Can You Upgrade a Gaming Laptop?

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Gaming laptops can be a fantastic option for gamers who rely on portability or don’t have the space or resources to facilitate a full-sized PC gaming setup. Decent gaming laptops can be used for common office tasks in addition to gaming, but as new gaming titles demand more from hardware, part upgrades are certainly necessary.

Is it even possible to upgrade parts in a gaming laptop? The short answer: not always. But below, we will take a look at the factors to consider and what you need to do. Let’s get to it.

What Dictates Whether You Can Upgrade Your Gaming Laptop?

Replacing the parts in a modern gaming laptop is a challenging feat since most manufacturers use integrated GPUs and CPUs. It is much easier to upgrade parts like RAM and storage, but upgrading to a more powerful GPU, for instance, will require you to change the motherboard out as well.

Of course, there are companies that offer gaming laptops that can facilitate part upgrades, but nearly all of them will set you back more than desktop versions with the same components. Standard gaming PCs are far easier to upgrade and customize than gaming laptops since they offer more than enough room for changes and additions and are inherently modular.

Thankfully, there is a way that you can upgrade your gaming laptop – through external hardware. An eGPU is a particularly useful way to make your gaming laptop more powerful. Laptops that come integrated with less powerful graphics cards are usually incapable of running demanding games.

The Parts of a Gaming Laptop That Can Be Upgraded

Gaming laptops feature many more smaller parts than gaming PCs do, like storage drives, cables, antennas, fans, chipsets, heat sinks, motherboards, and more. When you are upgrading a gaming laptop or a regular gaming PC, each part doesn’t have to be changed out to see an increase in performance.

With regards to gaming laptops, there are only a few parts that are capable of being upgraded. They are:

  • Processors
  • Graphics cards
  • Random-access-memory (RAM)
  • SSDs and HDDs
  • Displays
  • WiFi antenna

Unfortunately, not every laptop will allow you to upgrade all of these parts. You will generally be limited to being able to upgrade the SSD and add more RAM. If you are well-educated in the world of laptop building and modifying, you could craft a more powerful system with enough time and effort. However, this is only really accessible to people who have lots of experience in the field rather than casual gamers.

A man installed a new RAM memory chip into a laptop

Can You Add More RAM to a Gaming Laptop?

Newer gaming titles and those with higher system requirements will usually require a minimum of 8GB of RAM to run. However, if your system only has, say, 6GB of RAM available, you will not be able to run more demanding games properly. You are going to experience issues with performance and crashing.

Upgrading your RAM is a good way to resolve this issue and will allow you to play more demanding gaming titles. Most gaming laptops are able to facilitate RAM upgrades or offer multiple RAM slots that you can fill at your leisure. However, before you begin adding RAM to your system, you should check the maximum required memory.

Modern gaming laptops are able to facilitate up to 64GB of RAM. In order to upgrade the RAM in your laptop, you will want to open up the backside of the machine to access the memory banks. Ensure that your gaming laptop is unplugged and switched off so that you don’t damage any of the parts.

If you want to remove a RAM stick that is already in your laptop, simply push both of its clips apart and pull the stick out. When you are adding new RAM, you’ll want to insert the new modules into the open slots at a 45° angle and push them into place. If you do this correctly, you should hear the security clips click.

After you have installed the new RAM modules, close up your laptop and start your system up.

Can You Upgrade the GPU of Your Gaming Laptop?

Upgrading your GPU can provide an immediate boost to your gaming laptop’s performance when it comes to gaming. With regular gaming PCs, replacing the GPU takes a matter of seconds, but the process is far more complex for gaming laptops.

The GPU of a gaming laptop is only able to be changed if it is not integrated into the motherboard or processor. If it is possible, the installation of a new GPU will increase the amount of heat that your machine produces, which can cause damage to other parts. What’s more, the cooling system that your laptop comes with is only made to handle the GPU that it came with.

The Longevity of Gaming Laptops

If you want to be able to increase the life expectancy of your gaming laptop, you should make sure that it is not running at high temperatures and that you aren’t using 100% of its power all the time. What’s more, cleaning the laptop of dirt and dust can help maintain the health of your system while also keeping its operating temperatures low.

If you want to be able to use your gaming laptop for as long as possible, switching from HDD to SDD units, upgrading the RAM, and, if possible, overclocking the graphics card can help you get a good bump in performance.

Installing more powerful parts into our laptop is not going to make it last longer, especially if doing so forces your machine to use all of its available resources and consistently run at high temperatures. However, a balanced system that has decent specifications will guarantee a solid few years of gaming, provided you take good care of it.

Final Thoughts

Now you know everything you need to know when it comes to knowing the answer to can you upgrade a gaming laptop and how you can go about doing so. We hope you have an excellent gaming experience with your newly upgraded gaming laptop!

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