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Am I the only one who thinks of smartphones and tablets as silent computers?

Granted, they can't do what this person's high-spec workstation can do, but they do most of the computing tasks most people use (used) noisy fanned computers with clacking disks for and in many cases do those tasks better.

And unless I'm just losing my hearing, my smartphone is completely silent as long as I don't accidentally press the Golem Invoker, er, Siri button.

There are plenty of silent/fanless Coffee Lake based industrial NUCs, too.


I was kind of excited about this build but then I saw your comment and remembered that was a much better option.

4-6 months ago I built a new workstation for work. I had used one of those Corsair closed loop water coolers with the prior build, so I set one up on this guy. A month or so later my workstation was running really sluggishly, and I realized it was drastically throttling the CPU because of heat. I installed some software to spin up the fans on the cooler to keep it down under 100C, but now it'll get kind of loud when I run much heavy CPU.

Now, this is a pretty heavy duty workstation, 64GB of RAM and 3 displays. But, if I were doing a new machine for home to be quiet, I think it'd be a NUC. Then I'll put the box that has the 6 drive ZFS array in a closet and call it good.

If you want something slightly more modifiable, Compulab makes passively-cooled screwdriver-openable boxes at basically all levels that it makes sense.

Their highest end is available with ECC ram and a discrete graphics card: https://fit-iot.com/web/product/airtop2-build-to-order/

And the lowest end fitlet2 can be configured with an atom in a reasonable configuration for around $300 (it's $130-$200 for case/cpu/motherboard depending on which CPU you configure).

I bet water circulation is broken. Check pump. You may have some air in pipes, turn your PC upside down and back (no joke).

I had looked at the NUCs a few months ago, and just remembered how hard it is in their product page to find something that will support 3 monitors. Looks like only the highest end models will do. I'd be tempted to build my own again, especially for my home office where I can put it in a closet next to my desk. The NUC product page lets you select requirements and then seems to give you a list of products that don't match.

Gigabyte also has their BRIX products, which are similar to the NUC.

I was at a hotel this weekend and at check-in they had a monitor with a "ThinkVantage slotted in the back of the monitor, that might be a nice setup.

Ha, the entire team at my previous job were using NUCs. Nifty little buggers. In the summer it would heat up quite a lot (not yet to the point of damage I suppose) and I couldn't even turn it off without burning myself if the PC froze.

Eventually I just bought a cheap USB desktop fan and ran it facing the NUC.

I'm using a NUC for a quiet home PC that I do mostly browsing but also some light web development on. Although it's mostly silent, I haven't been too impressed with the performance of it. It was one of the top of the line models in 2015, an i7-5557U. I was surprised to find it's quite a bit slower than my 2013 Macbook Pro 2.4 Ghz i5. On the Geekbench profile the MBP got almost 3x the single-core score of the NUC and 1.7x for multi-core. Real world performance of the older macbook is noticably faster.

It has made me think that instead of getting a NUC, for a quiet desktop system I should have just gotten a second used MBP and ran it permanently docked in clamshell mode with the monitors and keyboard attached. (with the added benefit of being able to go portable when I want to)

Neither the NUC nor my MBP is completely silent but for my purposes I find that I seldom tax either of them enough to where the fans become audible enough to be annoying. Still, I do find the difference in performance between them to be apparent just in things like iteration time on web development and IDE responsiveness.

Without ECC, that isn't a very industrial PC.

FWIW, most industrial PCs I've seen do not use ECC. In many case they use CPUs that do not support it anyways.

My iPhone 7 Plus has some crazy coil whine. In a quiet room you can hear it. I can hear incoming notifications being processed before the alert goes off!

Is this only when it’s plugged in? Could be a bad cable or charger. I had an iPhone 5 that had a super touch digitizer when plugged in, and I finally narrowed it down to cheap third party cables. Otherwise I think I would be doing a sit-in at the nearest Apple Store until they replaced it, that would drive me nuts.

