Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Which Should I Buy? [2022]

Gaming Laptop vs Gaming Desktop

For gamers, this is an everlasting question- do I get a gaming laptop or a gaming desktop? Often, this question has no definite answers and everybody ends up choosing one out of the two options simply because they’re biased towards one, or they have a budget to fit into. Individuals prioritize one feature over another; it often differs from one gamer to another.

While one gamer would sacrifice comfort for a lower price point, another gamer would prefer having a comfortable gaming setting no matter how expensive it is. Due to this, the decision to buy either of the two options often falls on the gamer’s shoulders.

I Have also Compared – Gaming Laptop vs Gaming Console.

However, it is wise to look through all the features and differences that gaming laptops and gaming desktops have, to find out which one would suit your preferences more. Here are the comparisons listed between the two options to help you decide which of them should you buy- good luck!

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Comparison Table

The ultimate battle between the gaming laptop and gaming desktop begins here. Let the comparison table ease you into the differences as you scroll further to check out the details of each option.

Gaming LaptopGaming Desktop
PricingHas cheaper options but extra parts are needed.Is on the pricier side but all the parts are attached to it.
Power requiredConsumes more power, especially with bigger screens.Consumes less power due to the tiny demeanor.
Space requiredMore space required, with multiple wires flowing around.Little space required and you can shut it off to some other place as well.
MobilityNot mobile or portable at all. It’s fixed and a hassle to shift even the slightest distance.Portable and tiny. You can carry it to Mars and not feel a thing.
ErgonomicsProvides a super comfortable setup where you can see the characters coming right at you. (scary!!)Provides little space to be comfortable around. Not a larger than life experience.
UpgradeabilityCan be upgraded easily due to the separate parts being available.Cannot be upgraded or modified since standardized parts aren’t available.
PerformanceHave higher speed GPUs, all the components work better due to the size.The compact size makes the performance a little poor, due to less functioning parts.
RepairingGood repairing options as one part might fit a lot of models.Tough to repair as everything is attached and one damage can make other parts suffer too.
CustomizationPossible. Due to segregated components, customization and modification is easy and takes less time.Little to no customization possible, unless you count stickers on the laptop display as customization.
KeyboardsAre external and plugged in. They can be changed and repaired in a second.Are attached to the laptop and one cup of coffee might make you fix the entire laptop. It shall take days.
Screen sizeThe screen size is bigger as the display is bigger.Smaller screen size, more compact version.
Sound systemExternal sound system produces higher and better quality sounds.Internal sound system. Not that high quality sound available.
Mouse vs. TouchpadUses a mouse. Since it’s external and more flexible, it is better for gaming.Not that convenient for gaming, but you can use a Bluetooth or plugged in mouse.
AirflowBetter airflow as more passages are open and not everything is attached together.Lower air flow and cooling as the fans are tiny as well.
AvailabilityParts are available easily due to them being standardized. They can fit many models at once.Not available due to the parts being specifically made for certain versions.
StorageCustomizable and more storage is available along with memory.Not customizable and less storage option.
PurposeNot convenient for school or work since you cannot move it anywhere. It is ideal if you use it only for gaming at a specific place.Convenient for school, office, and gaming altogether. Serves multiple purposes for the portability.
LifespanBetter lifespan since you can upgrade and modify the parts.Lower lifespan as modifications aren’t that available and you’ll need to buy newer version to get better performance.

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Pricing

The pricing of gaming laptops and gaming desktops vary according to the upgrades and technicalities you add on to each. While gaming laptops might not be that upgradeable compared to gaming desktops, this puts the matter of long-term costs into consideration.

Gaming Laptop:

Laptops are generally priced higher than desktops. This is because of the features and builds that arrive with the laptops themselves. If you buy a desktop, the separate parts combined shall add up to more or less a similar price range of the laptop.

However, laptops usually arrive with a price point higher than the average desktop option. Since you can carry the laptop anywhere due to its high portability, you pay a higher price for it.

Gaming Desktop:

The gaming desktops are priced lower than the laptops usually due to the parts you have to buy extra. However, gaming desktops are upgradeable and you can modify separate parts of it through the years. This brings about the factor that gaming desktops shall last you longer than a laptop, which might go out of order with a slight dysfunction.

As a result, the long-term costs of a gaming desktop do, in fact, yield fruitful results as you can use it for a longer span of time. The useful life of a gaming desktop is what makes the price point even more reasonable.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Power Required

The power consumption for both the options is another factor to be shed light on. Higher power consumption adds to the bills you’re paying for the device and speaks volumes about the quality of performance you shall get out of the two.

