2021 has seen a massive rise in the number of people that are interested in gaming. With everyone being locked indoors, there has been a shift to PC and laptop gaming by a portion of the population that was never interested in it before. That begs the question of whether gaming laptops are still worth it in 2021.
Gaming laptops are still worth it in 2021. The technology that goes into these machines generally justifies the price tag, and the ability to play your favorite games wherever you want is invaluable. As well as that, gaming laptops are high-end computers that can be used for general purpose work as well.
That’s a simplified answer to your question. Yes, whatever gaming laptop you buy is going to be worth the money you spend, whether it’s $500 or $1,000. However, like most things, the actual reality of the situation is a bit more complicated than that, so read on to find out more.
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Why Are Gaming Laptops so Expensive?
The demand for laptops has increased, which increases the price for the parts that are inside laptops so the price goes up. Also gaming laptops are becoming more complicated and advanced each year with improved performance and speed improves which increases the price.
Something that I want to focus on is the impact that the global pandemic is having on the price of gaming laptops, as well as PC parts as a whole. While the laws of supply and demand, which I just talked about, are a simple explanation for what’s going on, there’s a little more depth to the situation than that.
Laptop hardware is pretty insane when you think about it; a chip that’s no bigger than your palm can deliver the same kind of performance that something three times its size does in a PC.
For most major gaming PC parts, like RTX graphics cards, manufacturers produce both a PC version of the hardware and a smaller, mobile version designed for gaming laptops. The mobile counterparts typically come just short of the performance delivered by the larger PC models. Still, the difference is so minuscule that it makes next to no noticeable difference in functional performance.
The fact that you’re getting a machine with this kind of power that’s a fraction of the size of a PC is one of the main reasons why gaming laptops are so expensive, but it’s also the leading reason why they’re worth the money. You’re getting a mobile PC that you can fit in your backpack without sacrificing power, and in a lot of cases, getting a device that is actually more powerful than most modern desktops.
That’s not where we’re finishing up with power, though, because we have to talk about overclocking.
If you’ve ever taken PC gaming remotely seriously, then you’ve looked into overclocking your hardware at some point by removing the limitations that manufacturers have put on things like CPUs and GPUs to get the highest possible performance output.
On laptops, especially, this can make a MASSIVE difference. Hardware in gaming laptops tends to be severely underclocked to prevent your laptop from overheating. If you’re willing to work around that, you can turn your machine into an absolute powerhouse without spending hundreds on new equipment or hardware; you have to make sure you don’t melt your motherboard in the process.
Weight and Build
There’s a trend in tech, gaming, or otherwise that sees machines getting progressively smaller as time goes on. Gaming laptops are no exception to this trend.
Until recently, these laptops have had relatively large form factors. While smaller than PC parts, the hardware installed in them was bigger than what typical laptops used, meaning, the manufacturer needed a more significant case to fit the components.
Slowly but surely, we’re seeing that change with slim gaming laptops becoming more and more popular as CPU and GPU size decreases.
Gaming laptops are becoming easier to carry around with you and take up far less space than they used to, which contributes to the price, but again, it is more than worth the money you’re going to pay.
Of course, we have to talk about the big one, and that’s the laptop’s price, this is the bottom line on whether or not a gaming laptop is worth it, and it dictates everything else that goes into your buying decision.
With so many different stages between producing a laptop and getting into your hands, the prices of other models can vary wildly. Various retailers have different markup percentages. Different countries need to pay more for essential computer parts, meaning you need to take care of that bill if you want a machine using those parts.
In general, you should weigh up the laptop’s price with the hardware that’s inside of it. Ignore everything else and look at pure value for money.
You can even look at the individual prices of the CPU, GPU, SSD, and whatever else is in the laptop and compare that with how much the retailer is charging you. If the prices are close, then it’s worth buying the laptop. If there’s a massive difference, though, then you’re paying a markup fee that’s too high, so you should shop around a little more.
There are plenty of stores, both online and in-person, that sell plenty of different gaming laptops at wildly different prices, so make some comparisons before you open your wallet.
Gaming Laptops are Currently Overpriced
I know what you’re thinking, “how can gaming laptops be worth it but also overpriced?” Well, I think gaming laptops are more than worth it when they’re moderately priced. Even in an inflated market, you’re getting advanced technology that is both fast and portable. $1000 for a high-end machine like that is more than justifiable.
That being said, the market really is inflated right now. There has been a shortage of everything gaming over the last year, and I really mean everything. Just look how hard getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S has been in 2021.
At the start of 2020, laptops, in general, were sold out everywhere as people began to work from home. After that, graphics cards started to skyrocket in price because cryptocurrency miners were buying all of them up.
Then everyone started buying the Switch for Animal Crossing, and that was out of stock for months, and now, most notably, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are still facing massive supply issues.
All of this means that the price of gaming hardware right now is higher than ever. There’s a lack of everything, meaning you need to pay more for a piece of the pie.
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Will Gaming Laptops Go Down in Price?
A basic rule of economics is that what goes up must, at some point, go down. That includes the current price of gaming laptops.
If the recent rush for computer hardware has pushed a decent device out of your budget, don’t stress too much. Give it a few months, and you should notice a decrease in price as newer models get made, meaning there’s less demand for the tech in older units even though they still perform well.
If you want to go the extra mile and really save some money, wait until the sales hit around Christmas and get yourself a new gaming laptop.
If you plan on trying to take advantage of these price reductions, you need to go into the sales with a strategy. Tech flies off the shelves these days, so make sure you’re first in line.
Otherwise, you’re going to end up like everyone that didn’t preorder the PlayStation or Xbox this generation, which is to say, being forced to spend ridiculous amounts of money over market value to get your hands on a machine.
Should I get a Gaming Laptop or a Gaming PC?
If you want to play games on the go or you travel a lot invest in a gaming laptop. If you want the best performance possible and have the room for a gaming PC choose the PC as Gaming PC outperform laptops in every department at the same price points, a PC gives the best performance possible.
Ultimately, which you should get fully depends on what you’re looking for in your gaming. If you regularly move from place to place, or you’re not in the same house for an extended period, a gaming laptop is going to come in handy.
This is especially true if you plan on using your laptop to do other things, like editing or processing videos or streams. However, if you’re strictly looking for an addition to your gaming setup, there’s no arguing that PCs are the better option. If your thinking of building a gaming PC and curious on what GPU to buy see my article here if RTX cards are worth it
What About Console?
That’s a fair point. Consoles have two very important advantages over PC gaming. First and foremost, they are less expensive.
A good gaming PC is going to cost you upwards of four digits, whereas the PS5 retails for less than half of that.
Consoles are also easier to use than PC. If you’ve never put a gaming PC together before, then you should prepare yourself before you jump into that world. If you’re not ready to learn about all the technicality that comes with playing games on PC, then just get yourself a console.
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