The transceiver powering up is actually noisy. I had a Nokia 2100 series in the late 90s that generated enough emi to distort a CRT if it was sitting next to it.

You could hear the whine from across the room a few seconds before a call would ring through.

Heh. Back in the 90’s in college I would keep my phone on top of the monitor I was sitting at exactly so I would see the monitor juke just before the phone connected.

People always asked how I managed to answer the phone so fast. Electromagnetic Supplementary Perception, of course.

Heh - same sort of timeframe - probably a Nokia 8210 though - I could reliably have my Apple hockey puck mouse "crash" if my phone got an incoming call while it was sitting on my desk in a loop of the usb cable for the mouse. It'd just stop working, and need unplugging/replugging to get it working again.

It was clearly electromagnetically "noisy", but I do't recall ever having heard any on my phones make any unexpected audio noise... (My old-and-abused rock concert and motorcycle weary ears probably can't get up as high as inverter whine any more though...)

We had four computers on a LAN-party that didn't have the shielding on the computer. On phonecalls, all four computers got bluescreens.

Pretty much all cellphones would do that to CTRs. They would also go directly into the audio circuits of cheap amplifiers, to the point where you could "hear" a text or call incoming before the phone made any kind of notification.

You know, that reminds me on how we don't really hear any speakers making odd noises when there's an incoming call anymore. Probably because phones operate on different frequencies nowadays.

-I presume transmit power has been lowered significantly as coverage has improved, too; your cell always transmits at the lowest level it can get a reliable connection with to preserve battery life. This should reduce interference considerably.

Also, GSM phones used TDMA (keying the transmitter on and off to occupy one of -hm- eight, I believe - time slots on a given channel.)

This is practically asking for EMC issues.

LTE, on the other hand, transmits continously (I believe - I do not work in RF engineering anymore, but try to read up on new tech every now and then.:) - much less interference-causing than the constant on/off of TDMA.

I thought LTE worked on a timeslice schedule as well. I remember hearing that was one of the problems with carrier plans to start running LTE on unlicensed spectrum, because it doesn't play nice with listen-before-talk wifi.

I still hear speakers make noises when there is an incoming call, I assume it varies by country.

In college I bought one of those antennas that lights up whenever I got a call or a text. Didn't those lights work on the same principle?

I'd say a good half of the smartphones I've owned over the years have had audible something, even when not plugged in and supposedly silent.

Some were barely noticeable, while one in particular (a Droid Turbo) was so loud I could hear it getting ready to receive a call from another room. This was regardless of whether they were plugged in or not, although charger whine was its own separate issue.

Thankfully it does seem to be getting better over time- my current S8 is, as far as I can tell, genuinely silent.

This happened on TDMA systems like on T-Mobile and AT&T. (Verizon & Spring were CDMA).

There's a TDMA modulation frequency at 217Hz and this interferes with all sorts of nearby audio devices. CDMA and WCDMA phones have a much broader interference spectrum, which is why you don't hear it much anymore.

No, this is all the time. It is only quiet when the phone is idle.

I considered returning it, but I find it charming. I miss the days when you could tell exactly what your PC was doing by all the sounds it was making, and I find dead silent electronics to be elegant but a little sad.

It could also be the earpiece/speaker turning on and having static noise right before the notification sound is made.

The easiest way to experience this is to plug in headphones and hear the clicking before/after a sound is made.

The sound is loudest if I hold it up to my ear right behind where the SoC is. It generates a unique pattern of sound based on activity, such as running your finger over the touch screen. It's not just when sound events are about to play.

The MacBook is (at least in theory) noiseless as well. It has an SSD and no fans.

A few Chromebooks fit this description as well, at least they used to.

My Samsung Chromebook from 2012 has an ARM processor, solid state storage, and no fans. It is pretty slow by today's standards though.

I think several companies make cases for the Intel NUC boards that radiate the heat away and have no fans, too.

