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page title icon Gamer Guide 101: How to Keep A Gaming Laptop Cool

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| Updated on April 12, 2021

Learn some simple tips and tricks to keep your laptop cool while gaming. This article covers ways to help you prevent damage and prolong your laptop’s lifespan.

Worried because your games are lagging? Is your battery life depleting faster than usual?

Don’t sweat as it’s easy to resolve this issue.

I’ve prepared 9 things you can do at home to keep your laptop cool while gaming so your gaming sessions stop lagging and stay cool even after a 9-hour marathon of game time.

9 Tips to Help Keep Your Laptop Cool While Gaming

There are a number of things you can do to avoid your gaming laptop from overheating and cause some damage to the hardware.

Gamer Guide 101: How to Keep A Gaming Laptop Cool

1. Relieve Your Laptop of Unnecessary Programs

Gaming laptops are great at multitasking. You can have a lot of windows, tabs, and programs running all at the same time. Aside from the applications you use, there are background processes that also run without you knowing.

This is the part you have to watch out for: Too much load puts a strain on your PC and causes it to overheat.

Games, especially those that are graphics-heavy, take up a lot of CPU usage. Thus, when you have a lot of programs open while gaming, the whole machine exerts more work to run all programs.

It’s fairly obvious, but we tend to forget it during the heat of our game session.

The Solution:

Simply open your task manager by typing it in on your search window or pressing “Ctrl+Shift+Esc” or “Win+X”. This will open a window containing all active programs and processes.

You’ll be able to see how much of the CPU and memory each item takes up.

Look at the list and choose which unrelated or unused applications and processes you can close. Click on the item and press delete or click “End Task” button found on the lower right of the window.

Do this regularly. This practice relieves your PC from unwanted programs and helps it function at an optimum level.

2. Adjust Graphic Settings of Games

Playing Warzone on Ultra High settings?

It might be a bummer for some to compromise the image quality and the whole gaming experience while playing their favorite games.

However, it can significantly reduce stress on the computer, especially if your laptop is running low on processing capacity.

The Solution:

Before your gameplay sessions, find the settings button in the game.

Open the tab continuing graphics settings and put them on low or minimum settings. By running the game on low graphics settings, this minimizes the chances of your laptop from overheating.

3. Clean Your Laptop

Once you’ve done some internal cleansing (i.e. closing unnecessary apps and programs), the next thing your PC could use is some external cleaning as well.

Over time, dust particles can build up and block the intake and exhaust fans, USB ports, as well as in between the keypads.

Yes – this actually happens…A LOT.

One might wipe the surface and outside case but this is not enough. If you want to remove the dust in the nooks and crannies and clear the PC vents, you’re going to have to do more than that.

Although it may seem like a good way to clean your laptop, blowing compressed air to the vents and in between the keys is not a recommended option. It can clear the dust but it can also push the dirt further into the interior of the laptop.

The Solution:

To remove dust once and for all, the best way to do it is to clean it from the inside out.

Start by taking a screwdriver and remove the case of the laptop. Use a soft cloth or small brush to dust off the dirt from the casing and motor. If you’re unsure of how to do this, it’s best to take your laptop to a computer technician.

It’s recommended to clean your PC at least once a year to avoid dust build-up. After cleaning the laptop, you’ll be able to hear the motor running smoothly.

4. Change Old Thermal Paste

If you have your laptop open or if you brought it to a computer technician, it may be a good time to reapply thermal paste.

Thermal paste is a heat conductor. It aids in transferring and spreading heat between the heat sink, GPU, and CPU.

Constant use of your laptop wears down the paste, thus becoming less effective. Without proper heat dissipation, one component might retain more heat than the others which can cause the whole laptop to overheat.

The Solution:

When was the last time you applied thermal paste?

I recommend reapplying thermal paste on the surface of both your processor and graphics card every 3 or 4 years.

If you’re doing it on your own, be sure to remove the thermal paste residue. You can do this by dabbing on rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. You can view this video below to help you in this step.

Aside from thermal paste, one good option would also be liquid metal. Ask your technician if this is available. Liquid metal performs better than thermal paste in conducting heat. 

If you DIY this step, be more cautious when applying liquid metal. One small leak or spill to the surface of other PC components might cause a spark which might end up damaging the motherboard.

