While gaming laptops indeed have their share of quirks, such as limited upgradability, high operating temperatures, loud noise, and having a higher price tag than an equivalent desktop or a gaming console, they also offer some serious perks: They’re lightweight, portable devices with a built-in keyboard, display, speakers, and a touchpad, making them ideal for gaming and working on the go.
So if you’re wondering whether or not is it a good idea to buy a gaming laptop or ‘do gaming laptops last long?’ then you’re in luck because here we’ll be exploring the pros and cons of gaming laptops, comparing them with desktops PCs, as well as Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles. Later, we’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about gaming laptops.
So without any further ado, let’s dive straight in!
5 Reasons Why Gaming Laptops Are Worth It
This one is a no-brainer. Gaming laptops are meant to be carried around, making them ideal for traveling and LAN parties. Trust us; it’s a lot of work to lug around a gaming tower, complete with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and possibly even speakers!
2. Built-in Peripherals:
Gaming laptops come with a built-in display, touchpad, and keyboard, saving you a lot of moolah over a comparable desktop, as long as you’re starting from scratch.
3. Great Power-to-Weight Ratio:
Are gaming laptops as good as PC? The answer is ‘Yes.’ Gaming laptops, especially high-end models, pack a serious punch in their compact chassis. Needless to say, their ‘power-to-weight’ ratio far outguns even the most souped-up gaming rigs!
If you want gobs of performance on tap and in a pinch – for either gaming or work – then a gaming laptop is the perfect beast of burden!
The term ‘gaming’ in a ‘gaming laptop’ is there just to represent the ‘horsepower under their hood,’ so to speak. In actuality, a gaming laptop would be just as good at crunching numbers as it’d be at crunching enemies! So, a gaming laptop would be a nice investment if you work away from home and travel frequently.
So, are gaming laptops worth it for everyday use? Absolutely! Gaming laptops don’t require a ‘dedicated’ gaming den. You can easily use them from the comfort of your couch, recliner, or even bed!
5 Reasons Why Gaming Laptops Are Not Worth It
1. Upgradability Issues:
This one is a major bummer: Gaming laptops tend to have ‘fixed’ specs, meaning you can’t upgrade the CPU or GPU down the road. The only components you can generally upgrade or expand are the RAM and storage space.
2. High OperatingTemperature:
Do gaming laptops heat up a lot? Unfortunately, that’s true. While cramming powerful CPUs and GPUs in a small chassis may sound like a good idea on paper, it’s an entirely different story in practice. Powerful CPUs and GPUs use large dies operating at high frequencies and generate a lot of heat as a result.
Gaming laptops often struggle to dissipate all that heat effectively, especially in hot climates, and hence tend to run much hotter than desktops.
Another consequence of high temperatures is fan noise. Gaming laptops rely on small, high RPM fans. While they move a lot of air, they also tend to produce a lot of rackets which may become bothersome, especially in environments with low ambient noise levels.
4. High Price:
To improve the performance per watt ratio, gaming laptops use top-shelf, high-binned silicon chips that offer better performance at lower voltages than desktop chips. These top-tier components come at a premium, driving up the manufacturing cost of gaming laptops.
But are gaming laptops a waste of money? The answer is still no, as they still have their uses.
5. Performance Constraints:
Are gaming laptops as powerful as PCs? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Despite using premium components, gaming laptops still fail to deliver the performance of an equally-priced desktop PC. That’s because gaming laptops are highly thermal and power constrained, whereas desktops PCs suffer from neither of these issues.
Gaming Laptop vs. Desktop: The Better Choice
Now a question that might be lurking in your mind right now would be: What are the pros and cons of a gaming laptop vs. desktop? So now, we will be comparing gaming laptops with desktops to see what’s what.