Gaming Laptop:

The gaming laptops are smaller in size than the desktops. This means they have smaller fans, CPUs, and other components. Therefore, the power consumed by these smaller parts is also less due to the power restriction in place for the gaming laptops. The lower power consumption indicates that you shall not see a huge rise in the power consumed once you plug your laptop in.

However, if you add an additional display to your laptop in order to play better, it might result in a shift in power required. You see, most of the power consumed belongs to the display- the larger the display, the more power it requires.

Gaming Desktop:

As mentioned earlier, bigger screens shall require more power to operate. It is inevitable that your gaming desktop shall consume more power than the laptop. In addition to the larger display, gaming desktops have bigger parts and a lot of them, which consume power simultaneously in big volumes.

As a result, there shall be a drastic rise every time you switch the desktop on. Moreover, customizing the gaming desktop into consuming less power shall mean only one thing- poor performance and we don’t want that while gaming, do we?


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Space Required

The space taken by a gaming laptop or desktop is to be considered when you’re comparing the two. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a job holder, or a professional gamer- we all need spaces organized for different things; unless you have an entire room for gaming, which is a separate case.

Gaming Laptop:

The smaller of the two options are of course the ones requiring less space. Keeping the size difference aside, laptops do not even have tons of parts that you need to plug in or keep beside them.

The sound system, keyboards, CPU- everything is in-built. You only need the charger to be plugged in and that’s it, you’re done for the day. Gaming laptops require a tiny space and also allow you plenty of room to do other things.

Furthermore, when you’re not using your laptop, you can switch it off and it becomes even smaller with the charger wrapped up. You can put it away while you study in your table; it’s the most convenient option there is.

Gaming Desktop:

Gaming desktops take up a lot of space; we’re not kidding when we say ‘A LOT’. The separate parts are huge on their own, not to mention the amount of wires you need to plug in for the desktop to turn on. The sound system, keyboard, CPU, mouse- all need to be connected separately and if you have headphones, that’s another story as well. Even while it’s turned off, you can’t really move the desktop away from its place.

There needs to be a designated space for your gaming desktop where you can’t keep or do any other activities. This might be pretty inconvenient for people given the space and dedication it needs to be maintained. Did we mention you can’t even clean the whole space due to the number of wires that you could step on?


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Mobility

In terms of mobility and portability, it is pretty evident who the winner is. However, is that enough?

Gaming Laptop:

Gaming laptops of course have better portability than desktops. The desktops are immobile, you can barely port them from one place to another. The laptops on the other hand, are easily portable and you can take them anywhere while traveling or so.

Since there aren’t any segregated parts of a gaming laptop, all you have to do is carry your charger and the laptop itself in a bag and you’re all set.

Gaming Desktop:

The gaming desktops, on the other hand, are quite the immobile options out of the two. You cannot move them or port them anywhere. Shifting your desktop is usually a task due to the millions of isolated parts you need to jam up in a place and then organize once again. Nobody wishes to do that.

However, it is upon you if you would be moving your gaming setup to multiple places. Often, gamers sit in one definite place and battle away. They do not usually shift from one room to another. In this case, portability might not even be a phenomenon in your list of requirements, given that you’re using the device for gaming purposes only.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Ergonomics

Here’s the deal, if you aren’t comfortable while gaming- the device wasn’t worth all the research. This is an unspoken rule of a gaming setup- it needs to be able to make you feel comforted for a long period of time. Since you’ll be playing along with your full concentration, a setup poor in ergonomics might result in bad performance.

Gaming Laptop:

The gaming laptops might be a portable option, but using a smaller screen size, a touchpad, and tinier versions of all the separate parts shall mean one thing- a compromised experience.

Often, gamers do not look for setups that are small; they wish for bigger components to make the game look larger than life- which is not possible in laptops.

Gaming Desktop:

The gaming desktops, on the other hand, serve you the proper comfort you wish for. They give you a better and larger sound system, a mouse, a bigger screen, separate parts playing their roles perfectly- all components necessary to make the experience better as a whole.

You can sit in that chair for a longer period without feeling like you’re cramming into a tiny space. This way, you could see that ‘a winner is you’ larger on the screen!


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Upgrading Options

It’s inevitable that your gaming device shall need upgrades. Laptops and desktops both need modifications after a few years, and it is natural.

Gaming Laptop:

Laptops do not usually have general parts. Each keyboard for a laptop model is different from another model. Same goes for the other parts. As a result, not much upgrading can be done in the case of gaming laptops. All you can do is replace the same parts with new ones, but they shall be of the same model.

You’ll be stuck with specific configurations of components that are little to not upgradeable at all. If you’re an individual wishing for something better and newer every few years, this might not be the option for you. However, if you’re satisfied with consistent performance- time to get your hands on the laptop!