5. Keep Room Temperatures Low

There are cases wherein overheating issues cannot be remedied by fixing the internal or external parts of the laptop.

If you’ve already done some cleaning or if your PC is new but the problem still occurs during gaming sessions, sometimes it’s all because of the environment. 

If you are using your gaming laptop in a room or space without some sort of air conditioning system in place, the hot air in the environment can contribute to the heat generated in your laptop.

The Solution:

Your work or gaming station should be in a room with the ideal temperature of 10-35 °C (50-95 °F). This is the range of optimum temperature needed for the interior components to operate well.

6. Buy A Cooling Pad

If you find your laptop constantly overheating, you might need to buy a cooling pad to support the cooling system of your PC.

Cooling pads are relatively inexpensive and help keep your laptop cool. You can get a trusty and sturdy cooling pad from Cooler Master or havit.

Laptop cooling pads work by improving the air circulation of your laptop. By having extra cooling fans blowing air to the vents, airflow is increased, effectively keeping your laptop cool.

The Solution:

There are different cooling system designs.

Some have a singular fan while bigger ones have as many as four or five fans. This cooling accessory is cheap, and are smart options to help you keep your laptop cool while gaming or working.

7. Faulty Fan

Whether you hear labored fan noise coming from the inside of your laptop or if there is no ventilation sound at all, this can be a sign of a problem in the laptop’s fan. 

When fans are faulty and are in need of replacement, a notification usually comes up to inform you of the problem. Listen to your laptop or do regular cleaning to check if the fan is still working properly.

Even if the fan seems to spin, the fan might not be as effective, especially if it’s broken.

The Solution:

Check if the fans just need to be lubricated or replaced. A new or well-maintained fan should improve air circulation and keep your laptop from overheating.

8. Check Laptop Placement

One reason why your laptop’s airflow is restricted is due to its placement. Since most laptops have their vents in the bottom, the surface where you mount your laptop should be a solid, flat top.

The air and heat should not be able to pass through the surface where the laptop is mounted. This is why cloths or soft materials such as cushions, pillows, duvets are not recommended.

Not only can the computer slide off, but the expelled heat and air from the laptop also becomes all coiled up and blocks the heat pipes.

The Solution:

Gamers who are used to gaming in bed or on the couch can buy lap desks. These only come in about $20. They’re versatile and cheap. Most importantly, they help you keep your laptop cool while gaming.

9. Additional Measures

Aside from checking the fans or buying a laptop cooler, there are other things you can do to keep your laptop cool:

Undervolt

Undervolting refers to the method of reducing the voltage power that runs through your CPU.

The current voltage level on which your CPU is operating is optimum but at the same time, produces a lot of heat to perform tasks. 

By undervolting, it allows the CPU to maximize load efficiency without affecting the laptop’s speed or your games.

The less power or voltage that goes to the CPU, the more the laptop will be able to maintain its operating temperature.

Check this tutorial on how to properly undervolt.

Buy External GPU

If you have both the money and CPU power to support an external GPU, go for it.

Having a supplementary graphics card not only increases the quality of graphics (similar to desktop-level) but it’s also a great way to dissipate internal heat generated in the primary GPU.

However, do note that this is not viable for all gaming laptops.

Your CPU should have the capacity to support an external GPU. Also, GPUs are a bit expensive so make sure that the gaming laptop can support this before making any purchase.

What Causes a Laptop to Overheat?

There are a number of reasons why laptops increase in temperature. Aside from dust blocking the ventilation, running too many programs or low air circulation are some reasons why laptops overheat.

How Hot is Too Hot?

The optimum temperature for your CPU and GPU is between the temperatures of 75-80°C.

It’s normal when your laptop is a bit warm after hours of use. However, if you feel the heat reaching the keyboard or the whole motherboard is too hot to touch, that’s when the problem starts. 

If temperatures rise and go higher than 80°C, the laptop starts to overheat. It starts with a little throttling while noticing some lags or frame drops during gameplay.

Conclusion

Overheating is a sign your laptop needs a check-up or should be improved and fixed.

There are a lot of things you can do to take care of your gaming laptop. A little check-up or a laptop cooling pad goes a long way to help increase your laptop’s longevity and components.

In some cases, it’s just poor cooling technology. Either way, these 9 tips can definitely reduce the heat!

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