Desktop vs Laptop, Overkill?

I’m working on getting a new system. I know a lot of raw power is necessary for building with UE4, but I feel the raw power of a desktop might just be overkill relative to a top-end laptop.
The Laptop for example can do everything else I need perfectly fine, like playing modern games with maxed graphics and high FPS, as well as producing art assets for games.
I also like the idea of being able to work on it while out, like visiting someone or waiting at the laundry mat etc.
Most people here seem to recommend getting a good desktop, but is it really all that useful?
Here’s what I’m looking at;
Plus a large HDD, obviously.


(Or a similar build)

If you can afford the desktop, go for it(you can even go for a 600 series gfx.) It’s not overkill. You are more likely to have issues with a mobile GFX than a PC and heat is more problematic for laptops than it is for PC’s. It wouldnt hurt to have a laptop to use as an extra when you are mobile, but your main workstation should be a PC.

For development it’s never overkill to get as much power as possible. At the very least it will improve the speed of building lighting, if you’re creating your 3D assets then you would want it even more.

As far as the parts go, I wouldn’t worry about getting that fast of RAM, just a minimum of 1600mhz

If you don’t need to upgrade immediately and want to go high-end, the Haswell-E processors will be out in the second half of this year and should be a nice upgrade. Otherwise I’d recommend like the i7 4930K instead of the 4770

It sounds like it’s necessary then to do a lot of long and intensive processing of various things?

On a complete level it could take all day to build lighting, and if you’re working with the engine source code you’d want to have a fast processor to increase compiling speed.

Is it just the lighting, though? I don’t think that’s something encountered with enough frequency to be a huge issue. And I’m not a skilled enough programmer to be messing with the engine source code.

F1 for overkill.

If you have to do it all your not going to be “just” running UE4 and there are days that I’m running UE4, 3ds Max, Motion Builder and Photoshop all at the same time.

Oh and watching Netflix (on IE)

Desktop is better for developing. Faster, more screen space, quiet and cooler(temperature wise).

That motherboard is overkill, you over paying for a piece of metal that does nothing but get in your way. Plus the performance difference is small between mid to high end, cause more functionality has been moved to CPUs.
For case I recommend Antec P280. Dead silence, great airflow, filters everywhere, lots of space, and easy to work in. Also cheaper.
For CPU cooler, I recommend a water kit cause better cooling and quieter.
Last thing, get two monitors, if only one than 27".

Hm… I suppose I will go with the desktop. I still don’t have a strong grasp of what makes it the better option, but the opinion that the desktop is better seems fairly universal, so I’d be dumb to ignore it. Especially with such a large expense. Remote desktop access makes the mobility less of a concern anyway; if I find myself really needing to access it frequently from other places I could just get a cheap ultrabook to link in over any wifi connection.

The main advantage with desktops is that you can get performance for a lower cost, laptops are built as a form factor and a lot of the cost is because of that. They are also not as reliable, because there’s many situations that a laptop can be in and they have a higher chance of dying out, especially if you’re doing something that’s processor and graphics intensive like game development.

I see everyone always comparing desktops to laptops, but I don’t think it’s really a fair comparison. In my living situation, I’m unable to get a desktop, so I’ll be getting a new laptop, which is actually the Asus G750JM. I already know for a fact that desktops are stronger and cheaper than high end laptops, and I also already know that laptop performances are much weaker. With that said, the laptops themselves aren’t weak. Sure, you may not be able to get the same performance as a desktop, but I think it all depends.

Instead of just accepting “get a desktop because it’s stronger,” I think you should probably think of everything you need. Are you going to be making projects/games with the maximum amount of graphical capabilities? That laptop is more than enough to run 3d modeling programs such as Maya/3DS Max/etc to build assets for your project, especially the one you linked. And that laptop is also enough to run UE4 well.

Between the comparisons of desktop vs laptop, laptops will always lose because you’re looking at it from a desktop perspective. Laptops themselves, especially the gaming ones like the Asus G750, will work no doubt. The G750 series has a pretty good cooling system, so I wouldn’t just say that because it’s a laptop, that it will be melted into oblivion at the moment you run UE4.

