Gaming laptops aren’t cheap, and if you want to get the most out of yours (and more importantly, avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse), then you need to make some optimizations. We asked our experts what some of those tweaks might be and here’s what they recommended:
1. Check your laptop’s settings
It takes a lot for a modern laptop to slow down during everyday use (the Intel Core i5 processor found in today’s laptops is just as powerful as the one powering NASA’s new Mars rover) – but gaming is another story entirely. Gaming requires graphics processing that can tax even ultra-powerful processors like the i7 found inside high-end laptops.
Before you start to play, it’s wise to check your laptop’s settings. First go into the game’s video options and turn down all of the graphics options, including resolution, texture quality, anti-aliasing etc. Then switch to battery mode (if your laptop lets you), or at least change power mode to high performance (it should be an option in the BIOS). Also make sure that the operating system isn’t limiting background processes when on battery mode; see where this is found in your OS and disable it if necessary. Finally, close out other programs while gaming for a smooth experience.
2. Use a lightweight browser
Streaming Flash videos, especially HD videos from like YouTube, can be taxing on your laptop’s CPU. If you are using a more mainstream browser like Chrome or Firefox, turn off Flash player while doing this to make sure that the processor isn’t struggling to play it back in HD quality.
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3. Upgrade your memory
RAM is something that most laptops don’t allow for easy upgrades. However, if it can be upgraded, then do so before thinking of buying another computer or an external hard drive. The more RAM you have access too, the more stuff your computer won’t needing to store on disk drives (which will speed up loading time). A quick way to tell whether or not your system benefits from having additional memory is by checking its “Task Manager”. Simply press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select “Task Manager” (or right-click the desktop wallpaper). If you see that your computer is working hard to keep more than 3 or 4 programs open at once, it may be time to consider adding more RAM.
4. Clean your fans
Dust can accumulate in your laptop’s fan vents over time, causing overheating which in turn causes poor performance. You should clean this out regularly; most laptops make it easy with removable panels on the bottom of the chassis. Just use a can of compressed air or wipe it down with something soft like a toothbrush – just not anything metal that might scratch parts of the laptop! Remove any external battery if attached before cleaning inside. Once you have finished, make sure you use the laptop for a little while first to make sure that it isn’t overheating.
5. Use an external mouse and keyboard
Also, using external peripherals like your mouse and keyboard will give you more control than what the laptop’s built-in ones would allow. This is especially useful if you’re playing games because it helps avoid accidental key presses (not good when trying to dodge an enemy bullet in Fallout New Vegas). If you do this, just set your laptop on something soft that won’t scratch its surface – even though these attachments aren’t directly touching the case, you still don’t want metal pressing down on glass! That’s why we recommend using a mousepad or maybe even just a decent-sized book.
6. Turn off your laptop’s touchpad
Some games, like Starcraft II, simply aren’t designed to be played with the touch pad on laptops. Many provide an option to turn off the mouse completely but if you don’t see this option within the game options then right click on your desktop and go into properties > settings (or whatever it says for your OS). Then look for “Mouse”, click it and disable “Enable Mouse” (and “Enable TouchPad”). While turning off both of these things will improve performance slightly (by stopping them from using precious CPU cycles), it isn’t very practical to play games without any form of mouse control – plus you can keep your laptop’s touchpad enabled and use it to play games like Minecraft!
7. Upgrade your laptop’s graphics drivers
Graphics drivers can make a big difference in performance; especially for more demanding games. Go to the manufacturer’s website (e.g., Dell, Toshiba) and search for “Drivers” or something similar to find the latest one available for your specific model/version number. If you are not sure what this is, simply click on your desktop icon called “Computer” or “My Computer”, right-click on your main drive icon where it says “Local Disk C:”, go into properties > details tab > look under “System Type” where it should be listed as either 32-bit or 64-bit. If it isn’t there, you can assume it’s a 32-bit version of Windows regardless. Once you have found the correct driver, simply download and install it – make sure your laptop is connected to a power source as this process may take a long time!
8. Shut down all unnecessary programs
This tip will help improve both performance and battery life. Games are typically the most demanding programs that people use on their laptops but they aren’t the only ones that can cause problems. Any app running in the background is using up valuable system resources so shut them all down to give your games as much as possible – even if these apps are essential for work or school! This may seem extreme but doing this one thing could increase your laptop’s performance by as much as 25%!
9. Activate Hyperthreading/Turbo Boost if available
This tip is only applicable for laptops that have either Intel’s hyperthreading or Turbo Boost feature, usually found in i5 or i7 versions of their processors. For example, you might be using an Intel Core i5-2450M processor which has two cores with hyper threading (virtual cores), each running at 2.3 GHz giving a total speed of 4.6 GHz. This sounds great until you realise that the default clock speed for these chips is actually 2.5 GHz but it can be boosted all the way up to 3.1GHz when necessary – but only when the laptop’s cooling system is sufficiently cooled down. Be careful not to touch your laptop or turn anything up too high during this process as it may cause irreparable damage!
- Buy a decent USB drive for loading games
This tip isn’t exactly about improving performance but it sure does make things easier. Remember that you don’t need an optical drive (CD/DVD-ROM) to play almost all modern games anymore – just buy yourself a big, fast USB flash drive and copy your game onto it – problem solved! Games these days are so large that taking them with you on the train / plane can be impossible if you have no way of playing them! Alternatively, if your PlayStation 3 has Internet capabilities, put the disc in and download the game directly to your HDD.
11. Make use of cloud storage
If you’ve managed to follow all of the above steps and still need more help, why not invest in a few extra gigabytes of cloud storage. If you have a Dropbox account (or similar service), simply install it on your laptop, right click the file(s) you want to back up and select “Dropbox” from the list – this will automatically save them to your online storage area which is accessible from anywhere! You can even access cloud storage when playing games if they provide such functionality within their own systems, making it possible for multiple people in different locations join forces to take down one boss monster or work together to solve a puzzle!
12. Buy an upgraded version of your laptop – i.e., a gaming-ready model
Finally, if you want the best possible performance from your laptop, why not upgrade it? Make sure you purchase a unit that is specifically marketed as being able to handle games because this may mean high power consumption and high heat levels but it does allow for higher cost upgrades which can often have far more impact on your laptop’s performance than simple software tweaks. You should always look at the other components inside your laptop first as these are much easier and cheaper to fix by yourself rather than having to replace them entirely with new parts.
Well, I hope you find these tips helpful when it comes to improving your gaming laptop’s performance and remember that the most important thing is to take regular breaks when playing games to give yourself time away from the screen! Games are meant to be fun so don’t play them until your eyes start hurting or you get a headache – if you do feel pain while playing then stop immediately or you could risk causing permanent damage! Enjoy yourself but remember that gamers have relied on their PCs far more than consoles throughout history – keep your computer safe by caring for it properly!
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