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In 2018, a survey from industry analyst group NPD noted that 67% of the total population in the US plays games — a number that only rose as the world turned to online entertainment in light of the global health crisis. Incidentally, more than half of that number actively plays on PC. And as the population of gamers continues to increase, the question of what is the best device to play on continues to be debated: Should PC gamers get a desktop or laptop?
Related guide: Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500 in 2022
Today, we will settle this debate. Below are different points of comparison to consider between gaming desktops and laptops
The primary difference between a gaming desktop and a laptop is their portability. Desktop setups are immovable not only because of their size but also because they require a monitor and a power outlet. These components and accessories cannot be moved to another location on a whim.
On the other hand, laptops can be taken anywhere because of their compact size, portable battery, and built-in components. The only downside is that they are bigger and thicker than regular laptops. Still, their portability can only be more convenient for the user.
Although typically viewed as an advantage, the portability of gaming laptops negatively affects their performance as well. Laptop parts are scaled down to fit their confined spaces, so their performances are often weaker compared to a dedicated desktop. Laptops also get less airflow. Combined with heavy gaming, a weak laptop build will always be in danger of overheating.
Meanwhile, desktop units have all the space they need for big components and additional storage. If you wanted specs that can only be achieved with a high-end GPU like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, which is 12.3 inches long, then a desktop unit is the only thing that can fit it.
Additionally, while laptops are convenient, they are difficult to upgrade. Because of the laptops’ size, their parts cannot be easily moved around, and most of them are permanently attached to the motherboard. That is why the only upgrades available for laptops are their RAM and SSD storage. In addition, upgrading laptop components is risky because they might not be compatible with the built-in hardware.
Meanwhile, desktop units are the opposite, with their easily replaceable internal components. Of course, there are many pre-built gaming PCs already available online, such as the CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme and ASUS ROG Strix, for those who do not want to build their own from scratch. The great thing about desktops though is that even if you get a mid-range unit like the ASUS ROG Strix, it is possible to upgrade its parts to improve its performance. For example, you can expand its RAM or replace its GPU.
If you want to make the PC your own, nothing beats adding personal touches to its design. Fortunately, desktop setups can be customized to your heart’s desire. Many gamers opt for high-resolution and multi-display screens, for example, along with custom cooling systems and accessories like gaming mice and mechanical keyboards. Interestingly enough, these components also offer aesthetic choices (such as through its varying colors, sizes, and designs) — bringing your gaming experience to a whole new personalized level.
Unfortunately, this level of customization is not available in gaming laptops. As mentioned before, laptop components are built-in, so modifying them is near impossible.
So, which one should I get?
The answer to this question is entirely up to your preferences, budget, and needs. For example, while laptops are more convenient, their parts are custom-made per model, so they tend to be more expensive. Moreover, they are not customizable if you want an upgrade.
On the other hand, what desktops lack in portability, they more than make up for customization and performance. Just remember that you’d need to invest money in accessories and parts as well. Plus, there is always that chance that something gets messed up in its build when you start moving components around.
To arrive at an informed decision, carefully consider every aspect of both setups and see what’s best for you.
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