by Surface Pro descendant some time ahead – see no reason to spend money now.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
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