To choose between a gaming laptop and game PC is a classic dilemma that has overwhelmed many PC gamers. The differences between them are simple, but all have alluring powers, and most can only afford to choose one. This guide will help you make the right decision in the debate over gaming laptop versus desktop.
We compare gaming laptops and desktops with the following in mind:
- Features and daily function
- Game performance
- Noise, heat, power consumption
Portable gaming vs desktop: Features and daily function
A gaming laptop and gaming desktop can be used for many of the same tasks, but the main differences between a gaming laptop and desktop are night and day.
Gaming Laptop Common Features
- Built-in screen, keyboard, touchpad
- Integrated battery
- Limited wired connection
- Difficult or impossible to upgrade
Laptops are tightly integrated devices with many useful features built into the computer. This includes a monitor, keyboard, touchpad and battery, plus wired and wireless connectivity. It is easy to overlook the benefits of these supplements. A game drive is useless until it is connected to external devices. A gaming laptop is ready to go straight out of the box.
This benefit is achieved at the expense of user choice and upgrade options. Most components of a laptop cannot be improved or replaced later. Some portable gaming machines allow owners to replace the hard drive and RAM, but this is usually the case.
Gaming Desktop Common Features
- Screen, keyboard and touchpad come in addition
- No battery, not easy to move
- Extensive wired connection
- Easy to customize and upgrade
A game station is the other side of the coin. It does not include any of the external devices required to use it. Buyers need to research the right peripherals and purchase them at extra cost. Desktops also lack battery power, so they are not convenient for travel or even a quick trip to a coffee shop.
On the plus side, desktops allow players to customize or upgrade the system. You can dive deep into the world of mechanical gaming keyboards or buy a better video card in a few years to keep up with new games.
Portable gaming vs desktop: Performance
Portable and desktop gaming machines seem to offer similar performance in an instant. They have similar processors and discrete graphics. Most also come with similar amounts of RAM and storage. Many gamers assume a PC with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and Nvidia RTX 3070 Graphics will perform about the same whether it is a laptop or desktop computer.
In fact, desktops outperform laptops in all demanding situations. This includes not only games, but tasks such as video editing and AI image processing. But if a laptop and desktop gaming can equip the same hardware, why do they not have the same performance?
The answer is simple: laptops and desktops do not really use the same hardware (at least when it comes to the processor and discrete graphics).
Take the Nvidia RTX 3080 as an example. The desk Nvidia RTX 3080 The graphics card has more CUDA cores, more Tensor devices, more RT cores and more memory bandwidth than the mobile version of the RTX 3080. A similar story unfolds over a wide range of CPU and GPU options.
A PC’s higher performance is often enough to be noticed. Games run more smoothly on a desktop than on a laptop at a given setting. The gap increases as the budget increases. The best gaming desktops use water cooling to overclock their already superior hardware to speeds far beyond what a laptop can achieve.
However, your needs will depend on what you play. Will play Cyberpunk 2077 with 4K resolution and maximum detail with Ray Tracing on? A game drive is best. To play The path of exile or Final Fantasy XIVhowever, even one budget laptop would be up to the task.
Gaming laptops vs desktops: Portability
This one is simple. Gaming laptops are portable. Desktops are not.
There are minor exceptions. Mini PCs such as Intel’s NUC Extreme, Falcon Northwest Fragbox and Origin Chronos can pack a lot of power in a small footprint. Nevertheless, these all require external power and external peripherals.
There is no replacement for portable gaming portable devices. If you need to travel, or need a PC you can take with you to class or the office, a gaming laptop is the way to go.
Portable gaming vs. stationary: noise, heat and power consumption
Portable gaming machines are not subtle. The problem is not the number of cooling fans, but the size and speed. Laptop fans need to be small and sleek, so they need to spin quickly to move air quickly. It creates trouble. There is no such thing as a quiet gaming laptop in 2022 – they are all noisy.
Heat can also be a problem for portable gaming machines, but laptops and desktops switch beats here. Portable gaming machines are getting hotter than desktops because the size concentrates the heat to a smaller area. However, desktops generally generate more heat. A typical gaming desktop will heat a room more than a desk.
Most portable gaming machines use around 200 to 300 watts at load and much less than at idle. A gaming desktop can easily require 100 watts at idle and over 500 watts at load, with advanced configurations going at 1000 watts or more. Of course, all that power also translates to the gaming desktop’s greater gaming performance.
There is another trade-off here. Players who like a quiet gaming rig will prefer a desktop, but a desktop will add more to your monthly electricity bill. This can add a few hundred dollars to the total cost of a gaming station over its lifetime.
Portable gaming vs. desktop: Value
Players want a value-added laptop or desktop computer. This means good performance for the price and long life before the PC needs to be replaced.
Both laptops and desktops offer good value when purchased. A desktop is faster, but laptops are not slow, and selling prices may place the two closer than expected. Laptops also have benefits, such as portability, that increase value.
You can buy a gaming laptop for just under $ 1000 like the MSI Sword which offers enough performance to play competing online games such as CS: GO and Overwatch. but budget portable gaming machines this cheap one comes with the lowest tier specifications, including an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU along with Nvidia’s lowest RTX 3050 Ti mobile graphics. If you’re looking for a laptop with more grunt, you can expect to spend close to $ 1700 to $ 2000 for a machine with an Nvidia RTX 3060 or better.
Gaming PCs are priced relatively similarly to gaming laptops with the most affordable models coming in at under or near $ 1000. HP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop is one of the cheapest budget gaming PCs we recommend, and it comes pretty well equipped with AMD Ryzen 5 processor and Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics. With such a powerful machine, you can easily play any AAA title like Elden Ring and Sniper Elite 5 with 1080p and 60 fps with most graphics settings set to medium or higher.
When it comes to long-term value, portable gaming machines fall behind as they age. The lack of upgrade options is a major problem. A new graphics card can add several years of life to an old game drive. It is not possible on a laptop, so you may need to buy a new gaming laptop after only three to five years of use.
Repairs are also a problem. Most laptops and desktops have a one-year warranty coverage. Both can break down under warranty, but desktops are less expensive to repair because parts are more accessible from third-party sources. You can save further on repairs by doing the repair yourself. It is often extremely difficult (if not impossible) on a laptop.
This is not just bad news for portable gaming machines. Portable gaming machines use less power, a hidden cost that can make them a little cheaper to own over time. Laptops also come with a built-in keyboard and trackpad, while computer owners will need to purchase one game keyboard and game mouse separately.
Still, the value is in favor of desktop games. They deliver more performance for the price and are less expensive to upgrade or repair.
Gaming laptop vs desktop: The Verdict
It’s time to dump her and move on. Who wins?
In most cases, a gaming station is the better choice. Game desktops provide more value for money, are less expensive to upgrade and repair, and last longer before becoming obsolete.
The wildcard is portability. There is no getting around the fact that portable gaming machines are portable and desktop gaming machines are not. It will swing many players towards a laptop. Just remember this before you buy: you will enjoy smoother gaming, with more attractive images, if you bought a gaming station instead.