Gaming Laptop v/s Custom Gaming PC: What & How To Choose

 This has been a heated topic of conversation in the gaming community. Especially, when NVIDIA and AMD came out with GPU chips like 940 MX or Radeon 530, which packed a punch in their performance benchmarks. With the release of such powerful GPUs with cutting edge chip architecture, intensive gaming was made possible in small form factors like laptops.

Gaming laptops have extremely high-performance ratings as compared to ultrabooks but this is where it gets tricky. Running heavy games generates a lot of heat as both CPU and GPU undergo a lot of loads, and this small form factor of a laptop does not allow the best thermal solutions. What actually happens is, every CPU has a heat sink attached to it, be it a laptop or a PC. This heat sink is attached to copper pipes and is further attached to exhaust fans. This all seems good on paper, but when actually put under a heavy load such as running a triple-A title, it becomes an oven. Core temperatures rise up to about 850C to 1030C which is bad for the system. All this talk about temperatures is not just to bury you with facts, in fact, thermal management is the most important aspect of a system. 

This all is related to the CPU, every CPU has a maximum limit, if the temperature rises beyond that, it shuts all processes and shuts down. But CPU chips are getting more intelligent day by day. In fact, this is not as simple as this looks. CPUs are designed to limit the non-essential processes if the core temperature rises beyond a limit. And that limit is as low as 800C. What this means is that, if let’s say we are playing Rockstar Games’ GTA 5 on our laptop, and our temperature rises beyond a limit, what our CPU will do is, it will limit the process for the GPU which will cause frames to drop. This is called thermal throttling when the CPU limits performance due to excessive heat.

Custom-built PCs have a wide range of solutions for this like water cooling, more fans, more breathing room, and hence do not face throttling as such. Also, gaming laptops are a bubble. It is a term coined by the gaming community itself. Powerful GPUs are utilised for so much more like graphic designing, video editing, VFX etc. which makes gaming laptops not so “gaming” focussed after all. The whole point being, gaming laptops can be used for so much more than gaming itself. 

Coming to the pricing, gaming laptops are expensive. It takes a heavy toll on your pockets whereas a custom-built PC with the same specifications would cost less. The main cost is comfort and portability. The USP being, you can game anywhere but it comes with a heavy price.

In a nutshell, custom PCs are a far better option compared to laptops when it comes to gaming, there is no competition for the price to performance ratio when it comes to PCs. Laptops are of course more comfortable and enable us to do our work everywhere, but if you are not ready to pay, you won’t get a long-lasting, good performing machine.