Desktop computers tend to have more power, offer interchangeable components and are able to handle a bigger number of outside components simultaneously. On the other hand, laptops offer the obvious advantage of mobility and flexibility, require less space, while providing an almost identical experience to that of desktop PCs. Identical, except in the case of gaming, that is. Obviously, due to more given space available, desktops will always have the advantage of supporting larger and therefore more powerful components. Furthermore, laptops will always suffer from heating problems and modern games do tend to warm a computer up. But what is the real difference between the two?
Modern computer games often need a ton of power to handle. First of all, making a beast of a graphics card small enough to fit inside a laptop is difficult and quite expensive. As if this wasn’t enough, they also need a beefy cooling system in order to survive hours of gaming. This is why gaming laptops are usually bigger and weigh more than standard versions. For example, the new Nvidia GTX 880M scored a 6000 on a benchmark, which is significantly higher than what Intel HD 4600 managed to achieve. However, it is nowhere near the GTX 780 Ti desktop video card’s whopping 9000, which was measured in the same benchmark.
Although modern processors do not play a key role in video game performance, the CPU heavily influences the speed of all software. Furthermore, running team speak apps like Ventrilo while simultaneously enjoying a video game match with your friends tends to cause lag problems if the processor is not powerful enough. Just as it’s the case with graphics cards, the bigger the processor is, the more power it gets to benefit from, so this is yet another reason desktop computers outweigh the mobile PCs in terms of gaming.
In essence, you could buy a PC and still be playing the modern games seamlessly a decade later. Upgrading is an important feature of desktop computers. Almost every component can be swapped for a more powerful one. If time has caught up with your old motherboard and it no longer supports modern video cards and processors, fret not – this key component can be replaced too.
Laptops, however, are limited in many ways. This is due to the limiting way of ball grid array packing, in which case a processor is an integral part of the motherboard and thus cannot be removed. The same goes for many graphics cards, occasionally even with RAM chips. Various laptop distributers, like Lenovo parts offer a wide array of various interchangeable components, though, so laptop parts can actually be replaced, contrary to popular belief.
However, mere three years after the GTX 480M was released, for example, it already had troubles with keeping up with the then released GT 750M.
While this may not pose huge problems for most laptop users, the rapid progress (and this is an understatement) of the world of gaming can make a laptop user’s virtual life a living hell.
Even though sound quality in laptop speakers has undergone tremendous progress, it will always tremble before that which the desktop PC has in offer. Unless you opt for an external sound interface, the laptops just won’t do it for your inner audiophile, and the whole point of a laptop is mobility and that all-in-one mentality.
So what conclusion can we draw here? Is buying a gaming laptop worth it? Well, I don’t want to sound cliché, but it does depend. It depends on your wants, needs and goals as a gamer. If you’re looking for a platform on which you’d like to play browser puzzle games and solitaire, then by all means, go for the more mobile choice. If you want to be able to run the upcoming Fallout 4 and games like the new Assassin’s Creed, keep in mind that you’ll might have to browse for a new one, perhaps even mere 3 years from today.