Many of them are still fanless: https://chromebookdb.com/search.php?fanless

My Samsung Chromebook 3 gets a touch warm but never uncomfortably so like my 2012 Retina MacBook, which lets you really feel it when your code is inefficient. (Granted, the Chromebook is a lot less powerful)

Funnily enough, my MacBook Air 2013 produces a buzzing sound on SSD access. It's barely audible, but it's there.

My MacBook Air 2013 is routinely the loudest machine in the room when it's compiling or similar.

Does it have fans? If not, what kind of noise is this ?

MBAs have fans, the 12" MacBook doesn't.

Possibly inductors vibrating.

"Coil whine".

No, the sound comes mostly from the fans, which when at their maximum start to get loud.

Oh...it’s not just me then.. Every couple of months I check my 2015 MacBook Pro system info because I’m utterly convinced that it has an hard drive because of the SSD noise. It’s quite frustrating actually..

Imagine being a kid in the 80s or 90s at school and hearing the distinctive 20k tone of a CRT Television humming and wondering if you were going to be watching TV in one of your classes that day. It was like a dog whistle for kids.

If you're in the US or anywhere else with NTSC, the horizontal scan rate (and thus the whine of the flyback transformer) is 15.75 kHz :)

525 lines / 2 for interlacing * 60 fields per second = 15750

times 1000/1001 ever since color was introduced, so about 15734 Hz

For me that was a thing until the late 2000's.

They were still using CRT TVs in 2012 when I finished high school. I wouldn't be surprised if there were still plenty of schools with CRT TVs and VCRs for educational material.

I still have a 19" CRT[0] as 2nd monitor at work because... why not?? It still works most of the time and supports a decent resolution (1400x1050 - 1600x1200 flickers). And it's a nice nostalgic conversation piece :)

[0] https://www.cnet.com/products/compaq-s910-crt-monitor-19-ser...

Back around 2001 I took my desktop build (Celerin 300A oveeclocked to 450MHz), installed a giant passive heat sink on the CPU and PSU, put in an 8MB IDE flash drive, and network booted off a server in my laundry room. I thought I was finally noiseless. But the end result was worse. I had coil whine out of my power supply any time CPU usage ramped up. If I was in the same room, I could tell whenever my email pinged the server or if a cron job ran. It was both instructional (why is my cpu ramping and I’m not even logged in?) and really annoying.

I had one of those, I think it may have overclocked to 550MHz, I can't remember for sure. The cooling fan was audible outside of my house!

I’m routinely annoyed by what I am reasonably sure is the sound of my MacBook Pro’s heat pipes and other warm components expanding and contracting, making creaking noises shortly after starting it up on a winter day. Then there’s the gentle gaseous hissing I would swear is the heat pipes condensing and evaporating (based on workload and laptop temperature concurrent with the noise) if I could think of a practical reason for them to be audible.

No, it's not just you. I can hear the SSDs in two of my laptops.

So does my Kingston SSD. And the switching of my switching power supply sometimes (rarely) is the loudest thing in my desktop pc.

Can confirm the 12" MacBook is totally noiseless. It's a neat little thing.

The Dell XPS 13 should also be noiseless when the fan is not on, but many models also suffer from coil whine.

I find coil whine a worse background sound than the lower frequency fan hum.

When I go to editfight.com on my rMBP the fans go crazy and it gets super hot. When I visit it on my iPhone it stays the same temperature and is silent. Kind of an extreme example but the principle is the same. Phones are better for sites like this.

The rMBP is very different from the MacBook.

Oh I didn't know that. I thought Apple recently shifted the MacBook so that it was more "pro" and the MacBook Pro so that it was less "pro", making them a lot closer to each other, almost identical. I thought I remembered a lot of criticism over that move too, here on HN.

I bought an Asus "zenbook" ux305 for this reason. It uses an Intel core M processor, which idle around 800mHz but turbo boost to around 2gHz, which I believe have been discontinued.

