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Can a Gaming Laptop Offer Better Value than a Gaming Desktop

With the continuing GPU availability saga and the insane costs players are dealing with if they need a brand new graphics card proper now, one of many issues we have heard many instances is that if you would like a brand new PC for gaming, you are higher off getting a gaming laptop computer. The reasoning is that laptops are extra extensively out there, aren’t ridiculously priced in some situations, and efficiency has improved rather a lot in recent times.

Today we’re placing that declare to the check by pitting the brand new Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage laptop computer up towards a equally spec’d desktop PC to see whether or not this all-AMD laptop computer from Asus is the higher worth purchase for gaming.

We’ve particularly chosen the Strix G15 as a result of in our opinion is without doubt one of the finest worth laptops you will get, providing the Ryzen 9 5900HX and Radeon RX 6800M in a good bundle for beneath $1,700. Now, this is not going to ship an excellent high-end gaming expertise, however for the worth, it is sometimes what you’d pay for a mid to high-end gaming desktop PC, so it’s going to be fascinating to see the way it compares.

The Strix G15 laptop computer is identical one we examined in our Radeon 6800M benchmark overview a number of weeks in the past, with an MSRP of $1550. After you substitute the RAM with greater high quality stuff, for a efficiency enhance you are spending $1650 all up.

On the desktop facet, to construct one thing with equal {hardware} we picked a Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core processor, 16GB of DDR4-3200 reminiscence, 512GB SSD, and so forth – we’re a barebones {hardware} value of round $1,000 with out factoring within the GPU simply but. Now, we have not gone and listed absolutely the most cost-effective configuration doable for this PC, however this can be a pretty commonplace gaming construct you would possibly contemplate with affordable parts.

In regular instances, this desktop PC would clearly be a fairly whole lot compared to the laptop computer. You’d be capable to slot in a Radeon RX 6700 XT in there for lower than $500, and the overall price of the system can be round $1500. That would make it cheaper than the equal laptop computer mannequin.

But that is not the case at this time – the 6700 XT is as a substitute priced round $800 to $900 if you would like one proper now, both on the scalper market or at retail with customized AIB fashions. That places this desktop PC construct at $1,800 to $1,900, which is ~15% costlier than the Asus Strix G15 laptop computer. The query then turns into, does it ship 10 to fifteen% extra efficiency?

And earlier than you scream into the feedback arguing that this configuration or that configuration can be cheaper, Intel can be higher at this time, all that stuff – maintain your horses as a result of we’ll tackle that within the conclusion. This check is at the beginning meant to point out how the closest doable desktop and laptop computer configurations examine.

By testing these techniques, we’ll additionally get different worthwhile data that will curiosity you. How does AMD’s desktop Ryzen 7 5800X examine to their cell Ryzen 9 5900HX? Both pack 8 CPU cores, however the desktop model packs a chiplet design with extra cache, greater frequencies and the scope for greater energy draw.

The cell model is monolithic and constrained by laptop computer kind elements, however remains to be constructed utilizing AMD’s environment friendly Zen 3 design on TSMC’s 7nm course of node. This overview will provide you with the very best look but into Zen 3 on desktop vs laptop computer.

We’ll additionally see how shut AMD has been capable of get to their desktop GPUs with their new Radeon RX 6800M. The 6800M is a Navi 22 design that includes 40 compute items, the identical core format because the 6700 XT desktop GPU, which is why we have chosen it for comparability at this time. The solely distinction being the 6800M clocks decrease – 2300 MHz vs 2424 MHz – and includes a decrease energy restrict of round 160W within the Strix G15 vs as much as 230W for the desktop card.

All of those questions are fairly fascinating. Is it higher worth to purchase the Strix G15 at this time? Does the desktop profit considerably from its separate energy limits for the CPU and GPU, versus the laptop computer needing to make use of SmartShift to stability every little thing for its a lot weaker cooler? How environment friendly is AMD’s Navi 22 design for laptop computer kind elements? Should get a bunch of solutions at this time.

The check beds as soon as once more, on the laptop computer facet now we have the Asus Strix G15 Advantage Edition with the 5900HX, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200, and the 6800M. SmartShift is enabled, and we’re operating the G15 as quick as it can go within the Turbo mode, we have not restricted something to 45W for apples-to-apples comparisons, that is finest vs finest.

