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Gaming Laptop Vs Regular Laptop: What’s The Difference?

Gaming Laptop Vs Regular Laptop: What’s The Difference?

Gaming laptops are usually much more expensive than regular laptops, but why is that? What is the actual difference between a top-of-the-line gaming laptop and your average laptop you’ll find at the office?

Let’s take a look at gaming laptops vs regular laptops and whether the price difference is justified.

What’s The Difference Between A Gaming Laptop And A Regular Laptop?

Gaming laptops have much better internal components than regular laptops. Gaming laptops usually have a dedicated graphics card, a lot of RAM, and a much more powerful processor when compared to a regular laptop. However, gaming laptops are also much larger, heavier, and louder than regular laptops.

When it comes to performance, regular laptops cannot compete with gaming laptops. Gaming laptops are built to run state-of-the-art games, which means they’ll have top-of-the-line processing power, fantastic graphics, and a whole lot of RAM.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than regular laptops, since gaming laptops will be a lot less convenient.

Regular laptops are much more portable than gaming laptops. They’re usually thinner, lighter, and make less noise. This is simply because regular laptops don’t have the same strong, bulky hardware that is found in the backs of gaming laptops.

So, each laptop has some pros and cons, and which one you choose will depend entirely on what you need a laptop for. Want something to game on or run a lot of programs at once? Gaming laptop it is. Want something to watch Youtube and edit documents? A regular laptop is just fine.

Gaming laptops also usually have a certain look to them. They are usually much flashier and colorful than regular laptops. This isn’t always true, and subtle gaming laptops do exist but they are hard to come by.

Fortunately, though, it seems like these subtle gaming laptops are getting more popular and most of the time they are actually built with better parts than the flashy ones.

Pros Of A Gaming Laptop

Here are some of the pros common to gaming laptops:

Powerful Processing

Gaming laptops usually have very strong processors (CPUs) which gives them a distinct advantage over regular laptops.

While graphics quality is nice, if you plan on getting a laptop specifically for work or studying, it doesn’t really matter how good games can look. Processing power, on the other hand, is almost always useful. It will help your operating system (OS) run fast, and prevent any programs from lagging.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to work or study on a laptop that always lags, and having a strong processor is a great way to combat and prevent that lag.

More RAM

RAM pairs well with processing power. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which is a fancy way of saying random memory that programs use when they run.

Some browsers, like Google Chrome, are known for using a lot of RAM. If you’re the type of person that has 5+ internet tabs open at once (guilty), having a strong processor and a lot of RAM is an absolute must.

Easily Multi-task

I love to multi-task. Whether I’m gaming and watching a YouTube video, or working on two projects at once, most of the time I’m not just focusing on a single task.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing to do, but there are a lot of people like me. If you like multi-tasking, then a gaming laptop will allow you to do so much easier and without lag thanks to its more powerful hardware.

Better Graphics And Better FPS

Now, this is the main reason that people choose gaming laptops and computers over normal ones. If you like playing games, especially new games, a gaming laptop is a must. Regular laptops will never be able to compete with the graphics and performance of gaming laptops.

Even lower-end gaming laptops will run games better than a normal laptop because normal laptops just aren’t built with gaming in mind.

Cons Of A Gaming Laptop

Here are some of the cons common to gaming laptops:

Expensive

It’s no secret that a gaming laptop will be a much bigger burden on your wallet than a regular laptop. Gaming laptops are built with dedicated GPUs, powerful CPUs, and high-capacity RAM, all of which are extremely expensive on their own.

Put them into a fancy portable metal box and you’re looking to spend some serious cash.

Large And Heavy

All of these components that go into a gaming laptop don’t just add onto the cost, but onto the size and weight as well. There’s nothing thicker than an expensive gaming laptop, which makes them a lot less convenient to carry around.

Most of the time they’ll still fit in your backpack, but I wouldn’t want to bring a gaming laptop with me to work or the classroom. Regular modern laptops are much sleeker than gaming laptops, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Loud

Gaming PCs, in general, can be very loud. Laptops just compound this issue because they have a lot less options when it comes to which parts can go inside. Laptops are small, which means all of their parts are clumped together.

