Laptop CPU Vs Desktop CPU

Laptop CPU Vs Desktop CPU

Laptops are portable, smaller in size and that’s why to fit all the parts in such a small form factor, the sizes of the parts are also very small than desktops.

But what about the CPU specifically, what are the difference between a laptop CPU and a desktop CPU, and can you install a laptop CPU on a desktop. Let’s discuss one by one:

Are Laptop CPUs The Same As Desktop? Laptop CPUs (called Mobile CPUs) are not the same as desktop CPUs at all. They are smaller in size, consume less power, comes with less clock speed, and also produce less heat. That’s why they also give less performance than desktop CPUs.

So, as laptop CPUs (also known as mobile CPUs) form factor is small and they are completely different from the CPUs that are used on the desktop, so it is impossible to use one in another device. Meaning, you can’t use a mobile CPU on a desktop.

Now, let’s discuss in detail what are the main differences between mobile CPUs and desktop CPUs:

Performance Difference:

It is not possible to run them while plugged in all the time. That’s why all the parts are specially designed to consume less power so that the laptop battery lasts longer.

As, all the parts including the CPU are set to use less power, so they also end up giving less performance than desktops.

Moreover, you might see the clock speed of mobile CPUs is always less than their desktop variants, which is another reason for power saving. When a CPU uses more clock frequency, it also needs more power, that’s why in mobile CPUs stock CPU frequency is set lower so that they don’t have to use much power.

On the other hand, desktop CPUs can use as much power as they need. As desktops do have a dedicated power supply and plugged in all the time so they can use enough or sometimes more than enough power (overclock) for giving far better performance.

Heating Issues:

Heating is another big factor because of which laptop CPUs are set at less power consumption. The thing is, when any CPU consumes too much power, then they also exhaust too much heat.

Since laptops are very small and their airflow and overall cooling system are also not as good as desktops, so it becomes very important to lower the heat production. Otherwise, laptops will get excessively heated up.

That’s why the manufacturer lowers the clock speed and power consumption to reduce the excessive heat as well as power uses.

Mobile CPU Vs Desktop CPU Size:

Mobile CPUs are smaller in form factor than desktop CPUs. They also don’t have the metal heatsink (plate) above like desktops (where the brand’s name is written). As they are not the same size so, you can’t use a mobile CPU on desktops.

Know More:

Is It Worth Having Two Laptops?
Do Laptop Brands Matter?
Does Laptop Battery Affect Performance?

Laptop CPU Vs Desktop CPU Benchmark:

Here are some AMD desktop and mobile CPUs and their benchmarks:

Laptop (Mobile) CPUBase FrequencyDesktop CPUBase Frequency
AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS2.8GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5700G3.8GHz
AMD Ryzen 5 5600U2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 5600G3.9GHz
AMD Ryzen™ 3 5400U2.6GHz AMD Ryzen 3 5300GE3.6GHz

As you can see on the table, the base clock speed of laptop CPUs is way less than desktops. In overclocking also (boost clock speed) laptops CPUs can’t even complete with desktops.

Now, what about performance in actual uses. Well, for that I have benchmarked some games on my desktop and laptop containing a mobile version of the same CPU, let’s check that too:

Desktop Configuration:

  • CPU: Ryzen 7 5800X.
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070.
  • RAM: 16GB.

Laptop Specs:

  • Name: ROG Zephyrus G GA502.
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS (Mobile CPU).
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060.
  • RAM: 8GB
Ryzen 7 5800X (Desktop)Battlefield V173 FPS
Red Dead Redemption 2135 FPS
Metro Exodus85 FPS
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider155 FPS
AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS (Laptop)Battlefield V65 FPS
Red Dead Redemption 259 FPS
Metro Exodus39 FPS
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider63 FPS

Note that I run all the games in 1080P highest resolution for this benchmark.

As you can clearly see on the table, instead of having the same kind of CPU, using the mobile version affects the performance how much.

So, performance-wise, a desktop CPU always wins over a mobile CPU which is used in desktops.

Why Are Desktop Processors Faster Than Laptop?

Desktop CPUs are bigger, come with more cores, uses more power, that’s why they are always faster than laptop CPUs. As laptops are very small, don’t have enough space for good airflow, so manufacturer lowers the power consumption, ultimately, their performance decreases.

However laptop CPUs are also enough for normal users for tasks like writing, internet scrolling, watching movies, programming, but in tasks like gaming, rendering where the CPU clock speed really matters, laptops CPU falls short.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs):

A Good Processor Speed In Laptop Vs Desktop?

Laptop CPUs with a base clock speed of around 2GHz and more are good and I recommend them. If your laptop has a clock frequency below it, you might not be able to use the latest software on it for a long time as it will fall short in the near future.

If you are using a desktop, then you should use a CPU with a base clock speed of at least 3.2GHz to 3.5GHz. As desktop CPUs are more powerful, it is quite normal to get this much frequency.

Laptop CPU Cooler Vs Desktop:

Desktops usually have a CPU cooler which directly installed on the CPU and cools it down directly. But laptops don’t follow the same thing, rather the laptop CPU is connected with heatsinks for cooling down.

So, most of the laptops don’t have a dedicated cooler for CPU like desktops have. That’s why managing the heat is very important in laptops.

Know More:

Why Are Laptops More Expensive Than Desktops?
Why Laptops Don’t Have CD Drive?


In this post, I have written about laptop CPU and desktop CPUs what are their main differences, and can you use one in another?

If you have any questions in mind, feel free to reach us. See you in the next one, be techy:)

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