Trends in the gaming industry have risen sharply over the past few years, and it’s now more important than ever. Gaming preferences vary a lot from person to person and even the smallest detail matters. While PC gaming is best done on desktop computers, portability is a path-changing factor for most users. So what is the best choice then? Gaming laptops vs desktops, let’s compare the two.
Honestly, gaming laptops have come a long way since their inception. Mobile processors and GPUs are getting more powerful every year, narrowing the big gap between laptops and desktops. However, with the joys of a gaming laptop, even greater horrors arise.
Debate – Gaming Laptop vs. Desktop Computer
Most buyers think of several factors when choosing a gaming machine. Everyone has different preferences, and you should only select the device that ticks most of them. Here are a few of them to get you started on the gaming laptop vs desktop dilemma.
Portability can sometimes be a deciding factor for gamers who travel often. Usually, choosing a desktop is a no-brainer if you only gamble at home or don’t mind gaming while traveling. However, for college students and young adults who travel often and play wherever they can, nothing beats a gaming machine that can fit in your bag.
While most modern laptops are quite light, powerful gaming laptops can weigh up to 3 kilograms. Yes, the huge 17 inch gaming laptops that most brands offer are heavy compared to regular laptops. However, that doesn’t make them any less portable in front of PCs.
Gone are the days of LAN parties where gamers gathered with their PCs for competitive gaming sessions. The current generation PC versions are big enough that people don’t carry them around. However, if you are an extremist, you can try building a mini-ITX; it is too big a risk. Therefore, regardless of their weight, laptops are the best in the game for portability.
It is pretty obvious that laptops have the game of portability as it is simply not possible to travel with a PC.
Scalability is one of the essential factors that drives most users to build their platform. You can’t customize your laptop part by part, but you can do everything (as long as it is compatible) with a PC. You can plan your PC around your needs, buy future-proof parts, and have room for upgrades all within your budget (ignoring the high GPU prices right now).
Having a desktop PC for gaming is great, a fixed setup, just enough horsepower to run whatever you want, and a chance to upgrade anytime you want. Want more RAM? Buy compatible RAM keys and plug them in. No matter how “scalable” your modern laptop is, it can’t give you better graphics or better processing power despite upgrades. Most of the basic components of a laptop are soldered onto their motherboards and are impossible to DIY.
While newer Intel laptops with Thunderbolt support can use external graphics cards, the option is not very economical. Therefore, for users who prefer long-term use and scalability, desktops are at the top of the list of choices.
Certainly desktops win the scalability game because there is a chance for as many upgrades as one could wish for.
This is where things get interesting, and there is a lot of disappointment when comparing the performance of laptops and gaming desktops. Although all manufacturers have similar nomenclatures for processors and GPUs mobile and desktop, what you see isn’t exactly what you get.
Of course, it’s the specs that count when comparing the performance of laptops with that of desktops. If you choose a powerful high-end laptop, it will outperform an entry-level desktop version. However, if all else is equal, desktop computers have the advantage over laptops.
Mobile processors from Intel and AMD aren’t as powerful as their respective desktop versions, with a few exceptions. However, gaming laptops have come a long way and can hold a lot of power while still being compact. Likewise, the mobile versions of NVIDIA and AMD GPUs are by no means close to their respective desktop variants.
For example, while recent mobile GPUs like the RTX 3060 in laptops have the latest technology, they work the same as older two-generation desktop variants. It’s unfair to compare them without the numbers, but that’s just to demonstrate the gap.
Subsequently, one of the reasons PCs offer such tremendous performance is that they don’t have any power limitation. Better and powerful processors and GPUs will need more power to function, and this can easily be fixed by using a more powerful power supply.
That said, desktops are superior because of their thermal management: larger chassis, more room for airflow, and lower temperatures. Ultimately, better thermals lead to better performance. Therefore, desktop computers are the way to go for performance-conscious users.
Here, desktops have a slight advantage as they offer a lot more performance than anything else.
Value and cost
If it was in 2019, there would be no room for ulterior motives, and desktops would be the winners. However, the current situation requires careful assessment of needs and budgets. We configured a PC version on PCPartPicker, a mid-range or moderate-level PC version to give you a clear idea.
Choose the six-core Ryzen 5 5600X with an RTX 3060 Ti, 1TB M.2 SSD, 16GB of RAM, cabinet, motherboard, and 650W power supply. This build alone costs ~ $ 1,700. With the price of GPUs rising due to semiconductor shortage and other reasons, building a PC has become expensive.
Now, this is not the total cost of building the aforementioned PC. If you are building a PC for the first time or a new setup, you will also have to spend it on peripherals. With the additional costs of a monitor, headset, mouse, and keyboard, the overall budget jumps to around $ 2,200.
In addition, the equivalent of a laptop (on paper), the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro with Ryzen 5 5600H and RTX 3060, 512 GB PCIe SSD, 16 inch IPS display, 8 GB of RAM costs 1699.99 $. To be fair add another 8GB RAM stick and the total will set you back just under $ 1,750.
Looking at the value and prices of gaming laptops as of 2019, the gap has indeed narrowed by now. As we go up the gap narrows even further in the premium line of gaming laptops while maintaining the performance gap.
In short, a desktop PC will always be better value for money if you ignore the peripherals. However, it is not something that everyone does. Therefore, gaming laptops seem more achievable right now, unless you are looking for maximum performance.
Therefore, it is a tie in the profitability of the two.
Which one would you buy?
The never-ending debate between gaming laptop and desktop can only end where you want it to. The final choice depends on the preferences we have outlined above. Weigh the pros and cons and choose according to your needs.
Each category should be viewed in a broader perspective; if you plan to stay in one place most of the time, a PC is what you should go for to bring out the gamer in you. If you’re planning on moving or changing places, no gaming machine is more portable than a gaming laptop.
Preferences change over time and differ from person to person. In addition, the value and performance must be very different among the masses. Ultimately, it is the end user who can judge what is right. Ultimately, you can play games on a PC or a laptop, whichever you prefer, but it’s clear why people think of desktop PCs when they hear games.