When parts are clumped together, they get hot and the fans kick into overdrive, which leads to the classic tornado noise that gaming laptops are known for.

The Battery Will Need Replaced

Gaming laptops use a lot of power and their batteries tend to die after only a couple of years. This is one of the biggest downsides of gaming laptops, but thankfully it’s fairly easy to replace the battery most of the time. Even if you do not have technical knowledge, you can order a new battery for most gaming laptops online and simply plug them right in.

Pros Of A Regular Laptop

Here are some of the pros common to regular laptops:

Thin And Sleek

Regular laptops are usually much more convenient, in general, than gaming laptops. Every year, laptops get thinner and thinner, while getting more powerful. They’re still nowhere near as powerful as a regular laptop, but it’s amazing how much power manufacturers can squeeze in a quarter-inch thick body.

If I needed a computer to bring with me everywhere, including class, work, etc, I would choose a regular laptop over a heavy, bulky gaming laptop, any day.

Good Enough For Most Things

Gaming laptops are good for gaming and things that take a lot of processing and graphics power. Unless you’re editing videos, rendering animations, gaming, or something of that nature, a regular laptop will work fine.

Most modern laptops run pretty fast, and can handle typical use. This is because they usually have decent CPUs (processors), which is what most non-game programs require to run.

Cheap (Comparably)

Okay, not all regular laptops are cheap. But most of the time they are cheaper than their gaming laptop equivalents. Gaming laptops invest a lot of money in their GPU (Graphics Card), while regular laptops typically just run on integrated graphics.

This saves the manufacturers a lot of money, and those savings are passed onto you. Even a low-end gaming laptop will cost almost $1,000 while I could probably hop on Ebay right now and find a decent regular laptop for a little over $400.

Cons Of A Regular Laptop

Here are some of the cons common to regular laptops:

Parts Cannot Be Replaced

Regular laptops are built to stay the same throughout their entire lives. Sometimes you can upgrade certain components, like the RAM or storage, but this is usually quite the task. For example, I replaced the hard drive in my laptop and I had to order a very specific hard drive, and getting to it took a lot of effort.

If I wasn’t comfortable with technology (and willing to break my laptop) I would have never been able to replace something as simple as the hard drive.

This is true with gaming laptops as well. Most of the time you will not be able to replace the CPU or GPU. However, in my experience, gaming laptops are more likely to have easily replaceable RAM and storage.

Poor For Gaming

This one might be obvious, but regular laptops aren’t usually made with gaming in mind. Even when a regular laptop advertises that it’s good for gaming, most of the time it’s just not.

Sure, they’ll probably be able to handle easy games like League of Legends and Fortnite, but trying to run anything beyond that will be very difficult. This is especially true if you like playing games like GTA V or Farcry.

Limited Multi-tasking

A regular laptop will only be able to handle one or two tasks at a time. When I work on my computer, I have a few programs going at once. I may have one internet tab open to write on, 3+ tabs open for research, and another tab open with a video playing.

On top of these internet tabs, I may have a couple other computer programs open. All of these things add up, and most regular laptops just won’t be able to handle them.

When I work on my laptop, as opposed to my Gaming Pc, I usually have to pick and choose which programs and tabs I actually need open. On a gaming laptop, you’d be able to have your cake and eat it too.

Best Gaming Laptop

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is all around the best gaming laptop on the market at the moment. It offers the best bang for your buck, and its hardware is all top-of the line.

The display is beautiful, even though it is only 16 inches across. It has G-Sync technology, which prevents screen tearing, monitor ghosting, and makes games look as smooth as possible since it syncs your monitor with your FPS.

Now, onto the internals. This laptop has a RTX 3070, which is an amazing GPU that will be able to handle any game you throw at it. Couple this with the Ryzen 7-5800H, and you have yourself a very scary power couple.

16 GB of RAM is the gold standard in gaming. Many gaming laptops will choose to go with 8 GB because they know they can get away with it. However, 16 GB will make a huge difference, and I’m very glad Lenovo sprang for the extra 8GB.

