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Is a gaming laptop as good as a desktop PC?

Gaming laptop vs desktop PC - what you need to know

Updated: Dec 19, 2022 11:49 am
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So, is a gaming laptop as good as a desktop PC? Well in terms of raw FPS generation per dollar (or your currency of choice) spent, the answer is no – you will always need to pay substantially more in a gaming laptop to achieve the same performance as in a desktop PC for gaming.

The ceiling for the most powerful gaming desktop is also higher than that of the most powerful gaming laptop – the restrictions imposed by the portable chassis just mean that there will always be a cap on comparative performance.

However, a gaming laptop brings with it the substantial advantage of portability, and you can easily use it as a dual-use machine for work and play when on the move.

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Gaming laptop vs desktop PC: things to consider

  • Gaming laptops cost more money for the same named specs: an RTX 3070 gaming laptop will usually cost more than an RTX 3070 gaming desktop.
  • The same named laptop CPU or GPU SKU will underperform its desktop counterpart: an RTX 3070 gaming laptop, despite costing more, will not be as powerful as its desktop equivalent – limitations on cooling and voltage mean that laptop GPUs (which invariably have to be much smaller to fit inside a laptop chassis) will not produce the same amount of FPS in-game.

    AMD CPUs and GPUs often have slightly different names in gaming laptops than their desktop counterparts, but Nvidia and Intel products often don’t.
  • Always consider TGP & VRAM when looking at a gaming laptop GPU: TGP or Total Graphics Power essentially signifies the amount of power a GPU can draw on. Measured in Watts (W), a high-TGP graphics card can sometimes perform better than a low-powered one of the SKU above it.

    The maximum TGPs for different Nvidia 30-series graphics cards are as follows. You don’t necessarily need to have the most powerful of these if you’re buying a gaming laptop, but just be aware of what it is you’re paying for:
  • Response times tend to be lower on laptops than desktop gaming monitors: you can still get real, average grey-to-grey response times that are plenty fast enough for competitive gaming (3ms is common in the best ones), but the 1ms that you get in gaming monitors (actual measured – not just the figure claimed by the brand) is beyond the scope of laptop display technology at the present time.

Is a gaming laptop as good as a desktop PC? Final Word

We hope that this guide had helped answer the question is a gaming laptop as good as a desktop PC? At least as it applies to your needs. Do make sure you have a look at our various best gaming laptop guides, covering various price ranges including the best gaming laptop under $500, best gaming laptop under $1,000, and best gaming laptop under $2,000.

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