Gaming Laptop vs Regular Laptop

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Looking through what seems like an endless supply of laptops online, you may be stumped into which could be the best pick for you. You may see a gaming laptop that has quite the hefty price tag, with all its fancy specifications, and think it may be a good choice for your office job. Perhaps you want a laptop to play games on the go, but you’re working on a budget and might not be able to afford a good gaming laptop, so you’re browsing through the catalog of regular laptops trying to find something decent.

Before you make a potentially misinformed decision, put a pause on your browsing and take a moment to consider the differences between the two. Today, we will go through the core differences between a gaming laptop vs regular laptop and which one you should go for based on what you need out of your laptop.

Gaming Laptop vs Regular Laptop

The Differences at a Glance

In general, gaming laptops are designed to handle heavier tasks that are far more demanding and intensive on the GPU and CPU than regular laptops. Regular laptops are built to handle day-to-day tasks that aren’t incredibly intensive on their own, which for the most part will include your typical office work of typing, browsing, presenting, and so forth. That isn’t to say they aren’t powerful per se, as some day-to-day activities can become quite intensive, such as compiling extensive databases. They are, by and large, less powerful than their gaming cousins.

Gaming laptops are considered more powerful for various reasons, and we’ll go into more detail about it in future sections. In general, you can trust that they will have more RAM, a dedicated graphics card, better cooling, and high-speed processors. A regular laptop is more built for efficiency rather than performance, and they have more lackluster hardware as a result.

This means regular laptops are often much lighter, too, as they lack a dedicated graphics card and a power-restricted processor. More often than not, they will also have increased battery life and have a more sleek design. Gaming laptops have a more striking chassis design that appeals to the gamer aesthetic.

Processor Differences

The first difference we’ll highlight is in the processor, and there is some nuance to this, so bear with us. The CPU of a computer handles all the internal calculations needed to run the device. It tells the computer what to do based on a received input from the user, sending a response to whatever programs may be running at that time. In laptops, you’ll most likely find that you are using an Intel processor, as Intel is one of the largest processor manufacturers in the world at the moment, alongside AMD.

A regular laptop is built to perform medium- to low-intensity tasks, such as reading and writing a document in a word processor, browsing the web, and reading emails. Therefore, the processors will be less powerful as a result, as getting something more powerful than is needed is a waste of money and resources.

On the other hand, gaming laptops will require more powerful CPUs to handle the more processor-intensive task of running programs such as a video game. Your CPU will need to make millions of calculations incredibly fast to keep up with the video game, and only high-performance processors can perform such a feat.

Intel CPU Identification

If you took a regular laptop and a gaming laptop, saw that they both had an Intel i7 processor, and assumed they had the same processing speed, you may be mistaken. The two i7 processors are architecturally different from one another, supporting their need to perform various tasks.

You can tell the two types of processors apart by their suffix codes. If you were to look up the specific processor, you would see that the model number ends in a particular letter, such as with the Intel i7 10510Y or the i7 9700K.

The letters you’ll most commonly find in a regular laptop include U, Y, G, and T. In a gaming laptop; you’ll likely encounter H, HQ, K, and HK. But we’re just throwing around letters here. When you’re shopping for a laptop and looking at processors, what should you keep in mind? Here is a general rundown of what you can expect based on the suffix:

U – Ultra-low power
Y – Extremely low power
G – Graphics
T – Power optimized lifestyle
H – High performance
HQ – High-performance quad-core
K – Unlocked for overclocking
HK – High performance and unlocked

RAM Differences

The Random Access Memory of your computer is responsible for storing the data of whatever programs you may have running at the moment. It is a form of volatile storage that allows you to do more in the moment, which is very important for running more extensive, intense video games.

Most regular laptops will have between 4 and 8 GB of RAM, while gaming laptops start at 8 GB and can even go up to 64 GB, but that’s a little overboard even for gaming. This disparity in RAM is due to the same factors affecting processor power: regular laptops aren’t expected to run intensive programs. You don’t need much RAM to send an email, browse the web, watch a video presentation, or write up a document.

Video games have all kinds of requirements to run them, from older games requiring barely anything to the newer AAA titles that require an 8 GB minimum for the video game alone. This means that if you have 8 GB of RAM, your video game could potentially take up all of it and leave nothing for the rest of your computer to run, which can lead to a variety of issues and slow down as your computer is forced to allocate hard drive space to run your laptop.

Additionally, RAM on gaming laptops is designed to run at higher clock speeds than the RAM you’d find in regular laptops. Still, the speed of the RAM is much less impactful than the overall capacity it provides. Luckily it’s pretty easy to upgrade to more RAM, even in laptops nowadays. This is especially useful for those who aren’t gaming but still want that extra RAM to, for instance, view large databases. Just be sure your laptop supports upgrading.

Graphics Card Differences

The last significant difference we’ll touch on is the graphics card. The GPU is responsible for rendering all the visuals you see on screen, working with the CPU to create your interactive display. Regular laptops have an iGPU, an integrated graphics card, versus the dedicated GPU of the gaming laptop.

The main difference here is that the iGPU is embedded with the same chip as the CPU and uses the same RAM as the CPU, so they share quite a few resources. When set up this way, it usually means your laptop prioritizes processing power rather than graphics. It’s pretty limited in its capabilities but still works fine for watching videos and viewing images.

Where they fall short is in the modern, graphics-intensive video game world. A dedicated graphics card has, as you can imagine, its own dedicated VRAM and is separate from the CPU, using its own processor known as the GPU. This allows it to perform much better and handle the graphical requirements of modern gaming without the graphics affecting your computer’s performance as much as an iGPU would.


There are a few more differences between gaming and regular laptops, but the above are the main core differences that differentiate between the two based on their intended uses. After reading this, you might think that gaming laptops are superior in almost every way, and you’d be correct for the most part.

But they are more expensive as a result, and you have to ask yourself if paying that extra money is worth getting something when you can get something cheaper that is just enough to get you by for your needs in the office.

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Laptop Cooling Pads Free Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions