The Big Question: Laptop Of Desktop

Recently I had to throw out the old desktop PC I had. Years and years ago I bought this thing to play Crysis. It was a beast back in the day but it got old. It was clunky, took up space. My wife and I both had laptops and we had no need for a desktop. My wife asked if we could get rid of it. I consented.

It was sad and, to this day, I haven't replaced the old bastard. I'm content to use my laptop for now. I mostly play indie games on PC so there's no real need to pick up a big, beefy rig at the moment.

Which leads me to today's big question: laptop or desktop?

Are gaming laptops up to scratch yet? Are they overpriced? Is it worth the extra cash or would you rather have the more powerful machine at a fraction of the cost?

This isn't just for playing games. Let's discuss the entire functionality of the 'computer'. Which do you prefer?


    Answer: Tablet

      You should take that joke on the road... you'd kill it.

      Not sure if joking or serious.....

      Troll is half right. Desktop plus tablet is the winning combination.

        My Surface Pro 2 plays SC:II and Skyrim fine. The latter having to turn settings down but still plays it.

          I tried to play skyrim on my tablet then realised that it is so much better on my desktop that is 5 meters away from me. Tablet/Ultrabook + Desktop for gaming = feeling guilty for not having a second a sponsor child but still happy

            Sometimes I Sketch using Sketchpad Pro on my SP2 in the park and if I bring along my gamepad I can play most games on it. Works well for my scenario.

          I play Crysis on max settings on my Nokia while taking a dump.

    Earl Laptop of Desktop III

    (come on, it's desktop, unless you're a BILLIONAIRE)

    Last edited 19/11/13 11:20 am

      Laptops work well for students and people who go to LAN parties. Yes it is double the price sometimes, but it is so much more convenient.

      On the other hand, I kinda wonder how many uni subjects I would have gotten a better mark in if I hadn't been playing Civ4 during the lectures.

        except most MP games don't let you play over a LAN anymore

          I'm a sucker for the classics, which I suppose don't need a gaming laptop anyway.

    I have to say for my personal situation a Desktop isn't appropriate. That's why I bought a gaming Laptop this year. Gotta say It was a bit Expensive, but it does the job :)

      Same here. I need a laptop for work, and I couldn't justify having a laptop and a desktop. Yet to find a game it can't play.

    No reason to get a laptop unless you really need it to be portable frequently.

    Shouldnt the title be "laptop or desktop" as in not "of"

    I bought a MBP 15" a week ago. It's my first laptop and I love it! I don't really game on computers that much. Only a few App store titles. A lot of people can't believe that I spent $3000 on a laptop. But I wanted a system that could last me 5 years. I like the portability of a laptop and the less space it takes up.

      You spent how much on a laptop? Unbelievable!

      I had the misfortune of dealing with that laptop recently.

      It runs BF4 decently but getting windows going on the latest MBP 15 was an absolute nightmare.

      Also the latest Nvidia drivers don't recognise the 750m in that machine so that was fun as well.

      I got a 17" MBP and it si great for day to day activities and work (work in a mac based office), but for how much it cost (~3k retail) it runs games terribly. Macs are not for gaming. My girlfriends $700 HP laptop does a much better job.

    I just don't have the room for a desktop setup - so it's always been laptop for me.
    Plus i like being able to game wherever i feel like or where it's going to least bother bee.

    Desktops can be upgraded incrementally and easily. Laptops cannot.

    Desktops win hands down.

      For this reason alone, desktop wins everytime.

      Only ever had one laptop, don't think I'll ever get another one, didn't really like it much, especially the mousepad, had to get a USB mouse.

    I really don't know why you said computer in inverted commas. It IS a computer.

    Laptop for me.

    Macbook Pro retina (not a fanboi) - dollar for dollar the best laptop on the market in my opinion. I use it for work and for pleasure. It satisfies my Skyrim addiction and it's a pleasure to code on the retina display.

      Bonus points for use of marketing buzzwords ('retina display') in your answer.

      How does your machine go playing games at native resolution? Not well, I'm guessing.

        That's what the model I've got is called - MBPR. Criticising people for using Apple buzzwords is getting old, it's like those people who drive past sporting ovals screaming "Howzat!" at people playing cricket. You think you are original, but really you are the 10th person to do it in the space of an hour.

        I'm aware it falls back to a lower resolution while playing games. But you probably noticed that I said I use it for work as well as for home use. So it kills two birds with one stone.

        Last edited 19/11/13 1:48 pm

          Do you find it gets too hot? I have one too and I have played a bit of borderlands 2 and Napoleon total war but I am always worried about how loud the fan gets.

          I also get ripped into for using the term retina. I don't really care if it is marketing buzzword, on this particular laptop that is what it is called.

    I'm still a little astonished by the premium that laptops (or in this context, more suitably ultrabooks) go for. I just sunk about $600 into a PC upgrade which leaves me with a current-gen i5, 16GB of RAM, an SSD and a fancy new mATX case. I'd have to sink double that amount - at absolute minimum - to snag a laptop of roughly comparable grunt.

    Unfortunately it looks like I'll have to anyway. As a graphic designer with a 5yr old laptop with a dead battery and a faulty/whiney fan, working on-site with clients can be a real drag.

    Desktop for me. I've always built my own systems. I enjoy playing around with them and being able to upgrade cheaply after the first year with more ram or gfx as the price drops. Bits and pieces of old systems have gone into HTPC and WHS builds.

    Desktop for at home / work, but laptops serve their purpose if you're out and about or wanna slum it on the couch.

