Why Are Gaming Laptops So Expensive Compared To Desktops?

If you are in the market for a gaming laptop, you’ve likely realized just how expensive they are compared to gaming desktops of similar specs. Gaming laptops cost at least $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? 

Gaming laptops are expensive because of the high cost involved in testing and designing custom high-performance parts that are both lightweight and rugged enough to withstand the daily stresses of being carried around.

The following are the main reasons why gaming laptops are so expensive:

1. Producing Custom Parts Is Expensive

The lack of compatible and interchangeable gaming laptop components is a huge challenge for manufacturers. They are forced to produce custom motherboards, chassis, thermal solutions, high-capacity batteries (to improve battery life), etc. for their various product models, thus increasing the production cost. 

For example, gaming laptops are equipped with mobile versions of the CPU, RAM, and GPU that are designed to perform well under limited power. And when new technology enters the market, they have to be redesigned to accommodate it.

On the other hand, it is easy to come up with standardized parts for desktops, making building, customizing, and upgrading much cheaper. Also, the fact that desktop cases generally take a tower form factor makes it easy for technicians to install different components easily without space restrictions.

Desktop parts can be mass-produced to bring the cost of production down since they do not have to be fitted with precision inside the casing. Gaming desktops also differ from gaming laptops because they give you the freedom to pick parts from different manufacturers and build a high-performance gaming rig that’s within your budget.

2. Innovative Cooling Solutions Are Expensive

The CPU and GPU in gaming laptops produce a lot of heat when playing games or performing other demanding tasks. And if this heat isn’t regulated it can result in overheating and affect performance.  

To keep a gaming laptop cool, engineers have to come up with ingenious cooling that can work in the limited space available in a laptop chassis. These clever solutions are expensive to produce and implement and hence increase the price of gaming laptops.

For example, the advanced Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop utilizes vapor cooling chambers instead of ordinary heat pipes, custom 44-blade fans, and graphite-based server-grade thermal materials.    

The Asus Zephyrus gaming laptop, on the other hand, features an active aerodynamic system that allows a portion of the bottom of the laptop to open, creating 20% more open space to increase airflow by 32%.

In comparison, gaming desktops have lots of space in their casing and don’t need to be lightweight, making their cooling system less complicated. You can install large fans and heatsinks to dissipate heat produced without having to come up with new cooling solutions that are expensive to implement.

3. Testing And Assembling

gaming laptop testing and assembly makes them more expensive than desktops

Gaming laptops have to perform highly as well as withstand the daily stresses of being moved from one point to another. Therefore, the various components and materials to be used have to undergo various tests before a gaming laptop is ready for the market.

Besides ruggedness and performance, some other things that are tested include thermal solutions, aesthetics, and power efficiency. This ensures that the end product appeals to the end user and thermal throttling is kept in check for the best gaming experience. 

Assembly of gaming laptops is also done manually by skilled technicians since each part has to be fitted with precision in their small chassis. And when new models are produced these technicians have to learn afresh how the new parts fit together in order 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.

When it comes to gaming desktops, the testing and assembly processes are less involving since the parts are more standardized. In fact, most gamers, prefer to buy their own parts and assemble the gaming rig themselves following a few tutorials online.

4. Warranty And Support Cost

When buying 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 hidden 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 gaming 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, it’s 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 reputations 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 that covers the cost of coming up with new innovative solutions that strive to give gamers a smoother gaming experience.  

6. Cutting Edge Technology

New technology makes gaming laptop expensive

Unlike gaming desktops where you can start with cheap components and slowly upgrade them over time, upgrading a gaming laptop is limited to RAM and storage. 

For this reason, gamers looking to buy a new gaming laptop will often expect to see nothing but the latest technology in their laptops in order to future-proof their purchase.

Having cutting-edge technology in your gaming laptop allows you to meet the minimum system requirements of current game titles as well as those that will be released in the near future before the hardware gets outdated.

New technology is always more expensive than older technology because it often performs better and has more features.

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.

Final Thoughts

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 increase the price of gaming laptops. However, despite their high cost, they are still the perfect option for PC gamers who are looking to game on the go.

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