Gaming Laptops vs. Desktops for College – Which is Best

When you’re a student, every penny counts. You want to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money and that you’re making the best decisions possible when it comes to your education. So, which is better: gaming laptops or gaming desktops for college?

Should You Go for a Gaming Laptop or a Gaming Desktop for College?

It really depends on what you need and what you’re looking for. If you’re someone who needs to be able to take your gaming with you wherever you go, then a gaming laptop is probably the best choice for you. However, if you’re someone who wants the most power for their money and doesn’t mind being tethered to one spot, then a gaming desktop is probably the way to go.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • How important is portability? If you need to be able to take your gaming with you, then a laptop is going to be the better choice.
  • How much money do you want to spend? Laptops can be more expensive than desktops, so a desktop might be the better choice if you’re on a budget.
  • How important is upgradability for you? If you want to be able to upgrade your gaming rig down the line, then a desktop is going to be the better choice.

Advantages of Gaming Laptops for College

Portability: Portability is probably the biggest advantage of gaming laptops. If you need to be able to take your gaming with you, then a laptop is going to be the better choice.

Aesthetics: Gaming laptops have come a long way in terms of aesthetics. Many gaming laptops now have sleek, elegant designs that would look great in any college dorm room.

Less space to set up everything: With gaming laptops, you don’t need to worry about having enough space to put everything. All you need is a small desk or table to set it on, and you’re good to go.

Laptops are a whole-package deal: You don’t need to buy an expensive screen, keyboard, and gaming mouse separately like you would with a gaming desktop.

Disadvantages of Gaming Laptops for College

Expensive: A good gaming laptop can often go for 800 USD (check out this list for the best options in that price range). This is a lot of money for most college students. That’s why many students opt for a Chromebook for college.

Not as upgradeable as gaming desktops: It’s not possible to upgrade the graphics card or processor in a gaming laptop the way you can with a gaming desktop. You’re stuck with what you have until you buy a new gaming laptop.

Short Battery Life: With the powerful hardware gaming laptops have, the battery life is often short, so you may need to be close to an outlet.

Advantages of Gaming Desktops for Students

Better if you don’t need to be mobile: If you don’t need to bring your gaming device with you everywhere you go on campus, then a gaming desktop is probably the better choice.

Better performance for the price: As a student on a budget, getting the most gaming bang for your buck is probably a priority, and desktops usually offer better performance for the price than gaming laptops.

Upgradeable: Unlike gaming laptops, you can upgrade the graphics card, processor, and other components in a gaming desktop which will save you money in the long run.

No need to worry about battery life: Since gaming desktops are plugged into an outlet, you don’t have to worry about the short battery life.

The Downside Of Gaming Desktops For College

No portability: The biggest downside of gaming desktops is that they’re not portable. So, if you have to move around campus or travel for tournaments, you’re out of luck.

The latest hardware can be expensive and hard to find: With the current semiconductor shortage, it’s difficult to find the latest and greatest gaming hardware. You might be stuck with something slighly older, like the Nvidia GTX 1650 for gaming. And, when you do find something new and powerful, it’s often quite expensive.

Difficult driver management: While gaming laptops tend to have proprietary drivers that are easy to install and manage, gaming desktops often require you to manually find, download, and install the latest drivers for each of the desktop’s hardware components.


So, which is better for college students: gaming laptops or gaming desktops? The answer, as you can see, depends on a variety of factors. If portability and ease of use are your top priorities, then a gaming laptop is probably the way to go. However, if performance and customization are more important to you, then go for a gaming desktop for college.