Your laptop packs impressive processing power and storage while gaming. This progress in efficiency comes at a cost which is excess heat. The greatest threat to your laptop is overheating. It can cause hardware failure and permanent damage.
Let’s take a look at how to prevent laptop from overheating while gaming to improve its performance and extend its lifespan.
The Basics of Overheating Computers
Are you aware that just because your laptop seems hot while gaming doesn’t mean it’s overheating but all the same, excessive heat can damage your computer’s performance and lifespan.
But at what point is it overheating? How hot is too hot?
How Do You Know Your Laptop Is Overheating?
A go goal notice that your computer is overheating is when you can hear your fan running at maximum speed all the time. You may also experience reduced performance because modern CPUs can cut back on clock speed to reduce heat stress.
Why Is Your Laptop Overheating?
Your laptop is overheating because of insufficient cooling.
Some reasons include dust blocking intake grills or exhaust ports, a clogged up fan, or degenerating thermal paste.
Thermal paste or pad is a heat conductive material that connects the CPU or GPU with the metal heat sink. The latter directs heat away from the processing units, usually to a cooling fan.
How to Prevent Laptop from Overheating While Gaming
Several simple hardware fixes can rectify overheating.
1. Fix Internal Cooling
The foremost and most important thing you need to do to prevent laptop from overheating while gaming is to clean the fan(s) that cool(s) the CPU and graphics card.
Over time, they build up layers of dust and dirt that slow them down and block airflow. Consult your laptop’s manual or the manufacturer to find out how you can open the laptop to access and clean these parts.
However, before you attempt to do any cleaning, follow these steps:
- Shut down the computer
- Unplug all cables
- Remove the battery (if possible)
- Ground yourself
When you’re ready, have a close look at your laptop, outside and inside, and clean the following parts:
- If you can open up your laptop, carefully clean the fan(s) with a cotton swab dipped in a drop of isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the alcohol has completely evaporated before you reconnect it to a power source.
- You can also make use of a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt that clogs up the fan(s). To prevent damage to a fan, do not let it revolve in the wrong direction. If you want to use canned air to clean a fan, stop it from spinning by holding it down.
- Next, you can clean the exhaust port with a vacuum cleaner. It usually sits on the side of the laptop, but you can also find it on the back. Unlike intake grills, exhaust ports release warm or hot air, making them easy to find.
- External intake grills cover fans that suck cooler air into the laptop. They can sit on the sides or at the bottom of your notebook. To clear the intake grills, spray them with canned air.
- Finally, you can apply fresh thermal grease to the interface between the CPU and GPU and its heat sink. As usual, please consult the laptop’s manual or manufacturer to obtain instructions on disassembling these components.
2. Keep the Laptop on a Hard and Flat Surface
Another key to prevent your laptop from overheating while gaming is to take note of your laptop’s intake grills, If your laptop’s intake grills are at the bottom, then uneven surfaces, like a blanket, pillow, or your lap, will obstruct its airflow. Afterwards, cooling is impaired, heat builds up then your laptop surfaces get hot, the internal temperature increases and eventually, the laptop will overheat.
You can easily avoid this scenario by keeping the laptop on a hard and flat surface as this will prevent your laptop from overheating while gaming. You can use something as simple as a tray or get a special laptop holder or lap stand.
3. Invest in a Laptop Cooler or Cooling Pad
To prevent laptop from overheating while gaming, you’ll need laptop coolers. Laptop coolers are designed to provide additional cooling. However, getting the wrong cooler can actually make the problem worse. Before you purchase a cooler, you need to understand the airflow into and out of your laptop.
As stated above, most laptops suck in cooling air from the bottom. This makes sense because warm air rises upwards. However, a cooler that sits underneath the laptop and sucks air away from it doesn’t contribute to laptop cooling and rather accelerates overheating.
If your laptop has intake grills at its bottom, purchase a cooler that blows cool air upwards, i.e., into the laptop. You can also get a passive cooler that does not consume power and merely absorbs heat.
If you’re handy, you can build your own laptop cooler or cooling pad.
What Are Potential Software Fixes?
If none of the hardware fixes result helps to prevent laptop from overheating while gaming for a long time, you can also revert to software fixes that address your laptop’s performance and power usage. However, addressing excessive heat with a software fix means you give up performance in favor of preserving the hardware.
Other ways to prevent laptop from overheating while gaming is to either reduce the brightness of your screen or reduce the CPU clock speed.
Protect Your Laptop From Overheating
Even if you have a device that doesn’t exhibit any clear evidence of overheating, it’s a good idea to clean its vents and fans to prevent dust buildup regularly. And if you want to be extra careful, always place your laptop on a firm and even surface as this will help to prevent laptop from overheating while gaming.