When looking for a new gaming laptop, you’re probably going to check the specs.
How crisp the display is, how fast it is, how long the battery lasts… The list goes on.
But all these fancy features are nothing if your laptop won’t last.
Since buying a laptop is a considerable investment, it makes you wonder: how long will a gaming laptop last?
In this article, I answer how long a gaming laptop will last, along with factors that could increase (or decrease!) your laptop’s lifespan. Plus, some tips and tricks to get the most out of your laptop.
Let’s dive in!
How Long Do Gaming Laptops Last?
The short answer is that a good mid-range gaming laptop will last 3-4 years.
For high-end models, it could serve you 4-6 years.
In terms of its physical components, you can expect up to 10 years’ worth of service. But chances are your gaming laptop won’t be able to keep up with all the software updates by then.
The general rule of thumb is that the higher the price tag, the better the laptop. But the price tag isn’t the only factor you should consider.
The long answer is that your gaming laptop’s lifespan will depend on its hardware build quality, usage, and maintenance.
Let’s go through each below.
What Affects a Gaming Laptop’s Life-Span?
The question of how long will a gaming laptop last depends on many factors.
The top consideration is build quality.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) manages the video and graphics performance. It’s responsible for smoother gameplay.
For gaming laptops, your graphic card is the most important component in the system. This is especially true for modern games.
Why? Because it requires processing 3D graphics, mapping textures, and rendering high-resolution images, videos, and animations.
NVIDIA and AMD are the top manufacturers for a good GPU.
But there are so many models available—where do you start? A good way to start is by looking at the frame rates.
FPS (frames per second) refers to how many frames your GPU can process. Higher frame rates will mean your gameplay will look smoother and more responsive.
30 FPS is the minimum you should aim for. It’s the most common you’ll see in most PC games.
If possible, the sweet spot will be 60 FPS. On a gaming PC, it’s even possible to get 120 FPS.
For specific models, the NVIDIA GTX 1050 and AMD Radeon RX 460 are great entry-level cards. These entry-level cards will last you 4-5 years before you need to upgrade.
High-end graphics cards will be able to last for their entire physical lifespan. Some high-end models are the NVIDIA GTX 1060, GTX 1080, AMD RX Vega 64, and RX 580.
If you’re the “go big or go home” type, you could also consider the NVIDIA RTX series. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and ray tracing to provide the ultimate visual experience.
CPU (Central Processing Unit) processes all the data in the machine. It’s the piece that interacts and carries out tasks from your programs and applications.
The CPU is known as the “brain” or “heart” of the computer. But for a gamer, it’s not as important as the GPU.
Still, it is a crucial component and your games won’t be able to run with a bad CPU. It may cause lags and slower loading times.
For example, first-person shooter (FPS) and multiplayer games require good performance from your CPU, and not GPU.
Your gaming laptop should have an Intel- or AMD-based processor.
In particular, the Intel Core i5 and i7 are reliable options for most gamers. For AMD processors, it’s the Ryzen 5 and 7.
More than that, pay attention to the number of cores. The higher the core, the faster it’ll perform.
Dual-cores are pretty common across all laptops. But for a gaming laptop, try to go for a quad-core processor (even if it can be more expensive).
Why do I say this? It’s not just because it’s “better”.
You’re going to have your CPU for around 4 to 5 years. So might as well invest in something high-end to make your laptop last longer. Plus, it’ll perform way better in newer games.
RAM (Random Access Memory) refers to the short-term memory of your computer for data storage and transfer.
It performs all tasks that are currently running on your laptop. For example, this could be internet browsing, playing games, and multitasking between apps.
So, what RAM does is speed up the loading time and reduce lags. It’s also faster than a hard drive or SSD (Solid State Drive).
The minimum RAM you should get is 8GB. Most gaming laptops should have this.
In case you’ve opted for a budget gaming laptop with less than 8GB (say 4GB or less), I highly recommend upgrading it.
This is because your computer’s processors (CPU and GPU) and storage (HDD or SSD) will rely on your RAM to process information.
If possible, it’s a smart idea to go for 16GB. Why?
Modern games are becoming increasingly demanding. This includes their RAM requirements, too.
For example, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Half-Life: Alyx require you to have 12GB RAM.
Plus, if you plan to stream and multitask (such as chatting on Discord), it’s ideal to go for a higher RAM since it helps with carrying out a lot of tasks at once.
Your laptop’s hardware refers to all of its physical components.
This includes things you instantly see such as the keyboard, mouse, trackpad, and monitor. But it also includes the parts inside, such as data storage, graphics card, etc.
Hardware components could last 5-6 years or more, depending on how you take care of them.
Gaming laptops are built “stronger” since it’s supposed to handle heavy-duty tasks. So a gaming laptop lasts for a long time compared to a normal laptop designed for personal, everyday tasks.
Even then, I’d say the maximum gaming laptop lifespan is 10 years.
And that’s only talking about the hardware. Chances are, your laptop won’t be able to keep up with the software side of things: updates.
The reality is that gaming laptops are no match for a video game console, such as Xbox or PlayStation.
There are consoles from the ‘80s and ‘90s that still work today. Modern consoles generate more heat, but even then, their lifespan is 6 years and above.
The reason is that consoles are designed just for games.
For laptops, there are other things to consider even if it was manufactured as a gaming laptop.
