How to Improve your Gaming Laptop’s Thermals

The best thing you can do for your laptop

is make sure it stays nice and cool. Better thermals have so many benefits to the consistency, longevity and overall performance of your system. And I believe managing your thermals well is absolutely critical to getting what you paid for. If you’re not doing it, you’re missing out!

In other words, better thermals mean:

  • Higher and more stable framerates in games, potentially even being able to play at higher graphical settings
  • Better Battery life
  • Better experience doing even simple, daily tasks, because:
  • Your laptop will simply LIVE longer, since your components spend less time at very high temperatures
  • You’ll be able to do more with your system at once
  • And many other long-term benefits.

 

PLEASE READ: Anything mentioned in this article must be performed CAREFULLY, having done adequate research based on your specific product or situation. 

GamingOnLab.com is NOT responsible for any damage caused to equipment or other accidents.

That being said, we stand by, and believe in every single word in this post.

 

#0: This may seem obvious, but is definitely worth mentioning: Breathing Room

So your laptop has fans, right? Well those fans push hot air OUT of your system through several openings in the chassis, and those openings need as much space as possible to function efficiently. If you are ever experiencing especially high temperatures, make sure there is nothing around them that may block natural airflow.

But it doesn’t end there! Another menace when it comes to blocking airways is good old dust!

Gently clean your laptop with a can of condensed air every once in a while, and it will thank you.

 

So where do I REALLY start?

Well the first thing I personally recommend people do when they buy a gaming laptop is..

#1. Undervolting your CPU

So when you buy a laptop from a company, they tend to set the voltage (or amount of power going into your CPU) a bit higher than it should be. There are several reasons for that, and the way I see it, none of them are consumer-friendly. By gradually reducing the voltage of the CPU and then stress-testing it after every small step, you can reach a point where your laptop always has just enough power to perform no matter what is thrown at it. Getting rid of the extra power that was unnecessarily going into the CPU will greatly lower its general temperature.

Undervolting your CPU is the best way to get an immediate boost in performance as it comes with little to no risk to your actual system, though you may want to check if your specific CPU even supports it, as rumor has it that Intel has been releasing some 10th Gen (Skylake architecture) CPUs with the ability to undervolt disabled. I believe, once again, that..

There are several reasons for that, and the way I see it, none of them are consumer-friendly.

The way to actually perform an undervolt is quite simple, but must be done carefully and responsibly, as over-doing it may cause serious damage to your system. This can easily be googled for detailed, professional explanations, and there are some great resources on YouTube that also provide you with a visual guide.

Nope, don’t do that! Since the release of this article, we’ve made our very own thorough and easy-to-understand undervolting guide! 

Follow our steps, and you won’t need another guide again.

As for software, I personally recommend Throttlestop as it allows for better control and oversight than Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility. If you want to be 100% sure your settings will stick and you never want to have to fiddle with it again, I’d go all in and do it through your computer’s BIOS settings. Guides are plentiful on this as well.

PLEASE READ THE NOTE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE BEFORE PERFORMING ANY ACTIONS

#2. Using a Cooling Pad

I’ll admit, having a cooling pad may sound OP, but the results are less visible than one may expect. You may not necessarily see a sudden increase in framerate as you have when undervolting, but I still think there are great benefits to owning and working on one. For one, they help your laptop’s built-in fans work more efficiently since they allow for better airflow under your system, and, since they also contain their own fans inside them, will dissipate heat much faster than your desk would.

In English: you’re giving your laptop one of those servants wearing a toga blowing air at it with a giant leaf and feeding it grapes. Won’t make your laptop much more powerful, but BOY will it love every second of it.

Some cooling pads may even provide extra functions such as:

  • A kickstand, allowing you to raise it for better visibility
  • A padded bottom for better comfort when working with your system on your lap, and some can even:
  • Act as a USB hub! providing extra USB ports, because can you ever really have enough USB ports?


 

#3. Re-Applying Thermal Paste

WARNING: THIS MAY VOID YOUR MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY unless you’re clever about it 😉

If you’ve ever been on a forum, subreddit or anywhere else people may discuss building a gaming PC, you’ve probably encountered the old “HOW TO PROPERLY APPLY THERMAL PASTE” dilemma. Here’s the thing, it’s actually not that easy to mess up applying thermal paste.

But the thing is, we didn’t get to apply thermal paste on our own laptops, which means we have no idea how well it was applied, or even what quality thermal paste was used. More often than not, companies have humans apply thermal paste, not machines. This is a good thing, right?

Well, not necessarily. Applying thermal paste isn’t a difficult task by any measure, but giving this process the attention it deserves can yield great benefits. Plus, the thermal compounds most companies opt to use by default can be.. pretty bad in quality.

Out of every method we mention in this article, this will most probably yield the most noticeable results, and will improve your laptop’s performance in every category we mentioned in the beginning.

I’ve personally recently only used the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut since I tried it the first time, after having it be recommended by several trustworthy colleagues, and I stand by the purchase completely.  Other thermal compounds may also prove just as potent, just make sure you don’t end up using something just as cheap as what your laptop came with.

When it comes to HOW to apply the thermal compound, I would recommend performing a google search so that you find a guide that fits your specific system.

It is pretty straightforward, and every step of it can be googled down to the last detail, to make sure you get the absolute most out of your new thermal compound.

PLEASE READ: Anything mentioned in this article must be performed CAREFULLY, having done adequate research based on your specific product or situation. 

GamingOnLab.com is NOT responsible for any damage caused to equipment or other accidents.

That being said, we stand by, and believe in every single word in this post.

4 thoughts on “How to Improve your Gaming Laptop’s Thermals

  1. Bashar,

    Trying to find a decent cooler for my 17″ laptop is next to impossible. I’ve gone through 3 different ones in the past year and haven’t liked any of them. The laptop tends to hang over the side and get unstable. Can you recommend a cooling pad that is actually designed to fit a 17″ laptop?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Sean

    1. Hey there, Sean!

      As easy as it would be to recommend you another cooling pad, if you were dissatisfied with the last three, I wonder, what are you trying to accomplish with the cooling pad? Was the problem with all three of them that they were too small to properly support your system?

      If so, I can recommend https://amzn.to/316nBWg. It may still not completely fit the entirety of your system, depending on which one you have, but It’s one of the best performing ones out there.

      If you just want better cooling, maybe I could help you through the process of undervolting! It’s quite simple, relatively risk-free and has yielded me great results in about an hour of work and a bunch of stress-testing.

      Hope this helps!

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