Have you ever thought about why your gaming laptop is too hot? In this article, we will discuss the reasons for overheating, signs of overheating and ways to fix your overheating laptop.
Consumers demand slimmer and lighter laptops that are more powerful, which brings with it the disadvantage of overheating. The physical constraints of fitting a fully functioning computer into a portable package might not be easy to circumvent completely, but there are things you could be doing in order to reduce the frequency with which your laptop overheats during gaming sessions. We’ll take a look at these in today’s guide.
Why Your Laptop Overheats While Gaming: What to Know
- The temperature should not exceed 85℃ too often during gaming sessions as it can cause long-term damage to the internals and reduce the machine’s lifespan. If the temperature exceeds this limit in nearly every gaming session, then you know that you have an overheating issue at hand.
- All the components inside a laptop share a common heat sink, so just one overheating part is enough to destroy the thermal performance of the entire device. Your issues might be caused by a single faulty component, and this can be confirmed by using a performance monitoring tool to check CPU/GPU temps under idle and heavy workloads. Once spotted, get that part repaired immediately.
- If you do not spot any outlier temps by following the point above, the overheating issue could be due to other hardware malfunctions that can be resolved, such as blocked vents, damaged fans, or misapplied thermal paste. You can either check for and resolve these yourself or take your laptop to a repair expert (or authorised service centre if under warranty) to get the issues fixed.
- Never run workloads that tax the system and cause overheating for extended durations. Avoid gaming sessions that are too long, turn down some graphical settings, limit your frame rates, and avoid gaming in extremely hot weather.
The DOs and DON’Ts to delay the overheating of Windows gaming laptops. This guide does not cover MacBooks.
Also read Are Gaming Laptops Good For Video Editing.
Signs of Overheating
We have laid out the signs of overheating in order below, from the first symptoms to the last; watch out for these and do not let your laptop reach the latter steps, as it can drastically reduce the machine’s lifespan by damaging the internals and may also lead to a laptop fatality.
1) Loud fans: The laptop fans spin up to maximum speed to cool it down when it starts approaching maximum temps.
2) Hot to the touch: The heatsink cannot contain all the heat. The laptop shell becomes hot and makes it uncomfortable to use the keyboard and lay your wrists on the laptop.
3) Performance throttling: If your framerates start tanking, then you know that the software is throttling performance to prevent damage from sustained heat.
4) Software warning: If the workload continues to remain high despite throttling, the OS will give you a warning about potential damage to the components.
5) Games crash: If a game hangs or crashes, it could be due to extremely high temps. If you don’t close the game after the first warning pops up, Windows will crash the game in order to reduce the CPU/GPU workload.
6) Laptop crashes: Lastly, if the laptop is unable to cool itself off adequately, the hardware will overheat to the point of causing a hard crash as the components cannot physically operate at those temps any longer.
What Are The Tips to Fix Your Overheating Laptop
Desktop PCs can have massive coolers for separate components, but laptops don’t have that luxury of space. So, aside from fixing any abnormalities, compromising some performance and running noisier set-ups to achieve better thermals is a common tactic.
Let us discuss some things that you might be doing or not doing that can overheat your laptop and practical ways to fix the overheating issue to prevent component failure and possibly a fatal laptop crash.
1) Avoid hot environments
Blazing ambient temperatures are why gaming laptop performance takes a huge toll on the Indian climate.
To counteract this:
- Cool the room with an AC (avoid using water-based coolers as they increase humidity, which can damage electrical components).
- Avoid gaming during mid-day.
2) Update the GPU driver
A simple fix that’s ignored by too many people. Frequently check for the latest drives or just turn on automatic driver updates for a hassle-free solution. Outdated drivers lead to software malfunctions, which can cause overheating.
Check the latest driver for your GPU, download their driver management software (recommended) or manually download and update:
3) Raised Laptop Stand + Hard surface + Uncluttered Workspace + Laptop Cooler
Never place the laptop on a soft surface like a mattress when in use because this completely blocks airflow. Laptops already tend to have a very low profile stand in the name of reducing bulkiness. This can restrict the airflow into and out of the fans, which usually sucks in air from the bottom.
- Raising the laptop on a stand gives it room to breathe and dissipate hot air more effectively.
- Make room around the laptop to prevent objects from blocking the side or back exhaust vents.
- For additional cooling support, you can consider picking up a stand with cooling fans that can increase air intake as well as dissipation.
4) Turn Down Gaming Boost Modes
These modes overclock the CPU/GPU, and even with the fans on full blast, temps reach between 90-100℃, which is a dangerous operating temperature if hit frequently and maintained for too long.
If you are even remotely concerned about the laptop’s lifespan and battery life, then we recommend that you turn off such modes by accessing the proprietary software built on your laptop, which lets you manage these extra features.
5) Close Unnecessary Tasks
Background tasks hog up valuable system resources and increase CPU load while gaming. Multitasking while gaming is extremely intensive and can overheat the laptop very quickly.
Follow these steps to shut down background tasks in Windows:
- Hit “ctrl+shift+esc” to open Task Manager
- In “processes”, right-click on the task you want to close and select “End task.”
6) Clean Your Laptop Vents And Fans
Regular maintenance is a commonly neglected aspect of owning a gaming laptop; don’t be the person who ignores this crucial activity after a few months of ownership. Keeping the vents free from dust maintains the required airflow. Also cleaning the fans regularly can ensure that they spin properly with less noise.
Here’s a checklist to follow when cleaning your laptop to ensure you hit all the spots:
- Wipe the vents with a soft cloth.
- Use a handheld blower (angle the blower to blow dust away from the vent and not deeper into the laptop)
- Use the dusting attachment on a vacuum cleaner.
- If you know your way around electronics better you can unscrew the bottom shell and lightly wipe the internal components, this also gives better access to the fans which can be thoroughly dusted and wiped.
- Do not use any harsh chemicals or water, you may use a cleaning liquid specifically designed for this purpose.
7) Check The Thermal Paste
Sometimes the thermal paste is misapplied from the factory itself or else loses its efficacy over time. We recommend that you have the paste checked once a year and freshly applied if necessary. This is crucial for proper heat transfer from the CPU to the heatsink.
By following all the tips above, you are sure to keep frequent overheating in check.
Modern games can tax even the highest-end desktop PCs, take heed of the minimum system requirements declared by the game developers and do not expect to always run ultra or even high settings and still get good frame rates and thermals too. One will have to be compromised for the other to maintain reasonable temps and prevent overheating, especially if:
- You have an older laptop.
- You have a lower-spec laptop.
- You have a thin and light-style gaming laptop.
- You have a powerful ultrabook that’s not designed for gaming specifically.
1) Do laptop coolers work?
A) Yes, laptop coolers work, they circulate a greater volume of air around the laptop which helps in heat dissipation.
2) Does increasing RAM prevent overheating?
A) No, increasing your RAM alone will not prevent overheating as background tasks take up CPU and GPU resources and are way more resource-intensive than RAM.
3) Is Self-cleaning the laptop safe?
A) Yes, if you are confident in your skills. Or else, go to an authorised service centre.