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Desktop Or Laptop For PC Gaming?

Updated on October 16, 2013

How to build - Part 1

How to build - Part 2

Customization options for a desktop and laptop

As you may know, a desktop is pretty easy to customize. There are a lot of different parts and brands on the market giving you a great variety of parts to choose from. These do come in different sizes, prices and performance ratios. Once you know how to build a computer, you can easily strip parts and upgrade them.

Laptops on the other hand, aren’t that easy to build or customize. A laptop consists of the same parts as a desktop, but the parts are way smaller (otherwise they won’t fit) and you can only use one HDD (hard drive). Despite the fact that it is difficult, it is not impossible to build a laptop yourself. Once you know where to place all the different components and know how to take care of them (this is quite important), it shouldn’t be too hard to switch out and upgrade different components once in a while.

Warning: These tips are very important when you’re upgrading your machine/rig.

  • Be safe and make sure you still have enough power to handle the newer parts after upgrading. If not, upgrade your PSU (power supply). You can easily see how many watts you need for your computer by virtually setting up your computer via PcPartPicker (if you don’t have enough power, it could break down your whole pc).
  • If you are upgrading a CPU, you will have to make sure you have a motherboard that fits the new CPU. If not (which is quite likely), you should look online for a new motherboard matching you new CPU.

Best price/performance ratio?
Best price/performance ratio? | Source

The price/performance ratio

Face it, a desktop will always be cheaper. Why? It has cheaper components overall. But how much will you have to spend extra in order to buy a decent gaming laptop with the same performance as a gaming desktop? Well, depending on the place you live, an 800$ (or equivalent to the currency of your country) should be enough to build a desktop that will run every modern game maxed out (if you build it yourself). If you don’t want to build one yourself and buy one, it will cost you about 20-30% more.

A decent laptop will cost you at least $1600 (pre-build) to run any modern game maxed out and smoothly. I don’t really have any information about how much it will cost building one yourself. Now don’t get frustrated right away if you’ve only got a $400-600 budget to spend on a desktop PC. If you build one yourself worth $500 you should be able to play any modern game at about low-medium settings and be able to play without any lag at all. If you want to play on higher settings, you should try decreasing your resolution to 1280x720 (HD 720p). Take in mind that this won’t include a monitor, mouse, keyboard or operating system. If you really are on a budget, you could buy a mouse + keyboard for around 20$ and upgrade later on. A monitor will cost you about $70-150 (for a decent one). If you don't want to pay for an operating system, there are free ones on the internet.

For a laptop, a $700-900 one will also do the job quite well. The advantage of a laptop is that it will probably already include an operating system and it will contain a mouse, keyboard and monitor on its own. Take in mind that when buying a laptop you should really watch the graphics card you’re buying. Do some research and make sure it will run the games you like to play.

Will run any game, not maxed out though.
Will run any modern game maxed out smoothly.
Will run any game, not maxed out though.
Will run any modern games maxed out smoothly.

Travelling with your desktop or laptop?

The big disadvantage of a desktop? Space. For a normal desktop, you will need a case + mouse + keyboard + monitor, right? Luckily people have found a solution to this. ITX cases! They about as big as a Playstation / Xbox (maybe a bit smaller) and still do the job very well (once you find components that fit).Now you may think: ‘But why would people than buy a laptop?’ Well, because a laptop in general is: Thin, light has a build in keyboard + mouse + monitor, it is very portable. The only ‘extra’ thing you should maybe consider taking with you is a charger. The ITX cases are pretty small, bit do still require a monitor + mouse + keyboard to run. You can probably take this setup with you in a box and put it in your car, but if you’re travelling by plain this can be quite frustrating.

Do you prefer a laptop or a desktop for gaming?

See results

The ultimate solution

If you still don’t know what to buy, ask yourself how much you’ve got to spend. Is it less than $1000? If so, you’ll have to choose… If you’re budget is a bit higher, you should probably consider buying both. How? By buying a gaming rig that suits your needs and a laptop for travelling. The laptop can be +- $300-500 and doesn’t have to be made for gaming specifically (make sure it at least has a graphics card though). In this way you can still watch your favorite movies/videos while travelling. On top of this, you should still be able to play some less graphic intensive games.

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© 2013 BlocksNGuns


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