Question Should I get a laptop or a desktop (both used)

Aug 10, 2019
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So ive recently decided to make the jump and invest finally on a PC. To save some money, I decided to get a used one. I finally narrowed down my options to two choices either a laptop (i5 4210H, 8gb ddr3, gtx 960m 2gb, 180€) or a desktop (i3 3220, 8gb ddr3, rx 550 4gb, 240€). The desktop is like an oem machine with the video card thrown in there and cleaned (has a year warranty).
Now, I have a couple of questions which I thought about and I thought that the experts out there could help a newbie like me.
1. Would I be able to play games like for example, GTA V, PUBG and CS:GO on like 720p or 1080p settings while at 60fps avg? Prefferred quality would be like low-med.
Would they be able to last me atleast like 1 to 2 years of upcoming games?
Should I just build my own pc instead of buying a used one?
And finally, are those even good deals for used hardware?
Thanks in advance!

Update : Not sure if this is worth mentioning but, I found another laptop with an i7 4710HQ, 16gb of ddr3 ram and a gtx 860m for 300€.
 
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delaro

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Herald
Would I be able to play games like for example at 720p or 1080p settings while at 60fps avg.
GTA V --- 720p on the laptop with low to mid settings
PUBG --- 720p on the laptop with low to mid settings
CS:GO --- Both could and using higher settings than low.
Would they be able to last me at least like 1 to 2 years of upcoming games?
No not even close to holding 60+ fps even now at 720p across many AAA titles.

And finally, are those even good deals for used hardware?
The Laptop is slightly more powerful and a decent deal for 180€, it would come the closest to that target FPS.
 

86zx

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I’d go with the desktop, you can upgrade it later on and it will blow that laptop out of the water, the laptop wouldn’t be able to be upgraded beyond ram so you would be stuck. And I do think you could potentially get a better deal on a desktop than that if you really scrounge around possibly on eBay
 

delaro

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I’d go with the desktop, you can upgrade it later on and it will blow that laptop out of the water, the laptop wouldn’t be able to be upgraded beyond ram so you would be stuck. And I do think you could potentially get a better deal on a desktop than that if you really scrounge around possibly on eBay
240€ For the desktop "OEM" What you get with an OEM?
Limited cooling
Limited BIOS support on CPU upgrades
Small power supply, sometimes Proprietary and either needs a custom expensive SFF or adapters.
Limited space for GPU upgrades.

So let's say you're going to upgrade that and the BIOS is not all fudged up, what are you looking at in price?

i7 3770 62€+ "Ideal 4C8T"
i5 3570 23€ "Upgrade on the cheap"

Power supply.

500W supply that won't self detonates 2 years down the line since OEM's normally have less than 350W, Typically around 290W for those business machines.

500W Supply 59€

GPU upgrade because an RX 550 is hardly cutting the butter.

Used 970 GTX 67€ " As a budget option"

You're now looking at 389€ to 428€ which is still cheap but close to the range of just building a PC on a platform that isn't dead.

180€ gives you a decently usable Laptop that may not be upgradable but it's still a laptop with better hardware right now and if $$$ is tight well :unsure:.

An i5 3570 and a 970 GTX are a reasonable cheap combo, they do low to medium settings @ 1080p and for the most part stay above 50fps but is that going to happen in 2 years? No.
 

86zx

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240€ For the desktop "OEM" What you get with an OEM?
Limited cooling
Limited BIOS support on CPU upgrades
Small power supply, sometimes Proprietary and either needs a custom expensive SFF or adapters.
Limited space for GPU upgrades.

So let's say you're going to upgrade that and the BIOS is not all fudged up, what are you looking at in price?

i7 3770 62€+ "Ideal 4C8T"
i5 3570 23€ "Upgrade on the cheap"

Power supply.

500W supply that won't self detonates 2 years down the line since OEM's normally have less than 350W, Typically around 290W for those business machines.

500W Supply 59€

GPU upgrade because an RX 550 is hardly cutting the butter.

Used 970 GTX 67€ " As a budget option"

You're now looking at 389€ to 428€ which is still cheap but close to the range of just building a PC on a platform that isn't dead.

180€ gives you a decently usable Laptop that may not be upgradable but it's still a laptop with better hardware right now and if $$$ is tight well :unsure:.

An i5 3570 and a 970 GTX are a reasonable cheap combo, they do low to medium settings @ 1080p and for the most part stay above 50fps but is that going to happen in 2 years? No.
Well depending on what brand it is let’s say it’s a dell there is a decent upgrade path usually you can get after market adaptors for powersupply if it’s a custom motherboard power connector and usually the bios will allow i7’s if not atleast an i5 and He could go with any gpu as long as the powersupply is up to the task. But still it might be easier to get some used desktop hardware and throw something together in a relatively cheap case. I’ve made x58 systems for 50$ before if you know how to deal hunt you can build a fairly decent desktop for cheap to get by for a couple years
 

USAFRet

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Well depending on what brand it is let’s say it’s a dell there is a decent upgrade path usually you can get after market adaptors for powersupply if it’s a custom motherboard power connector and usually the bios will allow i7’s if not atleast an i5 and He could go with any gpu as long as the powersupply is up to the task. But still it might be easier to get some used desktop hardware and throw something together in a relatively cheap case. I’ve made x58 systems for 50$ before if you know how to deal hunt you can build a fairly decent desktop for cheap to get by for a couple years
PSU adapters are almost never a good idea.

