Not one, not two, or three, there are several different ways you can tackle and beat your laptop’s overheating issues. Needless to say, these roasting issues are more common with gaming laptops regardless of whether it’s a mid-range machine or an elite one.
Thus, the one universal question (regarding laptop overheat) that I usually come across is, “how to cool down a laptop while gaming?”. And again, my answer remains the same i.e. there are lots of way-outs for this.
Well, it’s one sort of an unwritten rule that a gaming laptop will always be hot (and loud too). But did you ever ask why? Why if a machine that’s solely made for such ruthless (gaming) purposes gets hot when thrown with likewise or a bit more than usual loads?
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- High-performance vapor chamber cooling
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- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
- Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
There are lots of factors at work behind the stage causing these things to happen. And if you sift them out, you’re all set to go cool and chilling.
Let’s get to an in-depth talk about all these things.
Why A (Gaming) Laptop Overheats?
As mentioned earlier that there are lots of factors behind this. Some of the most common ones include:
- Poor laptop placement while using it.
- Accumulation of dust and debris inside causing airflow issues.
- Incompetency of laptop hardware for your type of work demands.
- Expired thermal paste in case of a worn-out machine (It’s uncommon for a fresh purchase).
- Faulty fans.
So, any of these (might be some others too) issues on the job can cause terrible heat-ups in your laptop. And thus, you’d notice abnormal things in the machine’s functioning i.e. performance lags, breaks, and so on.
Thus, keeping the machine’s temperature in control is so mandatory for a break-free experience. (For a gaming laptop a normal temperature is around 45-degree Celsius while under non-gaming loads. Whereas around 70-80 Celsius while under heaviest loads.)
How to Cool Down a Laptop While Gaming?
Restating the opening line here i.e. to beat the laptop’s overheating issues, there are numerous methods you can try.
Some of them are extremely simple and low (or no) cost solutions with no added tech things involved. Whereas some are a bit expert level, complex, and perhaps costly solutions. Let’s explore each one in detail.
The Simplest, Non-Tech, Low (Or No) Cost Solutions
Here are all those rudimentary non-technical way-outs you can try to conquer the laptop’s overheating issues.
#1. Proper Laptop Placement – On A Flat Solid Surface
All machines come in a specific, almost perfect, form factor from the manufacturer. And they perform best when used in the recommended manner. For a laptop, the advised way is that it must be kept on a flat solid surface while it’s undergoing some harsh-n-heavy loads.
The form factor of a laptop is such that the rubber pads on the bottom keep it ideally elevated while on a flat hard surface. This maximizes the air inflow and outflow. Eventually, the laptop stays classically chilled (unless and until there isn’t any other issue causing heat accumulation).
While on your lap or any other soft and rugged surface, say your kip, bedding, blanket, or pillow, etc. there are soar chances that air vents could get blocked. Ultimately the heat accumulation begins and starts getting mad.
So, no worries if you use the laptop on such surfaces while doing routine browsing or other lighter things. But for heavier loads, a flat solid surface i.e. likes of a table, a hardcover book, etc. is the only ideal solution.
#2. Keep The Laptop from Direct Sunlight – Work in A Cool Ambiance
At times, these overheating things happen not due to any laptop issues but because of your working ambiance. Sitting in a warmer place, perhaps somewhere adjacent to a window, etc., or anywhere where you are somehow exposed to some heat vents, can also create issues. And this is one of the most important but, sort of, uncared-for solutions to “how to cool down a laptop while gaming?”.
So, make sure your laptop is never exposed to direct sunlight or excess heat, especially when you are dealing with more demanding things. This can probably be the issue with your laptop too. Do take this thing seriously.
#3. Regular Cleanups of Fans and Vents
Definitely, if a laptop is open to open/ambient air for better heat optimization, the dust and debris accumulation clogging the airflow is just unavoidable.
Hence, there are no crosscuts for this but to take care of your laptop’s interior. Make sure it’s wiped and shiny. And, the recommended way to go for an all-out cleansing of your machine is to clean it every 3 or a maximum of 6 months.
Anyways, neither is it any rocket science nor do you need to fear that you’d need to open up the whole chassis, etc. All you need is only a “Gas duster” also known as “canned/compressed air”. Get one and follow these steps i.e.
