With PC gaming more accessible than ever, many will be looking for a new device this Black Friday thanks to all the deals and new models going on sale with next-gen components. But whether to buy a gaming PC or a gaming laptop will be the number one question for most gamers.
That best gaming pc should have stunning performance, with room to increase performance even further. Meanwhile some of the The best gaming laptops available balance portability with the potential for respectable visual fidelity in games.
To make your purchasing decision a little easier, we’re summarizing some things to consider when choosing between a gaming desktop and gaming laptop, so you can make the right choice for your needs and budget.
Gaming PC vs. Gaming Laptop: Price & Availability
When deciding whether to get a gaming desktop or laptop, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. At the bottom end of the spectrum, gaming desktops built from the ground up are usually cheaper depending on how a person gets their components.
Two years ago, it would have cost a small fortune to build a gaming desktop that could run current-gen console-quality games at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. Now a similar setup can cost a little less than half that if you can find a good deal on parts.
Pre-builds from manufacturers like Alienware and Origin will cost significantly more due to factors ranging from build design alongside work to extras like warranties. These are great for people who don’t want to think too much about their gaming desktop setup. Depending on the various options for CPU, GPU, memory, cooling, and manufacturer-specific features, some of these pre-built PCs can start under $1,000 and skyrocket well over $6,000, especially when equipped with the best graphics card and processor are equipped on the market market.
Gaming laptops in the 4K/60fps range are usually more expensive than their desktop counterparts due to their portability. Then there are other things to consider, including screen resolution, refresh rates, battery life, and warranties. Many of these options are also customizable by manufacturer, which can result in cost savings.
Gaming PC vs Gaming Laptop: Design
PC gaming is all about customization. This applies to both desktop and laptop games on Windows. The idea of functionality in decision making really depends on the requirements of the game.
Due to the stationary nature of desktops, functionality is essentially limitless. A pre-built or built from scratch device really allows for a high level of personalization. There are dozens of design factors to choose from if you’re only thinking of a desktop case. Once the internal components are out of the way, accessories from monitors to input devices further push this point.
Laptops offer more than just portability, they offer an all-in-one solution when trying to play on the go. Gamers who travel a lot will appreciate these more compact devices. Since most gaming laptops have HDMI ports, it is also easy to set up games on a hotel TV, in addition to input devices such as controllers or mouse and keyboard.
When you are traveling on the plane or not playing, you can do other tasks such as B. general word processing or video and photo editing. High-end gaming laptops also offer touchscreen and stylus support for graphic designers or artists.
Gaming PC vs Gaming Laptop: Performance
People who want absolute performance and high visual fidelity will have their best experience on a desktop. That’s because the latest CPU and GPU versions are usually created with them in mind first. Laptop versions of these chipsets usually come out a bit later.
Although the NVIDIA RTX 40 series GPUs have been released, a laptop version is not yet available. Performance tuning options like overclocking require better cooling features like multiple larger fans or liquid cooling options not yet available on gaming laptops.
This does not mean that laptops cannot achieve fantastic gaming performance, as devices such as the Lenovo Legion 7, Corsair Voyager a1600 or Alienware X14 are very powerful. These laptops can easily run AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Doom Eternal, ForzaHorizon 5, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and more in high resolution at maximum settings while maintaining high framerates.
Gaming PC vs Gaming Laptop: Portability
When it comes to portability, there’s a very clear winner. Even with smaller mini gaming PCs on the market like the Intel NUC and others, they don’t offer an all-on-one gaming solution like a gaming laptop.
And while gaming laptops can easily be desktop PC replacements thanks to powerful internal hardware and the ability to output to a gaming monitor, it doesn’t work the other way around, and so traveling with a gaming PC will always become a non-sensical option .
Gaming PC vs Gaming Laptop: Upgradability
Aside from possibly SSD storage and RAM modules, most gaming laptops aren’t upgradable for obvious reasons. The internal components are usually soldered together and not slot controlled like their desktop counterparts. That means buyers will have to upgrade their laptops every three to four years to meet the evolving system requirements for top-tier AAA games.
On the other hand, gaming desktops are designed to be upgraded over time in every aspect, including CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and cooling, among others. This doesn’t even apply to other accessory-based upgrades from display to input controls.
Gaming PC vs Gaming Laptop: Which to Buy?
PC gamers who are considering whether to buy a gaming PC or a gaming laptop should understand what they are looking for in their gaming experience.
If the only things that matter are high-end graphics and performance, then a desktop is probably best. You can update it to keep up with the latest games and customize much of it to suit your personal tastes. Gamers who want a portable machine to play on should look at a laptop for obvious reasons. Yes, you will sacrifice some performance, but you’ll still be amazed at what you can do with a gaming laptop and get the benefits of an all-in-one gaming device.
In between these choices come other considerations like resolution and performance preferences alongside feature set, not to mention budget, but the fundamental question is between top performance and portability. Everything else should come from there.