Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Which Should I Choose?

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Although a lot of gamers are well aware of the excitement that comes with playing their favorite games on a big screen with superb resolution graphics that is mounted on a specialized gaming desk.  However, there has been a rapid increase in sales of gaming laptops, and the manufacturers are using this opportunity to produce more laptops that are specifically built to handle your gaming needs.

The manufacturers are now more focused on producing laptops with better display resolutions, faster processors, and GPUs that will give you the ultimate gaming experience. So if you are contemplating whether to go for a gaming laptop or a desktop, then this article will be helpful.

What’s the difference between gaming laptops and gaming desktops?

We all know the obvious differences between a general laptop and a PC, so we don’t need go into that. However, when it comes to using these two devices to play games, there are some specific areas that they vary. So it’s always reasonable to consider the pros and cons of the two so as to choose the right one that will give you the perfect gaming experience.


Basically, the best gaming laptop is still a downsized version of a gaming desktop. Not just the portability alone, a gaming laptop comes with a mobile version of a gaming desktop. Because gaming laptops do not have access to the kind of airflows that gaming desktops have, it is not surprising that their components are smaller in size.  And these components are confined to a particular space, which makes it difficult to modify anything, unlike a gaming PC. The most obvious difference between a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop is in the graphics processing unit (GPU) power.


Another major factor that you need to consider is the screen resolution of your device because it affects the overall gaming experience. No one enjoys playing their favorite game on a screen that won’t make it as real as possible; we all crave for that perfect experience. This is arguably the best advantage of using a gaming desktop.

Most gaming laptops that you will find right now are 15-17 inches diagonally with HD screens with a 60 Hz refresh option.  While considering portability in choosing a thin laptop, you will hardly enjoy most of the popular games right now on a 17-inch screen.

On the other hand, a gaming desktop gives you a lot of options when it comes to display. You can easily assemble the parts as you want, including a top-notch monitor that will bring out the perfect picture. And let me also mention that you can get a powerful monitor and then connect it with your gaming monitor if you are tired of the 17-inch resolution.

Whether you are a fan of a gaming desktop or a gaming laptop, just make sure that you get a powerful monitor.  You will be able to get a better and richer resolution that you can never get on a gaming laptop.  Another advantage of connecting your gaming desktop to a monitor is that it gives you the multi-display option. In contrast, on a gaming laptop, you will only be able to view what is a single screen.

Customization options

One of the major advantages that a gaming desktop has on a laptop is the wide range of customizability options that it offers. There is an endless list of options that you can customize on your gaming desktop.  Although you indeed need to have layman knowledge of how a computer works to be able to customize your gaming desktop once you know the hardware basics of a PC, you will be able to do wonders. You can remove and add any component that you feel you will need to enjoy your games with just one or two screwdrivers.

In terms of customizability, a gaming laptop has limited options, and this is due to the fact that laptops were always designed to be compact, so most of the parts have been designed to fit into the particular laptop. You won’t be getting any space to add new components, and removing the existing ones can also be quite risky.  For example, you will not be able to remove the inbuilt graphics card to put a bigger one because the space has been designed to accommodate only the size that came with the laptop.

This is definitely one of the advantages that a gaming desktop has on a gaming laptop; even the most powerful gaming laptop has limited options in terms of hardware customization.


This is quite simple, if you are an ardent fan of a particular game or you are a professional gamer, it’s basically impossible to carry your desktop everywhere. And to make it better, laptops are getting slimmer by the day, which means you just need to pick the right one, and you will be able to play your games anywhere. I’m sure that you will agree with me that the heaviest laptop will definitely be more portable than a gaming desktop.   Another disadvantage of a gaming desktop in terms of portability is the number of wires that you will need to carry everywhere to make it function. For example, it will be basically impossible to carry all these wires to a gaming tournament.  


If you’ve played a game on your laptop before, using the touchpad, you will agree with me that it can be quite stressful irrespective of the game you are playing. Most of the time, you will need to use a mouse to make it more enjoyable unless you want to use just a controller.

