Why laptops are not good for gaming

Why laptops are not good for gaming

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Gaming laptops are great for someone who wants a machine that can allow them to play their favorite competitive and triple-A titles on the go without carrying a big PC tower with a bunch of wires and a display. Gaming laptops provide you with a one-stop solution to this issue.


We simply can’t deny that gaming laptops can be an excellent choice for some people and their only way to a game when they are on the go. However, even though gaming laptops have evolved over the years and have improved in many aspects, they still stay behind in multiple ways, making it hard to consider them your primary gaming machine. 


So, to help you make an informed purchase decision, here are some reasons laptops are not good for gaming.


Battery life sucks on Gaming Laptops

I think this one is obvious. The awful battery life is one of the main reasons why laptops are not good for gaming. Don’t get me wrong, over the years, tech has improved enough, and gaming laptops’ battery life has certainly improved enough that you can use these laptops for regular lightweight tasks.


However, when we talk about gaming on battery power, it’s quite clear that laptops are not good for gaming. In most cases, when you try to game on battery power, you would kill the battery just within an hour. 


This is because when you are gaming, all the major components, such as your CPU and GPU, are trying to work at their full potential, which means they will draw as much power as possible, inevitably leading to a poor battery backup while gaming. This is why some gaming laptops like the Asus Scar 15 or the MSI Raider GE76, despite having the largest battery possible at around 99.9Wh, will fail to last even an hour during gaming on battery.


You can’t expect the same level of portability as you would see from a Nintendo Switch or a Steam Deck; you would always have to be plugged in while gaming on a laptop.


Heat & Noise on a Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops are infamous because of the heat and noise they generate. Unlike a proper Gaming PC Tower with ample room to breathe with multiple fans pushing air through the case, gaming laptops have very little room to breathe.


Since laptops are expected to be slim and lightweight, manufacturers can’t do much in airflow to fight back the heat in a slim chassis. When your laptop performs at its full capacity, you would feel the chassis warm up, and the fans ramp up enough that they are audible.


This is one of the reasons gamers often use headsets while gaming on a laptop so they can block out the annoying fan noise of the laptop. And this noise could get worse as the internal heatsink gets clogged with dust over time. 


Also, coming back to the heat issue, some gaming laptops suffer because their keyboard deck gets uncomfortably hot and makes it harder to use the machine while gaming. Hence, excessive heat and noise are another reason why laptops are not good for gaming.


Harder to Clean and Maintain

This difficulty in properly maintaining a laptop is also one of the main reasons laptops are not good for gaming. Unlike a desktop PC, where everything is easily accessible by just removing the side panel, gaming laptops require you to be a bit more careful.


Cleaning a laptop from the inside would not only require you to remove the bottom panel but in some cases, also require you to remove the entire heatsink, which means that you would also have reapplied the thermal paste. And not everyone could feel comfortable doing that. Also, some laptops are designed to make servicing these components even harder.


So if you are not comfortable opening up electronics and cleaning them, you should consider avoiding gaming laptops.


Gaming Laptops are not Upgradable.

This point contributes to the shorter lifespan of gaming laptops. Unlike a gaming PC, you can’t swap out a part whenever you like. Sure, you can upgrade your RAM and Storage, which can significantly boost your gaming performance, but it’s nowhere near as upgradable as a full-fledged PC.


This ends up becoming a problem as your laptop ages. So if a game comes out that requires a demanding GPU and your current GPU isn’t powerful enough to run those games, you are basically out of luck, and your only choice would be to buy a new gaming laptop or invest in a gaming PC. 


You can, however, buy an external GPU enclosure and connect it to your laptop via Thunderbolt. Still, you would be compromising portability while not getting the most out of your GPU due to Thunderbolt bandwidth constraints. Also, on top of that, external GPU enclosures are quite expensive. This is one of the main reasons why laptops are not good for gaming.


And buying a new machine ends up being a bit wasteful as the rest of the components in your old laptops would be just fine, like the CPU or display. In such cases, we recommend repurposing such laptops into something useful, like using them as a second monitor for your main PC.


If you want to spend your money on a gaming machine and get the most out of it for years to come, then gaming laptops are simply not it.


Laptop repairs are costly

Unlike a desktop PC, where you could easily swap out the damaged component and replace it with a working one without messing with the other components working fine, you can’t do the same with a laptop. 


So suppose your laptop GPU dies. You would have to replace your laptop’s entire motherboard, which includes your CPU, your motherboard itself, and your RAM and storage if it’s soldered. Not only is this wasteful, but it can prove to be quite a hefty repair.


And what contributes to the pricy nature of gaming laptops is that every laptop model has its specific motherboard, which means that you would need a very specific motherboard for your laptop, which could be extremely hard to find if your gaming laptop model isn’t that popular. 


This hassle is one of the reasons why laptops aren’t recommended for gaming, as you would be investing so much money into something that could end up costing an arm and a leg if it breaks.


Laptops aren’t cost-effective

And lastly, let’s talk about value for money. The most popular criticism against gaming laptops is that you can get a capable and powerful machine for the same price as a gaming laptop.


So, for example, let’s assume you have a budget of around $1000. For that amount of money on the PC side of things, you could get an RTX 3060 and a Ryzen 5600x, which would easily outperform any gaming laptop under $1000. And combine this performance with the benefits of owning a desktop gaming PC, it starts to make sense why laptops aren’t good for gaming.


Final Thoughts

At this point, it’s quite clear that laptops are not good for gaming. Despite all the disadvantages we discussed earlier, it’s quite clear that the market for gaming laptops exists for a reason and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So should you buy a laptop for gaming? If the disadvantages we discussed above bother you, then I guess you have your answer. However, if you can live with these cons, then a gaming laptop can also serve you as a fine gaming machine.


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