If you want to be able to use your computer on the move indefinitely, then go with a laptop. If you know for sure that you won’t ever move your computer from home, go with a desktop. Just don’t fully base your decision off of “Desktop good, laptop bad!” Laptops will of course have more of a maintenance like said about – has a chance to die out, etc, but gaming laptops are designed to not die under stress, so once again, you can’t just say that because it’s a laptop, it won’t work. I’d research the laptop in question that you want to use. Look at reviews, do people say that it handles well under intensive usage? I’ve reviewed the g750s quite a lot and have concluded that they do work well.

Of course it all depends on the user eventually. A desktop would be less useful if you are mobile most of the time. But if you want to get into some serious production you cant compare it being able to running a recent game. A game is a single application and it will use the same amount of resources as you play, but things change when you have the engine and your modeling&texturing softwares running at the same time. Combine that with building lights, closing&opening programs constantly a PC will last longer even though a laptop can give you the performance you need for the time being. Laptop RAMs especially dont like too much stress and tend to die more often.

It’s not about what works, it’s about getting the most performance for your money. If you need mobility then you can only get a laptop, but if you don’t need to move it around then get a desktop because you can get much more power for less money. Working with a laptop for game development isn’t a very good experience because of the form factor–the track pad, the smaller keyboard that might not even have a numpad, the smaller screen. I doubt that many people would even need to move their computer around during game development.

As to laptop capability–sure you can find some that get good performance, again not for a very good price compared to a desktop. The average laptop that uses integrated graphics is built to use less power and generate less heat, whereas gaming laptops are built for speed and not reliability.

Well your desktop build is horribly inefficient in terms of FPS per $. You’re wasting a ton of money on components that aren’t going to affect anything. If you are actually serious about game design with UE4 then there’s not much of a reason to get a laptop. That GTX 870M is slower than a 660 Ti. 660 Ti’s don’t max out many modern games.

Laptops can’t be upgraded. The hardware in them is obsolete very quickly and then you have to shell out another $2,000 for something equivalent to a $1,000 desktop.

Screens are a consideration as well. I honestly wouldn’t be content with just a single 17 inch screen.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Do you mean that I have some useless parts that are too high-end, or that there are just cheaper alternatives to the parts I’ve chosen in general? If it’s the latter, there are concerns other than just getting the strongest parts for the least cost. If I did that my precious PC would come out looking like a clown ****, and as an artist I care deeply about the aesthetic as well.

Desktop will always be the best choice for the money. I’ll never argue that. What I’m saying is, just because a desktop is obviously better, doesn’t mean that a laptop is obsolete. If I was actually living in a situation where I could get a desktop, yes, I would definitely get a desktop if I had no plan to use it elsewhere; but because I’m not in that situation, I have to get a laptop. It’s not about the form factor; gaming laptops generally have full keyboards, they definitely aren’t all small and most mimic an external one. You use an external mouse if you don’t want to use the trackpad. I use a mouse because I don’t like the trackpad for gaming or working. And with the laptop that the OP linked in question, you’re able to use up to 3 external monitors. The OP’s question leans more towards getting a laptop because he likes the idea of mobility, but as he has since replied to the opinions in this thread, has now leaned more towards a desktop because “it’s better.”

If I ask a question like this, I don’t want to hear that A is better, B is worse, ignore B and pick A no matter what the circumstance. I want to know why I should. The line between desktop and laptop is simple. A desktop is a more-permanent solution; it’s stationary, cheaper, stronger, and you’re able to upgrade it part-by-part instead of buying a completely new PC. A laptop is a mobile, temporary (do note that even temporary lasts quite a while), expensive, weaker alternative that is only able to generally be upgraded with extra Ram/HDD or maybe even a CD drive.

With that said, laptops are still more than capable. It’s already been said numerous times that desktops are more bang for the buck. The reason is because of what I just stated. Desktops are able to be upgraded part-by-part, whereas an entirely new laptop must be purchased if you want to upgrade things like the CPU/GPU. Do realize, though, that laptops can last years, it’s not as if it will break down in 1 week.

I’ve had this laptop for around 5 years and, and like you said, it’s not built for durability and stress – it’s one of those laptops that should break down in a few years because it’s not entirely quality built. Surprisingly, this laptop has been able to keep up quite well with what I’ve put it through. It’s run games and programs that I’m surprised ran at all, yet it’s still alive and running quite well. Some gaming laptops are not built for reliability, but trust me, I’ve searched far and wide because I used to feel it was a complete waste to even buy a laptop at all. They’ve come quite a long way and gaming laptops now are definitely built for reliability (at least the ones I’ve primarily researched). In fact, with the laptop that the OP posted, you’re able to switch from the main GPU over to the integrated one, in order to use less power.

