How Hot Should A Gaming Laptop Get? (And How To Keep It Cool)

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Laptops and pretty much every electrical gadget generates heat while running, but how hot should they get?

More specifically, how hot should a gaming laptop get? There are many factors affecting heat production in a gaming laptop like what you are doing on your laptop, the region you live in (hot or cold), and more. The optimal CPU temperature should be around 70°-85°C (158°-185°F) while gaming. People living in hotter regions have reported getting up to 93°C while heavy gaming.

That’s not all, read on to find out more about the temperatures of your gaming laptop and how it could affect your battery life and longevity. You will also learn about how to keep your gaming laptop cooler while gaming and increase its performance and longevity.

How does a gaming laptop get hot?

Heat is the worst enemy of any electrical appliance, especially PCs and laptops. There are many factors that may contribute to making your gaming laptop hotter. Let’s take a look.

(a) Heavy gaming

One of the major factors that make your laptop run hotter is probably this one. Playing the latest AAA titles for longer periods of time increases the stress on the internal components including, but not limited to, your GPU, CPU, HDD, SSD, etc. This generates more heat which can lead to throttling of your CPU & GPU which in turn reduces the FPS in games and also decreases the longevity of your internal components.

(b) Rendering or exporting a media file

This one is limited to a specific group of users. If you are a VFX artist or you create and render heavy CGI projects, you must know how hot your system gets while rending something like that.

Not only that but video editing and exporting also causes heat production if your video is very complex, and further if you use compression software like Handbrake to compress your videos.

(c) Crypto mining

If you are a bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) miner, you know how hot your laptop can get. Apart from the factors mentioned above, this is also one of the most heat-producing factors for your laptop.

There are certain malware that can hijack your system and run mining scripts in the background. This is called cryptojacking.

Cryptojacking is a type of cryptomining in which hackers hack into computers, laptops, and even mobile devices and install malware. This malware uses the device’s resources to mine cryptocurrencies and makes profits without getting detected by the users. The malware code is easy to execute and runs in the background, that is why it is difficult to detect.

(d) Malfunction in cooling component

If you feel like your laptop is overheating or is running with massive lags, even in normal usage, a coolant malfunction might be the problem. Whether your system is air-cooled or liquid-cooled, both would contribute to generating heat if they malfunction.

Most systems come with an air-cooled rig rather than liquid-cooled. It’s better to figure out the problem before it’s too late. Here’s how you can determine if your coolant is working properly or not.

Ways to check if your cooling component is working properly or not:

Method #1: Test while booting up (for air-cooled only)

It’s a simple method. While keeping the laptop shut down, simply locate the area from where hot air is blown out of your laptop. Put your ears near the area and hit the power button. You should hear the fans running as soon as the system starts to boot up and then it should stop. This means your fans are working properly and you’re good to go.

If you do not hear the fans running, you can open up the back of your laptop and check if the wires connecting the cooling fans are not loose. After doing everything that you can, if the fans still do not run while booting up, you should take the help of a laptop mechanic and have them check for the problem.

Method #2: By stress-testing (for air-cooled only)

Download a program like Core Temp and run it. It is a powerful program to monitor processor temperature and other vital information. When you run it, it puts stress on the CPU to make it run to its full potential. While the stress test is running, you should be able to hear the cooling fans loud and clear. If not, then most likely your fans are malfunctioning and you should get it checked and repaired by a professional.

(e) More factors

Here are some more factors that may cause a temperature rise in your laptop:

  • Dust and other particles have clogged up your cooling fans and vents
  • Unnecessary programs are running in the background (check in the Task Manager and close the ones you don’t need)
  • The room in which you use your laptop is hot
  • The surface you are using your laptop on. Make sure it is not a soft surface like your bed, and allow it to have proper air-flow from beneath the surface of your laptop.
  • You have overclocked your CPU or GPU.
  • Your themal paste is not applied properly or it has lost its effectiveness.
  • You are running your laptop on battery power while gaming. It reduces the fan RPM, as a result, there is a rise in the internal temperatures.

How hot should a gaming laptop get

So you play AAA titles, render out complex 3D models, or use your laptop for mining cryptocurrency. One question still remains: How hot should your gaming laptop get? Let’s find out the answer.

