Gaming Laptops vs Gaming Desktops for Virtual Reality

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Written By Naomi Martin

Naomi Martin is a dedicated writer and cybersecurity enthusiast with a passion for securing cloud documents and safeguarding sensitive information. As a proud contributor to Cipher Docs, she brings insightful articles and comprehensive analysis on encryption techniques and data protection strategies.

Are you shopping for a powerful PC to play Virtual Reality games but not sure whether to go for a gaming laptop or a gaming desktop? On the one hand, laptops nowadays provide portability, flexibility, and an all-in-one package. On the other hand, desktops can offer faster upgradeability, better customization options, and ultimate gaming performance. The choice depends on your preferences, budget, VR goals, and how often you plan to use the machine.

In this article, we will compare gaming laptops and gaming desktops for VR gaming to help you decide. We will look at their specifications, value for money, VR performance, pros, and cons. Our aim is to enable you to make an informed purchase decision.

Introduction to Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is an incredibly immersive technology that places users in a simulated 3D environment, allowing them to explore, interact and manipulate objects as if they were in the real world. It does this by tracking their head movements and adjusting the visuals on a VR headset accordingly. VR can also provide a sense of presence, allowing users to feel like they are in another place, a new dimension, or even a fantasy world.

Over the years, VR has grown from a sci-fi concept to a mainstream technology that has gained popularity in entertainment, gaming, education, healthcare, and other areas. However, the quality of VR experience largely depends on the hardware used to run it, especially the graphics processing unit (GPU), processor, memory, and system cooling.

Gaming Laptops for Virtual Reality

Gaming laptops are becoming popular thanks to their increasing power, customizability, and mobility. They offer better cooling systems, powerful processors, high-end GPUs, and fast memory. This makes them suitable for content creation and work that requires high-end specs. However, the higher cost can be an issue for some people.

Laptops come in different sizes and not all are optimized for VR. For example, smaller laptops may have poor cooling systems due to size restrictions. Battery life is also an important consideration for these machines, as VR can drain laptop batteries very quickly. When choosing a laptop for VR, consider the VR headset you will be using, the recommended specifications, the battery life, and the portability.

The Nvidia RTX and Radeon RX series are the recommended GPUs for VR gaming on the laptops. However, there are budget options like the GTX 1660 Ti or Radeon RX 5500M for people who want to save money. Some of the best laptops for VR in 2023 are Lenovo Legion 7 Gen 7, MSI Katana GF66, Alienware X14, MSI Titan GT77, ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18, Razer Blade 18, and MSI CreatorPro X17.

In the next section, we will explore gaming desktops for Virtual Reality

Gaming Desktops for Virtual Reality

Gaming desktops offer ultimate gaming performance and more versatility in customization options. They can provide the best VR gaming experience due to better cooling systems, upgraded graphics cards, faster processors, and more cores. They are also often cheaper than gaming laptops, making them a good value-for-money option.

Desktops can have larger cases which enable more room for hardware and peripherals. The larger form factor also results in better airflow and cooling, which is ideal for high-end components that tend to run hot. The upgradeability of desktops is also an advantage if you want to improve or replace parts as new technologies emerge.

Desktops have a downside in that they are less portable. They are not ideal for traveling or working while on the go because they depend on a power source. Companies like MSI have tried to solve this issue by inventing small form-factor desktops for people who want the power of a gaming desktop in a portable package.

The availability of high-end GPUs is a challenge for both gaming laptops and gaming desktops. High-end GPUs like the Nvidia RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 have been difficult to find due to their popularity among gamers and cryptocurrency miners. However, the situation is gradually improving, and we expect to see more high-end GPUs on the market soon.

Comparison between Gaming Laptops and Desktops for Virtual Reality

The choice between a gaming laptop and desktop for VR gaming comes down to your needs. If you prioritize portability or travel a lot, then a gaming laptop is the best option. However, if you are looking for the best VR experience and don’t mind the lack of portability, then a gaming desktop is the way to go.

Gaming desktops offer better value-for-money, ultimate gaming performance, and more room for upgrading components. The larger size also enables greater cooling, which is important for VR gaming. However, desktops can be more expensive than laptops and require a dedicated space. They are not ideal for everyday work or productivity applications.

Gaming laptops are more expensive than desktops, slightly less powerful, have smaller screens, and usually run out of battery quickly. However, they are all-in-one machines that offer more flexibility with portability and can be easily carried over for work. The performance of gaming laptops has improved significantly in recent years, enabling them to deliver a good VR experience.

In terms of virtual reality headsets, both laptops and desktops can support VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and others, depending on the GPU and CPU specifications.


Choosing between a gaming laptop and desktop for VR gaming comes down to your preferences, needs, and budget. If you want ultimate gaming performance, then gaming desktops offer better value-for-money. If you prioritize portability or have fewer upgrade options, then a gaming laptop is the way to go.

Both laptops and desktops can deliver a good VR experience, but the availability of high-end GPUs for both can make the decision process more challenging.

Ultimately, the choice should be based on your use case and future plans. Consider the type of games or content that you want to run, the peripherals you wish to add, the budget, level of customization and privacy policy, and the space you have. Whether you choose a gaming laptop or a gaming desktop, both can provide endless hours of immersive fun. Enjoy!