Are Gaming Laptops Worth It?


Another question that I get often is ‘Are gaming laptops worth it?’

Let dive into the details

Firstly : What is a gaming laptop?

A gaming laptop is a normal laptop with additional components to improve its performance in playing games. A normal laptop will not be able to run the newest PC games at their highest settings and framerates, especially when it comes to ultra-high-end video games such as Battlefield or Fortnite.

Gaming laptops are specially designed for gamers who require portability and high performance. This special design allows them to play games on high settings with little noise disruption. Some models of gaming laptops even have liquid cooling systems so they can continue running smoothly without overheating and damaging your machine.


The ‘MAIN’ difference between a regular laptop and a gaming one

Graphics card

The main difference between a regular laptop and a gaming one is the graphics card, which determines the quality of graphics you’ll see when playing video games.

Since gaming laptops have been specially designed for gamers, they often have impressive GPUs, such as the GeForce GTX or AMD ones. They can also be configured with special keyboards and displays so you’ll get a better experience when playing your favourite PC games.

Some examples of high-end gaming laptops are Acer’s Predator or ASUS ROG ones. Both feature large 17-inch displays and a powerful graphics card with a 4K resolution.

Other bells and whistles

Even though they’re not able to rival their desktop counterparts in terms of performance, gaming laptops still manage to offer more than average laptops including advanced cooling systems, quality screens and portable designs. This makes them an excellent choice for gamers who like portability and superior performance in a small form factor.


Factors to consider before buying a gaming laptop


However, there are also some notable downsides that may steer you away from a gaming laptop. The first one would be the high price for a limited mobility and poor battery life compared to regular laptops. And while most models have an excellent display, it’s still hard to top a monitor in terms of image quality when playing games.

That being said, if you’re after a decently powerful laptop with a built-in graphics card, slim design and an impressive screen for your casual everyday computer tasks then consider getting yourself standard – priced Ultrabook or MacBook instead. Besides, they’ll give you enough power for running Photoshop, editing videos and working on documents without any problems.

But if you’re a die-hard gamer, don’t settle for a weaker laptop with a bad graphics card and a bloated body. Instead, go for a gaming laptop – preferably one that can be upgraded later on.

They’re really expensive – like 500 bucks more than regular laptops when comparing performance per dollar. You can get a nice little 100-dollar external GPU which you would need in order to power your games on an external monitor which would make it work like a desktop and improve your gaming experience tenfold (plus it’s portable) but you would still end up spending close to 2000 dollars in total if you want to upgrade your graphics card in the future and add another one into SLI mode (which means that both these GPUs will work together by transferring some load between them).

Not as fast as gaming desktops

Firstly, if you’re looking for the same performance you would get from high-end desktops, there’s very little chance that you’ll find it in even the most expensive gaming laptops. If you plan on doing any sort of overclocking with your PC, or have very specific needs that require top hardware (e.g., VR) , then a laptop is not for you. They also tend to be bulkier than their traditional counterparts due to components like powerful cooling systems and graphics cards requiring additional space inside computers; they can range anywhere between 15 – 20 mm in thickness. To put things into perspective, an average 17-inch display often takes up space than two displays side-by-side. Laptops also don’t allow users to customise their hardware due to limited space and the requirement of very small, yet powerful components. You can’t replace spare parts like you would with a desktop PC.

Target for Hacking

These factors make laptops a prime target for hacking compared to desktops – which is why it’s vital that you only purchase from reputable companies. It may cost more upfront, but in the long run it’s better than losing all your personal data!


Because they typically operate on smaller components, there’s also little chance of them overheating when used for several hours. This means they’re less likely to malfunction when pushed too far. In addition, they feature an inbuilt fan which helps keep the temperature down.

Upgradability factor

On the other hand, it’s usually difficult to upgrade gaming laptops. It can be done – but it’s definitely not as simple as on a desktop PC. That means that, after one or two years of use, you’re liable to become limited by what your laptop can do. This isn’t the case with desktops, meaning they’re less likely to malfunction when pushed too hard. They also won’t break nearly as fast if dropped or mishandled.


