In the past, serious PC gaming was solely under the desktop computer domain. But when the pandemic hit, bringing with it the corresponding disruption to the global supply chain, chip shortages, and enforced work from home, the computer gaming industry experienced a shift in demand.
While people still buy powerful desktop PCs, manufacturers globally are now detecting increased laptop purchases. So, let's look at seven reasons this is happening.
Gaming computers are expensive pieces of equipment. If you want to have the best specifications on your gaming rig, you must be ready to spend serious money on it. And although some PC gamers get their hardware through their parents or sponsors, many pay for it out of pocket.
Before the pandemic hit, most office workers had a work computer in their office and a personal desktop PC at home. However, when people had to work from home, they either had to bring home their office computer or use their at-home PC for work.
If they brought home their work PC, they would have to find space for it at their place. This can be inconvenient, especially if they have limited room. Alternatively, they can use the computer at home for work, but it's cumbersome to transfer files every time they change working locations.
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It's also impractical to keep moving these large CPU towers and every connected peripheral between working sites once the economy starts opening up. That's why, when these work-from-home professionals thought about upgrading or buying a new computer, they went for a laptop.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
Laptops are easy to bring around, making it easy for users to move between workspaces. They can also keep all their files and software on one device, so they don't worry about syncing files across networks. And if the company offers to reimburse their laptop computer, it is practically subsidizing a part of their gaming hardware requirements.
One of the biggest victims of the pandemic is the global supply chain. With many companies implementing just-in-time manufacturing, that means they don't have vast stockpiles of the supplies used to build components. They're simply relying on the timely arrival of shipments for continuous production.
However, the pandemic caused huge backups in ports of entry. Quarantines enforced port closures, delayed ships, and reduced the personnel availability to offload these gigantic ships. Because of this, the chip supply slowed down to a trickle.
And while other industries were able to pivot towards local suppliers for food and other materials, it's unfortunate that we import most of our chips and processors from abroad. This caused a diminished supply of desktop hardware, especially as many users clamored for newer video cards to upgrade their current computers.
Related: Why Is There a Global Chip Shortage and When Will It End?
While the global chip shortage has affected other industries, like automotive production and mobile phones, desktop computer parts were extensively impacted. Nevertheless, laptops, even performance models, had a steady supply.
While there is no clear explanation on why this is so, one can assume that OEM chip manufacturers already have a contractual obligation to fulfill the orders of their laptop-manufacturing customers. For this reason, they are probably inclined to prioritize them over retail sales.
At the same time as the global chip shortage, several cryptocurrencies shot up in value. This caused a boom in cryptomining, which used GPUs for mining.
Since it was lucrative, many would-be and existing cryptominers snapped up new video cards by the hundreds. They even employed bots to buy them by the batch, actively trying to circumvent safety nets that manufacturers applied to their eCommerce pages.
With the chip shortage causing a drop in supply, the retail prices of GPUs spiraled out of control, with some models' retail prices increasing by over 100%. The demand from cryptomining further exacerbated this—and since they had the buying power to purchase these cards at ridiculous prices, this encouraged retailers to jack up prices further.
Some scalpers also took advantage of the situation. They bought up as much hardware as possible and then sold it at prohibitive prices in online marketplaces. Since there were no other supplies, gamers had no choice but to buy from them.
Related: Congress Aims to Stop Bots and Scalpers, but Will It Work?
That's why those who don't want to spend an arm and a leg building desktop computers settle for a gaming laptop instead.
While it's true that desktop computers are much more potent than their similarly specced laptop brethren, laptop specifications are nothing to scoff at. Recently developed chips are much more powerful and efficient.
And although they're theoretically two to three generations behind in performance compared to desktop models, processors these days are powerful enough that even laptop computers can hold their ground when running high-end games.
It's when you're working with professional software that requires a lot of power or want to have a no-compromises gaming experience that makes it worth the price you pay for desktop computers.
One argument hardcore desktop gamers have against laptop computers is that the cramped build of the laptop causes thermal throttling. This is true, especially for low-end and mid-range gaming laptops.
However, many premium models don't have this issue. That's because new cooling technologies, like vapor chambers and liquid metal, efficiently remove heat from high-performance chips, allowing you to push their performance as much as you need.
When you're picking out manufacturers and models for CPUs, GPUs, and other peripherals, you're typically limited to a few tried and tested makers. For example, when picking a GPU, you're typically limited to choosing between 13 brands, including AMD and NVIDIA themselves. It's worse with a CPU, where you only have two choices. These choices are AMD or Intel.
But if you're choosing a gaming laptop, you have over 300 choices of all models, sizes, and price points. This allows the user to get one that fits their needs exactly, without worrying about each individual component.
Desktop gaming is still king when it comes to performance. However, the increasingly prohibitive costs of acquiring one, plus the convenience of carrying your gaming PC anywhere, is making laptop gaming a lot more attractive to many.
The uptick in gaming laptop demand proved this, which led to more innovations in the laptop space. And although we hope to see the day where chips and processors return to their pre-pandemic retail prices, they're buying performance laptops to tide over their gaming needs at the moment.12 Ways to Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorJowi Morales(215 Articles Published)
Jowi is a writer, a career coach, and a pilot. He developed a love for anything PC ever since his father bought a desktop computer when he was 5 years old. From then on, he has been using and maximizing technology in every aspect of his life.MoreFrom Jowi Morales
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