The microbial desalination cell (MDC) is known as a newly developed technology for water and wastewater treatment. In this study, desalination rate, organic matter removal and energy production in the reactors with and without desalination function were compared. Herein, a new design of plain graphite called roughened surface graphite (RSG) was used as the anode electrode in both microbial fuel cell (MFC) and MDC reactors for the first time. Among the three type of anode electrodes investigated in this study, RSG electrode produced the highest power density and salt removal rate of 10.81 W/m3 and 77.6%, respectively. Such a power density was 2.33 times higher than the MFC reactor due to the junction potential effect. In addition, adding the desalination function to the MFC reactor enhanced columbic efficiency from 21.8 to 31.4%. These results provided a proof-of-concept that the use of MDC instead of MFC would improve wastewater treatment efficiency and power generation, with an added benefit of water desalination. Furthermore, RSG can successfully be employed in an MDC or MFC, enhancing the bio-electricity generation and salt removal.