Let’s have a look:
|Desktop PC||Gaming Laptop|
|Desktop PCs are not portable, which can be inconvenient for some users.||Offer built-in display, keyboard, touchpad, and speakers for convenience and portability. Ideal to use while traveling.|
|Building a cost-effective gaming PC requires extensive knowledge of computer hardware.||Only a basic understanding of hardware is required to buy a laptop, making it easier for non-tech-savvy individuals to choose a machine in various pricing tiers.|
|Can house large and powerful hardware due to their spacious design, which allows for effective cooling options like large heatsinks and water cooling.||Can accommodate moderately powerful hardware, but they are limited by thermal and power constraints due to their poor airflow and compact size, which prioritizes portability over raw performance.|
|Most components can be replaced and upgraded as needed.||Limited upgradability, with only RAM and storage being the primary components that can be upgraded. Usually no option to upgrade major components like the CPU or GPU.|
|Upgrading is relatively inexpensive, especially when purchasing used components that are often more cost-effective for budget-conscious users. The ATX standard ensures that components are nearly universally interchangeable.||Most laptop manufacturers use proprietary components, which makes it difficult to find spares from one brand that can be used in another. Maintaining old, discontinued laptops can be particularly challenging due to the lack of warranty and customer support.|
If you’re a journeyer who’s always on the go, then the lightweight, portable laptop should be your wingman. But if you want to customize and tweak your rig until it sings your favorite tune, then a desktop is your jam, period. In the end, it’s all about personal preference and priorities, as neither is the clear-cut winner.
What Is Better: a Gaming Laptop or an Xbox?
With desktop PCs out of the way, now it’s time to answer the second most glaring question: Is a gaming laptop better than Xbox Series X? Let’s take a look:
|Xbox Series X||Gaming Laptop|
|Fixed specs with no room for upgrades aside from storage.||Limited upgradability with the option to add more RAM and storage space.|
|Can only be used with the Xbox Wireless Controller with only a limited number of games supporting keyboard and mouse inputs.||Can be used with a wide range of peripherals ranging from gaming mice to mechanical keyboards to game controllers and more.|
|Decent backward compatibility, though older Xbox 360 and Xbox One games may be limited to lower resolutions and frame rates.||Superb backward compatibility. Even vintage games can be run at high frame rates and resolutions, all thanks to emulation.|
|Requires Xbox Live subscription to play online multiplayer games. Only a handful of games can be played online without a subscription.||Multiplayer is 100% free-to-play!|
|Highly cost-effective and affordable.||A gaming laptop with as much graphical muscle as the Xbox Series X may easily cost over twice as much as the console.|
As you can see, gaming laptops have a clear advantage over the Xbox Series X with more room for upgradability, matchless backward compatibility, and free-to-play online multiplayer. And let’s be real, you can’t exactly bring your Xbox to the coffee shop for a quick gaming session – unless you’re willing to lug it around with a TV and a generator!
However, a gaming laptop will set you back much more than the Xbox Series X. So, while you may be able to upgrade your laptop to the point where it can cook your breakfast, metaphorically speaking, you may have to skip a few breakfasts to afford it, literally speaking!
In the end, if you’re a die-hard console gamer who wants the best possible bang for your buck, the Xbox Series X is a great choice. But if you want the flexibility and convenience of a laptop, then a gaming laptop is the way to go. Just be prepared to pay a premium for it.
Gaming Laptop and PS5: Who Is the Winner?
And now to the final question: Can a laptop beat PS5? Just like before, here’s a comparison between the two:
|PlayStation 5||Gaming Laptop|
|Can only be used to play video games, with limited multimedia capabilities.||Can be used for productivity tasks such as photo and video editing, 3D rendering, coding, and programming.|
|Lacks portability, but with Sony’s PS Remote Play feature, you can stream your games on other devices. However, a high-speed, low-latency internet connection is required for the best results.||Highly portable and ergonomic. Can be easily carried around in a bag while traveling.|
|Has a vast selection of first-party exclusives, including critically acclaimed titles like Demon’s Souls, The Last of Us – Part II, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and God of War – Ragnarök.||PCs have a relatively small collection of exclusive games, and among them, many are low-budget indie titles that simply cannot match the quality and production value of Sony’s highly popular first-party exclusives.|
|Features Sony’s iconic DualSense wireless controller with haptic feedback, dynamic adaptive triggers, gyro aiming, as well as a built-in microphone.||While a gaming mouse and keyboard offer superior accuracy and precision compared to a controller, they cannot match the iconic features of DualSense.|
|While the PlayStation 5 only has a single fan, it keeps the console remarkably cool and quiet, even under heavy load.||Gaming laptops tend to get hot and loud under stress, which some gamers may find annoying.|
|Subscription to the PlayStation Plus service is required to access online multiplayer and save game files on Sony’s cloud servers.||Online multiplayer and cloud saves are absolutely free.|
The PlayStation 5 has its perks and quirks: While it won’t help you finish your overdue work presentation, it sure knows how to keep you entertained! And while it lacks the portability of a gaming laptop, with PS Remote Play, you can take it with you virtually anywhere – as long as you have solid internet connectivity.
