Prior to the widespread usage of PCs, a computer that could fit on a desk was remarkably small, leading to the “desktop” nomenclature. More recently, the phrase usually indicates a particular style of computer case. Desktop computers come in a variety of styles ranging from large vertical tower cases to small models which can be tucked behind an LCD monitor.
A gaming computer is a standard desktop computer that typically has high-performance hardware, such as a more powerful video card, processor and memory, in order to handle the requirements of demanding video games, which are often simply called “PC games”. A number of companies, such as Alienware, manufacture prebuilt gaming computers, and companies such as Razer and Logitech market mice, keyboards and headsets geared toward gamers.
A laptop computer (also called a notebook) is similar to a desktop, but is designed for portability. Usually, all of the hardware and interfaces needed to operate a laptop, such as the graphics card, audio devices or USB ports (previously parallel and serial ports), are built into a single unit. Laptops usually have “clamshell” design, in which the keyboard and computer components are on one panel and a flat display screen on a second panel, which is hinged to the first panel. The laptop is opened for use and closed for transport. Closing the laptop also protects the screen and keyboard during transportation. Laptops have both a power cable that can be plugged in and high-capacity batteries that can power the device, enhancing its portability. Once the battery charge is depleted, it will have to be recharged through a power outlet. In the interests of saving power, weight and space, laptop graphics cards are in many cases integrated into the CPU or chipset and use system RAM, resulting in reduced graphics performance when compared to an equivalent desktop machine. For this reason, desktop computers are usually preferred over laptops for gaming purposes.