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Are Gaming Laptops Supposed To Get Hot?


a Razer gaming laptop and gaming keyboard

I’ve owned a couple of gaming laptops now and when I got my first I had the same scary question. Fortunately, I have plenty of research and experience on this topic to put your mind to ease.

Are gaming laptops supposed to get hot? Gaming laptops are known to get hot because of the lack of airflow combined with the lack of cooling solutions to maintain much cooler temperatures.

Let’s dive deeper into the reasons why gaming laptops can run so hot and how you can cool down your gaming laptop if the temps are running way too high.

Are Gaming Laptops Supposed To Get Hot?

As we mentioned earlier it isn’t uncommon for gaming laptops to run hot because that is inherited by design.

This design also makes it very common to use powerful fans that tend to get pretty loud as the temperature starts rising.

If you want to learn more about why gaming laptops are loud we have an article dedicated to are gaming laptops supposed to be loud.

Putting very demanding components into a small enclosure with not much room to cool or include better cooling solutions can lead to a toasty laptop.

It is a lot more common for gaming laptops that try to fit some of the most powerful components into a smaller design to overheat.

Slimmer gaming laptops that try to have power with a sleek, small design are also prone to more overheating issues.

You will feel the heat no matter what on your gaming laptop, but what you really need to know is whether your gaming laptop is overheating or not.

You can know this by downloading a program such as MSI Afterburner that is capable of measuring both GPU and CPU temperatures while you game.

We will demonstrate how to set it up properly below, but it is a very useful tool that is technically for overclocking but can help serve as a temperature checking tool in this situation.

Ideally, your temperatures are going to be below 85 degrees Celsius, with an average operating range of between 65 and 75 degrees Celsius. If you manage to go even lower that is great too.

The temperature you need to know but never want to reach is your max stable temperature which can be found if you know what CPU you’re using.

As an example, I’ll take the 10750h a fairly new gaming laptop CPU by intel, and throw it into Google.

After one quick search, I can see Intel tops the search results and I click on their website result that shows me the full spec sheet.

Scroll down some ways to Package Specifications and you will see a specification called “TJUNCTION”. Read the temperature value on the right and that is the max temperature for that CPU (picture below).

intel 10750h package specifications

The TJUNCTION is the temperature at which your CPU will become unstable. At this point, to prevent the extreme procedures your CPU will start to throttle.

Thermal throttling will do its best to prevent the extreme temperatures and shutdown of your computer by reducing the performance of your CPU and attempting to cool down.

If this thermal throttling process fails to succeed at reducing the temperature of your CPU it will then lead to the ultimate cooling procedure, shutting down your PC!

Below we will include some ways people have been able to cool down their gaming laptops in order to prevent overheating.

Setting Up MSI Afterburner To Measure CPU and GPU Temperature

A good place to start is downloading the software! Here is a link the MSI website where you can find the download link.

When running the setup after downloading be sure you are also installing the Riva Tuner, without it, you won’t be able to monitor FPS.

Once you have it downloaded and installed, click on the settings icon, and go to monitoring.

In monitoring, click the check mark next to the stats you want to measure. After that the buttons below shouldn’t be grey anymore and you can check the “Show in On-Screen Display” box.

Do this for all the statistics you want to measure and include in your OSD. For CPU temperature, CPU usage and CPU clock be sure to select the one without numbers to get the overall accurate number.

Click Apply and then OK when you are done adding to your OSD, then boot up a game you want to measure these statistics on.

It may take a minute to appear, but you should see all your chosen statistics in the corner of your screen updating in real-time.

If you always want this to appear you should click the “Start With Windows” option in the General section of the settings.

Otherwise, you will have to open this program manually before you boot up a game any time you are planning on measuring the statistics.

I recommend that you leave this option unchecked if you are just using this tool for measuring temperatures because it can be quite distracting.

There you have it, that is how to measure temperature and many other things using MSI Afterburner.

If you notice your temperatures are going very high and that you need to bring them down that is what we will address in the next section.

How To Cool Down Your Gaming Laptop

1. Using A Cooling Pad

This is an easy place to start your journey into cooling down your gaming laptop. You won’t see the biggest impact made by a cooling pad, but it might reduce it by a little bit.

The big benefit of using a cooling pad, other than the possible reduction in temperatures, is the room you can create between your skin and the laptop.

If you do play your gaming laptop with it in your lap then the heat can make it quite uncomfortable.

With a cooling pad you can put it under your laptop and you will feel less of the hot temperatures coming off of your laptop.

My favorite cooling pad currently is the IETS GT300 Double Blower Laptop Cooling Pad because of its unique and intriguing design.

There are three speeds to the fans the max being 4500 RPM and a rubber seal that is supposed to increase the air pressure and therefore provide a better cooling system.

I cannot guarantee any amount of Celsius decrease but I know I am excited to try out this pad for myself as many users of this pad have claimed impressive decreases in temps.

Before you get too excited there are a couple of things your PC must be in order to be compatible with this product.

Your PC must be 14 to 17.3 inches, you must have cooling holes on the bottom of your laptop and although you can use this in your lap it is quite large so it may not be the best for lap use.

2. Cleaning Out Your Laptop

Too much dust in your PC can make your laptop run hotter. However, this is typically more of a problem in a laptop that has been in use for a longer time.

A PC you just pulled out of the box shouldn’t already have enough dust inside of it to heat up your laptop or cause any issues.