Gaming Desktop:

Gaming desktops are upgradeable, you can modernize and improve them as much as you wish to. Due to the segregated parts of a desktop, the components are more standardized. As a result, one keyboard might fit all. The same goes for sound systems and mouses.

Furthermore, the display and screens are also upgradeable. This way, you can modify and upgrade your gaming desktop every few years without having to change the entirety of it. For gamers who are more willing to upgrade their setup according to the times, gaming desktops are your buddies.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Performance

Performance is probably the key element that influences people to buy things. Amidst the two options, you need to select which one performs better with your abilities, and make a choice.

Gaming Laptop:

Gaming laptops generally have everything compact size- tiny GPUs, tiny fans, tiny cooling system, etc. As a result, the performance gets tiny as well.

The mobile size of the components compromise with the performance and even though laptops now have improved their gaming area quite a bit, it’s still far away from that of a desktop.

Gaming Desktop:

Gaming desktops come with better sized components. This ensures more speed and smoother flow of the operations. As a gamer, this gives you a better shot at an amazing experience as well as long-lasting efficiency within your gaming system.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Repairing Options

Repairing a gaming device is crucial, as anything can go wrong anywhere and you need to have resources available to fix them.

Gaming Laptop:

Since the gaming laptops have a specific set of components attached to them, repairing these might be a hassle. If you spill coffee on your keyboard, the keyboard would need to be replaced entirely- this would cost you time and money.

Similarly, if any other parts of your gaming laptop suffers damage, it shall be tough to get it repaired- both in terms of money, time, and effort. This is the reason people are scared to buy laptops in general.

Gaming Desktop:

Due to standardized options being available for the gaming desktops, it is easier for you to find a solution when your gaming desktop needs repairs. Keyboard gone astray? Replace it in a second. Spilled coffee on the display? Get it changed.

Since all the parts are external and ‘extra’, they require you to buy the specific part only to plug them in and voila! You have a brand new set up without much hassle.

However, repairing your gaming desktops might cost you more since we’re talking about bigger components here. Keep that in mind before you make your pick.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Customization

Customization is a feature you require in your gaming device. As the world progresses, technology advances as well. This makes customization and modification a heavily demanded phenomenon, since everybody wishes to have the best of all worlds.

Gaming Laptop:

Little to no customization is possible in gaming laptops, which is a big bummer when you think of it. Laptops generally come with parts attached to them, from the screen to the keyboard; even the fans and the tiniest components are made model-specific. This might be a blessing when you’re buying a laptop and you don’t have to spend on extra parts.

Most individuals forget to keep in consideration that they might need to change or upgrade their gaming laptops in a few years. When this situation arises, gaming laptop users usually have nowhere to go.

Moreover, you can’t even change separate parts of your gaming laptop to make it a better one. The customization feature would have enabled you to find the better option out of all the components and then compile them into a functioning gaming setup with amazing performance.

Gaming Desktop:

The gaming desktops arrive with the customization feature. While acquiring different parts of the computer system might be a hassle to you and might cost you more as well, you can customize the parts of gaming desktops.

This is another boon that arrives with a standardized parts availability. Since the components are compatible with more models and aren’t specifically designed to suit only one case, you can use separate parts as you please, as long as it suits the whole computer system.

Furthermore, the gaming desktops have better upgradeability that results from the customization feature. Do not like how the keyboard performs? Change it. Don’t like the display? You can change it too. Therefore, you can get the best components compiled into one system that shall make the gaming experience better.

For people who would like to ignore the hectic process of acquiring several parts should opt for a gaming laptop. That shall be a tradeoff between customization and ease of installation. However, the ones chasing better performance every now and then should go for the gaming desktops.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Keyboards

Keyboards are essential when it comes to gaming. Keyboards are used in most games and the ease of using it makes it even more crucial. Using the keyboard shall mean better ergonomics, as reaching the mouse or touchpad everytime is tough during the games.

Gaming Laptop:

The gaming laptops come along with keyboards in them, which you have no choice of changing. All you can do at most is buy another external keyboard that you can place in front of the attached one and plug in to your laptop, and then use it to play.

This is an uncomfortable and inconvenient option for all. Not only will the extra keyboard take up a lot of space, it shall also be harder to take control of the game in general.

Since we all wish for a comfortable setting, having an external keyboard might not fit the requirements. The attached keyboard isn’t bad in quality, of course, but one slight spill in the keys might jeopardize the health of the whole computer since they’re attached.

Using the keyboard that arrives with the laptop itself should be a better option than going for an external keyboard, if it suits your preferences.

Gaming Desktop:

Gaming desktops come with an external keyboard. This means, you can customize and upgrade it as you wish. In any situation if it goes out of order, the keyboard can be easily replaced by a better and more modified option. This is convenient for all, since there’s little to no hassle when you change or customize it.

