Gaming laptops are distinct from their regular counterparts in many ways. With that said, can a gaming laptop ever be cheaper than a regular one?
Gaming laptops are not cheaper than laptops. Laptops built for gaming typically have more powerful hardware and several additional features for running video games smoothly and reliably. As a result, these laptops tend to be more expensive than regular ones.
In this article, I’ll further elaborate on why it’s unlikely to find gaming laptops that are cheaper than ordinary laptops. I’ll explain the differences in hardware, overall performance, and other features in gaming laptops that add to the ultimate retail cost.
Hardware Geared for Performance
Generally speaking, a gaming laptop is an ordinary laptop with better hardware. The improved hardware is there to handle running video games and the high-end graphics and processing that come with them.
On the other hand, normal laptops fulfill more general tasks such as browsing the internet, checking email, and working on documents. These activities do not require as much processing power or graphics rendering, so regular laptops can get away with having less-powerful hardware.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find in a typical gaming laptop compared to a normal one:
Powerful and Dedicated GPU
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is especially important in gaming laptops because it handles the intense graphics processing required for playing video games. A powerful GPU allows better graphics quality, smoother gameplay, and faster frame rates.
Not only do regular laptops generally have less powerful graphics processing capabilities than gaming laptops, but they also have these processors integrated into the CPU.
An integrated GPU is a graphics processor included on the same chip as the central processing unit (CPU). You’ll find this type of GPU in most desktop computers and mobile devices (including laptops).
On the other hand, gaming laptops have a dedicated GPU. Also called a discrete GPU, it’s a graphics processor that exists on its own as a separate chip. This type of GPU offers better performance than an integrated one because it isn’t sharing resources with the CPU.
Due to the more demanding hardware in gaming laptops, they also require better cooling systems, which often come in the form of more fans and bigger heatsinks when compared to normal laptops. Dedicated GPUs and CPUs can generate a lot of heat while running games.
Regular laptops typically use a single fan to cool the entire system.
A gaming laptop will typically have more memory than a regular one, especially if it runs high-end games.
This additional memory comes in handy because it allows the game to load data into RAM (random access memory) faster, leading to smoother gameplay and less lag.
It’s worth noting that you can also find regular laptops with a lot of memory. However, these laptops are usually more expensive than ones with less.
Functionally speaking, screens between gaming laptops and normal ones are similar. However, they differ in terms of performance.
Gaming laptops tend to have higher refresh rates. A higher refresh rate means that the image on the screen is updated more frequently, which leads to smoother gameplay.
Decent everyday laptops typically offer a 60 Hz refresh rate to start. Gaming laptops begin at 144 Hz and only get higher from there.
Additional Features and Details
While these things don’t directly affect a gaming laptop’s performance, they’re still not normally found on regular ones, further adding to the price difference:
RGB Lighting and Backlighting
Many gaming laptops have RGB lighting built into them. While these lights are mostly for aesthetics, keys come backlit too. Backlighting is a feature that makes it easier for users to see the keys in low-light or no-light situations.
In addition to having RGB lighting, some gaming laptops also come with programmable keys. These are keys that you can program to perform certain actions with the press of a button.
For example, you could program a key to launch your web browser or open up a chat window. Or, if you’re a gamer, you could program it to perform a particular in-game action.
Gaming laptops also come with more ports than regular laptops because gamers often need to plug in many devices simultaneously while playing a game. They’re designed to accommodate anything a gamer might require, such as a mouse, keyboard, and headset.
Putting a normal laptop and a gaming one side-by-side, it’s not hard to see the visual design differences.
Ordinary laptops tend to have a more business-like look to them. They’re usually thinner and have sleeker lines.
On the other hand, gaming laptops can come in various colors and designs. Some even have logos or other gaming-related graphics on them. They can also include lighting effects that make them stand out even more.
Performance at a Cost
So far, it’s looking like gaming laptops are just better than their normal counterparts. However, other than their higher price tag, they do come with some drawbacks:
Since gaming laptops come with more powerful hardware, they also require more power to run. This increased power usage means their battery life is often shorter than a regular laptop.
Ordinary laptops focus on getting good battery life as one of their main selling points. Meanwhile, gaming laptops sacrifice some battery life to have better performance.
Weight and Size
Gaming laptops are also typically heavier and larger than regular ones, as they need to have a bigger cooling system to keep the hardware from overheating. This added weight and size can make them less portable when compared to normal laptops.
Other Uses for Gaming Laptops
While its primary function caters to gamers, gaming laptops can still operate as normal laptops just fine. On top of that, their extra features and powerful hardware make them ideal for other activities.
- A gaming laptop can be a good investment for video editing or graphics-heavy work. The extra performance can come in handy when working with large files or rendering videos.
- Watching high-definition movies and TV shows on a gaming laptop can offer a better experience than a regular one. The higher refresh rate and better visuals will create a more immersive experience.
The Bottom Line
Gaming laptops aren’t likely to be cheaper than ordinary laptops. Added benefits come with added costs, and it’s up to you to determine whether or not these added benefits are worth it.