- First of all, make sure that the laptop is powered “off” and cool to the normal temp.
- Now, hold the laptop in a way (preferably on its sides) that the bottom, intake, fan grills are fully exposed.
- Holding the can perfectly upright (vertical) bring it close to each grill singly and push “spray”. (If the can is not held straight but is wobbled, the cleanser liquid might escape and leak causing damage to other hardware. So, take care of this)
- Simply continue tilting the laptop to clean the (intake) grill from every angle. And continue with this until you see no further dust, etc. coming out.
- Then, just repeat the same process for each one of the vents there on the laptop.
And it’s done!
#4. Go for Additional Cooling – Cooling Pad, etc.
You can also try going for, I’d say some third-party succor, additional cooling assistance i.e. laptop coolers (cooling pads or mats), etc.
Let’s suppose that you’ve done everything discussed above i.e. proper placement, ambiance setup, and cleansing, etc. but none of them worked for you. So, it’s now time to consider buying a laptop cooler, a laptop cooling pad, etc. to balance and augment the heat optimization.
For simple non-gaming loads, a single-fan cooling pad is enough. While for those relentless gaming loads, I’d suggest you go for a multi-fan cooling pad. This’s one inexpensive but quite enduring solution to all such heat-related issues.
For how to use it: simply put the pad on the surface, place your laptop in it, plug the pad’s chord into the USB port of your laptop. And it will straight away start doing magic. You’ll quickly notice a great temperature drop because the pad’s fans blow air into the bottom air intake vents and maximize the heat flow from all around the system.
#5. Keep A Proper Check and Balance On Various Unnecessary Background Programs Running
Besides the 24-7 gaming, the relentless multitasking and multiprogramming also further augments the heat issues. Thus, always have a proper check and balance on all the front-end plus back-end programs/features unnecessarily running and causing overload and overheat issues. This can do a lot better for you and your system.
Regarding how to cool down a laptop with Windows 10 by this method, here’s the guide.
- Simply go to your Windows Task Manager by pressing “Windows and X” both keys at once and selecting Task Manager from the list. Therein, you’ll see all the programs currently running on your system.
- Click on the “More Details” button. A new window will show up with different menu tabs. In the “Processes” menu you’ll see all the “Apps” and lots of other “Background processes” running and draining your battery. Eventually creating overheat issues too.
- See for those you don’t want to run, right-click, and click “End task”. It will minimize all those needless things you don’t know about but are running back the stage.
- Resultantly, you’ll have only a few programs (that you are dealing with or want to deal with) running, hence a well-optimized overall system performance.
#6. Check for Faulty Fan(s)
If despite your efforts plus all the additional expenditures i.e. coolers, etc., the laptop is still on a burn, the issue then may very well lie in its fan(s). Either the fans are not working properly or are simply in disrepair.
Most of the latest machines, gaming ones especially, come not with one but multiple fans inside to ensure an ultimate cooling throughout. Out of those multiple ones, if even only one goes off-duty, the whole of the mechanism goes comprised. And, you eventually start noticing sharp spikes in the laptop’s temp.
Well to check for the faults with your machine’s fan(s), here is what to do.
- Throw your laptop with some harsh loads, so much that it starts roasting. Then, one after the another, put your ear close to each of the grill (fan vent) therein. If you notice some unusual than the common humming (fan) sounds, say some abnormal grinding and rattling sounds, this means that the fan isn’t working at its best. And that it’s on edge to get broken.
- But, if in case you hear no fan sound and notice no air hitting you out, know that the fan is sitting idle and is completely off-duty. And that’s why heat accumulation gets severe often.
Both these cases mean your laptop fan(s) need repairs. So, upon knowing that there exists some sort of fault, I’d suggest just do not try to open up the laptop and go experimenting yourself. Do reach out to some authorized repairman and get things fixed by him.
How to Cool Down a Laptop While Gaming – Bit Complex and Techy Type Solutions
None of those simple way-outs worked for you? Worry not, because here are some other, perhaps a bit intricate, but tried and true laptop cooling solutions you can consider.
#7. Check Out Your Laptop’s Competency and Play Games, etc. At Lower Settings
Off and on, the clash between your machine’s capabilities and your work demands, also, grounds the overheating issues. Most often in a laptop, it’s the GPU that often is the main component behind all this heat build-up stuff.
