How to Cool Laptop While Gaming

If your gaming laptop gets too hot or even shuts down due to overheating and you’re unable to figure out why, then you’ve come to the right place!  Overheating can reduce both, the performance and the lifespan of your device, which is why you should do everything possible to keep your laptop cool. In this guide we will go over what you need to pay attention to in order to keep your gaming device cool.

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Is Your Laptop Really Getting Too Hot?

The more powerful and busy your laptop is, the more chances of it overheating. However, the following are clear signs that your laptop is actually overheating:

  • If your laptop is getting noticeably warmer and the fans are spinning faster than usual, even when you simply browse the web or watch videos, then there is a high probability that there is an overheating issue.
  • Another indication is a significant loss of performance in computationally intensive applications such as gaming. If your device hangs often and has regular FPS drops, this is also a bad sign. It is caused by the CPU or GPU clocking itself down when the temperature is too high for protection.
  • Even increased power consumption can be an indication of excessively high temperatures, as hardware components that have run hot automatically draw more power.

Tools such as HWiNFO or HWMonitor can help check temperatures of individual hardware sensors. But how hot is too hot for a laptop? the usual temperatures vary from device to device, but a CPU should not get above 130 F (55 C) during normal use. Temperatures of up to 160 F (70 C) are okay under full load. However, isolated peaks in moderation are not a cause for concern.

Since you have a gaming laptop, it probably has its own graphics card (GPU) and does not use the graphics chip built into the CPU. The temperature zone for that should be below 110 F (45 C) in normal operation, but temperatures of up to 175 F (80 C) are acceptable under load.

Try The Following Tricks to Keep Your Gaming Laptop Cool

I have summarized the best tips and tricks for you to use if your gaming laptop gets too hot, so that you can play your favorite games carefree. There are many different ways to counteract overheating, both at the hardware and the software level. Some are very simple, while others require a little more technical skill. At the end of the day, everyone should be able to effectively bring their gaming devices to lower temperatures.

Tip 1: Choose a Suitable Surface for Gaming

You shouldn’t use your laptop on a bad surface such as a bed. Instead, always have your computer on a solid surface, especially if you use high-performance applications. Soft surfaces such as blankets, pillows or even your legs can block ventilation and thus significantly impair cooling.

On hard surfaces, such as table tops, the rubber feet raise the laptop far enough so that the ventilation slots on the floor can still draw in enough air. So before you worry, run the temperature tests on a suitable surface.

Tip 2: Buy a Cooling Pad for Your Gaming Laptop

An effective and inexpensive way to keep your laptop cool is cooling pads. Gaming laptops operate intensively and these pads offer external fans that help keep your laptop cool. Usually you place your laptop on the pad and connect it to your device via USB.

While the majority of laptops suck in cold air from below and blow warm air out the sides, there are also laptops that blow out warm air from below. If your gaming device blows air from the bottom, heat builds up and both devices obstruct each other. Make sure to first see how your laptop deals with airflow.

Tip 3: Check Laptop Fans

If you are having an overheating issue, the first step should always be to check the fans. In modern gaming systems, several fans are installed, which together provide effective cooling and airflow throughout the system.

If one of these fans fail, the cooling performance of the entire system can suffer. You can also use the tools mentioned above to check whether your fans are still working. These also show you the current fan speeds (RPM).

There are two other signs that your fans are not doing what they should when they are under load. Keep an ear out on these two things:

  • Rattling – A defective fan makes various rattling or grinding noises long before it completely dies. If your fans are making this noise, chances are they are not running properly.
  • Total Silence – Obviously, no fan is idling while a laptop is overheating or under load. If you notice that a fan does not make any noise while your laptop is under heavy load, it is most likely defective and should be replaced.

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Tip 4: Clean the Laptop Fan and Case

If all fans are working normally, it is time to do some cleaning! With older laptops, a thick layer of dust often forms over time, which hinders the cooling performance. When cooling fins or ventilation grilles are covered, the temperature suffers considerably.

Some laptops have pull-out dust filters for the ventilation slots that can be cleaned regularly and easily. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Usually there is nothing to avoid unscrewing the laptop.

This can work differently depending on the device, so research your laptop specifically if you are unsure of what you are doing. If you get a layer of dust inside the laptop, then carefully remove it with cotton swabs, a vacuum cleaner with a thin attachment or, and this is best, with a little compressed air. You can read more about cleaning dust from your laptop here.

There is no way to prevent your gaming laptop from sucking up dust. Therefore, you should clean the laptop regularly, preferably every three to six months.

