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Gaming Laptop vs. Desktop: The Ultimate Face-Off

Gaming Laptop vs. Desktop: The Ultimate Face-Off

Man playing a video game on a laptopGaming laptop or gaming desktop? Never before have gamers faced a tougher decision when looking for a system capable of delivering the best experience playing the hottest triple-A games.

One big reason is the rise of gaming laptops. Today’s gaming laptops offer a remarkable combination of power, speed, and visual brilliance. However, considering all these tech advances, who wins the battle between gaming laptops vs. gaming desktops?

If you’re stuck between gaming systems (or aren’t sure what the difference between gaming laptops and normal laptops is), we’ve got answers for you. Read on to learn more about different computer gaming setups before pressing play on a new experience.

1. A Gaming Laptop Isn’t Your Parent’s Laptop

There are many different types of laptops available today. Some are inexpensive yet powerful enough for today’s average student — like Chromebooks. They even pack enough power for some professional-level work.

What they don’t pack, however, is gaming-level capability. And that’s the main difference between gaming laptops and standard laptops.

No standard business software requires a quad-core processor to push billions of cycles per second while paired with high-definition graphics chugging along at several dozen frames per second (FPS)—but try playing World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 without all that muscle.

(In other words, if anyone asks you, “What is a gaming laptop?”, tell them it’s the computer world’s equivalent of a muscle car!)

2. Gaming Laptops Offer Portable Power

A few short years ago, gamers lugged around CPUs and monitors for LAN parties that allowed them to enjoy hardcore multiplayer experiences in the same space. In today’s WiFi-enabled world, players can interact and bond without ever having to leave their couch. But, what happens when staying on the sofa is not an option? That’s when the convenience of gaming laptops shines.

Thanks to advances in power from key component manufacturers such as Intel, gaming laptops like the Dell 15.6-inch G5 can deliver up to triple-digit FPS at 1080p for the latest and greatest game releases. That’s to say, top-notch gaming laptops give you the power you need to game on the go!


Dell laptop computerDell 15.6-inch G5 Gaming Laptop

Power, portability, and near-perfect graphics make a top-choice for gamers on-the-go.

  • Anti-glare LED display
  • Quick-battery charge technology


Rent-to-own Laptops >


3. Gaming Is More On-the-Go Than Ever

People appreciate the portability that comes with laptops and want their gaming experience to be able to go where they go. Don’t believe us? Check out how even traditional video gaming systems are getting smaller.

  • The Nintendo Switch pulls double duty as a TV-connected console and a handheld system, and it’s red-hot right now.
  • The Xbox One is 40% smaller than the original Xbox.
  • The PlayStation 4 Slim is the PlayStation 4 Pro’s more-packable sibling.
  • The on-the-go gaming scene is getting bigger with mobile-specific services like Apple Arcade and Google Game Pass.

Gaming laptops represent a natural progression for gamers, pairing on-the-go convenience with serious processing power. If you don’t want a gaming system that keeps you chained to a desk, laptop gaming is the way to go.

4. Gaming Laptops’ Greatest Weakness

There’s one area in which desktop gaming systems hold an advantage over laptops: size. And size matters when it comes to playing certain power-hungry games.

Take gaming graphics, for example. In a report by TechSpot, the desktop and laptop versions of Nvidia’s RTX 2070 graphics card were compared. Even though both graphics cards have the same name and same manufacturer, the desktop version handily outperformed the laptop version. The report explained this difference by saying that the laptop card’s boost clock (its performance when operating at ideal temperatures) is 180 MHz lower than the desktop card’s boost clock.

Another example: storage. It’s relatively easy to swap out or add to a desktop computer’s storage. But to make laptops as portable as possible, some manufacturers make swapping out or adding to laptop storage virtually impossible.

The desktop computer form factor makes swapping out older components for newer versions relatively easy. That ease means a desktop system can keep pace with the latest games for many years.

5. Gaming Laptops Look Good, Really Good

Today’s games provide amazing visual landscapes. To showcase every last detail, it takes a special kind of display — something you’ll find on an increasing number of gaming laptops.

Displays of 15 and 17 inches are available, though the increased portability of the 15-inch models makes them more popular. Resolutions of 1920×1080 (1080p) are standard, and they can handle high FPS at a refresh rate of 144 Hz.

Yes, it’s easier for desktop gamers to utilize large monitors. But if the ability to rock a 27-inch monitor isn’t as important to you as the power to game wherever you go, a fantastic gaming laptop might be the play.

Level Up Your Gaming at Rent-A-Center

Check out our laptop buying guide to learn more about selecting the right laptop. When you’re ready to make your move, there’s no reason to search “laptop rental near me.” Just visit your local Rent-A-Center!

At Rent-A-Center, you don’t have to choose between a gaming laptop, a desktop, or even a gaming console. Thanks to our affordable payment options and flexible rent-to-own plans, you can have all three!

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