Gaming Laptop vs Desktop – Which One Is Better? [Simple Answer] 

Short Answer

In the gaming laptop vs desktop comparison, a laptop will be the better option if the only thing you are looking for is a gaming system that is portable. However, for better gaming performance and good price among other things, a desktop is by far better for gaming.

Rewind only a few years back, many gamers would not be drawn in any debate that would involve a gaming laptop and a desktop. This is because laptops lack the sheer power to run high-end games as they do not have enough space to house the components needed to drive some of these games.

With an improvement in technology, the components that made for excellent gaming on the desktop were made smaller to fit the gaming laptop, but that was still heavy for it to handle and so gamers are left with a computer that had a loud noise and produced too much heat in the name of laptops for gaming.

Fast-forward to recent years, companies such as MSI, Razer, Asus, and a few others have been coming up with great performing gaming machines as laptops and once more, that has pulled us to the conversation we once avoided on gaming laptop vs desktops.

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop

To determine if gaming laptops have come of age enough to perform better than desktop computers, things like the components, peripherals, customizability, and more would be checked.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop
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The first thing that will always come to mind is the GPU since it is one of the most important things when it comes to gaming performance. In this department, the desktop has the day because taking advantage of its size, it has enough room for high-end GPUs which come very large in size. With that, the gaming laptop will have to depend on a mobile GPU since it doesn’t have the space to accommodate the large one a desktop uses. The real issue with the mobile GPU is that it cannot be swapped so there is no way to upgrade it.

Also, another problem is that while a desktop allows for a customized and powerful cooling system to control the too much heat produced by the GPU, the gaming laptop falls short there because it does not have an elaborate cooling system to take care of that.

It is important to point out that the performance gap between the desktop and mobile GPU is narrowing, we still have some years before the gap will finally disappear but for now, the desktop still leads the way.


Just as it is with the GPU, the desktop takes the lead here also. The obvious thing here is that although gaming laptops come with powerful processors, they are still miles behind their desktop counterparts even when what you are using is the quad-core i7 processor.

See Also: PC Gaming vs Console Gaming – Which One Should I Choose? 

Although you can find a few beasts of gaming laptops that use desktop processors such as the Origin EON17-X, the irony is that you will have to tame the beast and not use it to its full potential because the cooling is still behind what you get with a liquid cooling system. What is more, is that while such laptops are too expensive, they also make too much noise.


When you narrow it down to the RAM, the laptop is able to meet desktop here as it comes with as high as 32GB which is enough for any kind of gaming. Also, you can easily upgrade your laptop RAM in the same way as that of the desktop without any difference in the price.

There are some laptops, however, most especially those that are very slim that makes it very hard for one to swap the RAM. It is only here that desktop gets to emerge atop the gaming laptops.


Although with laptops you can upgrade the storage, it has much limitation compared to the desktop which can take different HDD sizes and which also allows you to make use of more than just single HDD or SSD.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop
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A majority of gaming laptops come with a good display that are mostly between 15 to 17 inches. Most of these come with Full HD with refresh rates at 60Hz. What this means is that if you want to play games on a display that offers 144Hz or a higher monitor, you may need to settle for a desktop.

Apart from that, you are limited in size when it comes to laptops but with a desktop, you can go with almost any size that you want.


A gaming laptop is mostly designed with a good keyboard that has mechanical keys and backlighting. However, the advantage you get with a desktop is that you can easily get the exact keyboard that will work for you. More so, there are many gaming keyboards that are being designed which will suit your needs.


This may not seriously count in the gaming laptop vs desktop comparison because you can easily get a good gaming mouse that will fit the type of games you play. However, if you want to play a game using the touchpad, you will find out that it is both slow and inconvenient.

Customization and Portability

One of the things that gamers find very important is to customize their gaming rigs based on how they want it and to be able to upgrade it whenever they want. From the cooling, storage, memory, to every other thing, hardcore gamers want it all to be exactly the way they want it to be. This is a serious limitation of the laptop for gaming as it does not allow for much of these customizations.

However, it is able to compensate you with the portability it has to offer. In that aspect, it leaves the desktop in the mud. The problem is that the best gaming laptops are mostly on the heavy side and large size. But then, they are still portable compared to desktops.


Price-wise, it is wiser to go with a desktop instead of a gaming laptop. To get a very good gaming laptop, you may find yourself spending thousands of dollars while it will cost you much less to have a desktop or even build out a rig yourself. What is more is that after spending more on a laptop, its performance will still end behind the performance of an equivalent desktop.


At the end of it all, so much has changed when looking at gaming laptop vs desktop from what is obtainable. Gaming laptop still trails by many miles, so it is not the one you should go for when you need a superior gaming experience. However, if you travel a lot, and you can afford a good gaming laptop, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get it.


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