Gaming Laptop and Desktop: 6 Differences

There are several differences between a gaming laptop and a desktop. These differences may not be so apparent but surely exist and will be experienced in due course of time while using these two systems in isolation.

If you do not want to regret your choice later on, read this article to know the differences and make a precise comparison and make your final choice.


  • The gaming laptop is more portable, light in weight and small in size to fit in your backpack which is not possible in the case of a desktop computer.
  • The prices of a desktop computer will vary according to the components installed in it but a gaming laptop will usually come with quite a high price tag.
  • A desktop will always offer more options for upgradability than a gaming laptop.

6 Differences Between Gaming Laptop and Desktop

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop

1. Portability

A gaming desktop will come with a lot of cables and wires making it least portable.

On the other hand, you can pack even a large 17-inch gaming laptop in your bag and carry because it is devoid of ant cables.

2. Customization and upgradability

The desktop computers will have more limited upgradeability as compared to the gaming laptops. You can change the RAM, GPU and the CPU only if it uses the same chipset.

Alternately, most of the gaming laptops will allow you to change the storage and RAM provided that these are not soldered to the motherboards.

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3. Cost

The cost of the desktop computer depends on the components used inside it. The components, though high in performance, cost much less because of the larger sales volumes.

The cost of the gaming laptops is much higher than the desktop computers because all components inside it are high-end and rarely available and used.

4. Performance

When all other things are equal, a gaming desktop is more powerful than a gaming laptop. It will have bigger chassis, better cooling with more fans, less heat dissipation, and even allow liquid cooling, if you want.

The CPUs and GPUs in a gaming laptop are not as powerful as the desktop parts, and even the best parts of the laptop will not match the overclocking potential of the desktop platforms.

5. Upgradability

A gaming desktop computer is much more upgradeable, powerful and affordable. If you want you can swap almost anything in the system to make it a better one.

You will not get the same power and performance in a gaming laptop because this is less upgradeable and you will need to replace the entire system after a few years.

6. GPU Power

The graphics cards are large and will easily fit inside the desktop computers which comes with a large case.

It will be problematic to fit in a massive graphics card in the thin and slim laptops. This means there is a high chance of the performance being low.

Which is Better – Gaming Laptop or Desktop?

Differences Between Gaming Laptop and Desktop

A very short answer to this question is: A desktop will be less costly, efficient, long lasting and future-proof.

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A gaming laptop, on the other hand, will provide you with more portability, if you are really in need of it.

If you want your gaming laptop to work at a much higher level, you will need to combine external GPUs with it, provided the laptop itself is powerful enough to support such an appendage.

Now, if you want to know which computer wins, it is quite difficult to pick one.

The varied features, merits and demerits, the cost factors, all make it even more difficult.

Therefore, the best way to evaluate the two is to balance both with your needs, preferences, and circumstances.

There are several conditions when a desktop computer will prove to be an effective device as compared to the laptop. These are:

  • When you want very high level of performance
  • When you do not have to move your system very often
  • If you want to upgrade it in the future and
  • When your budget is tight.

A gaming laptop is a far better choice, on the other hand, if you are a less-demanding gamer and if you want to play games on the move, attend a lot of LAN events, and even travel a lot for your work.

It is also a good choice if you do not have much space at home to set up a desktop computer.

A gaming laptop also will not allow any upgrades in it and will have a much shorter lifespan as compared to a desktop.

In spite of the difference, people are often found to be more inclined to buy a gaming laptop rather than a regular laptop, even if they are not much of a gamer.

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This is due to several reasons and factors such as:

  • The need for higher speed
  • Ease in use
  • High quality parts in the system
  • Higher life and
  • More versatility.

The gaming laptops are for those people who can rationalize the high cost of the device with their needs.

Otherwise, it can be safely said that a gaming laptop is not affordable for all.

Therefore, when you want to invest in a computer, you must follow a proper investment strategy to decide whether you will go for a pricey gaming laptop or a desktop variant that will fit both your budget and your needs as well.

To Wrap It up

Considering every aspect mentioned above, it can be concluded that a gaming desktop is a better choice than a gaming laptop for a wide variety of cases.

However, consider the price-performance ratio, CPUs, GPUs, upgradability, repairability, customizability and portability to make your choice.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.

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