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6 Reasons to Avoid a New Gaming Desktop Today

Man gaming on his PC during a live stream

6 Reasons to Avoid a New Gaming Desktop Today

Key Points

  • There are several reasons to avoid a new gaming desktop, including their lack of portability, high power consumption, and heat and noise production.
  • Upgrading an old gaming desktop is often a better option than buying a new one, as it can be more cost-effective.
  • Gaming consoles, such as the Xbox Series S, may be a better investment than a gaming desktop due to their lower cost and wide variety of games.
  • The Steam Deck is an interesting alternative to a gaming desktop, as it combines the gaming potential of a PC with the form factor of a handheld console.

The debate about gaming desktops has gone on for a long time, and they definitely have their place. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should avoid a new gaming desktop. Gamers often choose desktops because of their power and upgradability. That is good news if you already own a desktop; otherwise, it may be best to go with a gaming laptop or a dedicated gaming console.

The problem with desktops is that they are not easily moved, they require a lot of power, and they can be hot and loud. The extra power may not be enough to justify the shortcomings of a desktop PC. Additionally, you need peripherals like a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and speakers just to use a desktop. Are you still wondering if a new gaming desktop is for you? We’ve put together the top six reasons why you should avoid a new gaming desktop, plus we offer a few alternatives.

Some Background on Gaming Desktops

Since the invention of the computer, people have tried to run games on them. However, as computers became more prevalent in homes throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there was a growing market for games and computers that could play them. There is a fine line between a regular desktop computer and a gaming desktop computer. Gaming desktops typically include high-performance CPUs and GPUs.

Portable computers like laptops and mobile phones have also chipped away at the desktop market. Users are no longer tied to a single desktop at their home or office. Computers are now in pockets and even watches. However, there is still plenty of demand for gaming desktops, as they not only invoke some nostalgia, but they also offer the most power.

Despite changes in the way people use computers, games remain popular on conventional devices like laptops and desktops. Some argue that a gaming desktop is the best way to experience a game because of the machine’s performance. While there is some truth to the performance, it is hard to ignore these six reasons you should avoid a gaming desktop.

Reasons to Avoid a Gaming Desktop

If you are on the fence about purchasing a new gaming laptop, then the reasons below will shine some light on why you should avoid one. Keep in mind that not every reason will apply to everyone’s unique circumstances. However, they will provide insight into major complaints about desktops and why other devices may be a better choice.

It Is Better to Upgrade an Old One

If you already have a gaming desktop, the first reason why you should avoid a new desktop computer is that it is better to upgrade your current one. Some desktops from companies like HP and Dell offer less in the way of upgrade potential since they use proprietary components. however, you can still typically upgrade the hard drive, RAM, and the GPU for less than the cost of a new machine.

If you have a custom-built gaming desktop, then upgrading is definitely the best option. In fact, the only time it probably isn’t worth upgrading is if you are going from DDR4 to DDR5 RAM. DDR5 RAM is not compatible with DDR4 RAM slots, so you would also need to purchase a new motherboard. Otherwise, you can still upgrade the CPU, GPU, and memory to get a better-performing machine for significantly less than it would cost to buy a new one.

Gaming Desktops Use a Lot of Power

Computers use a lot of electricity, especially gaming desktops. In 2021, California energy regulations required Dell to briefly stop shipping some configurations of their Alienware machines to the state. New models and configurations meet or exceed these regulations; however, power consumption will certainly continue to be an issue in the coming years. The exact amount of power a computer uses boils down to how much use it gets and how much demand is placed on the various components.

In the case of gaming, most of the power is going to the GPU, which uses a lot of electricity. To determine just how much power a desktop uses will require you to calculate how much electricity each component draws. However, a mid-range gaming desktop uses about five to six cents of electricity every hour. With constant use, that adds up to $430 to $525 per year just in electricity costs for the computer.

Gaming Desktops Produce Heat and Noise

The byproduct of all that electricity is heat. CPUs and GPUs have so much power going into them that they produce a ton of heat. That means a gaming desktop must have very good cooling, which is done using fans or a pump. Fortunately, pumps for liquid cooling don’t make much noise, but the fans that move air through a radiator do.

Similarly, gaming desktops use fans to move fresh air into the case and hot air out. However, on top of all that, an air-cooled CPU and GPU rely on fans sitting on top of heatsinks to keep them cool. All of these various cooling components disperse the heat away from the desktop, which means not only is your room getting hotter, but it is also getting noisier as well. This is just another reason why you should avoid a desktop.

best pc fans
Gaming desktops rely on cooling fans to dissipate heat from power-hungry components.

©stockphoto-graf/Shutterstock.com

Gaming Desktops Are Not Portable

It is pretty obvious that desktop computers are not portable. Not only can you not take them with you to work or play on the go, but it also means that they take up a lot of space. With a laptop or handheld gaming console, you can play either at home or on the go. However, with a gaming desktop, you are limited to one room in your home.

Then even if you do decide to move it, you need to have enough room to put it somewhere else, along with all of the necessary accessories. With advancements in gaming laptops, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to justify the added space necessary for a gaming desktop.

A Console May Be a Better Investment

Another reason you should consider avoiding a new gaming desktop is a gaming console may be a better investment. The fights between consoles and PCs have gone on for decades with no clear winner. However, the truth is that a new gaming console, while not as versatile as a desktop, would still be cheaper and could potentially be a better choice. You can even get a portable console like the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck.

There are also home console options like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X or S, which are still pretty new and have a wide variety of games. The benefit of a console is that you will be able to play whatever comes out on it without having to worry about having a powerful enough GPU. They also tend to be more reliable and easier to use since they are designed for gaming rather than a myriad of other tasks.