And while the online multiplayer requires you to have the PlayStation Plus subscription, the Sony first-party exclusives are well worth the price of admission. And the DualSense controller is like a magic wand that gives you haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, gyroscope aiming, and more.
11 Most Important Questions about Gaming Laptops Answered
How Many Hours Can You Game on a Gaming Laptop?
High-end gaming laptops with top-tier, flagship hardware typically last around 2-3 hours while gaming. Laptops with weaker, albeit power-efficient, hardware tends to last anywhere between 4 to 5 hours of gaming.
Is It OK to Leave a Gaming Laptop on Overnight?
Yes. It’s absolutely safe to leave a gaming laptop turned on overnight. Modern laptops go into ‘Hibernation Mode’ while not in use and consume very little power. However, make sure to unplug the laptop from the power outlet to avoid any potential safety hazards.
Why Do Gaming Laptops Drain so Fast?
Gaming laptops use powerful CPUs and GPUs with large silicon dies that run at high frequencies to provide the best possible gaming experience. All that processing power comes at the cost of high power consumption. As a result, gaming laptops tend to have a shorter battery life than standard laptops.
Are Used Gaming Laptops Worth It?
Yes. Used gaming laptops are generally worth it and can save you considerable money. However, make sure that the laptop you’re about to buy has been well-maintained and used with care. Always look for signs of cosmetic wear and tear, as they generally indicate rough usage.
Do Gaming Laptops Get Slower Over Time?
Yes. Gaming laptops may get slower over time if they aren’t properly maintained. Laptops typically use fans with high static pressure, which push dust into the internal components of the laptop, leading to dust buildup. This dust buildup can cause the CPU and GPU to overheat, resulting in thermal throttling that leads to a decrease in performance.
What Temperature Is Bad for a Gaming Laptop?
Temperatures beyond 100°C (212°F) are considered unsafe and may cause permanent damage to the internal components of the laptop, especially the CPU and GPU.
It’s highly recommended to keep the temperature of a gaming laptop’s CPU and GPU below 90°C (194°F). Once the temperature exceeds 95°C (203°F), the CPU and GPU start to thermal throttle, resulting in reduced performance.
What Slows Down a Gaming Laptop the Most?
Overheating is the biggest culprit for gaming laptop slowdowns. To prevent overheating, it’s important to regularly clean your gaming laptop with compressed air, apply thermal paste to the CPU and GPU every year, use a cooling pad to help the laptop ‘breathe’ better, and only stress the hardware in a cool, dry environment.
Why Are Gaming Laptops so Heavy?
Gaming laptops tend to be heavy because of their powerful CPUs and GPUs that generate a significant amount of heat under stress. To dissipate this heat, gaming laptops rely on heavy heatsinks with large fans. These cooling components add weight to the device, making it heavier than a standard laptop.
Which Brand of Laptop Is Best for Gaming?
Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) is often considered the best brand for gamers looking for a powerful gaming laptop. Other notable options include Lenovo Legion, Dell Alienware, Razer Blade, and Acer Predator. However, the ultimate decision should be based on the specifications of the laptop rather than the branding.
Are Gaming Laptops OK for Everyday Use?
Yes. Gaming laptops are okay for everyday usage. However, they rely on large, power-hungry components that prioritize raw performance over power efficiency, which results in poor battery life. They also tend to be bulky and heavy due to their large heatsinks and fans, making them a chore to carry around.
Why Is Your Gaming Laptop so Laggy?
Insufficient RAM, low storage space, outdated drivers, as well as viruses and malware, can cause a gaming laptop to feel slow, choppy, and sluggish. Using old, outdated hardware can also cause performance issues, especially while running the latest, most demanding video games.
So, here’s the deal: Gaming laptops are like sports cars – exotic, powerful, loud, expensive, and high-maintenance! They pack serious horsepower in a sleek, compact chassis and are perfect for those who are always on the go.
But, like any sports car, they also have their drawbacks: They are pricey, not the easiest to upgrade, and often run hotter than a jalapeño on a summer day. And let’s not forget the noise factor – if you’re trying to game in a public library, for example, you might get some serious side-eyes! But of course, that’s the worst-case scenario!
At the end of the day, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons to figure out if a gaming laptop is the right fit for you. If you’re a jet-setter who demands the best in portable gaming, then a gaming laptop is absolutely worth the investment. But if you’re content with the upgradability of a desktop PC or the simple-as-a-pimple simplicity of a console, then it might not be your cup of tea.
Bottom line: The choice is yours!