Are Gaming Laptops Really Good for Gaming? (2023)

I’ve had a gaming laptop from a well-known manufacturer for two years now, with good performance to begin with. Before you buy a gaming laptop, you probably want to know if a gaming laptop really has enough power and other features to make gaming an absolute pleasure.

In this post, I’ll give you an insight into my experience as someone who plays not only FPS games but also racing sims, flight sims, strategy games, and more.

Gaming laptops are not convincing in graphics-intensive games, for example, first-person shooters. The graphics card is quickly outdated, cannot be overclocked, and is generally a cut-down version of the comparable desktop version. Furthermore, the screen size is always too small.

As an IT architect, I am often on business trips and would typically have to live without my favorite hobby for up to a week. So it was obvious for me not to buy a desktop PC but a real gaming laptop.

About two years ago I decided to buy a speedy model at that time. SSD hard drive, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA graphics card with 6GB VRAM, and various other bells and whistles should enable the best possible performance when playing games like Valorant PUBG, Call of Duty, etc.

Today, I’d like to give you some food for thought and advise you against a gaming laptop if – attention, this is important – you want to play graphics-intensive games at a high level. If you are a casual gamer and want to be mobile with your system, I can’t say anything bad about gaming laptops.

Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.

I’ll list a few problems, disadvantages, and drawbacks of gaming laptops that I’ve experienced myself below:

Inconvenient Upgrade

Never change a running system, they say, but sometimes a system gets on in years. If you selectively replace components now, you will teach the system to run again and save a lot of money compared to buying a new one.

If your laptop is getting a bit long in the tooth, it’s tough to find suitable components for exactly your type of laptop. The new technology usually requires different motherboards or connectors.

However, the current components of your laptop are specifically designed for the case. The chances you will get the desired components for an upgrade for your laptop are vanishingly small, apart from the high price.

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Incorrect Sitting Posture

The point is omitted if you can jack up your laptop to eye level and have an extra keyboard connected. Otherwise, your laptop is on the table, and the screen’s height leads to an incorrect sitting posture. So you should at least connect an extra screen at home to avoid back pain during long sessions.

On the road, this disadvantage always hits you. Mostly the tables in hotels are not as high as the desk at home. I can only give you the advice: If you have back problems, you should not buy a gaming laptop.

Screen too Small

Even if you choose the largest screen available on a gaming laptop, the screen diagonal is too small for FPS games. Especially if you have an extra (large) monitor connected at home, you will curse your gaming laptop when traveling. Actual gaming monitors also have many other advantages in terms of latency, brightness, black tone optimization, sharpness, etc.

Integrated Screen has a low Frame Rate (Hz)

We describe in other articles how important the Frame per Second (FPS) rate is for your performance. For example, here:

Gaming laptops usually only have 60Hz. The standard for pro gamers is now 144Hz, and many have already switched to 240Hz. Again, if you usually play on a second monitor with a higher FPS, you won’t enjoy the integrated screen of your gaming laptop while traveling.

Always too few USB Ports Available

A desktop PC usually has 4-6 USB ports. A gaming laptop usually comes with 3 USB ports. With the current number of end devices with USB, a gamer has a cell phone charger, microphone, controller, headset, base plate cooling, keyboard, etc. I come quickly over three devices.

So I need a USB hub.

If you take a passive hub, where the power comes from the laptop, you stress the system’s power supply. If you take an active hub with a power supply, you still need a power outlet when traveling.

In many hotel rooms, there is only one socket at the table. I’ve had situations where I’ve been really annoyed by this.

Mini Port Cable only

A gaming laptop requires special mini-port cables for some ports. You are thus limited to one type of connection. Desktop computers usually offer different standards (HDMI, DVI, Displayport, SVGA, etc.). So if you forget a cable while traveling, you can’t just use any cable that a friend or a hotel can provide.

Personally, this has hit me hard. My BenQ monitor with 144Hz has a factory issue with its mini display port input. When I realized the error properly (it occurred only sporadically), the return period had expired. Switching to HDMI automatically reduces the Hz rate to max. 120Hz. Most of the gaming laptops or the installed graphics cards do not have any other options. I can only get out of this dilemma by buying a new monitor. Sad.

Not Enough Cooling

When playing FPS games like PUBG, Call of Duty, Valorant, APEX, etc., not only your graphics card is running at full speed. Your entire system is under full load and generates heat.

Passive components mostly control the cooling in laptops, and that is sufficient for regular applications. Therefore, you should place the laptop on a fan plate to offer your processor, RAM, and graphics card a bit more air to breathe. If individual components get too hot, a gaming laptop automatically regulates the heat with a performance throttling and actively protects the hardware from serious damage.

Believe me, when you’re in a hot fight, you don’t want to suddenly have only half the FPS because your system goes into throttling.

Downsized Graphics Card

You read through an FPS boost guide for your game and notice that you can’t find the advertised setting at all.

The explanation for this can be straightforward. Your gaming laptop has a special graphics card installed. For example, my laptop has an NVIDIA GTX 1060 installed. However, not the regular GTX 1060. The exact designation is GTX 1060m. This discrepancy becomes noticeable when selecting the appropriate drivers.

As a result, certain features that a full-fledged GTX 1060 offers are missing. Of course, these can be completely insignificant gimmicks, but we installed the same card on a desktop PC.

When it comes to settings for FPS latency, I do not have the same flexibility and options as with a desktop laptop.

A comparable desktop gamer, therefore, has a minimal advantage at this point.

Processors and graphics cards of gaming laptops can also be overclocked. Of course, it’s your system, and you can do what you want with it. I have overclocked processors in desktop PCs several times and had good experiences.

With my gaming laptop, however, it looked different.

It is absolutely not advisable to overclock laptops.

Apart from the fact that all warranty claims are immediately voided, the components in a laptop react much more sensitively than on a desktop pc. Overclocking can work well in the first moment but lead to extreme overheating after a longer gaming time. Automatic throttling mechanisms also occur in laptops, which are difficult to control.

Some components, such as the RAM, are already overclocked by the manufacturer in a gaming laptop. A further increase in the clock frequency can immediately lead to hardware damage.

Final Thoughts

Gaming laptops have their right to exist. I wouldn’t want to deny them that in any case. If you play games where 60 FPS is sufficient, you can live with a small monitor and position the laptop somehow at eye level; then, a gaming laptop can use its mobility advantage.

If you are an ambitious gamer or already play competitive matches, then you should instead get a stationary system with decent performance. You won’t experience the disadvantages mentioned above but can fully concentrate on your hobby. If you participate in an offline event (LAN finals), the complete equipment will be provided anyway.

Happy Fragging!

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GL & HF! Flashback out.

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