They Are Very Expensive

The final reason that you should avoid a new desktop computer is the cost. We’ve already discussed energy costs, but the actual computer is deceptively expensive. Some gaming desktops may look cheaper than a comparable gaming laptop. However, you need to factor in all of the required components for a desktop.

Laptops are all-in-one devices with a keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and monitor all in one package. But that is not the case for desktops. However, even if you do decide to build a desktop, you will quickly be met with eye-popping costs for a GPU. While the performance on a laptop may be a slight downgrade, the price and versatility often outweigh the slight bump in speed and graphics.

The Best Desktop Alternatives

If a gaming desktop doesn’t sound like the best fit for you, then consider some of these alternatives. In many cases, a laptop may be a better option for versatility, but consoles are also very popular. While each of these has its own pros and cons, they all offer something a little different. Therefore, you should weigh the benefits of each option and compare that to what you actually want and need in a device.

Xbox Series S

Budget-Friendly Console
Xbox Series S
$234.99
  • Next-generation speed and performance
  • Includes Xbox Series S console and one Xbox Wireless Controller
  • Features Xbox Velocity Architecture
  • Hundreds of high-quality games
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/28/2023 11:40 pm GMT

The underdog of the ninth console generation is the Xbox Series S, and it may be the best replacement for a gaming desktop. Right off the bat, the Series S has a starting price of $300, but it is often on sale for even less. That is staggeringly low compared to the price of any gaming desktop or laptop. The one downside is that you won’t be able to use it for computing tasks.

Although the Series S doesn’t have the extensive game library that a gaming desktop does, it does have access to Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass provides hundreds of games for a low monthly fee. The great thing about the Series S is that you plug it in, download games, and it works. There is no dealing with operating systems or glitches. Plus, it comes with everything you need to start playing.

Gaming Laptop

Best Hidden Gem
Alienware m15 R7 Gaming Laptop
$2,115.44
  • 15.6" inch 240Hz 2ms QHD display
  • Intel Core i9-12900H
  • 32GB DDR5 RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Graphics
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/29/2023 12:05 am GMT

The next alternative to a gaming desktop is a gaming laptop. With a laptop, you do have some tradeoffs, particularly in performance. In general, laptops are not as powerful as a desktop with comparable components, but the Alienware m15 R7 has plenty of power under the hood. It offers an Intel Core i9 CPU, an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 GPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 240Hz refresh rate.

You can take the computer to school or work and still use it for gaming, making it the most flexible alternative. Plus, with a gaming laptop, you also have all the necessary peripherals built in. There is no need to purchase a monitor, mouse, keyboard, or speakers unless you want to. Fortunately, you will be able to play all the same games on a gaming laptop as you can on a desktop.

Steam Deck

The Best Handheld
Valve Steam Deck 64GB
$458.70
  • Plays your Steam library and PC games from anywhere
  • Optimized AMD processor
  • 7-inch touchscreen and touch controls
  • 64GB onboard storage
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/29/2023 12:20 am GMT

Another option to consider instead of a gaming desktop is the Steam Deck. This is an interesting alternative that packs the gaming potential of a PC into the form factor of a handheld. Just like any other gaming console, it is limited to playing games. Therefore it isn’t a complete replacement for a computer, but you could then purchase a cheaper PC that isn’t designed for gaming.

What the Steam Deck does is let you play a wide range of games from your existing Steam library. This includes games from both Sony and Microsoft developers. The Steam Deck is a handheld console, coming in a little larger than a Nintendo Switch. It also has an available docking station to use with a TV. You can also run emulators on the Steam Deck, which opens it to a limitless number of games.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why it is best to avoid a desktop. There are just too many better options that let you perform the same tasks. However, if you do need the most power possible and you want to go with a desktop, it is best to build your own. Pre-built desktops are too expensive and use proprietary parts. The savings and experience will be well worth building your own, plus you will be able to upgrade components later.

  1. Xbox Series S
    $234.99
    • Next-generation speed and performance
    • Includes Xbox Series S console and one Xbox Wireless Controller
    • Features Xbox Velocity Architecture
    • Hundreds of high-quality games
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/28/2023 11:40 pm GMT
  2. Alienware m15 R7 Gaming Laptop
    $2,115.44
    • 15.6" inch 240Hz 2ms QHD display
    • Intel Core i9-12900H
    • 32GB DDR5 RAM
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Graphics
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/29/2023 12:05 am GMT
  3. Valve Steam Deck 64GB
    $458.70
    • Plays your Steam library and PC games from anywhere
    • Optimized AMD processor
    • 7-inch touchscreen and touch controls
    • 64GB onboard storage
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/29/2023 12:20 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you upgrade a gaming laptop?

Most gaming laptops currently available cannot be upgraded. However, you may find ones that do have upgradeable RAM or hard drives.

Are gaming desktops the only way to use a VR headset?

No, if you want to use a VR headset, you can purchase a standalone device or one that works with a gaming console. Additionally, you can use a VR headset with a gaming laptop as long as it is powerful enough.

Do gaming desktops still come with disc drives?

Most gaming desktops do not come with disc drives, although there are some that have an option to add a drive. Otherwise, you can always use an external disc drive.

What makes a desktop a gaming desktop?

There isn’t a solid definition of what makes a gaming desktop, but one thing that sets them apart is a discrete GPU. This is a GPU that is separate from the processor. Most desktops for everyday use do not have a discrete GPU, which is important for gaming.

Is it better to buy or build a gaming desktop?

It is much better to build a gaming desktop because you can choose each component that goes into it. Custom-built desktops can also be upgraded, whereas pre-built desktops have limited upgradeability.

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