I was worried about performance, but it has been very acceptable. It depends what you need it for, but I can run 2 monitors, a Linux VM and atom all while streaming HD video. Or I can do light web browsing for 10 hours on battery[1]. I love it.

On the rare occasions I need more power, I spin up a spot instance.

[1] If you use Linux on a laptop, install "tlp". It optimizes battery life without a noticeable reduction of performance.

MacBook Air and Pro both have fans. I don’t know the entire Apple line of all time by heart, so there might have been another MacBook that had no fans.

Its the super thin 12 inch MacBook they currently sell, which is just called "MacBook".

My bad. Thanks for the info!

The Pro better not go fanless! Oh my CPU melted while compiling and running a few VMs.

The Macbook? My Macbook's fans are incredibly noisy. I've already replaced them once, hoping that would fix the issue, but it didn't. Macbook fans are just noisy. At least the 2011 unibody ones.

It sounds like you’re talking about a MacBook Air as a generic MacBook, whereas in fact the MacBook is it’s own distinct line of computer, debuted in 2015. It indeed does not contain fans.

Macbook debuted in 2015? Macbooks were first released in 2006. Mine is a Macbook Pro.

Obviously newer models are different from older models, and Air models probably don't have the fans that Pro models do, but the claim that Macbooks don't have fans is a bit too broad to be true.

You don't understand. They mean the laptop literally called just the Macbook. It's a 12 inch fanless laptop.


This is why these 'simple' naming schemes are confusing.

The Macbook didn't exist in 2011. You're thinking of the Macbook Air or Macbook Pro. The Macbook with no fans was released in mid-2015.

First line of the pertinent Wikipedia article: "The MacBook is a brand of notebook computers manufactured by Apple Inc. from May 2006 to February 2012, and relaunched in 2015."

In Jobs' 2x2 matrix, the portable half was initially populated by iBook and PowerBook, later by MacBook and MacBook Pro.

And yet, in a post referencing a fan-less "Macbook" it's almost certain that the "Macbook" in question is the only fan-less laptop Apple produces, which is coincidentally called simply "Macbook."

It's unfortunate that Apple has confusing brand names, but the fact remains that the Macbook indeed has no fans so the original comment who hears fan noise is obviously using a different model of laptop.

Of course there are Macbooks without fans, but the claim that "the macbook has no fans" is a bit too broad and generic to be true. Macbook Pros are also called Macbooks. Older Macbooks are still Macbooks (they seem to be pretty durable).

So if you say that recent Macbooks have no fans, that may well be true. But it's not true for all Macbooks.

How would you prefer we refer to this specific product [0] in the plural form if not “MacBooks”? Please note, once again, that this is not the same product as the MacBook Pro [1] or MacBook Air [2].

[0] https://www.apple.com/macbook/

[1] https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/

[2] https://www.apple.com/macbook-air/

Am I the only one that wonders how anyone can thinks of comparing a phone with to a high-end desktop system and claim they can fore fill the same need?

I mean these days having a powerful computer on my desk is less of a benefit - that can be a machine in the closet or sitting on a rack. The machine on my desk just needs to drive a couple displays and run a browser.

I mean it depends on what you do - but for many people it's a realistic solution.

The iphone x is getting close to mbp performance and its just a matter of time before it surpasses it

Mere physics says it won’t. It’s always possible to pack more performance in a larger package, even if it’s just because you can more easily dissipate heat on a larger surface. iPhones are amazingly powerful and might just be sufficiently powerful for everyday computing soon or even right now, but they’ll never surpass anything that can accommodate a larger die.

Physics doesn't drive CPU development, it just sets the absolute limits.

Apple have put faster chips in their smartphones than in their laptops.


Geekbench scores are interesting, but not necessarily translate straight into real-world performance. Intel CPUs have a much richer instruction set for example. Peak performance vs sustained performance is another issue. GPU performance, disk size and speed, available RAM, battery time at a certain usage etc. are other performance factors. Apple could decide to put faster CPUs into its macbooks at the cost of less battery time.

