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What are the advantages of gaming on a desktop and a laptop?

by Liam Major
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PC gaming is often held up as the pinnacle of gaming – there’s a reason the latest generations of consoles are more like miniature PCs than ever before. But what is that reason? And what are the advantages of gaming on a desktop and laptop?

There are some universal truths for whatever version of PC gaming you prefer, but there are also some unique benefits to each too.

PCs vs consoles

Although smartphones and tablet gaming represent a major portion of the global gaming market today, there’s no denying that PCs and consoles remain the flagship gaming platforms, with the widest selection of AAA titles and the most powerful gaming hardware. There’s an argument to be made though, that of the two, PCs stand a head or two higher.

Jokes about eugenics aside, PCs do offer more powerful hardware. Especially towards the end of a console generation. PC hardware continues to evolve year on year, and though we’ve seen stop gap refreshes of consoles with the PS4 and Xbox One, they still don’t hold a candle to the most powerful of gaming PCs – both laptops and desktops.

That’s especially true of emerging technologies, like SSDs, where due to huge price drops in recent years, it’s hard to find a desktop or laptop PC without an SSD in them. Consoles will only get that as a default hardware option in the next-generation systems. While that implementation will be fast, just imagine what PC users will have access to in five years time as the technologies continue to evolve.

Customisation and Upgradability

On both the software and hardware front, PCs offer much greater and deeper customisation for owners. You can pick your individual components, right down to the speed and brand of the memory, what cooling you have on your CPU, and how efficient your power supply is. That’s just not possible on consoles. You might be able to pick different storage arrangements, or even the speed of its graphics chip in a set of predetermined configurations, but that’s not even close to the customisation you have with a laptop, let alone a desktop.

Then there’s upgradability to consider. Desktop PCs (and some laptops) let you add to memory, storage, and even upgrade major components like processors and graphics cards to improve, rather than entirely replace a system when performance starts to wane, or missing features are felt.

But that’s not to say that consoles don’t have some advantages. They are much easier to get setup and play straight away (though you’ll need to wait for the big update downloads) and they tend to be far cheaper. Especially when compared with the most high-end of gaming PCs.

They’re a little more focused too, with a narrower range of capabilities than a gaming PC. You can’t do your taxes on your Xbox, and you can’t edit video and audio in the same way on a PS4. That makes them simpler gaming machines, but gaming machines alone. Gaming PCs can do so much more.

Close-up image of the front of a PS4 with a dualshock controller sitting on top

Advantages of gaming on a desktop

A gaming desktop is, without question, the best platform for the best looking and smoothest gaming experience. Due to the simple depth, breadth, and power of high-end gaming hardware on desktops, nothing else measures up. The most powerful consoles are restricted by price and form-factor, while laptops are restricted by power draw, thermal demands, and their physical size. A gaming desktop can be as big and gaudy as you like, with multiple graphics cards, hard-line watercooling, hundreds of gigabytes of memory, many terabytes of storage space, and as much RGB lighting and cooling fans as you want.

This isn’t necessary for all gamers, or even most of them, but if you want the most high-end gaming experience with the prettiest games and the highest frame rates, a gaming desktop is the only way to go.

Full of powerful components

The Chillblast Fusion Nimbus 5 gaming PC, for example, packs an Intel Core i7-9700K, 16GB of high-speed DDR4 memory, and an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti. That will run rings around not only every console ever made, but every gaming laptop the world has ever seen. The CPU isn’t the fastest – that spot is reserved for the Intel 9900K, and the AMD Ryzen 3900X, but the 9700K is still fantastically capable. Far more so than you can expect from other gaming platforms.

Another major advantage of gaming on a desktop is that you can customize it. If you want that same Fusion Nimbus PC, but want one of those higher-powered CPUs in there, you can add it in before you buy, or afterwards with your own DIY skills. Don’t need such a powerful GPU? Swap it out. Want a different cooling solution? It’s entirely up to you.

You can pick almost any component you like when you’re gaming on a desktop and it can be yours, if it’s within your budget. Even if it’s not within your expertise to select and fit it, Chillblast can help you decide and make it part of your gaming pc.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion Nimbus 5 Flight Sim PC, designed by Matt Davies

The ability to push them even further

Another big advantage of gaming on a desktop PC is tweaking it after you’ve built it (or had Chillblast build it for you). With the extra space for improved cooling, desktops offer the best chance to make the most from your system through overclocking. You can do it yourself with a little know how and time, but Chillblast can do that for you too if you prefer. We are able to get up to an extra 20 percent performance out of some components, so be sure to inquire after that service if you decide to buy a desktop gaming PC through us.

The size that makes these systems so great for customization and overclocking though, are also their biggest weaknesses. Unless you opt for a very small form factor, gaming desktops are too big to cart around and certainly couldn’t be considered portable for on-the go gaming. Especially considering they’re tied to a power socket.

That’s where gaming laptops come in.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion Hero gaming PC

Advantages of gaming on a laptop

Gaming on a laptop may mean you miss out on some of the high-end hardware of a gaming desktop, but they are the only real way to game while out and about if you want something more than mobile or tablets can offer. Gaming laptops are only a few steps behind gaming desktops in terms of their raw performance, and due to their smaller size, they can even look a little richer, a little crisper than their larger-screen cousins on desktop.

Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature 13-inch systems with on board graphics (not really recommended for anything outside of indie games) to 17-inch behemoths with graphics chips that rival some desktop systems. Chillblast sells a wide range of different laptops with various hardware configurations, so be sure to check them out if you’re considering one.

They’re all portable and relatively lightweight – considering the hardware inside them – and battery life is excellent, offering multiple hours of high-end gaming with high frame rates and detail levels. You do need to factor that battery life in, though. No gaming laptop, no matter how efficient, will last you all day without at least some charging time. And no gaming laptop is going to be as svelte or streamlined as the most efficient of portable computers.

But gaming laptops are portable and that’s something no major console or gaming desktop can say. The main advantage of gaming on a laptop is that you can take it with you. Game on the train, on a plane, in a coffee shop when you’re supposed to be working. It’s all possible with a gaming laptop.

Final thoughts

So, what are the advantages of gaming on a desktop and a laptop? There’s almost too many to list. From customisation, to portability and upgradability (depending on your platform of choice), there’s no denying that PC gaming is the pinnacle of gaming. You just need to decide which flavour suits you best.

Image of a Chillblast Ascension GTX 1070 gaming laptop with a FPS shown on its screen

More resources:

Check out this article that dives even deeper into the desktop or laptop conundrum!

For a further look at the comparison between computers and consoles, check out this article that details whether you should get a PS4, a gaming laptop or a gaming PC!

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