However, the keyboards of gaming desktops do take up a lot of space and the wires could be troublesome as well. Imagine battling away with your teammates and suddenly getting your earphones or other wires getting tangled with the wires of the keyboard.

That is something we all wish to avoid. Moreover, it has been taken from user reviews that laptop keyboards are easier to use than the external keyboards. The keys in the gaming laptop are smoother and easier to handle, while the external keyboard’s keys might be harder and stiffer. It all depends on the type of external keyboard you buy, though.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Screen Size

Screen sizes or display sizes are what make most of the experience of a gaming world. A smaller screen is compact and manageable but a bigger screen helps you feel more into the world of gaming and assists you in better vision as well.

Most gamers nowadays look forward to having an amazing experience overall that makes them feel like they’re actually inside the game. A big screen combined with a powerful sound system is enough to make you feel that way.

Gaming Laptop:

Laptops might be compact and portable, yes, but they do not provide you with a great screen. You can get a bigger screen externally, but that would add more to the already high cost of acquiring a gaming laptop in the first place.

Moreover, a bigger screen helps you settle into the vision of the game itself and makes the whole ride far better than it would be on a tiny screen.

Gaming Desktop:

Desktops are a hassle to be around with wires hanging all over, but they help your gaming journey be a lot better with the big screen. Since it is customizable, you can opt for a bigger screen right off the bat.

This shall help you save money in the very beginning and get you an awesome display that shall enable you to play better as well. At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities and how you wish your gaming device to be.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Sound System

Sound systems are important. You need to be able to hear the gunshots and your enemy dying at a high volume; if not, is it even satisfactory?

Gaming Laptop:

The gaming laptops arrive with an internal audio system. This serves well and can help you hear everything, given that you’re using earphones. For people who are not a fan of super loud music and are satisfied with the ones that laptops have to offer, the gaming laptops shall work fine. At the full volume, you can hear your enemy thrash around while you aim for the perfect kill.

Gaming Desktop:

On the other side, the grass is greener. Desktops do not have internal audio. This means, you need to get additional speakers and a sound system with the gaming desktop. You know what this implies, right? Not only you, but your entire household might be able to hear you claim victory for your teammates.

If you wish for a gaming setup where your whole room shall be ringing with the sound of the game and no other sounds can penetrate the walls, this is the one for you. For the ones who are big on the music and sound effects, gaming desktops are the ideal options for you.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop: Lifespan

The lifespan of the devices are what make it operational in the long term. Not many people wish to buy a new computer or gaming device every two years or so.

Moreover, if you’re using it for multiple purposes you’d want the device to be long lasting as well. In this case, the previous factors have a lot to do with the lifespan of the two options.

Gaming Laptop:

The lifespan of gaming laptops are known to be less, in accordance to the user reviews. Since the upgradeability and modification feature is restricted, you can’t really improve the laptop once it starts getting old. You’d have to replace it into parts of the same model, which would provide no improvement in the performance. Similarly, the fans and GPUs with all other parts shall go out of order in the long-run, only to result in restricted modification options.

Even if you are provided with improvements, the options shall be way narrow. Eventually, you would have to opt for a newer model of gaming laptop as a whole. This accounts for the low life span that appears with a gaming laptop.

Gaming Desktop:

The gaming desktops, on the other hand, have a longer lifespan due to the ability to upgrade it more. You can customize separate parts and improve them as you wish. Most users of desktops have the same computing system for years, with them changing alternate parts over the lifetime of the desktop. This saves money and even helps you use the desktops for a longer period of time.

Moreover, upgrading to a whole new desktop is almost never needed unless it all goes out of order- which is very rare. Thus, if you don’t have the plan of changing to a new gaming system every few years, the gaming desktops might be the ideal option for you out of the two alternatives. They perform well and last longer- a perfect budget-friendly option.


What to Keep in Mind Before Buying?

A few more considerations to be kept in mind while choosing the gaming device for you are listed below.

Airflow- Important!

The cooling system needs to be checked in both the systems. Laptops provide less cooling than desktops, due to the size of their fans. The cooling system is essential for the performance.

Storage

The storage of desktops tends to be larger than laptops. If storage is an issue for you, there’s a clear winner there. If it’s not, you could avoid the category.

Purpose of the Device

If you require the device for multiple purposes, go for gaming laptops. They offer you portability and you can do several things altogether. However, if the sole purpose is gaming, desktops are a better choice as per all the comparisons; especially since you don’t have to carry it anywhere.


Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preferences and style. Most people have a device set in their minds already, so comparisons might not do much to their biases. In other cases, some people like to decipher the true winner after careful comparison. This list shall help you figure out if gaming laptops or desktops are better for you. Happy gaming!