You say that “It’s not about what works,” but it actually is! I’ll say right now, if you’re able to get a desktop, then get one! But I hate to see laptops defamed because of the desktop counterpart. Laptops do work is the main sentiment I’m trying to state. I’ve grown fond of sitting on the couch and working, instead of sitting at a desk.

Do be informed that I’m not pro-laptop, I just like the idea of making an informed decision, and most desktop vs laptop threads are completely one-sided.

Sure you can plug in lots of stuff and have a better mouse/keyboard/monitor but then that defeats the purpose of having a laptop since you would need to be in a desktop situation to be able to set something like that up. Laptops aren’t worth getting unless you -must- be able to move around often. Like you have to work in 2 locations throughout the week and can only get one workstation. Otherwise it’s not worth the money to be able to go sit on the couch in the other room

I didn’t mean using an external keyboard on the laptop itself, I was saying that laptop keyboards are usually similar to external keyboards in their design (full keys, number pad, etc). It doesn’t defeat the purpose to use a mouse, because you can just unplug when you don’t or can’t use it. I also merely meant that, because of my living setup, I’m now fond of being on the couch as opposed to sitting at a desk like I used to – that part actually has nothing to do with the conversation, I was just stating a personal opinion.

It’s already been established that desktops are cheaper and stronger than laptops, I’m not going to to comment any further on that. I just wanted it to be known that laptops by themselves are still able to get the job done as well, if a person indeed preferred a laptop over a desktop for whatever reason that may be.

Both, and I don’t see how internals that you often can’t even see are that big of a deal. The mobo is a huge expenditure for no practical benefit. You could easily get something at $150 that will satisfy your needs. The case is a waste as well, you’re spending $300 on a GPU and $200 on a case. Those are some backwards priorities. $170 for a PSU that is only going to run a single 770 and 4770K is unnecessary. I see plenty of Seasonic, Corsair, and XFX PSUs with plenty of wattage in the $60-$90 range. The cooler is exorbitant, at that price you might as well watercool it. Haswell doesn’t OC that well anyways, you could probably get very similar if not identical results with a $25 Hyper 212.

That laptop will be obsolete in one year. The 870M is already slower than mid range GPUs released in 2012.

There’s also the option of getting a mini-ITX system, you could build one that will fit in some kind of bag with keyboard/mouse etc.
It’s not going to work for things like working at a cafe or while waiting for laundry but it can be easy enough to move around working at other locations.
This is something I’m considering for my next system as I might be flying around often in the future.

For your build, the K series CPU’s are mainly for those looking to overclock so if you won’t be doing that going for the normal 4770 could save ~$40.
Similar story with the motherboard, I was eyeballing that one too but if you won’t be doing any fancy water cooling (and I haven’t been able to find any information about what kind of cooling gains using that motherboard provides) you could go for a cheaper option.
Any also with the RAM it is my understanding that a balance of high speed with low timing is generally more important than just buying whatever has the highest speed, you’ll see that RAM is 2400Mhz, but the timing is CL11 (Tested Latency: 11-13-13-31), really this is probably no better than 1600Mhz RAM with CL9 latency.
Something else to consider is the voltage of the RAM, I want to stress that I don’t know too much about this but for Haswell RAM over 1.5v can apparently void warranty and may not be the best thing for your system, again I don’t really know about this and there is so many differing opinions and things to consider.

Things like this might free up your budget enough to grab a GTX 780 Ti.

I’m not an expert on any of this and I’m sure others will correct me if I’m wrong on anything =]

So it’s all down to your preferences but personally I would cheap out on the mobo and stretch a little for a better GPU.

Edit: I also generally agree with the above post, the cash should be going towards CPU and GPU mainly.
I have a Kuhler H20 620 (not sure if that’s the exact name, but it’s a cheapish AIO CPU water cooler) and it offers enough cooling performance to run my old i5-750 (Nahalem?) OC’d to 3.8Ghz (from 2.66Ghz not that it runs stable like that while running lightmass =).
AIO coolers are simple and easy to install and I would buy again.