If your laptop’s GPU is not at par with the games or whatsoever other demands of yours, the coolness of the machine goes glum. The same is the case with those CPUs that have integrated GPUs. So, if you start witnessing performance drops and failures accompanied by heat, your GPU is struggling its ass off.
The best way out then is to either check for your laptop’s model and its hardware and then do work or play games that tally with the machine’s competency. Or, just lower down the resolutions and graphics settings, etc. of the games or whatsoever graphic-intense tasks you are into.
But, if the GPU is still struggling and reaching critical temperatures, go for an external GPU then. It’s one ideal way to get the crisp of that desktop-level gaming though.
#8. Consider Undervolting the Processors(s) Using likes of Intel XTU Apps
Undervolting means lowering down the voltage (power) at which your system’s general and graphics processor operates. It means setting up new, way lower, benchmarks i.e. new restrictions to the overall processing setup.
Well, it’s quite easy to do on an Intel system because Intel has one extremely assistive app for all these settings. It’s called “Intel Extreme Tuning Utility” or “Intel XTU“. There are some other likewise software too i.e. Throttlestop, etc.
Well, let me talk about “Intel XTU” utilized to reduce (or manage) thermal loads and uplift the system efficiency, etc. So, first of all, search for the app, download it and install it on your laptop. Then follow these steps:
- Open up the app and go to the “Advanced Tuning” menu.
- Within that menu, get to the “Core Voltage Offset” sub-menu and go for adjusting the respective slider.
- Initially, bring the value down to minus 10 millivolts. Click “Apply” and then use the CPU’s built-in performance benchmarking to see if it’s stably functioning or not.
- Then go for “Stress Test”, check the “CPU Stress Test” box, and click “Start”. Keep doing it until the CPU starts crashing. (Do keep a record of your voltage throughout the whole process).
- Get back to the “Core Voltage Offset” setting, and go positive with plus 3 millivolts increments each time from that minimum voltage. Go up until you no longer see any crashes, etc.
Finally, just bench the CPU at this new voltage (that’s lower than the default but causing no instability) for some 30 odd minutes. Do make sure that the operation is fully stable throughout the time.
So, that’s now the new lower voltage set up and you will, from now on, experience lesser thermal or efficiency issues. Well, this and lots of other such apps are free to use and you can do a lot of other related processors’, etc. settings therein.
#9. Consider changing/refreshing the laptop’s thermal paste
This method is only suggested if you have a machine that’s at least used for some 3+ years i.e. not a new purchase.
Anyways, thermal paste is a silvery-grey substance, a chemical compound, used as an interface between heat sinks and heat sources. It improves the heat transfer between CPU, GPU, and other components, and the heat sink, etc. Well, it too comes with an expiry date and it’s suggested to refresh your computer’s thermal paste every 3 to 5 years.
Anyways, it’s not that rocket science doing it and the better option is to replace the old paste with liquid metal. (Just search for your machine’s model and the recommended paste for it).
Still, I’d suggest reaching out to some authorized computer technician to get the job done. Because a minor slip while you try to do it yourself can create even bigger issues.
How do I stop my laptop from overheating while gaming?
If you want to keep your laptop from overheating, make sure it is placed on a surface that does not block the ventilation ports. In addition, keep your laptop away from extreme temperatures as they have a massive impact on your device’s thermal system.
Is it OK if my laptop gets hot while gaming?
The last thing you want during a gaming session is for your laptop to overheat on you since this will result in thermal throttling and will result in frame drops and your laptop stuttering.
How can I reduce heat while gaming?
Try reducing the graphics settings of your games, you can also use low power profiles, which will reduce the amount of power that your hardware consumes so that temperatures stay more manageable.
So, these were some of those widely used methods you can try to cool down your computer. And that was all, in so much detail, about how to cool down a laptop while gaming or doing any demanding things.
Besides all the nine (9) methods discussed above, you can also try using some cleaning and security software to keep an eye on your system’s health. And several different programs to cool down your laptop. Or, caring for your machine’s power settings, battery and charger issues, etc. can also breed positive results.
The thing is, that you must have a sharp eye on all the factors that how to keep a gaming laptop cool. So, all of them and their detailed solutions, everything’s there in this article for you. Do give it a read.