A 1 TB SSD is also the gold standard, and probably the minimum amount of space you want in a laptop. An SSD will allow your operating system and your games to load very fast, and 1 TB should be enough space to store most of your favorite games (depending on how large your games usually are).

I love that this laptop has components this strong, while still maintaining a slim, subtle look. I wouldn’t even mind carrying this laptop around with me.

Best Regular Laptop

The Microsoft Surface Pro is the best regular laptop around. I love this laptop because it isn’t just powerful, it’s extremely convenient and portable.

It has the functionality of a tablet and a laptop, all in one. Most of the time I would be a bit skeptical of a laptop that can be turned into a tablet, since I wouldn’t think it’d be powerful enough. However, this thing has a Core i7 and 16 GB of RAM, which is powerful enough for anything you could want (aside from gaming).

The only thing I don’t like about this laptop is its storage. 256 GB is not a lot of storage, so you’ll probably end up needing external storage of some sort. This does depend on what you use the laptop for, however.

If you’re only storing simple documents, it may be a while before you eat up the 200+ GB, but if you also store a lot of images, videos, etc it will not take long at all.

If I needed a laptop specifically for work or school, this would be my pick. The portability is unparalleled and the power is just right. The screen looks very crisp and clear, and overall this laptop is the best regular laptop you’ll find on the market at the moment.

Can You Use A Regular Laptop For Gaming?

You can use a regular laptop for gaming, but the games that you can play will be very limited and the performance will not be anywhere near that of a gaming laptop. Regular laptops usually have integrated graphics, less powerful processors, and minimal RAM, all of which make games much harder to run.

I gamed on a regular laptop for years. While it wasn’t optimal, it worked. Sure, I was always jealous of my friends getting 200+ FPS while I was struggling to get 60, but at least I was able to play. There is a limit to which games you can play on a regular laptop, though.

Your laptop will probably be able to run games like League of Legends or Hearthstone, for example. But most regular laptops won’t be able to handle something like Rocket League, Apex Legends, Overwatch, etc.

It all comes down to how new your Laptop is, since newer laptops will have better hardware. On top of this, laptops tend to perform worse over time. I was able to run Day Z when my laptop was new (7 years ago). Now, though, I’d be lucky if the game even booted.

Can You Use A Gaming Laptop As A Regular Laptop?

A gaming laptop can be used as a regular laptop, and in many cases will be better than regular laptops for simple tasks. Gaming laptops have more powerful hardware, which makes multi-tasking and performing tasks easier and smoother. There’s no such thing as having too much power when it comes to laptops.

I’d much rather do my work or studying on a gaming laptop than a regular laptop. The only exception would be if I needed to carry my laptop around a lot, since gaming laptops are usually much bulkier. I’ve worked on a regular laptop in the past, and it can be very frustrating because of lag.

Depending on what you use your laptop for, you may need multiple programs running at once, which will be much easier on a gaming laptop than a regular laptop.

Even if your work / studying doesn’t require a lot of processing power, I personally love having the option to use my computer for more. You never know when you’ll pick up a new hobby (gaming, modeling, animating, etc) that requires a powerful computer.

So, having a gaming laptop will save you the time, effort, and money of having to upgrade later. I’d rather have a stronger computer than I need, than a computer that isn’t strong enough when I need it.

Which Laptop Should You Get: Gaming Or Regular?

You should get a gaming laptop because it’s always better to have a laptop that is stronger than what you need it for, than one that isn’t strong enough. A gaming laptop will last longer, be upgradable, and do anything that you need to do or will ever need to do. Gaming laptops are just better overall.

Of course, your budget and what you use your computer for both make a huge difference in your choice. If you game, animate, model, or do / plan to do anything that requires a good computer, you might as well just make the jump to a gaming computer.

Now, if you’re only using your computer to browse the web and use simple Microsoft apps, then a regular laptop is probably the better option. It will be more portable, and do exactly what you need it to with no extra fluff.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers and viewers of streams answer some of the questions they may have regarding live streaming. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.