Gaming technology has always been expensive. Getting the highest graphics and the best performance seems to be a passion that comes hand in hand with the modern gamer.
New games come out that require more computing power and new graphics cards come out to push the limits of what our computers can do.
This epitomizes the modern-day gaming laptop. These laptops can have an eye-watering price tag attached, as anyone who has looked at purchasing one can probably attest to—often costing three or four times as much as a regular laptop.
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Differences Between Gaming Laptop and Regular Laptops
There are many reasons why it's so much more expensive for a gaming laptop versus a regular laptop.
A gaming laptop will come equipped with the necessary spec to run high-end games. The parts necessary to do this also have to be developed to fit inside the small confines of a laptop case. This usually means those parts are more expensive than their desktop equivalent.
A gaming desktop will have much more space inside the case. This means that you can use bigger parts that cost less. These parts can run a lot hotter due to the increased cooling and airflow that a desktop provides.
A standard laptop will be designed to tackle everyday tasks like web browsing and word processing. These are less demanding tasks and require a lot less power to run. This means that the parts do not need to be as expensive. Regular laptops will also come with much better battery life as the parts require less power to run.
Reasons Why Gaming Laptops are More Expensive
There are several reasons why your typical gaming laptop is more expensive than your average laptop or gaming desktops. Some of it lies in the manufacturing process and some lies in the physical restrictions of laptop space.
Your computer's processor is like your brain. Every second, without you even knowing it, your brain makes thousands of decisions for you and sends electrical responses to the other parts of your body in order for you to live.
A computer processor does the same thing. Every single second it makes thousands of crucial decisions for the rest of your computer. These are called processes, hence the name Processor.
The more complicated the rest of your computer is, the more processes your CPU will have to make every second to keep up with performance. This means that when you start installing the other powerful parts necessary for gaming, your processor needs to be fast enough for them to run efficiently.
Every laptop designed specifically for gaming will come with a stronger processor than your average laptop. Stronger processors are more expensive, which raises the price of your laptop. Stronger processors in gaming computers will also raise the hardware's power consumption, meaning you need a better battery with a strong power supply.
Both gaming laptops and gaming desktops require this processing power; a regular laptop will not.
GPU - Graphics Card
Your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) or graphics card is one of the main things that sets your gaming laptop or desktop apart from a regular computer in terms of performance. To play high-end AAA+ games, you are going to need a dedicated card.
In a regular laptop, you usually get one of Intel's integrated graphics cards. While these cards are capable of running everyday tasks like browsing the web, they cannot handle the complex graphics processing necessary to play the latest games.
In a gaming desktop, you will have a dedicated GPU, but thanks to the large space available inside the case, the card can be bigger, with stronger cooling and less space-saving tech. This means that desktop GPUs cost less than those used in gaming laptops. They also tend to be less powerful due to a laptop's limited power supply.
A gaming laptop will have a space-saving GPU like the newer RTX Super range. These cards do not perform as well as their desktop equivalents but are not far off. They do require a strong power supply and a decent battery, however.
They are also much smaller and are designed to work inside a laptop chassis with lower airflow and power drain than a desktop GPU. All of this makes them expensive, once again raising the build cost and ultimately the price you pay for the laptop.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is another common PC component that will need to be overhauled in order to game. This technology is crucial for playing games and is the only way to get a smooth experience.
Your RAM plays the biggest supporting role. It creates tiny cheat sheets in data form that allow the other parts to run more efficiently. In a regular laptop, the need for RAM is relatively low. You can get by on 1-8GB of it.
In both a gaming laptop and a gaming PC, your minimum RAM requirements are 8GB of DDR4 RAM to play the latest games. DDR4 RAM is relatively cheap in its format designed for desktops. This means you can set yourself up with 16GB+ of RAM for relatively cheap.
However, when you need to shrink the parts to fit into a laptop, the cost goes up steeply. This means that in order to install the necessary RAM for a powerful gaming laptop, you will be looking at a higher price tag for the parts.
The biggest problem that gamers face is heat. The more powerful your computer or laptop is, the more heat the parts will put out under strain; this is inevitable.
In a regular laptop, you have low-powered parts, an integrated GPU, and a processor that isn't going to strain too hard. This means the heat output will be relatively low.
With gaming desktops, you are going to have a good amount of heat. The parts are powerful, but it doesn't matter because of the main benefit to a desktop. You have a lot of space in the case. This means you have better airflow and room to install powerful cooling solutions. This will come in either the form of high-powered fans or, in extreme builds, water-cooled pump systems.
In a gaming laptop, laptop manufacturers have to deal with the worst of both worlds. You have the same high-powered components that you would find in powerful gaming desktops without the space. This means they have to spend more time and money innovating cooling solutions or installing more high-tech components that emit less heat. Both of these solutions result in a rise in the cost of the unit.
To keep gaming laptops cool enough, manufacturers will need to install high-end fans and heat syncs into their gaming laptops. This makes gaming laptops more expensive to cool than a normal laptop due to the cost of installing these systems during the manufacturing process.
Most regular laptops come with a standard-issue keyboard. These keyboards are good enough for the average joe who will be using them to type emails or scroll on Facebook. They are cheap to manufacture and cost little in terms of innovation.
On a gaming desktop, you will most likely purchase a good set of gaming peripherals when you purchase the computer. This means buying an upgraded keyboard designed for gaming.
When it comes to gaming laptops, you don't want to have to plug in a gaming keyboard. The fix to this has been to hire the same people who are behind the greatest gaming keyboards like SteelSeries and Razer to develop gaming keyboards that are integrated. The result is a laptop keyboard that feels like a gaming keyboard, complete with mechanical switches and RGB lighting. Obviously, to innovate and install these, the price of the laptop goes up.