Our desktop check system is configured with the Ryzen 7 5800X on an MSI X570 Tomahawk motherboard, 16GB of DDR4-3200 reminiscence (identical because the laptop computer, however with higher CL16 timings), and an RX 6700 XT Gaming X from MSI.

Both the desktop and the laptop computer have been examined utilizing an exterior 1440p monitor, hooked on to the discrete GPU. I determine for those who’re shopping for a laptop computer as a desktop substitute, you in all probability will not need to play on the small inner 1080p show, so once more this provides us a direct comparability with the very best this {hardware} can obtain.

Gaming Benchmarks

Starting with the gaming outcomes, now we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider operating at 1440p utilizing High settings. There is not a lot of a distinction between the desktop with the 6700XT and the laptop computer with the 6800M on this title, each ship a really playable excessive body charge expertise of round 120 FPS.

The desktop system ended up a few p.c quicker, however the laptop computer is severely spectacular within the degree of efficiency it might probably obtain.

It’s a very totally different story in Metro Exodus. This sport could be very GPU demanding on Ultra settings, and on this title the 6700 XT desktop simply beats the Strix G15, providing 16 p.c higher efficiency at 1440p, and that margin holds whether or not we’re common FPS or 1% lows. This is predicted to some extent given the a lot greater energy limits of the desktop card.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is an fascinating combination of CPU demanding, notably on a single thread, and GPU demanding at 1440p. This is one other sport the place the desktop comes out forward, notably in 1% lows that are 18% greater with the 5800X CPU configuration versus the laptop computer’s 5900HX. Average body charges are additionally greater in favor of the desktop, however with a smaller 9 p.c margin.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is fairly simple. The desktop PC finally ends up 6 p.c quicker than the all-AMD laptop computer, which is healthier efficiency, however we’re solely speaking a couple of 5 FPS margin so the 6800M will get near what the 6700 XT can do on the desktop.

Like the Shadow of the Tomb Raider consequence, this factors to an environment friendly GPU design that scales nicely to cell kind elements.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a traditional title that hits each the CPU and GPU relying on the precise configuration you may have. Here it is a clear win for the desktop platform, delivering 17 to twenty p.c higher efficiency by means of greater energy limits when utilizing the Very High preset.

Crucially, the 6700 XT is ready to ship above 60 FPS more often than not, which is not the case with the 6800M.

Cyberpunk 2077 is extraordinarily GPU demanding utilizing the Ultra preset at 1440p, so the distinction in CPU between the desktop and laptop computer turns into a bit irrelevant. The Strix G15 from Asus performs remarkably nicely up towards the desktop configuration: the desktop is simply 7 p.c quicker, exhibiting that the 6800M can do virtually in addition to the 6700 XT with an enormous discount in energy. Typically in these GPU heavy eventualities we noticed the 6700 XT utilizing 50W extra energy as measured in HWInfo.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one other fairly typical consequence. The 6700 XT desktop system ended up 12% quicker than the 6800M laptop computer in common body charges, which is unquestionably a noticeable distinction. The desktop platform is ready to edge nearer to the 100 FPS mark, though the laptop computer does not carry out badly by any means particularly given the shape issue.

Death Stranding is punishing on the cell system and once more finally ends up one of many bigger margins in our testing. The desktop with the Ryzen 7 5800X and Radeon RX 6700 XT got here in 16% quicker than the Asus Strix G15 laptop computer. Both ship a 100 FPS+ expertise however the desktop is nearer to maxing out a 144Hz show for those who occur to have one.

The Hitman 3 Dartmoor benchmark outcomes are actually fascinating. I used to be anticipating on this sport that may hit the GPU and CPU fairly onerous that the desktop can be nicely forward. But that is probably not the case. In phrases of 1% lows, the desktop and laptop computer are principally equal, so within the CPU heavy sections of the benchmark cross, whether or not you may have a 5800X or 5900HX it does not make a lot distinction. However on common, the desktop is ready to draw back, delivering a modest 9 p.c efficiency benefit.

For these concerned with aggressive titles like Rainbow Six Siege that are usually CPU restricted, even at 1440p, once more there is not a lot of a bonus to the desktop platform, at the very least utilizing fashionable {hardware}. The 5800X does ship 8 p.c greater body charges on common, however we’re speaking concerning the distinction between 283 and 305 FPS, so except you’re extraordinarily delicate to latency, each of those techniques ship nice outcomes.