This is all alluded to in the article and the macrumors post that the article is based upon, here are some quotes:

> "Sure, that doesn’t mean the A11 Bionic can do all the things a desktop CPU does."

> "Though the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 offer impressive Geekbench scores, how that translates to real world performance remains to be seen."

There's no question that the iPhone chips deliver amazing performance, but there's a reason people still lug Macbooks around.

It does seem like something is missing in the comparison. High end x86 CPUs draw something like 30W idle, which would drain an iPhone X's battery in minutes. Do Apple/Arm really have some magic technology that makes their CPUs orders of magnitude more power efficient?

Geekbench always seems like an odd benchmark - the variability between runs alone is kind of odd. If I could run a compiler on an iPhone, for example, would I really see similar performance to my MBP?

The CPUs in MacBooks are mobile CPUs that certainly don’t draw 30W idle. You’d drain the battery faster than you can charge it :)

One thing to note, x86 is known for being spectacularly inefficient for mobile workloads. It's not magic that makes an ARM CPU more efficient, it's just different design considerations. For an example of this, check out the Intel Atom line of processors[0] which were mostly x86 processors but designed to be mobile and power sipping. Whether they were successful at that, or in terms of performance, I'm not sure. But they get down to single digit TDP, which is how many watts of power you can expect one to use while under load.


It's not about physics but about economics. Improvements go where revenue goes. For consumers that outcome is known.

Phones have a real physical advantage in lower latency connection to RAM. You can have more processing power in larger form factors, but it's not a net win for all workloads.

I don't think you can trust those Geekbench results for real-world performance. For starters, they largely ignore the much richer set of high-troughput opcodes on desktop PCs.

It also doesn't pass the smell test. Even Atom CPUs are preferred over high-end ARM for netbooks. But a Xeon is way more powerful than any Atom.

I think the Atoms are used there more for compatibility than anything - honestly, in terms of performance I think a new iPad Pro will smoke most netbooks.

I'm sometimes nostalgic for clacking disks. It's sometimes useful to know when the machine is swapping because some process has gone awry and used up all the memory...

Same, some feedback that something is happening is great. This is what annoys me the most about macbooks, they give 0 feedback when they're off. It's always a bit of a spincter squeezing moment on monday mornings when I open the macbook, sometimes it went out of power and shut down completely, but there's no indication that it's on or off or working or whatever. Black screen, and you kinda have to push the button for an arbitrary amount of time and wait for an arbitrary amount of time until there's any feedback.

Whereas on a normal computer, a light goes on and the fans start spinning, not because it's useful but just to indicate that it's on now. It's a miracle.

That's funny. My mother sometimes laments over the fact that modern washing machines are too quiet and she doesn't know when the laundry is done. This is like the IT guy equivalent!

I could tell what phase of booting/loading Windows my 486 was at, from the sounds of the HDD.

Fun story: A long time ago I was on the phone with someone, and typed some commands. For some reason tab completion made ticking noises in the phone.

Then it dawned on me: I was currently logged in on the machine on his desk.

Sure, but most mobile OSes don't support a full desktop experience well, and you're limited to bluetooth peripherals only. Unless you have a rare phone that comes with a docking station.

I have an OTG USB hub with Ethernet. Mouse, keyboard, and external drive can plug in all at once, and if I have a place to plug the other end of the cable I get wired network too. It even has power input to drive the peripherals. Add something like GNURoot with the Debian chroot and it's nearly desktop Linux on a tiny screen. It's more of a pain to set up during a meeting than a dedicated docking station would be. It also doesn't currently charge the phone (although there are ways to modify it to do that). It's nice for novelty but a little unwieldy. Using an OTG cable with a keyboard with a built-in hub reduces some of the cable clutter.

Some of the Chromebooks and such have no moving parts. I'm probably taking my Pinebook to the next conference I attend.

