If you are in the market for a gaming laptop, you may have noted that they cost over $1,000 with some high-end ones costing $4,000 or more.
This might make you wonder, are they overpriced? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more convenient to just build your own gaming desktop with similar or better specs?
Gaming laptops are so expensive because the high cost of designing custom high-performance hardware that is lightweight and rugged enough to withstand the daily stresses of being carried around is passed on to the consumer.
Let’s look at the various reasons as to why gaming laptops are so expensive:
1. Creating Custom Parts For Each Laptop Model Is Expensive
The lack of compatible and interchangeable gaming laptop components is a big challenge for manufacturers. They have to come up with custom motherboards, chassis, thermal solutions, etc. that are specific to their various product models.
For example, gaming laptops have mobile versions of the CPU, RAM, and GPU that are designed to perform highly under limited power. Portability and performance cost a premium.
And when new technology enters the market, they have to redesign these parts to accommodate it. There is never a one size fits all solution for laptops. Each new model has to adapt to new technology, making the whole process expensive.
On the other hand, it is easy to come up with standardized parts for desktops, making building, customizing, and upgrading much cheaper. Typically, desktop cases have a tower form factor that gives engineers lots of space to work with.
Parts do not have to be fitted with precision in the casing, thus they can be mass-produced without worrying about things like power restriction, air-flow (thermal), and size. You can pick parts from different manufacturers and still build a high-performance desktop.
Mass production of standardized components lowers the price of building a desktop significantly. The time and resources that go into the design and production of custom laptop parts is a key contributor to their high prices.
2. Manufacturers Have To Come Up With Innovative Cooling Solutions
The CPU and GPU in gaming computers emit a lot of heat during gameplay and if this heat isn’t regulated it can cause thermal throttling and reduce performance.
On gaming desktops, you can install large fans and big heatsinks without worrying about space and weight. Liquid cooling is also an option in desktops, however, it’s not possible on laptops.
Engineers have to fit components strategically in a small chassis (external casing). This also means that they have come up with ingenious cooling solutions in order to keep temperatures low.
For example, the advanced Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop features vapor cooling chambers instead of ordinary heat pipes, custom 44 blade fans, and graphite-based server grade thermal materials.
Another example of an innovative cooling method is seen in the Asus Zephyrus gaming laptop. It features an active aerodynamic system that allows a portion of the bottom of the laptop to open, creating 20% more open space for airflow and improving airflow by 32%.
These clever solutions cut off thermal throttling, allowing laptops to be slimmer while still keeping their interior cool. However, they are expensive to produce and implement and hence increase the price of gaming laptops.
3. Testing And Assembling
As we mentioned earlier, laptops have to withstand the stresses of being moved from one point to another.
Simply producing components is not enough, their ruggedness has to be tested. Desktops don’t have this problem because they mostly stay in a fixed position.
Besides ruggedness, thermal solutions, performance, power efficiency also need to be thoroughly tested. This is important to ensure that thermal throttling is kept in check so that you can get a smooth gaming experience.
Also, assembly of laptops is done manually by skilled technicians since each part has to be fitted with precision in a small chassis. And when new models are produced these technicians have to learn how the new parts fit together to streamline the assembly process.
Both testing and assembling are pretty hands-on activities, thus several technicians have to be brought on board. Hiring and training technicians is quite expensive and this cost is passed on to the buyers.
4. Warranty And Support
When you buy a gaming laptop, you are not only paying for the device itself but also for the warranty that comes with it. High-end laptops will usually have up to a 3-year limited warranty covered in the cost.
This gives gamers the confidence to purchase the laptops knowing that if something goes wrong, they can send the laptop back to the manufacturer to have it fixed or replaced.
Custom-built desktops don’t come with a warranty covering the whole system since you’ll be picking individual parts and connecting them together yourself. This makes them less expensive.
5. Brand Reputation And Expectations
Similar to how you’d pay extra to own a Tesla car over another electric car brand, is the same way some laptop brands price themselves higher based on the reputation they’ve built.
Laptop manufacturers such as Asus ROG, Razer, MSI, and Alienware have built their reputation over the years in the gaming industry. As a result, gamers have learned to trust and appreciate the quality of their products and are willing to pay more.
Therefore, these companies can charge a premium to cover the costs of coming up with innovative solutions that strive to give gamers a smoother gaming experience.
For example, gamers pay more for the Razer Blade family of gaming laptops because they know they’ll get a laptop that is not only portable but also performs well.
6. Cutting Edge Technology
Unlike in desktops where you can start with cheap components and slowly upgrade them over time, upgrading in laptops is limited to the RAM and storage.
Only a few gaming laptops allow you to upgrade the CPU and GPU. For this reason, gamers looking to buy new laptops will often expect to see nothing but the latest technology in their laptops.
Having the most cutting edge technology in your laptop means that you can play the most recent games smoothly. And on top of that, it allows the laptop to serve you longer before its hardware gets outdated.
New technology is always more expensive than older technology because it often performs better and usually has more features.
For example, a gaming laptop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU is going to be more expensive than one with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 GPU because it has more graphics processing power and can handle ray tracing, VR, and 4K gaming better.
Why Are Gaming Laptops More Expensive Than Desktops?
Despite having lower performance than desktops, gaming laptops are still more expensive than desktops with equivalent or better specs.
Gaming laptops are more expensive than desktops mainly because they offer both power and portability. Their prices are also driven up by the high costs of developing custom parts for each model, testing and assembling, and coming up with innovative cooling mechanisms.
Why Are Gaming Laptops More Expensive Than Normal Laptops?
Gaming laptops are more expensive than normal laptops because they have high-performance processors as well as extra features such as dedicated graphics cards, backlit RGB keyboards, and advanced cooling systems that are not found in normal laptops.
Conclusion- Why Are Gaming Laptops So Expensive
The development of custom parts and thermal solutions, as well as the need for manual skilled testing and assembly, are among the reasons why gaming laptops are so expensive.
Additional features such as backlit RGB keyboards, high-resolution displays, and eye-catching designs on their casings also increases the price of gaming laptops. However, despite their high cost, they are still the perfect option for PC gamers who love to game on the go.