But this is how you should clean out your laptop in order to clear out any dust that may be blocking airflow or impacting your cooling performance.

Before we get started, in order to do this you must have a gaming laptop that allows you to open it up.

Directions can differ so you should refer to your manual for exact instructions on how to open your computer.

This process can be much easier or much harder depending on your laptop design. Typically, larger laptops will be easier to clean and take apart.

Just make sure your computer is off before you begin.

First, you are going to need a can of condensed air in order to properly blow the dust out of your computer.

Being very sensitive components, it isn’t a good idea to use a vacuum or any other harsh tools to clean the inside of your case.

After you have your condensed air you are going to blow it over the parts where you see dust and make sure the dust leaves the laptop.

The easiest way to ensure this is by angling the condensed air to blow from the side and get carried to the side instead of dispersing air from directly above the dust.

Otherwise, you are just going to move it within the laptop which prevents any possible benefit of doing this.

Then, for the fan(s) inside of your case be sure to blow those with plenty of air as well. These can collect a ton of dust so make sure you get it all.

Although it is fun to watch the fan spin around super fast, to prevent any damage to it you should probably find something to keep it from spinning like a cotton swab.

Once you are confident you have blown most of the dust out of your laptop you can piece it all together and see if it impacted your temps.

3. Undervolting Your Laptop

Undervolting is the process of sending less power to your CPU using a program which in turn reduces the heat.

There might be a slight reduction in performance, however, this is one of the biggest things you can do to reduce the temperature of your CPU.

The benefit to undervolting is that with a cooler CPU not only can you avoid reaching the shutdown point of your computer, but you can also avoid the throttling that happens when you reach your max temps.

It’s a great way to reduce the temperature, and if you’re lucky it might even reduce it to a point where your fans can even run less which makes for a quieter computer.

I haven’t had the need to complete this task myself so instead, I will refer you to this detailed YouTube video to guide you through an easy tutorial on how to undervolt your PC using Throttlestop.

4. Bringing Down Your Graphical Settings In-Game

This is another simple way to be less demanding of your gaming laptop and reduce your temps by a decent amount depending on how much you reduce your settings.

Almost every setting in a game can be turned down to put less stress on your machine and even increase your FPS.

However, you should probably cap your FPS as your monitor’s refresh rate to avoid screen tearing. Or for lower temperatures cap it at a number you are comfortable playing at.

If you go into the graphics settings of a game you will see a number of settings that can be tweaked. Turn each one down and have your temperature measurement active as you do it.

Tweak some settings, restart the game if you have to, and measure your temps. See how far you can bring down your temperatures and hopefully you can find a happy balance of quality and cool temps.

Every game you play might vary with what graphical settings you can get away with while maintaining good temps.

For Red Dead Redemption 2, I had to do plenty of this type of tweaking to keep my GPU in a stable temp range!

5. Reapplying Your CPU Thermal Paste

This won’t be easy to do and will require cracking open your laptop again.

The reason for doing this is because if your thermal paste was to wear out then it wouldn’t dissipate the heat as well leading to heating issues.

The reason I saved this for last though is because thermal paste should typically last a long period of time. At least 3 – 5 years is the prediction for most thermal pastes to last if not much longer.

It’s not something you want to replace often for two reasons: you don’t need to, most thermal pastes already last long, and you could risk messing something else up with the heatsink.

This is sort of a last resort, if you have done all of the above and still haven’t seen a good enough drop in temperatures, then you have this as an option.

I only have experience with desktop CPUs so for your situation I will refer you to this in-depth guide on replacing the thermal paste on a laptop.

Quick note, don’t use a screwdriver as he did in the video to clean the edges. Use plastic or durable paper: plastic spoons, business cards, old hotel keycards, and things like that are much better options.

Can Playing Games At High Temperatures Shorten The Lifespan Of a Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops are typically made to handle the higher temperatures so operating at them shouldn’t impact lifespan in any major way.

There are cases of outliers where a computer may get way too hot and damage a component severely, breaking the computer.

However, most modern-day gaming laptops should have features built in to prevent extreme overheating and destruction of parts within your laptop due to high temperatures.

As we mentioned above that is called thermal throttling. When your CPU reaches unsafe or unstable temperatures it will begin to get throttled to save your computer.

If the thermal throttling isn’t effective enough, your computer should then shut off when reaching extreme temperatures as an additional failsafe option.

With that being said that is no excuse to get lazy and avoid reducing your temps on your gaming laptop.

For best performance, good practice, and maybe even the reduction in the noise of your fans it is best you attempt to reduce your temps if they are reaching abnormally high (85+ degrees Celsius).

Conclusion

Gaming laptops are going to get hot, just as gaming desktops are known to get hot. The real thing to worry about is getting too hot which you can easily find using any variety of PC measurement tools.

Gaming laptops are known to get much hotter than desktops due to their much smaller build, but that isn’t a deal breaker considering there are a number of ways to reduce the temperatures.

As a general rule of thumb, operating between 65 – 75 degrees Celsius is ideal and for anything above 85 degrees Celsius, you might want to consider cooling solutions.

Tom

I've been a PC gamer and builder for around 3 years now but my love for gaming spans many years all the way back to the Nintendo 64! Getting into PC gaming there was a lot of information that was hard to understand so I made it my mission to make PC gaming easy!

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