    I love my laptop - I'm not too worried about maxing out my graphics, just playing the games! I have an I5 with a 1GB dedicated graphics card, has played everything I've thrown at it so far on high graphics even... the only issue I've come across so far, and it is kind of a big one, is the catalyst control centre thing, a few programs (I'm looking at you PS2 emulator) will just not recognise the switchable graphics and only use the crappy on board graphics. Might be a driver thing.. annoying nonetheless. I'll just have to use my actual PS2 - how inconvenient lol.

    Desktop for sure. I've spent enough years doing computer repair (amongst many other things) for enough time to throw out many entirely good laptops just because the screen stuffed up (for example) and it's too expensive to replace it, so they just buy another one. Throwing something out just because one part is broken is a massive waste to me.
    Plus I want a full keyboard and mouse (yes I know you can easily use them with a laptop) and many USB ports and display ports (currently 2 monitors and the TV) and the option to add more hard drives when needed (currently got 5 in my desktop, much prefer internal hard drives for speed and stability than external HDD).
    No question for me that I prefer desktops, but I can see the use for laptops particular for people that travel a lot.

      +1 for full-sized keyboards. Of all the stupid trends in laptop design, putting tiny keyboards on 15+ inch laptops is the most baffling to me (Macbook Pro I'm looking at you).

        Yes I get plenty enough of small keyboards dealing with tourists and their tablets . Man i can't imagine trying to use one of them to type up anything of any great size more than 'Hi, yes I am here, having a good time, see you soon'.
        I also love my keyboard function keys and macro keys for launching browser, media player, playlists etc, and if you are going to be lugging around a laptop plus keyboard and mouse and external hard drives, well it gets a bit much I think

    I've gone back and forth over the years as my situation and needs have changed. Went from Desktop to SFF to netbook to laptop to better laptop and now I'm back at Desktop. To each thing their own purpose but I think Desktops are more versatile.

    Por que no los dos?

    Well, on a more serious note, I don't see the point in owning a laptop if you plan on just having it as a desktop replacement. Those gaming laptops tend to be immobile behemoths, which seems rather pointless when you could just get a desktop.

    It's the same reason I don't see the point in wireless keyboards.

    I have a laptop and a desktop but when it comes to gaming, I've only really used my laptop (a Macbook Air) when the motherboard of my PC exploded. Let me tell you, Diablo 3 is even less great when you get single digit frame rates.

      I think we are getting closer to having decent integrated graphics.

      I tried BF4 on a 13 inch Retina with Iris and it was able to play BF4 smoothly at 1280x800 which is above Xbone level.

      Its miles better than the old intel integrated and they seem to be putting in a big effort to improve it.

        On the flip side however I have had to deal with a few laptops in the last couple of years that are overheating because of the integrated video card getting too hot from people running the settings too high I think. And with a laptop, once that graphics chip is damaged, it's pretty much buy a new laptop time, unless you like wonky colours :)
        What would be best would be if the chips on the laptop motherboard could be replaced, ie if they were attached with just small clips for example and you could buy replacement wireless chips, graphics chips, etc and pop the damaged chip/component out and replace it.
        Manufacturers, get onto this.

          Unfortunately the goal seems to be to make laptops less easily repairable :p

          There is actually glue holding some together!

          They want you to chuck it out and go buy another one.

            I heartily agree, the days of repairing things are dwindling more and more I think.
            "Ah just buy a new one" is the common cry that I hear whenever there is a problem with anything.

    With the number of console ports we're seeing on PC the need for a decent desktop rig is in decline. That said, there are still performance perks, and it's cheaper to upgrade than a laptop. I'll be keeping my monster (and its descendants) for some time yet.

    Laptop for me, desktops take up too much space and I need portability with my PC for game dev meetings :D

    Desktop, without question. Got used to multiple monitors, and with my tri-screen setup at home and dual-screen at work - no way I can go back to a single monitor. That said, I use my laptop alongside my desktop at work - before the switch died I had Synergy running to share the keyboard/mouse from the desktop so it was effectively three screens. And multiple screens extended from a laptop look weird, and are a pain to cart around.
    That, and I dislike having to cart around a proper keyboard and mouse (especially a mouse - trackpads can gdiaf, as far as I'm concerned) to be able to use the laptop properly.
    Oh, and the upgradability/fixability. My laptop has a dead SSD in it that I can't get out without drilling through the screws holding it in place. Compare that to the fifteen minutes I spent last night replacing my desktop's PSU, or the graphics card upgrade I did earlier this year, or the two extra hard drives? No contest.

    Laptop for convenience, but desktop for everything else. It feels good to have a designated place to search the web and play games. For gaming in the lounge, or in other areas of the house a PS3 is perfect for me. A Steambox would be even better!

    I hate having to look down to see the screen. Don't need the portability. Could do without the burning legs sensation.

    Always going to be a desktop for me.

    I've always been a console gamer, so the need for a beefy desktop pc is no longer any use to me. I have a basic Toshiba i7 laptop that I got for around $900. It has the grunt to open up the RAW files from my camera and Photoshop is pretty responsive which is the most important part.

    Another benefit is being able to take it away on holidays so I can upload my photos. Being able to sit out the back on the deck and relax with a glass of wine while surfing the net isn't too bad either :o)

    Desktop. It's cheaper, it's less cramped, and it's much easier to have things how I want them.

    If I wanted to get a laptop I'd have to spend ages and ages trying to find one that has a trackpoint on it, because touchpads are garbage. And having to lug along a mouse to attach to it (and therefore find a surface to use it on) kinda defeats the point of a laptop anyway. Glad I don't need the portability at all.

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