Are looking to buy a gaming system but are confused between a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop which one should you buy then you are landed on the right place. Because these days choosing between the two can’t be easy due to the latest technological advancements that have also improved the performance of gaming laptops.
There are some high end gaming laptops available which are powerful enough to provide similar performance like desktops with portability.
This is why it is very important to know the difference between them to make a perfect decision. So, here in this article, I have tried to cover almost all the things which will help you to know the difference between gaming laptops and gaming desktops with the following things in mind.
- Gaming Laptop vs Gaming Desktop – 13 Things To Consider
Comparison Of Gaming Laptop vs Gaming Desktop
|Gaming Laptop||Gaming Desktop|
|Portability & Space||Firstly, it has a small form factor and this is why it is compact which makes it to easily carry around with you||Due to being heavy in weight, it is not portable and also needs some peripherals to work|
|Performance||Because of the laptop’s mobile versions of CPU and GPU, it is power restricted and this is why can’t perform like desktop||The CPU and GPU of the desktop are not power restricted and also have a high clock speed which allows them to perform better than a gaming laptop|
|Hardware Upgrades||Generally, in laptops, only RAM and storage only upgradable. There are only a few laptops which also offer to upgrade their CPU and GPU||The desktop allows you to upgrade almost all the parts without the need to buy a brand new PC|
|Touchpad vs Mouse||Touchpad gives limited space for movement and this is why you can’t get the best experience in gaming||By using the external mouse you get good precision and more space for the movement of your arm during gaming and get a good gaming experience|
|Keyboard||The keyboard you get with a gaming laptop can’t give you that much comfortable gaming experience like an external gaming keyboard offers||You have the broad option to choose a keyboard according to your choice and comfortability from any brand to comfortable gaming with|
|Cooling System||Gets an in-built cooling system which is designed by the gaming laptop manufacturer||Here you can set up a cooling system as per your requirements as you’ll get a variety of choices|
|Sound||Because of restricted space in the laptop chassis, speakers are small in size and this is why can’t match the desktop speaker’s sound quality||You can set up dedicated speakers or a sound system on your desktop to get a good sound quality and a better gaming experience|
|Customization Options||Because of the compact form factor or compact chassis of laptops, there are limited customization options||You can do various customization on your gaming desktops|
|Memory & Storage||You can upgrade the memory and storage in a laptop but can’t increase the number of slots||You can do here both the things like you can upgrade them as well as able to increase the slots|
|Ease Of Repair||Because of standardized internal components, it makes it difficult to repair||Due to standardized internal parts, it is easy to repair|
|Lifespan||Mainly it depends on your usage and how much you are taking care of your laptop||The feature of its upgradability and carrying out repairs significantly improves its lifespan|
|Power Consumption||It consumes less power as compared to the desktop because of power restrictions||It consumes more power than laptops because of more components which are less power restricted|
|Price||Generally, it is more expensive than the average gaming pc||You can find gaming desktops from low budget to high budget as per your needs and budget|
Gaming Laptop vs Gaming Desktop – 13 Things To Consider
Portability is one of the major differences between both them and this is one of the biggest benefits of gaming laptops over gaming desktops.
Actually, desktops are bulky and big in size, and also need some peripherals like a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to function. This is one of the major reasons why it is not easy to carry around.
If you are one who loves to play games on the go then laptops are the best option for you. Mostly all gaming laptops have around 5 pounds of weight or more than that. There are very few gaming laptops available which have less than 5 pounds of weight.
As a gamer, if you don’t have a good space and also don’t want to manage wire cables then a laptop is the only option. All the components which are available in the gaming laptop like CPU, GPU, fan, power supply, etc., is specifically designed to pack in a small size chassis.
2. Hardware Upgrades:
The latest games come with some features like photo-realistic textures, dynamic weather, and advanced AI which does not only react to your actions but provides a better gaming experience it functions autonomously.
Usually, to take benefit of these features, the system mostly relies on having powerful hardware components such as a processor, and graphics card.
Regarding upgrading the components of gaming laptops it limits you because almost all the hardware components are custom designed to be soldered onto the motherboard.
Also, almost all gaming laptops only give the option to upgrade their RAM and storage, not CPU and GPU.
On the other side, when it comes to gaming desktops then you can easily upgrade almost all the components without needing of buying or building a brand new gaming rig from scratch. Replacing or updating faulty or outdated hardware components on a desktop is a comparatively very easy and quick procedure as long as you have an idea where each component goes.
So, it is a good idea to start off with some basic hardware components and then gradually try to upgrade them over time to boost the performance. All in all, the desktop is the best option to go with if you want to upgrade the hardware components when it gets outdated or faulty without changing the whole system.