First, it allows you to do things other than gaming. It could be playing YouTube videos, streaming on Twitch, chatting on Discord, and so on.
Second, it’s much more portable than a console. Laptops are getting lighter and thinner. But of course, this comes at the expense of sacrificing certain features or components.
Look on the brighter side of things, though: Technology is getting more and more advanced.
This means gaming laptops are also providing better performance.
All you have to do? Make sure it lasts as long as possible.
The next section discusses practical ways to maintain your gaming laptop so it feels brand new.
How Can I Increase My Gaming Laptop’s Life-Span?
Sometimes, the question of how long will a gaming laptop last boils down to your usage and maintenance.
Even if you’re stuck with the components you have, there are ways to prolong the inevitable.
Read our easy tips below.
Regular Cleaning & Maintenance
Cleaning your laptop is one of the easiest (and underrated) ways to make your gaming laptop last longer.
Regular cleaning should be done on the inside and outside.
Cleaning the outside of your gaming laptop is pretty straightforward.
Use a microfiber towel to wipe down the monitor, keyboard, and fan grills. It’s easy for dust to accumulate in these areas, along with other substances (such as from food and drink).
But how do you clean the inside of your gaming laptop?
A lot of modern laptops can’t be opened by users. Plus, even if you can open it, who has time for that?
Luckily for you, there’s a way around it: compressed air.
Using compressed air doesn’t require dismantling your gaming laptop.
All you have to do is spray the compressed air towards your laptop’s ports, especially towards the fans and heating vents. Here’s an article that gives you detailed instructions about it.
Dust is one of the top reasons that cause overheating and damage to internal components. As time goes by, the accumulated dust shortens your gaming laptop’s lifespan.
A hot laptop is a bad sign on many levels.
It can actually be a burn or fire hazard. It will also damage internal parts, sometimes to the point of no return.
Even without dust or dirt, your gaming laptop can heat up. In fact, it’s pretty normal.
Gaming is one of the most demanding tasks a laptop can carry out. So it’s normal that your CPU, GPU, etc. will work overdrive and generate heat as a result.
That’s why most laptops have built-in cooling systems to make your gaming laptop last.
If you’re buying a new gaming laptop, it’s worth checking out what kind of cooling system it uses. Plus, reading customer reviews is also very helpful.
There are other ways to fight off the heat: cooling pads. It’s a cheap but effective trick.
A cooling pad has 1-2 fans, which can help provide additional airflow. Plus, it doesn’t use too much power since it’s usually plugged into your laptop’s USB port.
If your laptop starts getting hot, it’s a good idea to take a break and let it cool first. Close all programs and let it go to sleep. The best would be shutting it down completely.
Keep in mind that your room temperature also affects your gaming laptop. So in summers, be extra careful so you can keep your laptop cool.
Just like any hardware component, the battery also has its lifespan.
That’s why having good battery charging habits can make you get the most out of your laptop.
This can be a bit tricky for gamers. Because the battery in gaming laptops tends to drain fast. And no one wants their laptop to die in the middle of a game, right?
But if you want to maximize your battery, make sure not to “overcharge” it. That is, leaving your laptop plugged into the charger all the time.
While it’s not possible to overcharge a laptop battery, keeping it plugged in can be harmful.
This could cause overheating in some laptops. Plus, lithium-ion batteries (what most laptops use) last longer if they’re charged between 40% to 80%.
It’s easy to lose track of your battery life when you’re gaming. But the keyword here is to try.
Regular Software Updates
Have you ever received a software update notification and clicked ‘Not Now’?
Yeah, me too.
Most gamers use Windows. If you’re up-to-date, you’ll probably have Windows 10 installed on your gaming laptop.
Even if you have the latest operating system, Microsoft usually introduces feature updates every six months.
So if you don’t update regularly, chances are your OS version will be very much behind in just a year or two.
This also means you’re missing out on security and performance improvements that will impact your gaming experience.
Keep in mind that the games you’re playing will also roll out updates to keep up with Microsoft’s OS updates.
After 2-3 years of owning your gaming laptop, it’s a good idea to upgrade the hardware components.
The cheapest way is to upgrade your RAM. You can get a good RAM at under $100 and it’s a quick-fire way of boosting your laptop’s gaming performance.
Another hardware to upgrade is your data storage. This could mean your HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive).
Most laptops nowadays use SSD, as they’re much better than hard disk drives. But in case your laptop still uses a hard drive, switching to an SSD will be a huge improvement.
For those using SSDs, there’s an option to increase the storage.
The recommended SSD capacity for gamers is 512GB to 1TB. But as game sizes are getting bigger, you might find yourself nearly at full capacity.
Lastly, you could also look into changing your processor, either the CPU or GPU.
This is trickier as many laptops do not allow you to upgrade your processor, unlike their desktop counterparts.
But the good news is that even entry-level GPUs, such as the GTX 1050, can last you around 3-5 years before you’ll need replacement.
You can use websites such as Crucial to check if you can upgrade your laptop’s hardware.
In this article, I tackled the question: How long will a gaming laptop last?
Besides the price, many other factors will determine the lifespan of a laptop.
Among those is hardware build quality. That’s why buying a high-end machine might be worth your investment, as it will serve you for 4-6 years.
You can expect entry-level and mid-range laptops to last you for 3-4 years.
Keep in mind that you can always make your laptop last longer using different ways, such as proper usage and regular maintenance.