I'm a PC gamer, but I hate gaming laptops – PCWorld

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I’m a PC gamer, but I hate gaming laptops.
That statement may be a touch incendiary, but no matter what I do, I’m unable to subscribe to the cult of gaming laptops. It’s just not for me. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using one (more power to you), I find them to be too cumbersome, often taking up precious desk space I’d rather reserve for my gaming peripherals. They also tend to emit a great deal of fan noise and I prefer a machine that runs near-silent.
Is it sacrilege to speak of gaming laptops in such a way? Maybe (insert shrug emoji here), but I must tell my truth because I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
If you prefer gaming laptops to desktop towers, then you should check out PCWorld’s gaming laptop roundup.
Gaming laptops are expensive to produce because they require special cooling due to their compact designs. They’re also replaced more often than desktop towers and you can’t always replace an individual part. If you’re looking to save some money, desktop PCs can definitely offer a better value. (Bonus: We keep track of killer gaming PC sales in our oft-updated roundup of the best desktop PC deals.)
You don’t have to move a desktop tower around, either. This means it’s less likely to get damaged or stolen. Nothing puts hair on your chest faster than accidentally dropping a laptop from a height. I’m pretty sure time slows down.
Desktop PCs are much easier to upgrade or repair, especially if you’re assembling the tower from the ground up. Personally, I like being able to update or expand when the need arises, as it saves me money in the long run. Unfortunately, the hardware inside of a gaming laptop is often soldered on, which makes it impossible to swap out the memory or storage. The inability to extend the life of a gaming laptop is a real bummer. Not only does it create unnecessary e-waste, but it’s also going to cost you more money.
That said, Framework laptops, which I’m a massive fan of, are designed to be upgraded and repaired by the user. The DIY company is even releasing a gaming laptop in late 2023 (check out the video below), which is good news for those who like to tinker.
The one thing that really gets under my skin about gaming laptops is the fan noise. They kind of sound like they’re revving up for lift-off or something. I’m the type of gamer that really likes to zone in on what I’m doing and nothing breaks the immersion factor faster than distracting fan noise.
Sure, I could always throw on a pair of headphones to deafen the sound, but I’d much prefer a quieter machine from the get-go. I own a NXZT pre-built desktop PC and I couldn’t be happier with it. My tower runs near-silent pretty much all of the time, even when I’m playing more visually demanding games. You won’t find any machines that sound like rocket ships in my office. No way.
Let’s face it. As far as size and bulk goes, gaming laptops are absolute behemoths. They often tip the scales at six pounds or more and I just don’t have the desire to be lugging that heft around everywhere. I work from home on a day-to-day basis, which means I have a permanent setup in my office. My current setup makes it super easy for me to sit down, boot up, and play. I’m just not the type of person that likes to game on-the-go.
Gaming laptops tend to take up a lot of space, too. I’m unable to function if my computer desk is covered in clutter, which is why I keep it as clean as possible. Gaming laptops can eat up a ton of precious desk space, which I’d rather save for my chosen gaming accessories and peripherals. Also, the displays on gaming laptops are usually quite dim, so I’d prefer to use separate gaming monitors with better resolutions and brightness levels (I’m presently rocking a dual-screen setup).
Gaming laptops sometimes have trouble with venting out the heat, which is created by the powerful components inside. Sure, vents and heatsinks help remove the heat, but gaming laptops can run hot on the bottom and, if I’m going to use it on my lap, I’d rather not risk scorching my embarrassingly pale legs (though they could use some color). Again, I’d much prefer my stationary PC desktop that sits on the side of my desk to a gaming laptop that may or may not burn my legs. To be fair, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to use a gaming laptop on your lap for an extended period of time, as (again) they’re also quite heavy and unwieldly.
I’m a natural-born contrarian, through and through. I approach almost every bit of tech with some level of skepticism. That said, I understand how convenient gaming laptops are for lots of people. You’re essentially getting everything (keyboard, trackpad, etc) in one package.
But I don’t want to contribute to the ever-growing e-waste problem (if I can help it—I’m well aware that I spearhead the laptop effort here at PCWorld) and I find that desktop PCs offer more value in general. They’re easier to upgrade, which means you can easily extend the life out of your machine, and they make for a more peaceful environment due to the nonexistent fan noise. It’s just a better way to live, friends.
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.
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