Many gamers are concern about this decision. Should you get a gaming laptop or gaming desktop PC? There is a massive difference in the price, gaming laptop cost much more than gaming PC, but is the gaming laptop better in performance and picture quality than the gaming PC? The answer to that question you should find below. It is not crystal clear answer if you look at the whole picture because both computers have their own advantages and disadvantages and it is your personal way of gaming that will determine what is the best gaming equipment for you.
Difference Between Gaming PC and Laptop
If we look at the performance, we need to say that desktop PC has a significant advantage. Desktop PC has more space in the case, and because of that, you can install larger components. Because of the ample space around parts, the temperature of the components and the temperature in the box will be lower and because of that desktop PC can get more stress than a laptop. In other words, you can even overclock the components and get even more from your computer. And when I am talking about overclocking I don’t necessarily mean to do some hardware changing or messing up with the BIOS. I am talking about using a simple overclocking programs like Afterburner, TRiXX or for NVIDIA EVGA Precision X. With this simple tools you can get maximum from your graphics card and play on higher resolution with better performance.
The same tools can be used for laptop graphics card but because in the laptop chassis you have no space and cooling is not the best, then if you put too higher overclocking settings, a laptop will shut down because the component will reach maximum allowed temperature. While in the desktop gaming PC you have huge space and heat will spread through the air, and the maximum temperature for the component will never get hit, and you can enjoy the maximum graphics card performance for a longer time or even forever.
GPU Performance is Higher on Desktop Gaming PC
Because of the reasons mentioned above performance of desktop PC will always be higher than the one in the laptop. Another reason is the size. All the hardware, chip and other parts of the desktop graphics card can be bigger than the laptop graphics card. Mobile graphics card need to be small, and then because of that little size, the chip used to build graphics card need to be small, compressed. And when you need to compress everything into a small chip then the performance suffers.
The gap between GPU performance between laptop and desktop is around 25%, but it is getting smaller every day with new technologies. If you add the laptop price into consideration, then we can say that desktop gaming PC is 50% better in performance than the laptop. That is a huge number, and it is the answer to the question which one is better by performance, laptop or desktop.
CPU Performance is Also in Favor of Desktop PC
Cooling the CPU is also the biggest problem for the laptop. There is just no space for that massive cooler with a big fan to keep the CPU at the proper temperature. Because of that CPU performance is also on the side of desktop PC. Without a doubt, we can say that by CPU performance a winner is desktop gaming PC.
By the default, gaming PC does not have some extra super sound quality card. The card used on gaming PC is the onboard card. Just like the sound card on the laptop. But there is a significant advantage for the laptop gamers. They don’t need to buy speakers. Speakers are built in, and most modern laptop models have high-quality speakers. I would say that the sound contest goes to the laptop gamers.
RAM used in the laptop is smaller, and again because of the size, the memory performance of that RAM suffers. That’s why desktop PC outperforms a laptop in the memory sector. Another important fact that I need to mention while talking about memory is the fact that in desktop cases you will always have the opportunity to upgrade your RAM.
There are many ways of upgrading by just buying more RAM and sticking it into the motherboard. Almost all modern motherboards have four slots of RAM, and most of them are capped at 64Gb or 128GB maximum RAM while the laptop does not have extra slots and if it does have it is probably only one additional slot and total cap is 32GB of RAM. By buying a laptop you will not have too much space for upgrading your laptop if the new games will require more RAM or more power.
HDD, SSD, and Storage in General
Storage is becoming smaller and thanks to that we can say to the laptop manufacturers, to the scientist that are spending lots of hours to find the best way to store large amounts of data on a smallest possible device. Because of that USB sticks are growing in storage data, HDD is becoming enormously large and nowadays a standard is 1T (Terabyte), and SSD has become so small that every laptop uses SSD instead of HDD. At least for the gaming laptop, you should have significant SSD, and if you just need more storage, you can carry an external hard drive with you. If you ask me which device can store more data, then the answer is without a doubt a desktop gaming PC. But we are not competing with the biggest storage, we are competing with the performance, and I would say in this component both of the devices are same.
Keyboard used in building a laptop is always a high-quality device. People who use laptop always type a lot. Writers need a high-quality keyboard that will allow them a fast typing and no ghosting of the keys. Because of that a lot of the research is done in keyboard field. Many laptops also have a mechanical keyboard, especially those that are intended for gaming. But even if you pick a laptop with a standard keyboard it will do a good job because it uses a high-quality keyboard. And even if you want to use a mechanical keyboard on the laptop that doesn’t have one you can simply attach the mechanical keyboard and problem solved.
There is a huge difference in this category. Laptop middle name is mobility while desktop PCs can be transferred from house to house but there is no way you are going to use PC wherever you want and as long as you want. And because of the mobility, many gamers are choosing a laptop. Players that travel or move a lot use gaming laptop, and despite the lower performance compared to the desktop gaming PC they can enjoy all the games on the move. And that is the main purpose why gaming laptop exist.
Monitor on the laptop is always made with high quality and latest technology. But the problem is that the size of the monitor is smaller than the desktop monitor. The standard size for laptop monitor is 15″ or maybe 17″, everything larger than that will make a trouble carrying around and mobility, a key factor in choosing a laptop over PC will be gone. But the screen can get bigger by attaching the laptop to a bigger screen. You can even connect it to a TV, and that way enjoys the gaming on a large screen. The laptop takes to win here clearly because gaming PC does not have a monitor and you will need to buy an extra monitor and spend another 200 – 500$ for a quality monitor and that just add more value to the laptop, because when buying a laptop you get a screen as well.
The battle between this two machines goes in favor of desktop gaming PC. But the performance gap between laptop and desktop PC is not big. If you are traveler and gamer then without no means go with a gaming laptop it will serve you well, maybe you will need to spend more on the good gaming laptop, but still, you will have fun using it everywhere you go. You can check some good laptops on our gaming laptop list.
Stay home gamers, professional game streamers who stay at home and stream games should go with a gaming PC configuration that best fits the game they play. You don’t need to spend big bucks on a PC that will mostly play Hearthstone or some other low requirement game. This games can easily be played on a decent gaming laptop. But if you are looking for a machine that can run high-quality first-person shooting games like Destiny 2 then you will need high gaming laptop specs, or you will need to buy a powerful desktop gaming PC capable of running that games.
In the end, choosing a proper hardware to play games is in correlation with the games you play. The laptop is ideal for low requirement games, while for anything that wants 4K resolution it is better to go with a gaming PC.