>Unless you have a rare phone that comes with a docking station.

Can't you just use any USB-C Dockingstation?

Not all phones support all the alternate modes of USB-C, especially display port or HDMI, so display output is often a hurdle.

Good point. I guess few people use those since phone OSes don't scale well for desktop use.

The latest MacBook is essentially mobile hardware with desktop peripherals and software. Seems like the right way to go rather than bloating a smartphone with desktop software given that the amount of people who want their smartphone to be their only interface to everything is likely a very small minority.

> Sure, but most mobile OSes don't support a full desktop experience well

This is due to the form factor, not the capability of the devices. A high end smart phone is more than capable of producing a good desktop experience.

It's purely a software issue. Microsoft, Ubuntu, and others have come close to building a responsive desktop GUI.

A better title for the article would be "Completely Silent Gaming PC"

> ...this system is not meant for gaming...

It still kinda is. They didn’t skimp any more than they had to

> Even though this system is not meant to be a gaming rig, there’s no harm in putting in the best GPU you can without blowing the thermals.

These days with GPGPU (and crypto) becoming increasingly popular having a good GPU does not automatically imply gaming.

0% of people do (non crypto) GPGPU at home, and the post is lamenting crypto miners for driving prices up.

3D artists/motion graphics/video editors do. Check out Octane Render, Redshift, Realflow, After Effects, Premier etc for use cases.

Do those reach 1% of home users with GPUs?

I don't think there's a way to gather that statistic. Some people might suddenly get a project that involves software that leverages GPGPU, some might use it professionally, then there might be kids experimenting. Plus as the job market involving AIs grows, so does the GPGPU market.

My point was it's not "0%"... Users exist.

0% is different from none. 0% means that it's a very small amount, not even enough to be 1%. The implication is that while it could be true, it's such a rarity that it is not in fact a counterargument to "GPU implies gaming".

> my smartphone is completely silent as long as I don't accidentally press the Golem Invoker, er, Siri button

You can get rid of that sound as well: just flip the switch on the left side of the phone.

I use a Dell Latitude 7370 which is completely silent. It's not the fastest machine, but works fine for running several VMs, Visual Studio, etc.

correct. which makes the top comment pointless (or missing the point?)

Under-performant computers can and have been silent for a while. A phone falls into that category.

The trouble is making a good performance computer silent.

And even the case the article advertises, is pure garbage. I had the smaller ones (and the author should really have bought the black anodized one!). It works fine while underpowered. But as soon as you hit the 5h compile/rendering levels of workload, that thing cannot move heat away without airflow. period.

My desktop is a terminal. A Mac mini makes a great silent terminal.

The noisiest computer is the person constantly telling you how silent their machine is.

I can hear a high pitched whine emitted from most electronics. Granted for smartphones the display or transceiver has to be powered up and it has to be a quiet room with no white noise. It's a lot better than it used to be, I knew I was getting a call or text from my old Nokia 5160 before it did just from the whine.

Interesting.. I hear that from CRT televisions, but not from other electronics.

Yes you are right. Cellphones and tablets are totally silent. It is the desktops and laptops that make noise, ummm waste too much energy ( heat ).

MacBook 12" have no fans and are completely silent.

The 12" MacBook is a silent computer as well.

silent yes, computers, no.

No, but a smartphone is not a computer.

Smartphones are capable of computing and are sometimes very powerful, but the analogy is totally out of wack in my opinion.

If you can live without using an actual computer, it means you don't really need computers. You can check your email and browser the web on a Kindle, on your TV, or even your car.

Everything is a computer, then.

I think a computer is a productivity tool. Smartphones (and I'd definitely say tablets, too) are to consume content, not produce it. Some companies (most notably Apple I think) believe otherwise, but I think they'll have to come to realize that smartphones and tablets are horrible to produce most kinds of content.

A smartphone absolutely is a computer. It's maybe not a "productive" computer for a lot of workloads, but it still carries out operations and produces output based on the input it is fed.

