The gaming industry is set to rake in almost $160 billion this year, and revenues are climbing too. That’s good news for gamers, since it means devs will have more money to put into new titles.
The question you have now is how to be ready for those games. Game technology has been improving, which means your hardware has to keep up. Otherwise, you might not be able to run some of your most anticipated titles.
To that end, you’re thinking about a new gaming rig. Should you get a gaming laptop or desktop?
It’s a key question to ask as you begin your search for the perfect gaming rig. This guide will help you make this crucial decision so you can get the right rig for your needs.
Thinking about Power and Performance
In the past, laptops couldn’t hold a candle to desktops when it came to power and performance. As technology has advanced, though, laptops have become far more powerful.
These days, some high-end gaming laptops are even able to outperform a budget desktop setup.
A customized desktop is almost always going to be able to deliver more power, though. Modern gaming laptops may have some of the same components as desktops, but they still have one key setback.
They’re smaller. A desktop isn’t something you need to move around, so you don’t need to worry about how light and compact it is. It’s easier to outfit a desktop for superior performance.
Desktops also have better thermal considerations. Laptops overheat more often, which can cause them to shut down mid-game.
All that said, performance isn’t the be-all, end-all like it used to be. A gaming laptop can still be the right choice, especially in light of other considerations.
Desktops Are More Customizable
The other big advantage desktops have over laptops is the degree of customization. That’s thanks to their size.
Laptops are slim and light, because they’re meant to go places. As a result, some models have limited ports.
Desktops usually have more ports as a standard feature. That makes it easier to attach more peripherals, like extra monitors. They also have a better tolerance for non-standard devices.
In short, you’ll have more options for what to connect. That means your gaming rig is more flexible.
What about hardware? Generally, when you choose your gaming laptop, you’ll have a chance to pick from some core components.
The selection is usually more limited with laptops than it is with desktops. Desktops also offer a wider array of designs, which makes it even easier to get a truly customized rig.
Desktops also tend to be more upgradable than laptops. When you buy a gaming laptop, you’ll make your hardware choices. You’ll usually be stuck with those components until you decide it’s time to replace the laptop.
The reason for that comes back to the need for lightweight, compact design. Laptops may not have any room to expand RAM. Some components are soldered to the motherboard, making it impossible to replace them.
In some cases, your best bet may be to upgrade the entire laptop.
Desktops don’t have this limitation. You’ll generally have more components to choose from when you build your computer. Later on, you can upgrade individual components, like RAM, the GPU, and more.
Gaming Laptops Go Everywhere You Do
Desktops’ larger size tends to give them the edge in performance and longevity. It’s a huge drawback if you’re moving around a lot. Most gamers prefer to set their desktops up in one spot and leave them there.
Laptops are much more portable. Their lightweight design and compact size makes it easy to pack them up and carry them almost anywhere with you.
If you’re moving back and forth between school and home, then you may not want a desktop. The same is true if you plan to meet up with other gamers on a regular basis. You don’t want to be lugging your desktop around to in-person meet-ups or other special occasions.
Laptops are also meant to move around. Desktops can be a bit more delicate, which makes them more prone to breaking if they’re banged around a bit too much.
There’s also the hassle of setting your desktop back up once you get where you’re going. If you’re running two monitors and a bunch of peripherals, that’s a lot to plug in!
The long and short of it is that if you plan to be on the go, a gaming laptop might be the best choice for you.
Budget Might Dictate Gaming Laptop or Desktop
Next up, you’ll want to consider your budget. Gaming laptops and desktops tend to be more expensive than your run-of-the-mill hardware. That’s because specialized gaming devices need to run higher-end components.
You could try buying a budget laptop or desktop. You’d probably find it frustrating to run many of today’s games. The AAA titles aren’t going to look very good on a budget device.
That said, gaming laptops tend to be more affordable than gaming desktops. Of course, pricing depends on make, model, and what’s under the hood.
Some gaming laptops are more expensive than gaming desktops. The highest-end laptop will still be less expensive than the best desktop on the market.
That’s why you’ll want to think carefully about your budget. To demonstrate, you can look at the specs on a Lenovo gaming laptop versus one of their gaming PCs.
For about $1,000 right now, you can get a desktop tower that has 9th generation Intel processors. That tower also has an Nvidia graphics card.
Now compare what you can get in laptop for about the same price. You’ll get 10th generation Intel processors, as well as an upgraded Nvidia GPU.
Both are great choices, but your budget of $1,000 goes much further when you choose a gaming laptop.
Of course, if money is no concern, then you may want to splurge and get an even more powerful tower to power desktop gaming. You may also want to consider a budget desktop for now.
Think About Longevity
If you choose to invest in a desktop, there’s nothing saying you can’t upgrade later. You may have $1,000 to spend now, but you can upgrade to a new chipset in a year or two.
Laptops aren’t as easy to upgrade, so keep that in mind. You may need to replace the laptop sooner than the desktop, which could cost you more money in the long run.
No matter what your budget is, you can always look for deals on gaming laptops or desktops. That can help you stretch your budget even further.
How Serious Are You About Gaming?
Finally, take a moment to consider your own investment in gaming. What you want to get out of your gaming experience has a big impact on whether you should get a gaming PC or a laptop.
If you want to run AAA titles both now and in the future, then a desktop you can upgrade could be the right choice. If you prefer gaming from the comfort of your own home and don’t move house a lot, then a desktop is the right buy.
A desktop is probably the right buy if you’re a serious gamer. If you want to make gaming into your career, then a desktop is likely a sound investment. Even if you just want to make sure you have the very best experience, then you won’t go wrong with a gaming desktop.
If you’re more of a casual gamer, then you might want to think about a gaming laptop as the best choice. You maybe don’t need to absolute top-of-the-line in performance, and you may be happy with your set up for the next few years.
The laptop may also make more sense if you like to move around a lot. If you’re always meeting up with friends or you want to take your gaming rig between campus and your home, then a laptop is the right fit.
Finally, a gaming laptop is usually the right choice for those who want to stretch their budget. Dollar for dollar, you’ll get more power out of a laptop than a desktop at the same price.
The Perfect Rig for a Better Gaming Experience
Trying to choose between a gaming laptop or desktop isn’t an easy task. With some luck, this guide has clarified the issue for you. With some careful consideration, you’ll be able to decide which is best for you.
From there, you can start looking at specific models and specs to find the perfect gaming rig.
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