In general, laptops are not the best tools for gaming. As many (if not most) of our readers use laptops for “daily driving”, today’s article will focus more on how to improve gaming performance on a laptop.
Laptops should not be your weapon of choice if you’re a “ride or die” gamer. Heat is difficult to dissipate from such a clumped chassis, which makes a laptop inherently unstable from a temperature perspective.
The main killer of internal components is heat (as in heat reduces lifespan), and an overheated CPU or GPU doesn’t operate at full potential, so it’s best to get one of these ASAP.
Here are our tips for improving laptop gaming performance:
1) Keep Your Laptop Clean
We previously discussed this issue in a previous article, and if you’re a regular reader of our website, you already know that dirt and dust are your laptop’s mortal enemies.
Due to dust and dirt, airflow is reduced, meaning the internal components overheat, the laptop becomes hot as a stove, and performance drops dramatically. Check your hardware specs and see how much performance drops as temperature rises. You’ll be shocked.
Keep your laptop as clean as a whistle, and make sure that food, dust, or other debris doesn’t interfere with your work.
2) Keep Your Drivers Up to Date
Cleanliness is one thing, but gaming laptops are built around GPUs first, and here driver updates come into play. To get the most performance from your CPU/GPU combo, you must keep the drivers up to date. It is vital for faster gaming, but fortunately, there are people who have already mitigated the issue.
Today, even if you aren’t tech-savvy, updating your laptop’s drivers is as simple as pie. Simply install software like Driver Booster from Iobit (just an example) and you’ll be up and running in no time. Driver Booster is absolutely free and works like a charm.
In addition, most gaming/big-brand laptops come with their own software update utilities, so make sure you check that out as well. One of the best things about utilities such as Driver Booster is that it will keep your entire system up to date, including your controller and audio drivers.
3) Install the Latest DirectX Version
It is essential to have the latest DirectX version if you run Windows 10 or 7, and chances are you are a Windows guy if you play games. Various versions of DirectX have been released over the years to facilitate graphics in video games.
DirectX 12, which was released in 2015, is the latest version. If you’re running Windows 10, you’ll have it preinstalled.re is up to date, the easiest way is via DXdiag, open the Run menu, type dxdiag, press enter, and all your GPU, CPU, DirectX version, sound drivers, etc. will be displayed.
4) Turn-On Gaming Mode in Windows 10
There is a cool built-in feature in Windows 10 that allows you to fine-tune your laptop’s performance. If you enable the Xbox app, your laptop will run with optimum settings for gaming if you activate its game mode.
You can display the Xbox app by pressing Win+G, and the Game Mode option can be found on the right. Simply click it to activate it.
5) Overclock the GPU for Optimized Gaming
If you’re not a total n00b, you should overclock your GPU for the ultimate gaming experience. An overclocked GPU is prone to overheating since it consumes more power. With an overclocked GPU, however, you will gain a few frames per second, which is all that matters.
What should I do? The most popular tool for overclocking enthusiasts is MSI Afterburner, which works on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs; give it a try and you’ll thank us later.later. Nonetheless, proceed with caution and RTFM first, okay?
6) Close Background Running Apps
It is highly recommended that you close background running apps before playing games if you have a lot of software/bloatware installed on your computer.
You can do this the “boomer-tech” way by opening the task manager and looking for power-hungry apps. Install special software like Glary or Advanced SystemCare Ultimate and clean up your act! Iobit’s utility has a gaming mode that noticeably speeds up your laptop.
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7) Adjust Your Laptop’s Power Settings
Due to its power management feature, Windows 10 tends to mess with your laptop’s performance. Ensure that your laptop’s power settings are set to high performance for the best gaming experience.
Settings > System > Power and sleep > Additional power settings – check the High performance option. Click Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings as well.
8) Turn-Off Windows 10 visual effects
Windows 10 has a lot of “eye candy” features compared to previous versions, like the beloved Windows 7, yet these features are causing your laptop to slow down a lot.
Also, these eye-candy visual effects are turned on by default, and if you want to avoid frame drops and unnecessary slowdown you must turn them off. To do this, type advanced settings into the search bar and click ‘View advanced system settings’, then choose ‘Performance options’ > ‘Visual effects’ and ‘Custom’. If you want to do the job right, check out this guide.
9) Turn-Off Windows Automatic Updates
Windows Updates are incredibly power-hungry, and automatic updates, which work in the background and drastically impact gaming performance, are prone to ruin your day. The thing about Windows Updates is that they tend to go on at the worst moment possible, and they are a pain in the ass to say the least.
Go download and run this software if you want to squeeze the last bit of performance out of your laptop (or desktop), including turning off automatic updates. The O&O ShutUp10 software is free and does not require installation – it can be run directly and immediately on your PC.
10) Scan for Malware
Windows 10 comes with a built-in anti-malware program called Windows Defender. If you’re a reckless user, you may end up with malware bypassing Windows 10’s defenses, so we recommend you run a full system scan periodically with an antivirus that offers the best protection.
11) Hardware Upgrades
On a laptop, hardware upgrades are relatively difficult, but there’s a “but”. Switching to an SSD will dramatically improve your gaming performance if your laptop was shipped with an HDD.
As for a RAM upgrade, if your machine only came with 4-6 GB of RAM, upgrading to 8-16 GB of RAM (or more) will make all the difference in the world in terms of gaming performance.
Fortunately, both RAM and SSD upgrades can be done at home for most laptop models. You can always ask for help at a computer store if you’re not tech-savvy.
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