There was a time when laptops were the expensive, much slower and feature-limited cousins of desktop computers, the reserve of a wealthy elite and this only changed over the last few years or so.
The prices of laptops have almost reached those of desktops with screens, so much so that they have started to influence radically the design of desktop computers.
Since the beginning of 2009, we've witnessed the rise of so called Nettop computers, an offshoot of the Netbook revolution spearheaded by Asus. Nettops have now started to colonise the lower end of the market, slowly making their way up.
What sets them apart from desktops is that they are not only much cheaper but also are more power efficient and much smaller as well.
An Acer Aspire Revo 3610 with 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD and Windows 7 costs around £280. They also break away from the traditional remit of desktop PCs, the desk.
All nettop no longer carry legacy ports like PS2 or any optical drives while offering many addons like SPDIF & HDMI ports, Wireless by default and an external PSU in many cases.
Furthermore, the fact that they share much with netbooks (from the chipset to the hard drive), means that there are significant economies of scale on top of savings on the Bill of Materials and shipping costs.