Gaming laptop vs. Gaming desktop: round 2

Ed: The original post of this article contained an error relating to the model of laptop used for the comparison. This has been rectified for the republished version.

A while back MyGaming compared a high-end gaming laptop with a high-end gaming desktop, and found that the laptop ended up more expensive and less upgradeable, but was by far the superior choice when it came to portability.

The gaming desktop was cheaper to build and could be upgraded as the years went by, but wasn’t exactly the personification of “gaming on the go”.

Rather than compare two high-end systems, this time we’ll be comparing the MSI GE70, a mid-range gaming laptop that offers great value for money, with a mid-range gaming PC to find out if the status quo has shifted.

The laptop

MSI have slapped a mid- to high-end office notebook together with a decent dedicated graphics card and gaming body- the result is the GE70, a cost effective way to take gaming with you wherever you go.

Here are the specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3210M
  • Motherboard: Intel HM76 chipset
  • RAM: 2 x 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz
  • Hard Drive: 750GB 7200rpm drive
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GT650M GPU
  • Screen: 17.3 inch 1600 x 900 non gloss display
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

There is some cost cutting apparent on the GE70, but this allows it to be an attractive option to gamers. There is no SSD, the screen is a lower than Full HD resolution and doesn’t support 3D gaming. Is features a mid-range Intel i5 processor, and ships with Windows 7 Home Premium.

However, the system is still formidable for its price tag – R10,960 from Laptop direct.

MSI GE70 gaming notebook, quite a looker

The equivalent-power desktop

Now, to see how much an equally powerful desktop will cost:

  • CPU: Intel i5 3450 ivy bridge processor (R1,950)
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M LE (R1,300)
  • RAM: 2 x 4GB DDR3 1,333MHz (R400)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA 3 hard drive (R750)
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GT640 – Asus (R1,300)
  • Screen: LG 20” LED 1600 x 900 (R950)
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (R1,050)
  • Case: Coolermaster elite cool 311 (R350)
  • PSU: Corsair CX500w V2 500w (R600)
  • Keyboard: Logitech K360 wireless (R250)

With a total cost of R8,900, the equivalent performance desktop system retails locally for around R8,900 (prices were sourced from a range of local online retailers, rounded to the nearest R50).

While the desktop needs a case, PSU and keyboard to be on par with the laptop, a desktop system that is slightly more powerful than the gaming laptop retails for R2,000 less than the laptop.

This isn’t much of a difference when you factor in the mobility that the laptop affords gamers, who can now take their hobby with them wherever they go.

However, that R2,000 can be what makes or breaks a deal on a gaming laptop for most gamers. The extra money can be spent on a 120GB SSD as well as an upgrade to a new monitor. Otherwise, GPU or CPU upgrade are both well within budget.

Then, there is still the question of upgradeability. Apart from minor parts such as RAM and the hard drive, the laptop won’t be easily upgradeable; and even if it is, it won’t be to much more powerful components.

Bottom line

At the end of the day, the cost of going mobile for gaming is around R2,000, and a severely limited upgrade path. If this seems worth it to you, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go for a gaming laptop.

However, if you don’t plan on gaming away from home, the desktop should still be the PC medium of choice.

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Gaming laptop vs. Gaming desktop: round 2

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