After deciding on the greatest gaming laptop, how should you maintain it? In addition to the standard maintenance of updating your GPU drivers and applying Windows updates, there are a few crucial errors you should steer clear of to maintain the optimal performance of your gaming laptop. After years of using and reviewing dozens of gaming laptops, I’ve discovered that a few simple preventative measures may maintain your gaming laptop operating at peak efficiency. These are the things that require your focus.
Take it to pieces
Handle your laptop as if it were a work of art. I mean, it seems so obvious? Neither filth nor dust accumulation is something you want to happen to your expensive electronic equipment. However, a little dog hair here, a little dust there, and your laptop starts to perform less efficiently than it did right out of the box. Not to mention sprinkling some crumbs over your keyboard after a quick bite. It’s not merely aesthetic. Maintaining the cleanliness of your gaming laptop is crucial to extending its lifespan. Appropriate heat management is a recurring theme in our suggestions, since it remains a crucial component of a powerful gaming laptop in 2023. The fans won’t cool as well and your components won’t run as fast if you allow dust to build up on them.
How significant are such temperature restrictions? Although I haven’t damaged a costly gaming laptop, I do have a solid example of the significant impact thermals can have. In spite of the fact that both laptops have an RTX 4060 GPU, the Asus laptop performs about 20% faster in games when compared to the Alienware x14 R2. Because the Strix is a bigger laptop, it can simply pump considerably more cooling. Though I doubt dust will cause a 20% decrease, neglecting to maintain a gaming laptop’s cleanliness can result in noticeable performance losses. With gaming laptops, cooling efficiency is crucial, so dust off your machine and use compressed air.
Maintain the performance mode
Most of the time, you shouldn’t and don’t need to run your gaming laptop at maximum capacity. You can switch between a few different performance settings on most gaming laptops, and for most games, you should play in the highest performance option by default. However, there is a purpose for the other modes, therefore you ought to utilize them. Your gaming laptop’s maximum performance mode will boost the GPU and CPU performance along with raising the fan speed. While that’s ideal when playing a taxing game like Cyberpunk 2077, it’s not a smart idea if your laptop isn’t being used to its full potential.
Running your laptop in its maximum performance mode all the time won’t break it, but it will cost you in terms of noise and battery life. You can switch to the balanced or even silent mode when you’re merely using your laptop for light work, like as web browsing, to save battery life and prevent excessive noise. It can also be used in virtual worlds. I was recently playing the 2D turn-based pixel-art role-playing game Sea of Stars on the Razer Blade 14. The Blade 14 with an RTX 4070 was not at all demanding, but even so, its fans were operating at maximum capacity in the highest performance setting. I managed to switch to the balanced setting, virtually completely silence the fan, and play the game without worrying about performance at all. It’s crucial to understand when a game requires your laptop to operate at its fastest speed and to switch to a power mode that is more suitable in certain circumstances.
Make use of both GPUs
Two GPUs are included with your gaming laptop. There are two types of GPUs: the integrated GPU found in processors, and the discrete GPU you utilize for games. Although the integrated GPU isn’t particularly strong, having it is a nice way to preserve battery life when you’re not using it for gaming. Optimus from Nvidia and Hybrid graphics from AMD are two of the integrated solutions offered by both companies. Although it is intended to employ both GPUs for optimal performance and battery life, this rarely happens in real life. Generally speaking, even if you’re not worried about battery life and are plugged into the grid, you will be giving up some game performance.
The workaround is to use the Nvidia Control Panel or Radeon Software to manually switch your gaming to solely using your discrete GPU. While some games won’t experience a significant performance boost, some may see gains of 10% or more when the integrated GPU is eliminated as a bottleneck. With more recent computers, this is less of a problem. For example, Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus may seamlessly transition to a separate GPU, fulfilling its promise of optimal battery life and performance. Furthermore, MUX switches—which completely circumvent integrated graphics but come at the expense of battery life—are becoming more and more prevalent on gaming laptops. However, in each of these scenarios, confirm that your laptop is compatible with these capabilities. You’ll have to actively switch between the recommended GPUs if it doesn’t.
Put your charger away
Even though gaming laptops typically have short battery lives, you should always have your charger close at hand. It is not a good idea to play games on battery power since this will reduce performance and shorten the lifespan of your gaming laptop. In intense gaming scenarios, the majority of gaming laptops are unable to run entirely on battery power, even when operating in maximum performance mode. You are losing out on a lot of performance if you are using your laptop to play games without the charger connected. Not to mention the problems you’ll encounter with battery life.
Additionally, it strains your battery. Even while leaving laptops plugged in all the time wasn’t a smart idea years ago, that fear isn’t as great now. When the battery runs out of juice, most laptops cut off the charging process and provide the machine power straight away. This prevents the battery from cycling. In fact, over time, completely draining and then recharging your battery will cause more harm than good. Note that only when your laptop is in use does this apply. When leaving your gaming laptop unattended for an extended amount of time, make sure the battery is nearly empty before turning it off, and avoid keeping it plugged in.
Overheat the parts you own
You can overclock the GPU in your gaming laptop without any problems; in fact, several contemporary Intel CPUs support overclocking. Simply said, it’s a bad idea most of the time. All of that boils down to thermals, as you can obviously imagine. Many gaming laptops can reach their thermal limits even at default settings, which is why programs like Throttle Stop are still available and updated today. Consequently, overtaxing your components will not only not improve performance, but may shorten their lifespan. This is particularly true if, at stock settings, your components are barely making it through the heat.
But there’s some subtlety here. Overclocking the components in your laptop is generally not a smart idea, but it isn’t impossible. Large laptops, such as the MSI GT77 Titan, are capable of withstanding increased heat, so you may be able to overclock a little amount. Furthermore, some laptops—like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16—come with a software option to overclock the GPU. You don’t need to worry about using the overclock option because this is within the recommended use. While some laptops are capable of handling a small overclock, the majority are not. Since most laptop manufacturers are already pushing their gaming laptops to the limit (sometimes even to a throttling problem), it’s advisable to keep within the recommended limitations your laptop can tolerate.