Although the better option is when you consider external CPUs like Inter Core and some other ones, all it will require is to move around with your box-sized processor, keyboard, and mouse. You will be able to play your game anywhere.

 A lot of gaming laptops make use of membrane keys, which aren’t really strong enough to handle being pressed continuously for a very long time. The better option is to go for a mechanical keyboard, which is basically the same as going for a gaming desktop.

To explain it better, gaming laptops are always built with mobile versions of processors from either Intel or AMD, but you can’t compare their level of performance with a gaming PC. For example, a GTX 980M that you will likely find in a gaming laptop cannot do the work of a GTX 980 that you will find in a gaming desktop.

One of the major issues that you will always experience with a gaming laptop is overheating. Even with the best of cooling fans and cooling pads, you will always experience overheating because of the amount of power that most games require to function properly. It’s a simple fact that has been proven that laptops will always struggle to withstand heavy hardware usage

In terms of speed and performance, it is crystal clear that gamers will always have a more enjoyable experience with a gaming desktop than a gaming laptop.


A major highlight of most gaming laptops that you can find in the market right now is the level of the sound input. Most laptops right now come with an amazing sound system that you will really enjoy. Any professional gamer will tell you that sound is one of the fundamental requirements in getting the ultimate gaming experience. There are some models that will give you the option of setting up a 2.1 speaker under the hood, which is quite impressive.

However, in terms of sound, gaming desktop offers you a lot of options, you can tweak and modify as you want.  You can turn your gaming desktop system into an amphitheater. Unfortunately, in terms of sound, a gaming laptop will likely be less effective compared to a gaming desktop.  


Basically, laptops always come with a lower RAM compared to a PC. However, some laptop models allow users to add additional RAM modules to be installed. Still, it can affect the overall health of the laptop.

It can be quite difficult to gain access to the RAM slots of most laptops except if you have the technical knowledge. And if you know how to do it, it means you will need to remove the laptop’s base, which is quite risky, and to make it worse, you will lose your warranty. So it’s quite unreasonable to buy an expensive gaming laptop with your hard-earned money and then damage it because you want to add more RAM.

Another major issue with laptops in terms of storage is their size. It’s basically impossible to install extra HDDs or SSDs; you can only replace the existing one. In contrast, a PC comes with a lot of SATA ports that you can easily use to add more storage space in the form of HDDs or SSDs to have better gaming experience.  


In terms of pricing, there are numerous ways of comparing gaming laptops and desktops. For example, you will be lucky to get a good gaming laptop for $1500, and for the same price, you can assemble a great gaming PC that you will really enjoy. Basically, a gaming laptop will probably cost you twice as much as assembling a gaming desktop.

If you are interested in getting a gaming laptop and you want to enjoy the ultimate gaming experience, you will need to get a powerful monitor, a durable mechanical keyboard (if it doesn’t come with one that is durable enough for gaming) and you will need to get a mouse. When it comes to setting up a gaming desktop, the money you will spend could vary depending on the components that you want.

As a gamer, it is always nice to be able to boast of the capability of your gaming system. There’s a pride in knowing that you created your gaming PC by yourself to meet your needs as opposed to paying for a readymade system. Professional gamers are well aware of the importance of being able to upgrade and optimize their gaming system, which is very difficult to achieve with a laptop.

Let’s assume that there is a new GPU in the market that everybody is jumping on, and you can easily pay for it, but you can‘t buy it because you are using a laptop. So you don’t really have any choice but to stick with your outdated gaming laptop.

Alex Berg
Alex Berg

Founder, writer, editor-in-chief at LaptopTalks. Starting LaptopTalks is like a dream come true, combining two of his passions – writing and technology. Even in his free time, you can often find him by his gaming laptop playing the latest video games.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Aditya Mookerjee 2021-11-17 at 07:32

    I used to have an assembled desktop with a good GPU, but there are power outages, quite frequently that my UPS couldn’t handle. I don’t need to have a portable gaming rig, but I changed to a laptop because I could depend on the battery to not switch off the power supply in a manner, so that there was no damage done to the laptop.

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