Heat and computers do not mix very well. When you have a bunch of moving parts and electricity pumping through a compact machine, your laptop can generate an impressive amount of heat – much to its own detriment.
This is especially true for gaming rigs that have more demanding parts. This means more heat is generated, and subsequently, you’ll need better cooling. An overheating laptop can have various performance issues, and the heat generated can significantly shorten the device’s lifespan. Here are some methods and tips on how you can counteract overheating using efficient cooling techniques.
Choose an Appropriate Surface
With the way a laptop is designed, the airflow passes through the underside of the device. The vents that let out the hot air building up inside and allow cooler air in can easily be blocked if you aren’t careful where you’ve placed your laptop.
As a general rule of thumb, always have your laptop situated on a flat, solid surface. The rubber feet will elevate the laptop, creating a large enough gap where air can easily flow in and out through the underside vents. While it may be comfortable and convenient to use your laptop on your lap in bed, resting it on a blanket or pillow can block the ventilation slots and trap the heat, significantly contributing to the overheating issue. Even your legs can cause a problem, not to mention burn your thighs.
Maintain Your Fans and Vents
You may want to ensure that there isn’t any internal blockage on the top of the ventilation slots. Your fans should be the first thing you check when you’re dealing with an overheating issue, as they are the component most responsible for cooling your laptop in modern systems. You’ll likely have several fans to check, and it’s crucial you go through all of them as even just one failing fan can cause a significant issue. If one fan isn’t pulling its weight, the others take additional strain trying to make up for it, which can cause them to fail.
Be sure to regularly clean your fans and check that their RPM is up to scratch. Luckily, fan issues are pretty easy to pick up on, especially since keeping an ear out can give telltale signs of problems. If you hear a rattling or grinding of some kind, it may be time for a clean or even replacement if the damage is too severe. Total silence means it’s already too late, and you’ll need new fans.
Compressed air will be your best friend when it comes to fan and ventilation maintenance. Dust can very easily find its way into the different nooks and crannies, which can cause additional issues. If you’re lucky, your laptop will have pull-out filters, which can make cleaning that much easier, but the rest of us will have to resort to carefully unscrewing the laptop’s base and taking a can of compressed air to blow out all the dust. Regular cleaning is a must if you want to maintain performance.
Check the Thermal Paste
Thermal paste is another form of heat control used in laptops, and it’s possible the thermal grease in your computer is going bad. Older laptops’ thermal paste may be drying out and losing its effectiveness, and even in newer systems, it may be losing its efficacy from poor heat control.
Unfortunately, it can be pretty complicated to replace the thermal paste. You’ll need to access your CPU and GPU to replace this paste, and it’s not always easy to access those components. You could bring your laptop to a technician, and getting your thermal paste replaced can certainly lower the overall temperature of the laptop by a few degrees.
Invest in a Cooling Pad
A cheap and surprisingly effective method of cooling your laptop is to invest in a cooling pad. Playing video games on a laptop can generate plenty of heat, and a cooling pad can help whatever internal cooling systems you may have by taking out some of the strain.
They’re generally quite simple to use: place your laptop on top of the pad and connect it, usually via USB. However, you’ll have to be careful as the design of your laptop may not support this. While most laptops suck air in from below to cool the system, it’s not unheard of for a laptop to blow warm air out below instead, sucking from the sides. This can cause additional heat to build up below the laptop, with the pad and the laptop obstructing the airflow, so be sure to check how your laptop manages its airflow.
Manage Your Programs Better
Of course, the reason your gaming laptop is heating up in the first place is because of what you’re running. Video games can be pretty intensive on your hardware, which will cause the heat to ramp up. However, your video game likely isn’t the only program running at the time.
You will, of course, have background processes to contend with, and not all of these may be essential at the moment. Running too many programs at once can cause the temperature to skyrocket, especially internet browsers such as Google Chrome which is infamous for stealing a bunch of resources. Your Task Manager is perfect for finding those pesky programs contributing to the heat problem, and you can end those tasks there too.
If you find you’re still having issues, it may be time to fiddle with your game settings. If the video game you’re running is particularly harsh on its requirements, lowering some of your graphics settings can ease up on some of that harshness and help your laptop run more smoothly. This is particularly helpful if the video game itself is a resource hog, such as large-scale open-world video games which are graphics intensive, such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Proper cooling for your gaming laptop is essential for having a good time, as overheating is all too common of an issue for these machines. Suppose you don’t take proper care to prevent your laptop from overheating. In that case, you’ll eventually suffer from various performance issues, and ultimately, your hardware will deteriorate and fail, to the point that you may need to replace the entire machine. Take care of your computer and it will take care of you and help you have a good time gaming.