Productivity Benchmarks

What about productiveness outcomes? Things are value trying out right here as nicely, because the efficiency distinction between the laptop computer and desktop varies relying on the precise workload at hand.

In one thing like Cinebench R20 multi-threading, the 5800X is available in 9 p.c quicker than the 5900HX, which within the Strix G15 is ready to maintain as much as 90W on the CPU within the heaviest CPU-only workloads. The 5800X in our check system used about 140W, and that was sufficient to maintain barely greater clocks and ship higher efficiency.

Single-threaded outcomes have been additionally greater on the desktop platform, however solely marginally greater, we’re speaking a 6 p.c benefit to the 5800X in Cinebench R20. That’s all the way down to the 5800X’s greater max enhance frequency of 4.7 GHz versus 4.6 GHz on the laptop computer, along with different advantages like a bigger cache on the desktop mannequin.

In some longer workloads like Handbrake, the desktop has a extra substantial efficiency benefit over the laptop computer. Here the 5800X was over 20 p.c quicker, which does make a good distinction to video encoding. Blender was round 13 p.c quicker in favor of the desktop Ryzen 7 processor.

Our different CPU restricted productiveness workloads have been a little bit of a combined bag. Our Microsoft Excel check for instance was an edge case the place the 5800X completely smokes the 5900HX because of having double the quantity of L3 cache – 32 MB on the desktop, vs 16 MB in AMD’s cell CPUs.

But in one thing like 7-Zip Decompression, we’re solely seeing a small benefit for the 5800X of round 5%, so the cell 5900HX is basically supplying you with decompression efficiency equal to AMD’s 8-core desktop CPU.

Then now we have benchmarks like MATLAB, which is a mix of every little thing, single-thread demanding, multi-thread demanding, reminiscence bandwidth, cache, and many others. In this workload once more the desktop configuration has a good efficiency benefit, coming in 19% quicker. If you want a system for essential excessive efficiency work then a desktop might be the best way to go.

Pretty related story in Photoshop, whereas the 5900HX is total a good processor, it simply cannot sustain with the desktop 5800X that makes use of a unique configuration of its Zen 3 CPU cores. In this benchmark the desktop was 21 p.c quicker and simply beats the laptop computer taking part in discipline.

The Asus Strix G15 is fairly strong selection as a DaVinci Resolve laptop computer in comparison with the desktop configuration we examined. The desktop mannequin is about 4% quicker and tends to be largely GPU restricted, so we’re seeing a consequence in keeping with a few of our gaming outcomes that we confirmed earlier.

Nvidia GPUs do seem like superior for this utility typically although, so that will come into play for those who have been truly shopping for a system to make use of particularly for DaVinci.

Adobe Premiere then again is a giant win for the desktop platform. In the Puget export check, the desktop system was an enormous 40% quicker than the Asus Strix G15, and the G15 is a extremely strong performer amongst laptops.

What’s the rationale for this? Combined CPU and GPU workloads are a worst-case situation for laptops. Even with SmartShift, there’s solely a complete of 180W of energy to go round, cut up between the CPU and GPU. On the desktop platform, there isn’t any such constraint, so the CPU and GPU can blast away with a mixed 350W of energy if it desires to. Premiere hits each parts onerous, takes benefit of this on a desktop however suffers on a laptop computer by comparability.

In gaming, we do not typically see conditions the place the CPU and GPU are each maxed out to 100%, particularly with a good 8-core processor, which is why even in some heavy video games we do not actually see this difficulty come to mild on laptops.

It’s why gaming laptops can nonetheless be fairly efficient even with comparatively small and constrained coolers. But in productiveness workloads the place each part is absolutely loaded, you’re significantly better off with a desktop.

Putting It All Together

Looking at a direct face to face comparability in productiveness workloads, the desktop system is quicker, however how a lot quicker will depend on the precise workload.

In basic multi-threaded or single-threaded checks, the desktop is normally lower than 10 p.c quicker, which is a superb consequence for the laptop computer and the Ryzen 9 5900HX given all of the related constraints.

