Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop: Differences, Which Is Better

When users choose a gaming computer, sooner or later they ask themselves, which is better Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop? But this comparison is not entirely correct. What makes these systems different, how to choose a gaming laptop and what to do to squeeze out more frames without compromising the system in this article.  

gaming laptop vs desktop
gaming laptop vs desktop

What are differences between Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop?

The comparison between a gaming laptop and a PC cannot be called fair, because a laptop is a completely finished device with a display, speakers, keyboard and touchpad, a camera and a battery that can act as an uninterruptible power supply. The main advantage of a PC is considered to be easy replacement of components; in laptops, it is much more difficult to replace something. Not every model can replace a drive, RAM or processor, and the replacement itself can take a lot of time – to get to the insides, you will have to unscrew a large number of small screws.

Basically, users leave the system unchanged, and then just change the entire platform as a whole. This also happens with laptops. And if something can be upgraded at AMD, because socket AM4 is supported by four generations of processors, then Intel will have to change the entire platform.

Only two generations of processors are suitable for the current LGA1200 socket – 10 and 11. For the twelfth generation, the LGA1700 socket and DDR4 memory are already needed, while the 13th generation already needs DDR5. Obviously, the entire platform will have to be changed to Intel as a whole – whether it is a PC or a laptop.

Difficulties in upgrading a laptop also lie in the fact that they are all sorted out in different ways. For most, the bottom panel is removed, but for some models, you will also have to remove the keyboard. In stationary PCs, everything is much simpler. Housings generally have a common design that can be easily disassembled for replacement, inspection, and maintenance. Also, laptops do not allow you to insert beautiful, exclusive and unusual system components with lighting, special cooling or creative wiring. And by the way, this is the lion’s share of the atmosphere and the moment of rivalry between gamers, because such components increase the cost of the system, although they may not affect performance at all.

The easiest way is to replace peripherals in a gaming PC, which first of all fail under the onslaught of battles. Yes, even if you just got tired of the keyboard/mouse, no longer liked it, you wanted “something more” – this is not a problem at all. Of course, you can also connect any mouse to a laptop, but with a keyboard, everything is complicated.

Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop: How to choose gaming laptop?

A gaming laptop has a large number of parameters and it is advisable to figure it out on your own so as not to buy low-performance hardware at an overpriced price. For example, the RTX 3080 mobile graphics card in different models may have performance that differs significantly. And remember that the processor and graphics chip will most likely not be replaceable. On a budget gaming laptop, you can only play AAA projects at an average level of graphics. And the harder the game, the more you will have to trim the settings.

But the top models will have advanced discrete graphics and a powerful processor. Even if the performance of the video adapter is excessive for a particular game, the number of frames per second is never too high. The refresh rate of the display in this case will be a strong advantage in competitive and network projects. But if the graphics are not enough, then the screen will not give any advantages. And be sure to pay attention to the characteristics of the screen itself the matrix technology, the maximum resolution, how much hertz the screen gives out, whether it supports HDR – after all, it will no longer be possible to replace it.

The best thing is to look at reviews of the models of interest. Most often, gaming laptops use an IPS matrix with Full-HD resolution. The refresh rate can be very high, up to 360 Hz. There are also models with a 4K display, but the refresh rate will be lower. These notebooks are more suitable for colorful titles.

A modern gaming laptop can be as powerful as it is stylish, light and thin. In addition to gaming, such a laptop is suitable for professional video editing, design or simulation, but the main thing to know is the performance of the video adapter. For a laptop, it is lower than for a stationary PC. 

Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop: graphics

There should be a difference in performance between discrete PC and laptop graphics. A regular RTX 3070 and a mobile RTX 3070 will give different results. Because a mobile video card has fewer processing cores, fewer power limits, and lower operating frequencies. Everything is done to avoid overheating. Let’s visually compare the performance in benchmarks using a test bench with a GeForce RTX 3070 video card, and we will check the RTX 3070 mobile graphics in two modes: from the mains and from the battery.

In the first test – Full-HD resolution with an extreme graphics preset. We get good values ​​for a mobile video card when the charger is connected. In the battery test, the results are slightly worse, but still the laptop copes without any problems. On a stationary computer, the graphics naturally showed the best result and pulled ahead by 37% when the laptop was running on mains, and when running on battery power, the gap was large 64%.

In 3DMark Time Spy on ultra settings and in 2K resolution with the charger connected, the mobile RTX 3070 gave quite the expected good result. When running on battery power, the result is twice as bad. It is noticeable that the frequency of the processor and video card dropped to their minimum values, but the result still remains acceptable for a laptop without throttling or overheating.

On a stationary computer, graphics have shown great advantages. Stationary graphics have bypassed mobile graphics so far: 34% with network connectivity and 64% with battery power. The almost identical result with the previous test. We can say that notebook graphics are one-third weaker than desktop graphics when the power supply is connected and two-thirds weaker when running on battery power. At the same time, a laptop will consume several times less electricity than a stationary PC. This can be important sometimes.

Gaming Laptop Vs Desktop: Heating, consumption, temperature

What about overheating and throttling at home if you put your laptop on the couch? Let’s complicate the task and run the Linpack test with the OCCT application, put the laptop on the sofa with a bunch of pillows next to it. We will make measurements both with the connected charger and with the battery. 

As a result, at maximum load, the laptop processor warms up to 80 degrees, the frequency is kept stable without throttling. The case warmed up decently in the middle of the laptop.

On the table, the temperature readings are expectedly lower: the case warmed up to 55 degrees, the consumption reached 200 watts. When the laptop was disconnected from charging, the processor frequencies immediately dropped to a minimum, even with the maximum performance mode enabled. At the same time, the minimum frequency was kept at the same level throughout the test.

Tests prove that laptops have good cooling, which prevents the device from overheating, even in bed. But to definitely avoid overheating and throttling, play on a table or a special stand. This prevents ventilation openings from blocking and makes cooling even more efficient. 

conclusion

Objectively – modern gaming laptops are powerful and efficient, but whatever one may say, a laptop video card will always lose performance to the same desktop one. All of this is due to power and cooling limitations. But what cannot be taken away from laptops is mobility, autonomy, and compactness. Here you already need to choose what is more important, and if you decide on a gaming laptop, choose a model with a margin of performance values ​​and try not to play on soft surfaces to avoid overheating.  

Only very expensive laptops have desktop processors on board. They are easy to remove and replace. But their price starts at $3500 and can go up to $8000. They also use removable video cards on boards of the MXM format. Another question is that it will not be very easy to find such a replacement video card. And how a cheap laptop differs from an expensive one can be found in this article.