You're just making up your own definition of "computer" and then claiming a smartphone isn't one because it doesn't match your made up definition.

If the definition is so broad, my oven and fridge are computers.

Your oven and fridge (probably) has a computer within them, but they're not computers themselves.

According to that definition, yes.

You have programs, you have a UI to control them, they have a CPU and memory.

And "that definition" is the official dictionary definition and it works. There is no need to redefine it like you tried to.

Why not? They have buttons and speakers (I/O), I can program a timer on them, and there’s a little processor in there somewhere. How is that different from an iPad?

The computer that has those things is part of the oven, but it is not the oven itself.

Certainly in the rough sense of 'Turing machine' a smartphone is clearly a computer. And, even in other senses, I can connect a keyboard to my S5, open up Termux, run ffmpeg, open up Emacs --- all on the smartphone itself, not through ssh or anything. But it's hardly as productive as a regular laptop or desktop, of course, but that's largely due to screen size, lack of keyboard (or lacklustre keyboard), and weakness of processing capacity compared to a desktop/laptop.

Totally agree. That's where the line is drawn I think.

Otherwise everything is a computer.

I can’t check my email on my Kindle or my car.

Maybe cut to the chase: what specific capability is an iPhone lacking that every “real computer” has?

Do you run the SDK on the device itself, or do you have to develop somewhere else and then transfer the build output to the device?

On Android, you can definitively develop and compile on the device itself. See for example: http://www.android-ide.com/

What a nightmare, though.

Have you tried programming on the original Eee laptops? I'd take a 10" tablet with a bluetooth keyboard over that 7" screen and tiny keys any day.

I've tried touch based UIs to do actual work, and I just can't handle it.

Android can be quite well driven by the keyboard. Even alt-tabbing between applications works.

Personally, even a touchpad compared to a mouse will slow me down significantly.

It's possible that I could be somewhat productive on a tablet in an emergency, but not as my main machine like Apple suggest people should do.

Why can you not check your email on your Kindle? There's a browser, you can absolutely check your email.

If a keyboard (and a decent-sized screen) can be added, definitely a mouse and a mouse-centric interface.

I have tried using an iPad Pro for productivity, and it's living hell.

> definitely a mouse and a mouse-centric interface.

Wouldn’t that mean most servers aren’t computers? Not to mention the DOS machines I grew up with, or everything made before the Xerox Alto?

> I have tried using an iPad Pro for productivity, and it's living hell.

Not going to disagree with you there. But that doesn’t make it not-a-computer.

Those are servers.

If we want to classify devices, we need to group them somehow. Otherwise we call them devices and call it a day.

His old DOS machines certainly weren't servers. Not having a GUI does not make a machine a server and having a GUI does not make a computer not-a-server (especially since we have graphics chips inside CPUs now).

Servers are still computers.

We already classify them: smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers are all groups of computers.

I don't know about iDevices, but this is very much supported on a lot of Android phones. Samsung's lineup even has it as a bullet point feature, and they sell docks which let you connect your phone to a screen, peripherals, and switch to a mouse-oriented UI without having to do _anything_ weird.

At that point, you're running a mouse-centric, multi-window OS with a wide array of software, that can run basically whatever you want.

So that's a computer, definitely, right? When does it stop being a computer? If you disconnect the display? Is it using a stylus instead of a mouse? Maybe the software keyboard instead of a hardware keyboard? (But then is the MS Surface not a computer when you detach the keyboard case?)

Even though you're technically wrong (the best kind of wrong), I can see where you're coming from. Even microcontroller ICs without enough memory to store this comment are real computers and are silent, but if you say you've built a silent computer and then unveil some Arduino contraption, expect eyes to roll.

That said, I still think smartphones qualify as computers even by your productivity definition. Newer smartphones would sit somewhere above older netbooks on a ranking of overall utility.

>I can’t check my email on my Kindle

I can on mine…

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