3. Touchpad vs Gaming Mouse:
Touchpad is also called a trackpad, it works well for doing some basic tasks such as for school/college, office work, etc.
But regarding gaming, the touchpad has lack precision, flexibility, and comfort.
Using a touchpad for gaming is not impossible but it limits you in some ways if we compare it with an external gaming mouse:
- There are many gamers who have found that moving the game around characters, dragging pieces, targeting, and firing is much more easier and precise with a gaming mouse than with the laptop’s touchpad. The reason behind this is that the mouse pad gives you more space than the touchpad to glide and move your wrist with a mouse.
- Also, the touchpad has lack of programmable buttons and scroll wheels like which comes with gaming mice. However, in several FPS games mice scroll wheel helps to change the weapons and, also its programmable buttons add extra functionality like you can set up MOBA and MMO games key binds.
For more information, you can check our in-depth buying guide for a gaming mouse.
Moreover, if you’ll buy a gaming laptop then you may need to buy an external mouse and for that, you need to spend some extra money. In addition, as a gamer, if you want to like to add more peripherals like a keyboard, mouse, controller, etc., then eventually the setup will look like a gaming desktop.
Almost, all gaming laptops are combined with a membrane keyboard because they are lightweight, also have a small footprint, and are mainly affordable.
Moreover, almost all gamers prefer mechanical keyboards over membrane as they are comparatively more durable and also can withstand repeated as well as long presses of the same keyboard keys.
For instance, cherry MX switches claim up to 50 million keystrokes.
If you’ll go with a gaming desktop then you can go with any of the keyboards between mechanical and membrane according to your choice and comfortability. So, choose the one which suits you the most. If you want to know more check out our ultimate guide on a gaming keyboard.
5. Cooling System:
When you play intensive games like GTA V and Final Fantasy XV then it puts lots of pressure on the CPU and GPU.
If we talk about the CPU, then it calculates and processes lots of logical operations when we click or give some instructions, etc.
While GPU helps to render images quickly and provide better graphics visuals during gaming.
The process of both CPU and GPU generates lots of heat inside the system in laptops and desktops.
If the heat is not regulated properly then, as a result, you may face lagging, thermal throttling, a bad gaming experience, and also may face hardware failure.
As we all know that laptops are compact and this is why it has limited space to fit the large cooling fans or heat sinks due to this it restricts the airflow and as result, they get overheated as compared to gaming desktops. Also, because of the compact nature of gaming laptops liquid cooling is also not possible to add.
To prevent your gaming laptop from overheating you can use a cooling pad which is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. Actually, preventing gaming desktops from overheating is comparatively easier.
6. Sound Quality:
Even though the sound quality of gaming laptops is better than regular normal laptops but still can’t be able to cover the background noises at all.
Sometimes, during heavy gaming sessions, fans get loud which interferes with your gaming and still it can’t cover that noise.
When it comes to gaming desktops then it provides you with great options to choose from many options of dedicated sound systems for your gaming rig which give an amazing gaming experience than gaming laptops.
7. Customization Options:
Talking about customization, there is no limit to do in gaming desktops as compared to gaming laptops.
You only have a bit of computer hardware knowledge and need a handful of tools like a screwdriver set and pliers, with these tools you can customize almost everything from a processor, RAM, and graphics card to LED lights on the chassis.
Before you do any customization or purchase any parts first make sure that they are compatible with your desktop.
On the other side, to make gaming laptops compact its components are designed to fit perfectly in the chassis. For instance, we can’t swipe the gaming laptop’s membrane keyboard to a mechanical keyboard and also can’t fit a regular-sized Nvidia or AMD dedicated graphics card into the gaming laptops.
All in all, gaming desktops are a great choice if you want to do gaming or customize it exactly as you want. On top of that, you’ll also feel good when building your own custom gaming rig by choosing individual parts of your gaming desktop as per your choice.
8. Memory & Storage:
Well, here you’ll get options to upgrade RAM and storage both in gaming laptops and gaming desktops.
But in a gaming laptop, you can only upgrade its RAM and storage to the maximum limit.
There is no restrictions or limitation in gaming desktops for both RAM and storage as components in gaming desktops can be swapped to match the performance requirements.
As I have already said that there are no limitations to the SSD/HDD capacity in gaming desktops but there are some limitations to the number of slots. However, gaming desktops can be able to add more hard drive bays to increase the storage space compared to gaming laptops.
All in all, you get more options to add memory and storage both in gaming desktops as compared to gaming laptops.
9. Performance – CPU & GPU:
When it comes to performance then in recent years the performance of gaming laptops improved a lot but still can’t beat the gaming desktops.
