Modern games often take over 100 GB of space and can be extremely demanding for your computer. Regular laptops are often not up to this task, and here’s where gaming laptops come in. Gaming laptops come with powerful GPUs and plenty of RAM, but is this what makes them get so hot?
While gaming laptops get hot by design, an incorrect software configuration, damaged hardware components, or a poor cooling system may also cause the laptop to get too hot. Solutions include thermal throttling, replacing damaged hardware components, and using a cooling pad.
In this article, I’ll go over 3 common reasons why your gaming laptop may be overheating and discuss possible fixes to this problem.
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1. Incorrect Software Configuration
Most gaming laptops are designed to operate between 176-185 °F (80-85 °C), and some can handle even higher temperatures. However, if your laptop is getting past those numbers, it could be due to a software problem.
Sometimes, the driver software may be configured at 60% or 80%, limiting the cooling fan’s operational capability. Always make sure that the GPU’s fans are working at 100% capacity, especially if you’re using the laptop for gaming or heavy computing.
Running the fans at less than their full capacity may cause your laptop to overheat. The only time when you can lower the fan speed is when you undervolt your laptop. While undervolting your laptop can lower its temperature, it may also reduce the laptop’s performance. Fortunately, there are better ways to configure the laptop’s software for better cooling.
How To Fix
If your laptop is overheating due to software configuration problems, first look for the root cause of the problem. In most cases, the problem is due to having the fans operating at lower than their maximum efficiency.
You can always check the fan speed of your laptop in the Windows control panel by doing the following:
- Open the Control Panel.
- Click on “Power Options”.
- Click on “Change plan settings” and select “Change advanced power settings”.
- Under the “Advanced settings” tab, look for “Processor power management” and expand it.
- Click on the arrow next to “System Cooling Policy” to open a drop-down menu.\
- Choose “Active” to increase fan speed.
- Click on “Apply” and “OK”.
If you can’t see these options on your Control Panel or you need something more precise, I recommend you download specialized software such as Fan Control. It’s a free program that lets you customize pretty much everything about your computer fans.
Once you fix the configuration problem, make sure your gaming laptop has thermal throttling enabled. Most of the laptop’s components will have built-in thermal throttling, which helps prevent overheating by lowering the clock speeds when the laptop reaches its maximum temperature.
If your laptop has thermal throttling, it shouldn’t overheat as long as you don’t tweak the fan settings. The downside is that you may experience FPS drops when thermal throttling reduces the clock speed. However, it may save your laptop’s components from getting damaged due to overheating.
2. Damaged Hardware Components
If your laptop’s cooling fan or other hardware component is damaged, it may cause the laptop to overheat. In most cases, a damaged fan will be the culprit, but a damaged motherboard, graphics cards, or battery may also cause the laptop to heat up.
There are several reasons for a specific hardware component to malfunction. It could be that your laptop is past its life expectancy. Most gaming laptops will last between 5-10 years before they experience hardware issues. However, if you use your laptop regularly on near full capacity, the hardware components may get damaged sooner.
However, misuse can also damage certain components of your laptop. For example, if you use the laptop at maximum capacity while the fans are on a lower setting, it may damage the motherboard or graphics card. Letting your laptop’s battery die completely before charging it may reduce the battery’s lifespan.
How To Fix
The only way to fix overheating caused by faulty components is to replace the faulty part. However, you’ll first have to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. To do so, you can use software to monitor the health of your laptop’s components. If one part is underperforming or not working at all, it may be the cause of your laptop’s overheating problem.
Before you send your laptop in for repair, do a software reset. Back up your data and restore the laptop to factory settings to see whether the issue gets resolved. If the hardware problem was caused by a software bug, resetting the laptop should solve the problem.
If you’ve restored your laptop to its factory settings and the hardware still has issues, you’ll have to take it to a technician Gaming laptops are expensive to repair, but you’ll be lucky if it gets repaired without needing replacement parts. Still, even if you have to replace a fan or the battery, it will be cheaper than getting a new gaming laptop.
3. Poor Cooling System
While gaming laptops have powerful cooling fans, and many are designed to withstand high temperatures, you’ll still need to place them in a well-ventilated area for proper cooling. If your laptop is overheating, the most likely cause is that the fans are being blocked or there’s insufficient air circulation in the room.
If your laptop is dirty, dust may block the air circulation on the fans, causing your laptop to overheat. You should clean your laptop at least once a month to prevent dust build-up. Check this video for tips on how to clean your laptop properly:
How To Fix
If your laptop is overheating due to poor air circulation, you’ll have to change its placement. Always ensure that the space around the fans isn’t blocked and there’s sufficient air circulation in the room when you’re gaming. If the weather is too hot, consider using a fan to cool the laptop down.
However, the best way to keep your laptop cool is to use a cooling pad. The fans in a cooling pad push cool air inside the laptop and can have an instant effect on the laptop’s temperature. While cooling pads won’t cool your laptop down completely, they will cool it down enough to prevent the laptop from overheating.
The best thing about using cooling pads is that they allow you to use your laptop at maximum capacity without worrying about thermal throttling disrupting your games.
If you’re looking for a new cooling pad for your gaming laptops, try some of these top picks from Amazon:
- Aluratek Ergonomic USB Laptop Cooling Pad. This high-performance cooling pad comes with 3 fans and a smartphone cradle. It’s also portable and can support up to 19-inch laptops.
- Targus Portable Chill Mat HD3 Gaming. If you’re looking for the perfect portable cooling pad for any gaming laptop, this is the one. It comes with 3 quiet fans and supports up to 18-inch laptops.
- Thermaltake Massive 20 RGB Steel Mesh Panel. This single-fan cooling pad does the work of 3 fans without being as noisy. It fits 10-19 inch laptops and comes with 3 adjustable height settings.
When your laptop overheats, it could be due to something as simple as dust build-up or as complex as a hardware failure. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to consider the amount of time you are playing! Always check the software configurations of the cooling system on your laptop and ensure it’s operating at maximum output.
Monitor and replace any damaged hardware parts before the overheating damages your laptop beyond repair. Getting a quality cooling pad should alleviate the issue.