Tip 5: Renew Thermal Paste

If your thermal grease looks bad in your laptop, you might want to think about changing it. This step is only advisable if you can get to the CPU without any issues. With older systems, the thermal paste may dry up over time and lose effectiveness. If your CPU is easily accessible, you can unscrew the CPU cooler and replace the paste or simply replace it with a better one.

This will reduce the temperature by a few degrees, however, it requires a little more technical skill. Of course, the same applies to the GPU, since the thermal grease can also be replaced here, but this often turns out to be more complicated.

Tip 6: Upgrade Hardware

Installing an SSD in your laptop can lower the temperature. The more busier your laptop is, the higher its temperature. Newer hardware that can cope better can drastically reduce the temperature of your gaming laptop.

With laptops in particular, upgrading the hardware is often only possible to a limited extent, but at least something can often be done in the area of ​​RAM and hard drives .

More RAM means less CPU and hard drive load, as files don’t have to be moved between RAM and hard drive as often. If you even install an SSD instead of a mechanical HDD, it will generally stay cooler and your system will experience a performance boost.

Tip 7: Stop Running Too Many Programs

Since the temperature of the hardware is directly linked to its load, it is advisable to shut down programs that are running regularly instead of just putting them in the background. Especially when you start high-performance applications such as games, you should quit other programs that you no longer need.

Classic browsers such as “Google Chrome” or “Mozilla Firefox” are known to be resource hogs. To check which programs are affecting your system the most, you can use the Windows task manager .

In addition, you should regularly check your system for malware such as Bitcoin miners, as these can take up a lot of resources on your system.

Tip 8: Reduce Graphics Settings in Games

Sometimes less is more. To lower the temperature of your system while gaming, you can also reduce the load that games place on it. You can achieve this by reducing the quality of high-performance features such as anti-aliasing and shadow calculation.

It also makes sense to set a frame limit, especially with older games where your system reaches more than the required 60 FPS. If the game does not offer a direct function for this, you can also use V-Sync , since the frame rate is limited to the frame rate of your screen.

This is how you can cut down on power usage, which also greatly reduces temperatures. If you are plagued by regular frame drops due to temperature-related downclocking, this option can create a stable and fluid feel for you through constant frame rates.

Alternatively you may also get an external graphics card. This is an excellent way to have desktop-grade graphics power and at the same time significantly reduce internal heat generation.

Tip 9: Undervolting

Please only use your processor voltage if you know what you are doing! Whether you have the option of “undervolting” depends on the kind of laptop you have. The term describes the reduction of the voltage applied to the processor. The lower the voltage, the lower the temperatures it generates under load. However, you should only consider this option if nothing else works and you know exactly what you are doing or you may end up doing more harm than good.

If you reduce the voltage too much, your system stability will suffer and the laptop can regularly crash and freeze. If you still want to try it, then you have to go to the BIOS of your laptop.

If there is the possibility of free voltage regulation, then you should look for an entry called “CPU Core Voltage” or something similar. If this is set to “Auto”, set it to “Offset” mode and set the offset value to –0.01V. Boot up your system and test whether it is still working properly, for example by performing a stress test with Cinebench. Prime95 is not recommended for a gaming laptop, as the cooling will hardly be able to keep up with the synthetic load.

If your system survives 2 or 3 Cinebench runs without crashing, you can go back to your BIOS and reduce the value by approx. 0.02V. Repeat this until your system is no longer stable.

Once you have reached this point, slowly increase the voltage in the smallest possible steps until the laptop is stable again. With this you have determined your “sweet spot” and can get a few more degrees out under load.

If you manipulate other values ​​or set them incorrectly without knowing what you are doing, this can severely affect your system and even damage it permanently! So you should really see this as the last resort option and only consider it if you really know what you are doing!

Final Words

Logically, tinkering with a laptop is not as easy as with a desktop PC. It is often best to have your expensive gaming laptop repaired by an expert instead of messing with it on your own.

Some of our tips offer you a good starting point for cooling your laptop if it gets too hot. However, if you are not a technical person, it is better to ask a friend or an expert for assistance.

Never unscrew your laptop if it is still covered by a warranty, as this will void the warranty!

If none of these tips help, there may be a defect in one of your hardware parts that cannot be easily solved. If your laptop is newer and still has a warranty, then it can’t hurt to contact the manufacturer. Describe your problem, because the manufacturers are often already familiar with the issue and they can give you additional tips specifically for your device.

Also, you may browse forums specific to your laptop and get valuable insight. If the laptop is older, it can also be that the hardware is simply no longer made to cope with the system load of current games and programs. In this case, only a new acquisition will bring an improvement if you don’t want to do without the latest gaming titles.