The reason behind is that gaming laptops come with mobile versions of components like CPU and GPU which are not that much powerful as desktop hardware components.
In gaming laptops, it has limited space which makes it a bit difficult to pack more power without introducing an issue like overheating. Let’s take an example, an intel i7 processor of gaming desktops performs much better than gaming laptops mobile i7 processors as it has less thermal and power limitations.
Speaking about the GPU then gaming desktop’s GPU comes with higher clock speeds, texture mapping units, and more memory bandwidth that boost the performance very well.
According to the research conducted by techspot.com, the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 graphics card’s desktop version can outperform the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070’s mobile version which comes in gaming laptops. The reason behind that is the desktop version’s higher clock speed, power ad thermal limitations.
Overall, gaming desktops win the game here if performance is the top priority.
10. Number Of Ports:
Well, the number of ports you get determines how many external devices you can connect on your gaming laptop or gaming desktop.
However, specific devices need a specific type of port option to work perfectly.
Let’s take an example, for VR gaming you’ll need an HDMI or Display port to power VR headsets. While keyboard, mouse, and Bluetooth dongles can connect via USB ports.
Usually, you’ll get to see more port options in gaming desktops than in gaming laptops. In addition, it also allows you to add or upgrade different kinds of port options which is depending on your needs. But when it comes to gaming laptops then you’ll get a limited number of port options which laptop manufacturer has provided on that model.
To provide portability in gaming laptops, laptop companies like MSI, Razer, and ASUS often give customization options for each component which can easily fit in particular chassis.
But sometimes it can be difficult to find genuine parts to repair a gaming laptop which you have purchased a few years ago.
During that period if the warranty of your laptop has expired then without that repair part, you have only one single option is to purchase a new gaming laptop.
On the other side, gaming desktop parts can easily get in online as well as offline stores because they are standardized. If incase, you don’t get the same parts which you are looking for then you can still get similar another part that is compatible with your gaming desktop and it starts to run again without any kind of worry about purchasing a brand-new desktop.
In gaming desktops, you can easily replace faulty or old parts with a new one very easily.
The lifespan of gaming laptops and gaming desktops mainly depends on your usage, hardware components used, how heat management works, upgrade options, etc.
If you are going with high-end gaming laptop then it comes with a dedicated cooling system which works perfectly well and also it prevents your laptop from hardware failure due to overheating.
If a gaming laptop doesn’t provide the option to upgrade the components then the lifespan of that gaming laptop is not longer and also can’t fulfill your gaming needs in the long run.
But when it comes to gaming desktops then here there are no restrictions on upgrading any components and also you’ll get several options for a heat management system which improves the lifespan.
Because of the gaming laptop’s mobile nature, it can easily drop during traveling or for any other reason and it may impact big damage. While gaming desktops are placed at one fixed location this is why can’t drop and there is no need to worry about any kind of damage also.
13. Power Consumption:
You should know that a gaming laptop’s battery drains faster compared to normal regular laptops and this is why need to be plugged in frequently. But compared to gaming desktops, still they are more power efficient. As gaming laptops have a mobile processor, graphics card, fans, and display which eat up less power.
Actually, gaming desktops consume more power and provide powerful performance, this is why it also increases your electricity bill. Also, it doesn’t mean that gaming desktops have big components which is why they consume more power but the thing is that gaming desktops need to connect external gaming peripherals which consumes extra power.
You can also restrict power consumption limit in gaming desktops but for that, you need to sacrifice gaming performance because it is impossible without doing that.
I hope that you have read this article from start to end and so now you can be able to make your decision about which one should you get a gaming laptop or a gaming desktop.
Basically, it depends on your personal gaming needs. If you are a frequent traveler and need convenience for gaming then you can easily carry around the gaming laptop with you as it’ll serves you the best as per your requirement.
Apart from gaming if you want to use some demanding apps for video editing, 3D modeling/rendering, etc., then gaming laptops are the best option to fulfill your both requirements.
But if you are the one who wants to use their system for gaming and other things by sitting in one single place then nothing better option than the gaming desktop. Because it allows you to give easy options for hardware upgrades, customization, repair or replace faulty parts, etc., which you can’t get in gaming laptops.
However, if portability is not your primary concern then buying a gaming desktop is a better option than a gaming laptop. Also, it allows you to upgrade the components gradually over a period of time when it gets old or faulty.
So, guys, that’s it from my side, I hope you liked this article and it helps you out to make your decision between a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop. Still, have any questions, feel free to ask me.
Hello! I am Robbin Simmond a senior editor & writer of this blog. By profession, I am a computer hardware engineer with a passion for gaming and technology. With a deep understanding of the intricate workings of computers, I have spent years researching and testing the latest advancements in gaming laptops.