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Gaming PC vs gaming laptop: Which is better?

Posted: 27 May 2022 9:00 am

Gamers have a lot of different choices to make, but one of the toughest calls might be between a gaming PC and a gaming laptop.

Once you settle the PC vs console debate for yourself, you might think you're all set and your gaming future is determined. But there's another platform that's entered the fray. Gaming laptops are capable of offering elite performance, just like their tower PC counterparts, while featuring several benefits of their own.

So which is right for you? Let's break the gaming PC vs gaming laptop debate down and decide which is best for you. For more information, check out our guides to the best gaming PCs and gaming laptops in Australia.

Gaming PC vs gaming laptop: Performance

gaming pc vs gaming laptop
It's fair to say this is most gamers' priority when purchasing their gaming platform. Which of the 2 will allow you to enjoy 60FPS while running max settings? The short answer to whether PCs or laptops offer better performance is: It depends. It's perfectly possible to find a gaming laptop that completely outperforms a serious tower PC.

The broad distinction between PCs and laptops when it comes to performance involves the size of the machines. Looking at a PC and then comparing it to a laptop, it's pretty clear you can't fit the same hardware into both products. Laptops often feature scaled-down and less powerful versions of hardware found in PCs, and some top-of-the-line graphics cards and CPUs never find their way into laptops.

Additionally, while there have been great strides in cooling and airflow in gaming laptops in recent years, PCs still win out here. As we know, cooling is a huge part of performance, allowing hardware components to function at full power without overheating.

While there are obviously a huge amount of variables at play, PCs do have an edge in the category of performance.

Gaming PC vs gaming laptop: Price

When it comes to top-of-the-line hardware, performance and price go hand-in-hand. An entry-level PC costs around $1,000, and you can go all the way up to $8,000 and beyond if you really want to go bananas. Of course, you can cut costs by building your own PC.

Gaming laptops sit in a similar price range to pre-built PCs, though they generally top out closer to the $6,000 mark. But if an elite rig does work out to be more expensive than a gaming laptop, it is probably significantly more powerful. With that said, PCs have 2 mandatory peripheral purchases that laptops do not – a monitor and a keyboard.

When you think long-term, PCs really begin to outstrip laptops. One of the best features of PCs is upgradeability, allowing customers to replace parts of their computer as they become obsolete or faulty.

Gaming laptops are far more limited in this capacity, and the overall machine will become obsolete much more quickly than its tower counterparts. And when multiple components of your laptop start to break, you don't have much choice but to bin it and buy a new one.

All in all, PCs pretty easily take this round as the long-term thriftier purchase.

Gaming PC vs gaming laptop: Customisation

gaming pc vs gaming laptop
For the micro-managers out there, PCs are certainly your best bet. Most online stores will have a huge range of hardware customisation available for you to choose to get exactly what you want out of your PC, including GPUs, RAM and processors.

And if that's not enough, you can always construct your own PC. This allows you to carefully choose each and every component from the case to the monitor, although we can't recommend this for complete newbies unless you have a more experienced friend to help out.

The same can't be said for gaming laptops. When purchasing your laptop, you'll be far more limited in your ability to control your hardware. Some companies like Lenovo do go above and beyond allowing you to customise your laptop, but it's still a far cry from the level of control you can find in a gaming PC.

At best, you'll have just a few options to choose from when it comes to CPUs, GPUs and screen performance, compared to the near-infinite possibilities available when buying a PC.

Gaming PC vs gaming laptop: Portability

Here's one area of the gaming PC vs gaming laptop debate where laptops easily win out. If you're the type of person who will get a lot of use out of a super-mobile system, for example if you frequently travel, gaming laptops are the way to go.

While we've talked down gaming laptops quite a lot, the amount of power manufacturers are able to fit into such a sleek package is seriously impressive. Only being able to game in one location can be a serious drawback for some users, and the cumbersome nature of tower PCs can make even moving them between houses a chore.

So if you want to be able to load into your favourite video games anywhere and everywhere, gaming laptops are worth serious consideration.

The verdict

If you frequently find yourself on-the-go, wishing you could be playing your favourite games, and rarely have a chance to sit down at your desk for a lengthy gaming session, gaming laptops are for you.

In just about all other situations, gaming PCs are probably the way to go. The price-to-performance ratio of a PC is far superior to a laptop, and you'll be able to customise your rig to suit your personal needs.

Best deals on gaming PCs

Take advantage of one of these discounts on a pre-built gaming PC.

41% off Alienware Aurora Ryzen R14
41% off Alienware Aurora Ryzen R14

With AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and a Legend 2.0 cooling system, this machine is ready to take on the lengthiest gaming sessions. Use the code DSLL20 to enjoy the full savings.

Buy now for $2,339 (was $3,998.99)

38% off Alienware Aurora Ryzen R13
38% off Alienware Aurora Ryzen R13

Use the code DSLL20 to secure the full discount on this breathtakingly powerful machine.

Buy now for $2,299 (was $3,699)

$180 off Thermaltake Rapture V2
$180 off Thermaltake Rapture V2

With customisable RGB lighting and an RTX 3060 graphics card, the Rapture V2 provides style and substance.

Buy now for $2,399 (was $2,579)

Best deals on gaming laptops

Prefer to stay agile? Grab a deal on an elite machine below.

25% off Dell G15
25% off Dell G15

The AMD Ryzen 5 is the centrepiece of this all-in-one gaming Saturnalia.

Buy now for $1,349 (was $1,799)

$201 off ACER Nitro 5
$201 off ACER Nitro 5

If you don't have too much money to throw around, the Nitro 5 will still satisfy your gaming needs.

Buy now for $1,298 (was $1,499)

$250 off MSI Katana GF76
$250 off MSI Katana GF76

With 1920x1080 resolution displayed on a gorgeous FHD screen, this sleek and powerful laptop will have you gaming wherever you please.

Buy now for $1,699 (was $1,949)

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