The 7 Differences Between Desktop and Laptop GPU

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What are the differences between desktop and laptop GPU? Many users come across the term GPU and it is commonly known as the graphics card.

This is very popular among gamers. Without any appropriate graphics card, the user will not be able to enjoy the experience of the game. Therefore it becomes very disappointing.

It performs parallel operations and provides the fastest graphics processing. It is a stand alone card that is plugged into the PCI Express (PCIe) bus. It can also be a part of the motherboard chipset on the CPU chip inside.

GPU is used for two dimensional(2D) data. Like zooming as well as panning the screen. It is also required for the smooth rendering of Three Dimensional (3D) animation or videos.

If the CPU or the Central Processing Unit is a section that does the logical thinking of the computer’s brain. Then GPU or the Graphics Processing Unit is the creative component that renders graphical user interfaces.

And makes the items and designs more visually attractive rather than having white and black lines. GPU had become a popular term, which was used on the machine during the 1990s.

It is used for graphics rendering or is it found in video games or other animated mediums. Most desktop personal computers have dedicated graphics cards because it uses a large amount of power.

And desktop personal computers come with a better cooling system. The other reason for desktop personal computers having high end graphics cards is because of its large place.

And even because it is not durable and cannot be taken to one place or another. Some advanced personal computers even have GPUs worked up together that provide even more processing power.

Laptop GPU, on the other hand, is small and mobile because of this it uses less power than the desktop GPU. Laptop computers have integrated graphics and allow the graphics to be properly fit in the small laptop case.

There are some laptops that are bulky due to high end graphics cards. Which offers some of the same graphics as the desktop GPU. Integrated GPU attached to the CPU ensures that the windows can be properly displayed on the connected screen.

Which helps in the more intensive graphic based task like video rendering and Computer Aided Design (CAD). Which requires a very dedicated or discrete GPU.

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GPU is used for the high quality gaming experience, 3D modeling software, and many more. Also for the ones who use the GPU which renders models while working.

They need to make multiple changes in a short period of time. And the computer they are working in needs to quickly re-render the models. Video editing can also be done.

While some powerful CPU can even handle basic video editing. And if one is working in large amounts and also using high-resolutions. Particularly 4K for 360 degree videos then the need for a high end GPU is a must.

Not all graphics processing units are created equal for the two personal computers. The two main manufacturers of the graphics card reader are NVIDIA and AMD.

They manufacture graphics cards for both desktop and laptop computers. Intel also has its own integrated GPU like Iris Plus and UHD. Which carry out lightweight work on laptop computers.

And it does not have dedicated graphics. These two companies, NVIDIA and AMD produce a specialized version of that chip. Which is used for special kinds of applications. And it comes with more in-depth support provided.

GPU is not only something related to gaming or graphic designing but they are also used for scientific and AI applications. These tasks require repetitive computation.

The desktop or the laptop GPU have equivalent functions but they differ in performance, design, and many more. The user needs to make up its mind.

Whether he or she needs to buy a laptop or desktop for gaming or other graphics related tasks. It also depends on the kind of games, the kind of applications they use, or is going to use on the personal computer or laptop.

Graphics card which is attached in the laptops is more expensive than the graphics card used in the desktop computer. Many laptops come with GPUs which have lower performance than the desktop GPU.

If one is confused about whether to choose a laptop or a desktop graphics card for a personal computer. Then there are a few simple things one should keep in mind. Like if the user wants to keep the personal computer in one place and does not want to take from place to place.

Then it is advised that the user can go for desktop GPU. But if the user opts for portability, then gaming laptops are the best option. There is a drawback of the gaming laptop.

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The GPU cannot be upgraded for valuable performance. For ones who want to have better performance and want to keep upgrading the GPU. Then opting for a desktop computer GPU will be the best.

Differences Between Desktop and Laptop GPU

Differences between desktop and Laptop GPU                                           

Both are used for the same purpose but their performance, speed, price, and many other components differ.

1. Performance

The desktop GPU provides better performance. For tasks like gaming, 3D editing, and many more. Desktop GPU avoids overheating. The components are also differently designed for better performance.

Laptop GPU is integrated because of the size of the laptop. And how compact a laptop is. The laptop is used for portability. And gaming laptops with a better GPU makes it more bulky. The performance is somewhat equivalent to the desktop GPU. Laptop GPU performance is less than the performance of the desktop GPU. It is because the laptop does not have a better cooling system like the desktop computer.

2. Clock Speed

The GPU in the desktop has a better clock speed because of the larger space it is backed by. A better cooling system while performing high intensive tasks or gaming is provided on the desktop computer.

Laptop GPUs have less clock speed because of less space. It has a low cooling system. It does not match with the cooling system of the desktop computer. Therefore overclocking is not possible in the laptop GPU. There are some GPUs that have advanced but still fail to provide the same speed as the desktop GPU.

3. Upgrading

Due to the desktop computer’s large size. Upgrading the GPU is possible and is an easy task. Because of its high performance, one can keep upgrading or replacing the GPU according to their work and preference.

Laptop GPU is integrated. It does not allow them to be upgraded or replaced. This is due to the small size and the demand for portability among people. Gaming laptops have better GPU making it more bulky but cannot be upgraded.

4. Design and Variant

The design of the desktop GPU is different from the laptop GPU. The speed of the GPU in a desktop computer is more than the laptop computer. The model number may be the same. But the variant differs from one personal computer to another. Determining its performance and speed.

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The design in the laptop GPU is not the same as the desktop GPU. The performance does not match the desktop GPU. The model number may be the same but the variant may be different. For instance, the “M” after the number in the graphics card like the GTX 970M is ranked lower in terms of performance. Than the NVIDIA GTX 950 which is made for the desktop computer. It has a lower clock speed than the desktop version.

5. Integrated or Dedicated Graphics

Desktop GPU has dedicated graphics. Due to high performance and space. It leads to having better speed.

The laptop having a compact size has integrated graphics. The laptop graphics card is the best for the laptop computer.

6. Utility

Desktop graphics are used for high performance games, 3D models, and high intensive tasks. Which needs overclocking and has a better cooling system.

Gaming laptops which consist of laptop GPU. They are used for playing games, doing high intensive tasks, and photoshop. Performance compared in the desktop GPU is less because it cannot provide a better cooling system. It is because of the small size and portability. Overclocking is not possible. Advanced gaming laptops these days have better performance. And are somewhat equivalent to the desktop GPU. But an average laptop GPU is better for daily tasks, normal browsing, and regular use. Sometimes it even allows games of lower resolution or even old games to work.

7. Price

Desktop GPU or graphics card is not that expensive than the laptop GPU but has better speed and performance.

Laptop GPU or the graphics card is very much expensive because of the portability and performance.


GPU does the same work for both but the performance and the speed differ. If one is looking for a better GPU  and is not bothered about portability then the user can go for the desktop GPU.

If portability is necessary then a gaming laptop having a better GPU is also the best alternative. Although gamers prefer a Desktop computer where they can update their GPU whenever they want to, according to their budget and convenience.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She loves to play video games and watch movies when she has no writing assignments. Follow Her at Linkedin