With the astounding power and build quality that’s packed into most computer components these days it’s easy to think that thermal issues should be a thing of the past—but it’s actually quite the contrary. With more and more power being packed into smaller components, those components have a likelihood to give off access heat if you’re doing some power-hungry tasks like, say, gaming!
This issue is becoming especially common as today many gamers are using laptops as their primary gaming machines. The smaller chassis results in components being packed more tightly with less of that all-important air-flow which keeps them cool.
In short, we’re in an age of overheating out computers.
Fortunately, there are a tonne of methods to minimise excess heat, and keep your gaming experience impressively smooth without risking your components melting. We’ll focus on laptops, as these are the main overheating offenders, and will break these solutions down into two clear sections: Software and Hardware.
Before you go out and buy anything to fix your overheating problem, there are a few local hardware fixes to consider. We’ll start with super-simple fixes you can try immediately.
Plug It In While Gaming
Particular laptops can experience heat build-ups and performance drops when not plugged in to power. This is most often due to the fact that certain laptops cannot power their components (mainly high-end GPUs) to their full potential without external power.
Thus, ensuring your machine is plugged in while under heavy load can ensure your components are working optimally.
Elevate Your Laptop
More often than not heat issues are due to poor air flow. Elevating your laptop slightly above a hard work surface can help the fans draw in enough air to pump around your machine and keep it cool.
It’s also worth nothing here that if your machine is operating in a very warm environment, this air will not be optimal for cooling. As such it’s always worth performing performance-heavy tasks in as cool an environment as possible.
Clean Your Laptop
Debris build-up is another factor which restricts airflow. Thus, it’s worth ensuring your laptop’s interior is cleaner at least once per year, to maximise airflow.
Some individuals may opt for simply spraying compressed air into the fans, however this will simply relocate much of the dust onto your other components. As such, the most effective way to clean a computer is to take it apart to ensure any debris leaves the machine entirely.
That said, always be sure you know what you’re doing before taking apart your machine!
Ensure Your Fans Are Working Correctly
At this point, you get how important airflow is—and fans are the most valuable factor in creating good airflow. Because of this it’s always worth ensuring they are working correctly.
First off, simply checking whether your fans are running is a must—as a faulty or broken fan is a one-way ticket to overheating.
But it’s also worth noting that certain software in your machine will control your fan speeds. Making sure that your fan speeds increase as the temperature of your machine increases is paramount.
Invest in a Cooling Pad
If your fans are working, they may simply need some extra help.
Cooling pads are small stands which contain fans, built specifically to promote good airflow into laptops and keep them as cool as possible.
Thus, if you have tried everything on this list to no avail, it may be worth investing in such a solution.
Replace Thermal Paste
On older machines, thermal paste may become an issue.
The role of thermal paste is to promote heat transfer from key components to the heat sink. Thus, if it loses its effectiveness the components themselves can begin to overheat.
However, it’s only worth considering this solution if your computer is notably old (3-5 years). And before you place more thermal paste into your machine, make sure you know what you are doing. If you are in any doubt, take your computer to a specialist as they will not only be able to tell you whether your machine needs new thermal paste, they will also be able to complete the procedure for you.
While it’s easy to blame our hardware for thermal issues, software may be the problem. Fortunately, many software solutions are far easier for the average user to complete, so here are a few to try out:
Close Background Programs
This may seem like a no-brainer, but background programs can greatly contribute to overheating, especially when a few greedy programmes are taking up a lot of resources.
Before diving into intensive activity—whether that be gaming or productivity—consider heading into task manager and closing a handful of power-hungry and unnecessary programs. Modern internet browsers are a good place to start, as even in the background they can guzzle up a tonne of resources.
Reduce Graphics Settings and/or FPS
As much as you want to run on Ultra settings with 120fps, chances are your gaming laptop simply isn’t cut out for that excessive strain. By pulling back your in-game graphics settings and/or frames per second should yield immediate results—making it one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce thermal temperatures.
Simply head into your chosen game’s settings, and you should have a wide range of options to optimize. However, should you desire greater flexibility, there’s a lot of third-party software solutions which will allow you to fine-tune your experience to the max. For many of these you can find the best deals on cheapest key comparison sites.
Undervolt or Underclock your CPU and GPU
You’re probably familiar with the term overclocking, which means to put extra strain on components to receive the maximum output from components. However, overclocking produces excess heat.
Thus, underclocking can have the opposite effect—helping to keep your machine cool. This will essentially limit the maximum strain of your components in order to reduce the amount of heat produced.
Undervolting is more-or-less the same, but occurs through underpowering the components.
As with anything technical, it’s important to know what you are doing before tampering with the power of components.
However, you can achieve some minor level of control within the power settings in Windows. Simply head to the additional power settings then to change advanced power settings and you should have the ability to set your maximum processor state. Setting this to a lower value should, more or less, achieve similar results—but do remember this can come with a slight reduction to overall power.
Getting the Most from Your Machine
Ensuring that your machine doesn’t run too hot will help to keep it running optimally, while also extending the longevity of its components. As such, even if your overheating issues are minor, it’s worth considering keeping your machine as cool as possible.
And while you’re looking to optimise your temperatures, why not optimise your in-game experience? There are many services for power levelling or purchasing currency, items and accounts, such as Eldorado, which will let you get ahead in your favourite title—whether that be RuneScape 3 or World of Warcraft Classic.