They tend to be bulky and heavy, making them less portable than a regular laptop; they also feature smaller batteries, so you’ll have to carry around power cord with you while travelling or playing on the go; most can’t be upgraded due to their design – just like, they’re meant to stay with you for a long time.

Power consumption

Another point worth mentioning is that since a gaming laptop has a higher power consumption level the battery life of the device generally tends to be lower than normal. But although users cannot expect their batteries to last more than two hours when they play games on their machine, some manufacturers have tried to tackle this issue by offering an external charger for gamers. In addition, what some users do not realize until it is too late is that there are certain settings in your operating system’s control panel that you can adjust to limit the rate at which power is drained from the machine. The system settings in Windows 7/8.1/10, for example, include an option called “power options” where users can select a plan such as “high performance.” Doing so will increase the power consumption rates therefore reducing battery life but also increasing gaming performance.

Maintenance and Repairs

Everything good comes at a price and so does maintenance! If something every goes especially if a hardware dies and if you are out of warranty then laptop repairs can get really expensive. It’s probably worth getting an extended warranty.


What makes gaming laptops different?

As already mentioned above, these PCs are built with gamers’ needs in mind – they (usually) offer better display, faster processors and better audio system than regular laptops. Some models even use anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-keys rollover to allow for maximum control in games that require lots of buttons; other features include WiFi connectivity (very important for online gaming), built-in webcams and larger storage drives – perfect for storing large game libraries.


What are some of the best brands in gaming laptops?

Here is where things get tricky – there are plenty of manufacturers out there that offer great products, but it’s almost impossible to calculate which one can provide you with the best bang for your buck; however, here are some big names you should definitely consider: ASUS, Alienware, Acer Labs Inc., Lenovo, Razer Inc., MSI.


Features you may find on higher-end gaming laptops that are worth it


Quality IPS screen displays produce vibrant colors and sharp images; customizable backlighting allows gamers to have their keyboard light up with different colors depending on how they want to present themselves during gameplay; advanced cooling systems allow for more overclocking as well as producing less noise.


Buy a laptop that has an SSD drive instead of a regular HDD drive. You will have to pay more, but your laptop will be much faster and it won’t produce any noise while being used or stored away. Plus, it is a lot smaller than a regular HDD so you can fit it in really tight places underneath your keyboard!

Better Graphics card

The best feature you could get if you’re looking into getting the highest-end gaming laptops out there would have to be the NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU which is almost one generation ahead from its predecessors because this GPU supports DirectX12. This means that this laptop will have a huge lifespan and it will be powerful for gaming for years to come.

A regular laptop tends to be cheaper than a gaming laptop because of all the additional components and heat sinkers that get added onto it by manufacturers. These increase the prices significantly but come at the benefit of giving higher specifications.


Conclusion: Are gaming laptops worth it or not?

The gap between laptop and desktop graphics has significantly closed in recent years. The same games can be played at near-identical levels on both devices (another factor to consider is game-specific optimizations). And while gaming laptops do often offer superior frame rates compared to their regular counterparts, they still generally lag behind high-end desktops when you look at the entire package. For example, in titles with very demanding graphics, the difference you see when playing on a laptop vs. desktop is not always noticeable. It usually boils down to 30 fps for most games out there, where 45 – 60 fps is considered fluid gameplay.

Most gaming laptops are built specifically for extensive gaming. Thus, their components are chosen with care, and often made to be more powerful than their standard counterparts, offering more stability and longevity. However, some gaming laptops are just standard PCs in disguise. This means they’re not built specifically for gaming – but still allow it; you can use them as a general-purpose laptop if you like.

You may think that the price of high-end laptops is always too expensive, even for most gamers’ budgets. However, compared to desktop PCs, these machines are actually pretty affordable (especially considering their power). Of course, this won’t be true if you opt for one of those disguised units instead of a proper gaming PC.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...