But there are edge circumstances the place the 5800X is considerably quicker, normally as a consequence of its greater cache, and there’s the occasional workload like Premiere the place the upper energy funds of the desktop results in higher efficiency total.

In gaming, like we noticed earlier, the desktop system is quicker – it has a better energy funds for each the CPU and GPU, so it might probably maintain greater clocks for longer. But on common, throughout our 18 sport checks, the desktop ended up simply 10 p.c quicker, so the mix of Zen 3 and Navi 22 for gaming is remarkably environment friendly in a laptop computer kind issue.

This is a smaller margin than I used to be anticipating and exhibits that top finish laptops of at this time are fairly aggressive with mid to high-end gaming desktops.

What We Learned

Overall, I do not assume anybody can be shocked to be taught that while you spec a desktop to have a really related configuration to a gaming laptop computer, the desktop is quicker.

We’ve seen this numerous instances earlier than, whether or not you examine related {hardware} on paper, otherwise you try to examine related product tiers or names, it tends to be much more favorable to the desktop. This is simply the truth of testing a largely unconstrained platform, versus a constrained platform with limits on cooling and energy supply.

But what stunned me all through this testing is simply how shut AMD’s cell {hardware} will get to their desktop {hardware} with an identical core configuration. Most of the time, the Asus ROG Strix G15 is inside 10 p.c of the desktop we examined at this time, whether or not that is for productiveness or gaming.

So what are the sensible implications for individuals shopping for a PC in 2021? First, you should purchase a robust laptop computer that will fit your efficiency wants in addition to a desktop – and it is not simply large 17-inch beasts the place that is true. Regular 15-inch gaming notebooks get very near at this time’s mid to high-end mainstream desktops.

It’s solely true high-end parts that laptops cannot replicate: stuff like 12 or 16-core Ryzen processors, flagship degree GPUs, Threadripper… every little thing beneath that’s achievable.

This is nice information for these of you who occur to want the portability however could also be nervous their laptop computer is short-changing them on efficiency. A performance-oriented pocket book generally is a real desktop substitute. I imply, this Strix G15 simply outperforms desktops based mostly on CPUs just like the Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 7 3700X and Core i9-9900K in lots of productiveness duties. That’s fairly spectacular.

The worth equation is a harder and ambiguous calculation. With this testing I wished to see whether or not within the present market a gaming laptop computer might genuinely be a greater worth selection than an identical desktop.

What I ended up discovering was the desktop configuration price about 10 p.c extra, and delivered about 10 p.c extra gaming efficiency. That’s a really favorable final result for laptops than there’s ever been – desktops have virtually at all times provided manner higher value to efficiency ratios – nevertheless it’s not a convincing win for the laptop computer kind issue.

And that is as a result of at worth parity, I’d nonetheless anticipate most individuals concerned with a desktop to simply purchase the desktop. Laptops are far much less versatile as a platform, with restricted upgradeability – normally no CPU or GPU upgradeability – much less intensive I/O, louder coolers and so forth.

If you are sitting the laptop computer in your desk, plugging in an exterior show and peripherals and by no means shifting the laptop computer round, all the additional little options the desktop gives makes it come out on high. Realistically, you’d need the laptop computer to offer one thing like 20%+ higher worth to contemplate it as a desktop substitute, not simply the identical value to efficiency ratio.

This is with out contemplating that desktops additionally offer you far better flexibility over tailoring a system to your particular wants. In this overview, I particularly in contrast the 5900HX to AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X, however the 5800X is not notably nice worth.

If you swap out the AMD processor for Intel’s Core i7-10700 and swap over the motherboard to one thing Intel appropriate, you get very related gaming efficiency at a lower cost as Intel are providing wonderful bang for buck in the intervening time. Suddenly that worth equation is again in favor of desktops.

On the flip facet, worth parity for related parts is nice information for people who want portability. You’re principally getting the efficiency of a desktop, plus an included show, keyboard, trackpad and battery so you should use it anyplace. Normally these are issues that you must successfully pay for within the laptop computer’s greater price ticket relative to the desktop, however within the present market they’re all principally a bonus. And that is fairly neat for laptop computer patrons.

Shopping Shortcuts

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  • Intel Core i7 Tiger Lake Laptops on Amazon
  • Ryzen 7 5800H Laptops on Amazon