Choosing a Gaming Laptop or Desktop

There's nothing like a cutting-edge gaming machine. Whether you're a hardcore gamer or an amateur enthusiast, you can take your favorite hobby to the next level with a new PC. The tricky part is deciding whether to invest in a gaming laptop or desktop. In the past, that was a fairly easy question to answer, since gaming laptops couldn't come close to the performance and customizability of a desktop. However, gaming laptops have continued to evolve in the past few years, packing incredible features into a portable package. In this FAQ, we've outlined the pros and cons of a gaming laptop vs. desktop, so that you can make an educated purchase and enjoy the best that gaming has to offer.

Advantages of a Gaming Desktop

In many ways, pitting a gaming desktop against a gaming laptop can feel like an unfair fight – almost like a heavyweight boxer going up against a lightweight. Gaming desktops are much larger machines than their laptop counterparts, and their expansive designs can pack a lot more features inside. Here are some of the top reasons to choose a gaming desktop:


Most laptops are designed with mobile-specific processors, which are usually less powerful than their desktop equivalents, because they have to fit into a smaller frame. On the other hand, gaming laptops have significantly more space to work with, so they can pack more processing power inside. That's also true for the cooling system, which has to be cleverly engineered in a laptop, but can be more effective in a desktop design. Heavy-duty gaming will tax your system and cause it to heat up, but a gaming desktop can put more cooling fans and pads in place to keep your PC running smoothly.


Gaming desktops tend to be way more customizable than laptops, because there's only so much tweaking and expanding you can do with a portable machine. With a desktop, if you want to add a second hard drive or an updated graphics card, it's as easy as unscrewing the case and replacing the part with some simple tools. Gaming laptops may have the option to replace a hard drive or battery, but it's a much trickier process, and you'll have to find the perfect replacement part for your machine.

Advantages of a Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops can go with you anywhere, which is a pretty big selling point if you like gaming on-the-go. But there are quite a few reasons to choose a gaming laptop over a desktop – especially if you're a college student or a digital nomad. Here are some of the top advantages of a gaming laptop:


Laptops are thin and lightweight enough to bring to a coffee shop, your friend's house, or your couch. On the other hand, a gaming desktop is pretty much bound to your desk, unless you decide to pack it up and lug it to another location. Gaming laptops are all about freedom and mobility. Everything you need is packed into one device – including the display, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

No Need for a Separate Monitor

Even though gaming laptop displays tend to be smaller than the average desktop monitor, they usually boast impressive resolution. Plus, the display is included when you purchase a laptop, whereas desktop monitors are often sold separately from PC towers. If you want to enjoy next-gen gaming but would rather not deal with putting together a rig, then a gaming laptop is probably perfect for your lifestyle.

When to Choose a Gaming Laptop or Desktop

There are some serious differences to consider when choosing a gaming laptop or desktop, and even though most desktops win out on the performance side, there are significant trade-offs as well. It's important to choose the right machine that fits your needs, and for many people, a gaming laptop will offer more than enough power to satisfy. Here are a few key areas where a gaming laptop shines:

It Doubles as a Work Laptop

Gaming laptops tend to have more computing power than the average non-gaming laptop, so they're a great option if you're looking for a work/play machine. You'll have more than enough speed to handle video conferences and creativity software, but when it's time to clock out, you'll be ready to play the latest AAA titles on the same computer. This is because gaming laptops are designed to handle cutting-edge graphics and processing tasks, whereas a normal laptop offers a less impressive experience overall.

It Doubles as a School Laptop

Likewise, the latest gaming laptops are a perfect choice for college students in need of an all-in-one PC for study sessions and gaming marathons. Of course, students will need to demonstrate enough self-control to not boot up a game when it's just a few clicks away, but that's a potential problem with any device. Only difference is, a gaming laptop will run the game with better graphics and a smoother frame rate.

You Can Game Anywhere

If you're the type of person that's always on the road or constantly moving around, there's no reason to weigh yourself down with a gaming desktop. Today's gaming laptops can fit easily in a backpack, so you can bring one on a weekend getaway or a local gaming tournament. And if you're traveling internationally, you won't ever worry about running out of entertainment on a long layover.

It's Built to Last

The best gaming laptops are designed to handle next-gen titles, so they usually take longer to go obsolete than other laptops. Not to mention, many gaming laptops have greater upgradability potential, with more space for RAM and other performance enhancements.

Lenovo Gaming Laptops

Most gamers want to be on the cutting edge, but not everyone craves a PC with a design that screams "gamer". Lenovo Legion gaming laptops could go undercover as a business or school laptop, but underneath the hood, it has the latest Intel Core processors and NVIDIA graphics. With an ultraslim design and a near-edgeless display with over 2 million pixels, Legion gaming laptops are affordable enough for every type of gamer, but powerful enough to handle the hottest titles. And don't worry – they still come with optional RGB backlit keyboards for a little showmanship. They're designed for gamers, after all.

Meanwhile, the IdeaPad Gaming laptop series has even more of a sleeper design, boasting a sleek black frame and a full-sized keyboard with ambient backlighting. Underneath the covert frame, however, is a real gamer's laptop with the latest NVIDIA graphics card and some serious processing power. Plus, these understated laptops have built-in Dolby Audio systems for advanced sound while gaming or rocking out.

At Lenovo, we love gaming, which is why we've created Legion Ultimate Support to show our appreciation. This 24/7 comprehensive service is designed specifically for gaming machines, so you can maximize your experience. Our expert technicians can provide support with tuning, troubleshooting, hardware optimization, and much more.

Ready to dive into an immersive 3D world? Do you have the power to handle it? At Lenovo, we're here to help you enjoy the journey, with gaming laptops and desktops that reimagine what's possible.

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