180EUR for the slightly better laptop, knowing it can't be upgraded.
240EUR for the desktop, knowing it will need a full replacement of everything.

I'd go with the laptop. Which will work for, at least, basic office functions and transportability for a few years.
 

86zx

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PSU adapters are almost never a good idea.

180EUR for the slightly better laptop, knowing it can't be upgraded.
240EUR for the desktop, knowing it will need a full replacement of everything.

I'd go with the laptop. Which will work for, at least, basic office functions and transportability for a few years.
I have a dell optiplex mother board with the 10 pin and I used an adaptor works 100% fine and second he wanted to play games on it which the laptop would very much struggle with and third likely the laptop given its age the battery is probably close to end of life and I’m not saying this is every used laptop but it’s a mobile device so it being on the go is gonna cause more wear and tear so potentially it could have cracks and maybe screen hinge damage. I’m not gonna say that exact desktop is a good deal I think a better deal can be had but there is more options with a desktop in the long run so it can potentially last longer and another added benefit of a desktop is it’s gonna be a lot quieter I used to use a laptop for gaming all the time and after a while I got kinda sick of the jet engine sound
 

delaro

Splendid
Herald
I have a dell optiplex mother board with the 10 pin and I used an adaptor works 100% fine and second he wanted to play games on it which the laptop would very much struggle with and third likely the laptop given its age the battery is probably close to end of life and I’m not saying this is every used laptop but it’s a mobile device so it being on the go is gonna cause more wear and tear so potentially it could have cracks and maybe screen hinge damage. I’m not gonna say that exact desktop is a good deal I think a better deal can be had but there is more options with a desktop in the long run so it can potentially last longer and another added benefit of a desktop is it’s gonna be a lot quieter I used to use a laptop for gaming all the time and after a while I got kinda sick of the jet engine sound
So funneling 60€ more into something that needs another 75€ just to match the laptop seems like a good deal to someone on a budget?

180€ VS 318€ to make the hardware equivalent. :unsure: With the full understanding that whatever you buy is going to need to be fully replaced within 2 years. At least with the laptop... you have a laptop instead of a little down the road a pile os scrap to sell. The laptop will still fetch most of its price on reselling but the OEM.. not so much.
 

86zx

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So funneling 60€ more into something that needs another 75€ just to match the laptop seems like a good deal to someone on a budget?

180€ VS 318€ to make the hardware equivalent. :unsure: With the full understanding that whatever you buy is going to need to be fully replaced within 2 years. At least with the laptop... you have a laptop instead of a little down the road a pile os scrap to sell. The laptop will still fetch most of its price on reselling but the OEM.. not so much.
No I said I think a better deal can be had for a desktop than the one that was stated in the original post. The problem with the laptop is the 960m is not very powerful (25% less performance than a 1050)and those games are gonna get fairly low fps unless you have pretty low settings in games. And like I also stated previously it’s up to the user weather they can deal with loud fan noise
 
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So funneling 60€ more into something that needs another 75€ just to match the laptop seems like a good deal to someone on a budget?
While I agree that the laptop is probably the better option of those two systems due to it's lower price, portability and inclusion of a screen that the desktop probably doesn't include, from a performance standpoint these two systems should actually be quite similar. We are comparing a laptop 960m with a desktop RX 550 after all, and that laptop i5 is only a dual-core with hyperthreading, which should perform rather similar to that desktop i3. Performance of the laptop may depend on how much or how little thermal-throttling that particular system encounters while gaming though.

As for gaming performance, I would not expect these systems to maintain 60fps in more demanding games like GTAV, but most titles should likely be "playable" if you don't mind reducing settings and running them at around 720p. And less demanding titles like CS:GO would likely run fairly well. Spending somewhat more on putting together a desktop system would probably be advised it you want more performance and the ability to run demanding future releases though.
 
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delaro

Splendid
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Desktop There far more repairable/modifiable.
I think you're missing the entire point. 😔

While I agree that the laptop is probably the better option of those two systems due to it's lower price, portability and inclusion of a screen that the desktop probably doesn't include, from a performance standpoint these two systems should actually be quite similar. We are comparing a laptop 960m with a desktop RX 550 after all, and that laptop i5 is only a dual-core with hyperthreading, which should perform rather similar to that desktop i3. Performance of the laptop may depend on how much or how little thermal-throttling that particular system encounters while gaming though.

