Why Desktop Level Gaming Laptops are Not What They Seem

Laptop gaming that plays just like a desktop! Well… that’s what some of the headlines would have you believe. But is it all just marketing spin? That all depends on your requirements. Laptop gamers and desktop gamers like to argue at length about the benefits of each of their setups. But we thought we’d take a closer look at why desktop gaming still wins out (for the most part) if you take your gaming truly seriously.

So many options, so little time

Laptops just aren’t great at thermal distribution

No matter how powerful the CPU or GPU in a gaming laptop, you’ll always be bound by the thermal limitations of a laptop. Since laptops have a small profile, they can’t have bulky cooling solutions to offset the heat generated by powerful CPUs and GPUs.

When gaming on a laptop you’ll probably be alarmed at the sound of the fan/s working overtime to try and keep everything cool.

Although gaming laptops, like MSI gaming laptops or ASUS ROG gaming laptops have a high rise base and plenty of ventilation and cooling, they simply can’t compare to what’s available with a desktop tower.

Want more than 18 inches of screen real estate? You’ll need another monitor

Want to know why people love their Xboxes so much? Because they can play games in high definition on their ridiculously large TVs: it’s almost like being in the game. For PC desktop gaming, you can get some pretty slick screens, like the Samsung 49-inch curved gaming monitor. While a TV is usually fairly far from the viewer, a screen is much closer, so that 49inch-er will look glorious while your desktop gaming.

If you have a gaming laptop? The largest screen size you’re likely to come across is around 18 inches – it’s hardly comparable. If you want a larger screen, then you’re going to have to buy another one to pair with your laptop anyway.

Are they really that portable?

The main reason that people buy laptops is due to their portability: so you can use your laptop at the cafe, take it to school or work and then home, even use it during travel. Macbooks and Windows ultrabooks are super popular due to their slimline design that can slip in any bag and the fact that they are super light weight.

Gaming laptops are neither of these things. They are bulky and heavy. You’ll need a study, big backpack to carry around your gaming laptop, which can easily weigh over 10 pounds, depending on your choice of machine. Bulky and heavy is fine if you’re looking to get fit, but cumbersome otherwise.

Battery life while gaming

We also need to have the chat about battery life. Even though the battery life of a gaming laptop might be 5 hours or so, if you are flat out gaming the latest titles then this will chew your battery considerably faster than your average case scenario; you may get less than an hour of play out of the thing. You will not manage to play games for long at all when your off battery. It depends on the game, too. For the latest and most advanced slot games (visit this link to play), they won’t chew battery like going hard on Call of Duty.

This is fine if you want to stay plugged in while you’re gaming, but not if you’re mainly planning to use your laptop while on the go (unless it’s for other lightweight tasks like web browsing).

PC gaming allows you to swap in and out components fairly easily

When you purchase a laptop, you’re fairly limited to what components you can choose for your setup. If you want to change them out, it’s often necessary to take it into the shop. With a PC, you can often swap components in and out yourself, without having to worry about whether you will damage your computer beyond repair. Parts are cheaper, and it’s easier to DIY on the whole.

Why do you want a laptop?

Have a real think about why you want a gaming laptop in the first place. If it is to use as an all-purpose machine for gaming and work/study, then you might be thinking about your needs the wrong way. If this is the case, you will probably be able to buy a gaming desktop and a less powerful work/study laptop for the same price combined as you would a gaming laptop. You may also regret purchasing a gaming laptop in this case as you will have to drag the heavy thing around with you everywhere.

If you’ll be using it mainly for gaming and want to get together with your friends to play together sometimes (while plugged in!), then this is a good reason to purchase a gaming laptop.

In the end, it’s up to you to seriously consider your usage needs and what you really want, both for gaming, and how you will be using your machine. Laptops are portable; that’s their draw. If you don’t need portability, then a desktop is probably the way to go. If you do need portability, but not for gaming, consider a lightweight laptop and a desktop, too. But if you definitely need both, a good gaming laptop might be your best fit.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.
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