These keyboards have anti-ghost keys and will make your gaming experience a lot smoother, but this is one reason why gaming laptops are so expensive.
Regular laptops usually come with two types of displays. The cheaper models will have a more inexpensive panel, no stronger than 1080p and with a poor refresh rate. Most people will not notice this, as normal tasks don't require a high frame rate.
Gaming desktops do not come with a screen integrated. You will need to plug it into a monitor. This means that you can pick and choose your gaming computer monitor, spending as much as you'd like.
Gaming laptops nowadays have to keep up with the latest trends. The biggest trend to follow is competitive E-Sports. In these games, you need a lightning-fast refresh rate, high FPS, and a bright clear screen for a good gaming experience. These panels are more expensive to install.
Gaming laptops are notorious for their bad battery life. This is because the parts used in gaming laptops require a lot more power than a regular laptop and is one reason why gaming laptops cost so much compared to a gaming desktop.
Even though the battery life in a typical laptop is pretty good, it doesn't mean that the battery used is strong. Keep in mind that gaming laptops have stronger laptop components that require more power. This means that gaming laptops usually have stronger batteries than an average laptop.
Custom Build Option
One of the biggest reasons why gaming laptops are more expensive than desktops is the fact that many gamers decide to build their own PCs. It's much more difficult to build a gaming laptop though.
When you buy premade gaming laptops, you might get a few options in terms of the parts, but ultimately, you do not have much choice.
When you decide to build your own high-performance gaming computer, you get a lot more choice over what gets installed. You can look for parts that are cheaper and features that work well with other components. This means that not only is the build cost lower than it is when it comes to gaming laptops, you also get a much more fine-tuned control over your high-performance parts.
You can also make sure you have the best synergy between your CPU and GPU. This is crucial. If your CPU and GPU cant communicate with each other properly, you won't be able to play games, or your gaming experience will suck.
Gaming laptops are more expensive to build than gaming desktops, and building one is a much more difficult task to undertake. Given the option, most gamers will prefer to purchase gaming laptops that have been built for them. However, when it comes to their gaming pc, most gamers prefer to build their own high-performance rigs.
Warranty and Support
One of the reasons that gaming laptops are more expensive than a desktop build is the addition of a good warranty and incredible support.
Gaming laptops usually come with an extremely strong warranty and are backed by a customer support team. With the big brands like MSI and Acer, this customer support is usually very good. When you run into problems with your new laptop, they will be able to help really quickly for free.
You also get a warranty. This protects you in the eventuality that your laptop components fail earlier than they should, or your computer has problems that it shouldn't. You forgo this help when you build your own computer.
Can You Use A Gaming Laptop As A Regular Desktop?
Gaming laptops have to have a high enough level of performance to play AAA+ games to be called a true gaming laptop. This level of performance means that gaming laptops are also good for everyday use in school and work.
Many people look to gaming laptops when their desktop finally packs in. A gaming laptop is a perfect way to get all of the benefits of a strong desktop while still keeping some of the benefits of a portable laptop.
This means that while plugged in, and your laptop is essentially a powerful desktop. While unplugged, it's a powerful laptop.
Why are Gaming Laptops More Expensive Than Desktops?
The parts necessary to give a laptop the same performance as gaming desktops are expensive to develop and expensive to buy.
That means that if you have both a laptop and desktop with the same spec, you should expect the gaming laptop to be a lot more expensive.
Are Gaming Laptops as Good as Desktops?
This question depends upon the performance of your gaming laptop. In terms of raw performance, you can get a laptop equal to your desktop, although it will cost a lot more.
In terms of usability, a laptop is better than a gaming desktop. You can unplug it without it turning off, use it untethered from the power, transport it with a lot more ease and move it around your house.
While a desktop will be more powerful for the price, and the ultimate decision will depend upon your exact needs.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is the Most Expensive Gaming Laptop?
One of the most expensive gaming laptops we have come across is the ROG Mothership. This bad-boy has an overclocked i9 processor with liquid metal cooling paste, an RTX 2080 graphics card, a 1.5TB RAID SSD, and a detachable screen. This is the gaming laptop of my dreams.
Why are Gaming Keyboards so Expensive?
The main reason that gaming keyboards cost more than regular keyboards is because they have individual switches. This is different from the membrane found on standard keyboards. Using individual switches allows for more accurate & responsive key presses; this is not only better for typing but when playing fast-paced games.
Why are Graphics Cards So Expensive?
As the technology inside our graphics cards gets better and better, unfortunately, so does the price. This is due to the cost of the materials necessary for the latest high-tech architecture that allows us to utilize cool features such as Ray-Tracing.
Luckily, as newer cards get more expensive, their older versions get less expensive. Using a slightly older but still powerful graphics card is a very viable and attractive option for PC builders.
Gaming laptops are getting better and better every single year. Hopefully, you now know the reasons why gaming laptops can be so expensive. The high-performance parts and the innovation necessary to allow us to game on such small machines ultimately comes at a cost.
Is it worth it?
We think so, but ultimately it will depend upon your individual needs.
Jake Redman is a UK-born-digital nomad & founder of Ultimate Quality Content, a collective of high-end copywriters formed to provide detailed insight into everything technology-related. Jake is the definition of a man-nerd. He gets excited over things like processor architecture, ray-tracing, & is an avid E-Sports fan, specifically League of Legends. When he isn’t writing detailed tech-related articles, Jake can be found performing fire-breathing shows & wields a dragon staff, or on the sofa playing Mario Kart.