As we have already seen that there are many factors that may affect temperature rise in your gaming laptop. The optimal CPU and GPU temperature should be around 70°-85°C (158°-185°F) while gaming. People living in hotter regions have reported getting from 90°C to 95°C in some cases.

Do high temperatures affect your laptop?

Yes, heat is bad for any electronic device. They keep losing their performance with time when they are overheated.

How to keep your gaming laptop cool

Laptops are compact, light-weight, portable, and packed with power. But the previously mentioned advantages are the biggest disadvantages in terms of temperatures. Packing a desktop-level performance in such a form factor makes it a heating machine.

Here are some ways to keep your gaming laptop cooler:

(a) Placement of your laptop

Keeping your laptop on a table or some solid material is recommended. It helps to maintain proper airflow throughout the system. Make sure there is at least 8 to 12 inches of a gap from all sides of your laptop, again to main the proper airflow. Avoid keeping your laptop close to a wall or anything that hinders the airflow.

Make sure you do not use your laptop on a soft surface like your bed. The bedsheets trap the heat generated from your laptop and make the situation worse. You’ll find your laptop goes well above 90°C, which is really bad for the internal components of your laptop.

If you still want to use it on your bed, make sure to elevate the bottom of your laptop with a book or something so that the air vents are fully open, which will ensure the proper airflow and keep your laptop cool.

(b) Clean your air cooling vents

There is always a circulation of air in your laptop. It is necessary to keep your laptop cool, but with time, the accumulation of dust and other particles is inevitable. They can clog up your air vents and compromise the proper cooling of your laptop.

The best way would be to clean the vents every 4-6 months. There are several ways to clean the vents.

The obvious one is by opening the back of your laptop and cleaning the fans and vents with a soft brush or with a can of compressed air.

If you want to clean it without opening the back of your laptop, then here’s a short guide:

Things you will need: A can of compressed air (BUY from Amazon)

Step 1: Make sure your laptop is shut down and you’ve allowed it to cool down.

Step 2: Hold your laptop on one of its sides so as to expose the vents on the bottom.

Step 3: Bring the nozzle of the can close to the vents or grills and spray.

Step 4: Rotate, tilt, and move your laptop at angles and spray into the vents to clean it properly.

Step 5: Make sure you see lesser dust particles before moving on to the next side vent.

Step 6: Repeat the above process on the remaining vents.

(c) Undervold your laptop

It is one of the most crucial methods which you can use to immensely decrease the temperature of your laptop without compromising the performance. Your CPU and GPU take more power to run than required. You can limit the power drawn by the CPU and GPU to make it run just fine while consuming less power.

Undervolting is a technique in which we reduce the voltage supply provided to a component. It helps reduce the power consumption hence decreasing the heat generation and increasing the battery life and longevity of laptops.

Here’s a full tutorial I have put together on how to undervolt a gaming laptop.

(d) Try re-pasting

Re-pasting is yet another great solution to reduce the temperatures significantly while increasing the performance of your laptop. Newly manufactured laptops that come out of the factory do not have a good thermal paste solution inside. It is highly recommended to consider re-pasting.

Here is a great video explaining how to re-paste:

Re-pasting tutorial by Dave2D

(e) External aid (cooling pads)

Apart from taking simple measures to ensure proper cooling of your laptop, you can take some external help from accessories known as cooling pads.

They are simple to use. Just put it on the table you use your laptop on, and then place your laptop on it. Plug the wire in one of your laptop’s USB ports and let the fans do the work.

A cooling pad can keep your laptop relatively cooler during long sessions of gaming. You will notice a 6-8°C decrease in temperatures on an average.

Final thoughts

To sum up,

  • On average, your laptop should be around 70°-85°C while gaming or performing heavy CPU or GPU-intensive tasks.
  • Your laptop’s temperatures may go below or above 70°-85°C in some cases, depending on the region you live in.
  • To keep your gaming laptop cool:
    • Check the placement of your laptop
    • Clean your air cooling vents
    • Undervolt your laptop
    • Try re-pasting
    • Consider buying a cooling pad.

I hope you learned something from this post. Please share it with someone to spread the knowledge. I will see you in another one.

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