Getting the best possible gaming experience is vital for many people. So what can you do to improve the gaming performance of your laptop? Here are nine handy tips to help you.
1. Keep it clean
Dust is your gaming laptop’s arch-nemesis, so one key way of improving its performance is to ensure that it is dust-free. Gaming laptops are notorious for running very hot, and dust clogging the systems limits how much airflow there is. This means that it will overheat more easily, which will have a negative impact on the hardware, as the internal components aren’t meant to run at very high temperatures. If a gaming laptop’s internal components get too hot, it shuts down automatically, so you’ll want to keep it as cool and dust-free as possible.
Cleaning out the dust inside your laptop isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but be careful of opening it up as this may affect your warranty. If you’re not comfortable with opening it up, you can make sure that you only use it on dust-free surfaces, like desks. This will limit the amount of dust getting into the system, but it won’t keep the laptop entirely dust-free, and the inside will need to be cleaned at some point.
Keyboard and screen
The other thing you need to keep clean to optimise your gaming laptop’s performance is the keyboard and the screen. Food and drinks can make your keys sticky or cause problems with their functionality, so make sure you keep your keyboard as clean as possible. Keeping your screen clean is another way of improving your gaming experience, as you’ll be able to see what’s happening on it more easily, which will make gaming easier for you.
Unnecessary files and programs
Delete or uninstall any unnecessary files or programs on your machine. Using cleaning apps such as CCleaner will help any files leftover from uninstallations disappear, and using antivirus software, like the one built into Windows, will help keep you protected from malware.
2. Update the drivers
Both your operating system and your graphics card will use drivers, so keeping these up-to-date can really make a difference to your gaming laptop’s performance. Your operating system update will also include driver updates, so you usually won’t need to worry about that.
However, graphics card drivers are a little more complicated. Both Nvidia and AMD have their own software, so you’ll need to download and install the right one for your graphics card. You can set this to automatically update, which means you won’t need to worry about whether you have the latest version of the driver installed, improving your gaming laptop’s performance with each update.
One thing to be aware of with automatic updates for both drivers and games is that sometimes there will be bugs that need to be fixed with later patches, or they might cause problems if a download starts while you’re gaming. You can choose to manage the updates yourself, but that does mean you need to remember to update everything yourself.
3. Overclock your graphics card
Overclocking your graphics card can improve your performance, and is easier to do than overclocking the CPU. Tools like MSI Afterburner are popular for overclocking graphics cards, and there are lots of guides to overclocking graphics cards so you can do it safely. Having access to the graphics card’s full potential improves your frames-per-second and gives you a better gaming experience as well as improving your laptop’s performance.
Overclocking increases the graphics card’s heat output, but as long as the cooling system is kept clean, it shouldn’t be a problem. An overclocked graphics card also needs more electricity, so be aware of that and how it might drain your laptop’s battery.
4. Upgrading Parts
There are some parts of a gaming laptop that you can upgrade to improve its performance. While you can’t upgrade the graphics card, processor or motherboard, you can improve the memory (RAM), storage and battery.
When upgrading your memory, you have to ensure that any extra RAM sticks are compatible with your current ones – this means they should be the same make, each stick should be the same amount of RAM and that they have the same clock speed. If you’re changing your memory completely, you’ll need to double-check that it’s compatible with your motherboard.
Hard disk drives (HDDs) are old-school technology these days, so when it comes to storage, you’ll want something more modern which is faster. Using a solid-state drive or an M.2 NVME will improve your gaming laptop’s performance as they both load much faster, due to their lack of moving parts, than a HDD does. They’re also smaller, which means they’ll take up less space in your laptop, making it lighter and easier to transport. They are, however, more expensive than a HDD is, so be aware of that when investing in them.
A better battery will keep your laptop going for longer. Therefore, it will support games at higher settings for more time, improving your gaming laptop’s performance.
5. Optimise your battery settings
Don’t bother using battery saver mode – to get the best possible performance from your gaming laptop, you’ll need to tell it to give you that. When you check the battery settings, moving the slider on the bar closer to the ‘Better Performance’ end will give you a better experience, and improve your laptop’s performance.
6. Use Windows 10 Game Mode
If you’re using Windows 10, there are ways you can set the laptop to be in Game Mode. This means that Windows will suspend or close background applications while you’re gaming, allowing more resources to be sent to the game and improving performance. This is also where you can tell Windows not to install automatic updates or restarts while you’re gaming.
7. Close unnecessary background programs
You can improve your laptop’s performance while gaming by closing everything that isn’t necessary to run the game. A lot of this can be done in Task Manager, which will also show how many of your resources those different programs are using. You can also open Task Manager if you’re concerned about how much of a particular resource is being used if you think it’s affecting your performance.
8. Tweak the graphics settings
Software like Nvidia GeForce comes with different options that allow you to optimise your graphics card’s settings for particular games. This is an excellent way of improving your laptop’s performance for specific games.
9. Check network speed
If you play a lot of online games, a really important thing to keep an eye on is your internet connection – if this is too slow, your laptop’s performance won’t be good enough, so improving your connection speed is a really good way of improving your gaming laptop’s performance, and your gaming experience, for online games.
Having a gaming laptop has loads of advantages: they’re portable, cheaper than desktops and they run the same games. However, it’s less easy to upgrade them so to get the best gaming performance you can, you have to look for alternative solutions. Keeping your laptop dust-free, optimising your graphics card for the games you play and upgrading the bits you can are a start. You can also overclock the graphics card, run Windows in Game Mode, close any unnecessary background programs and uninstall any you don’t need anymore.