As for gaming performance, I would not expect these systems to maintain 60fps in more demanding games like GTAV, but most titles should likely be "playable" if you don't mind reducing settings and running them at around 720p. And less demanding titles like CS:GO would likely run fairly well. Spending somewhat more on putting together a desktop system would probably be advised it you want more performance and the ability to run demanding future releases though.
  1. Neither is that great nor will they maintain 60+ Fps
  2. A budget
  3. The 960m averages 17% faster Frames over the RX 550
  4. The i5 4210H offers between 15% to 27% better single-core and multicore performance over the i3 3220.
  5. Did I mention the budget?
  6. It's an OEM so upgrades are going to be limited "Power supply, BIOS limitations, case wiring"
This still goes back to the your suggesting buying something that is slower and will need more $$$ funneled in right now vs it's more usable right now and gives you time to save for something more modern which I pointed out.
180€ VS 318€ to make the hardware equivalent.
In reality, the best thing to do would be to avoid both and just save the cash.
 

86zx

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I think you're missing the entire point. 😔



  1. Neither is that great nor will they maintain 60+ Fps
  2. A budget
  3. The 960m averages 17% faster Frames over the RX 550
  4. The i5 4210H offers between 15% to 27% better single-core and multicore performance over the i3 3220.
  5. Did I mention the budget?
  6. It's an OEM so upgrades are going to be limited "Power supply, BIOS limitations, case wiring"
This still goes back to the your suggesting buying something that is slower and will need more $$$ funneled in right now vs it's more usable right now and gives you time to save for something more modern which I pointed out.

In reality, the best thing to do would be to avoid both and just save the cash.
That’s why I said I’d recommend shopping around because Ik you can get a better desktop for that kind of money and a laptop will be way more limited.
 
  1. The 960m averages 17% faster Frames over the RX 550
  2. The i5 4210H offers between 15% to 27% better single-core and multicore performance over the i3 3220.
Where did you get those numbers? I doubt there are any good apples-to-apples benchmarks comparing performance between those components, as we are making comparisons between laptop and desktop parts here, which you are unlikely to find in any proper reviews. Plus, laptop parts will be much more prone to throttling under extended gaming loads, due to heat and power restraints, but that will tend to vary from one device to the next.

Something like Userbenchmark is probably about as close as we are going to get to any meaningful real-world data, and they are showing a relatively negligible difference in performance between this hardware. Around a 3-5% performance difference between the 4210H and the 3220...

https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-4210H-vs-Intel-Core-i3-3220/m14910vsm272

And while the 960M may appear a bit faster in some of their synthetic tests, in the limited game performance numbers they offer, performance appears practically the same. That could potentially be due to the card being paired with somewhat faster desktop processors though...

https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-960M-vs-AMD-RX-550/m27242vs3925

This still goes back to the your suggesting buying something that is slower and will need more $$$ funneled in right now vs it's more usable right now and gives you time to save for something more modern which I pointed out.
I think you may be mistaking me for the person you were talking with before. I never suggested funneling additional money into the desktop system, and agreed that the laptop would probably be the better buy. I was just pointing out that the real-world performance difference between the two might not actually be all that different.
 

86zx

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Where did you get those numbers? I doubt there are any good apples-to-apples benchmarks comparing performance between those components, as we are making comparisons between laptop and desktop parts here, which you are unlikely to find in any proper reviews. Plus, laptop parts will be much more prone to throttling under extended gaming loads, due to heat and power restraints, but that will tend to vary from one device to the next.

Something like Userbenchmark is probably about as close as we are going to get to any meaningful real-world data, and they are showing a relatively negligible difference in performance between this hardware. Around a 3-5% performance difference between the 4210H and the 3220...

https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-4210H-vs-Intel-Core-i3-3220/m14910vsm272

And while the 960M may appear a bit faster in some of their synthetic tests, in the limited game performance numbers they offer, performance appears practically the same. That could potentially be due to the card being paired with somewhat faster desktop processors though...

https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-960M-vs-AMD-RX-550/m27242vs3925


I think you may be mistaking me for the person you were talking with before. I never suggested funneling additional money into the desktop system, and agreed that the laptop would probably be the better buy. I was just pointing out that the real-world performance difference between the two might not actually be all that different.
Seeing raw performance stats on techpowerup it says there’s roughly a 10% difference so likely you wouldn’t see that much difference between the two
 
You buy a laptop for portability.
gaming laptops are prone to overheating.
Their coolers are, of necessity weak because of space and weight requirements.
A desktop can give you a larger and more immersive monitor.

The kinds of games you play are cpu centric.
Single thread performance is most important for them.

If you have the funds, build one yourself using current gen ryzen or intel 9th gen processors.

OTOH, for a starter, the desktop you mentioned would be ok.
You get a case, windows, some sort of a drive for not very much.
If the included psu is of sufficient quality to handle a gpu upgrade you may be ok.
I have no problem with used parts from a good seller.
 

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