laptop gaming

Top 5 ways to improve gaming experience on a laptop

Playing video games on a laptop might not feel like the most optimal option these days. It feels like custom-built PCs and consoles are superior options, particularly the latter with its next-gen releases.

Having said that, laptops should not be disregarded as a bad option. If anything, you have plenty of gaming laptop options in the market these days. Even gamers who have relatively old devices can make it enjoyable for themselves by making certain adjustments.

Below, you will find a list of five things that come in handy if you want to make gaming more fun on a laptop.

Improve the Wi-Fi connection

Let’s start with an internet connection. Right now, online video games are some of the most popular titles you can find. From the most recently released Lost Ark to established games like League of Legends, Dota, and Counter-Strike, there is no denying that multiplayer games have a big share of the market.

As a laptop owner, you are likely relying on a wireless connection. Getting an ethernet cable usually ensures a more stable internet connection, but it also means losing the portability of the laptop. The question is what causes poor Wi-Fi signals.

ethernet cable head

For example, you might be playing in a room that is quite a distance away from the router. Not knowing how to extend Wi-Fi range is understandable, particularly if you are not that tech-savvy.

Relocating the router or yourself and a laptop to get closer is the simplest and most effective solution.

Another cause behind poor Wi-Fi could be third-party peripherals. The likes of wireless printers sometimes jam the Wi-Fi signal, so keep that in mind.

Lastly, you have problems that occur on the ISP end. If your internet provider fails to ensure quality services, you need to work out this problem with them or look for an alternative.

You also need to ensure that Windows isn’t updating in the background when you game. It will consume the majority of your internet bandwidth, leaving lesser speed for your game to be connected stably.

Clean the dust inside

heatsink and fan inside laptop

The dust inside is another problem that often prevents laptop owners from having a positive gaming experience.

Too much dust inside causes overheating and loud noises. Some users believe that getting a cooling pad is enough to solve the problem. Even if the accessory is useful as it offers cool air to the laptop, it does not eliminate the root of the problem.

Unless you clean the dust inside your laptop, the amount will only increase, further escalating the problem.

The reluctance to clean the dust inside a laptop is understandable. You need to know what you are doing. Otherwise, the odds of damaging the device are quite high.

Whether you have to learn to clean the dust yourself or pay someone to do the job for you is not important. What matters is that you get in the habit of getting the dust inside a laptop cleaned regularly.

Video games are known for their demands resource-wise, and running a game puts a toll on the hardware, making the internal fans work overtime. If the dust is clogging the fans, it is natural that you will experience crashes, frame drops, thermal throttling, and other issues while playing video games.

Upgrade to better gaming hardware if possible

laptop inside

Hardware upgrades are not that simple on a laptop. Unlike a custom-built PC that has flexibility, laptops come with integrated pieces most of the time, meaning that owners have no or limited options to improve the hardware.

Nevertheless, there are some exceptions to this rule, and if you have the money to spend, then there are a few worthy considerations. Though you can’t just swap out your GPU or processor with a better one, there are some improvements you can make internally.

When it comes to gaming hardware for laptops, an external GPU should be one of the first things that you want to look into. External graphics processing units are quite popular among laptop owners these days, even if they can be a tad bit expensive.

Next, there is memory. The more RAM you have, the better you can expect the computer to run. All apps use the RAM, so naturally increasing the RAM will give all your apps more headroom. This is even more important if you run other apps alongside a game, such as streaming or recording software which you can’t turn off to save RAM expenditure. Older laptops only have one slot, in which case the only option for you is to remove the existing laptop and get a higher one (like swapping out your 6GB for a 16GB). Newer models always have two slots, with one occupied, so you can just add another stick (more like a card than a stick). Snapping a new RAM into the slot is easy. Opening the chassis and finding this spot might need some video tutorials off YouTube.

Finally, consider replacing an old hard drive with a brand-new solid-state drive. SSDs might be more expensive than HDDs, but they offer better speeds and overall performance. Once you run games (especially those with larger worlds that have a lot of loading times) on an SSD, you will completely dislike the clunky feel of spinning HDDs. You can still use your existing HDD for storage, moving it to a second spot or in the place of the DVD bay, but this requires you to reinstall or clone Windows on the new SSD first (check our Windows migration guide for HDD to SSD cloning). Note that reinstalling or fresh installing Windows means you have to say goodbye to your entire C: drive, which includes all apps and software by default. Cloning or migrating is simply putting your existing HDD C: drive onto the new SSD.

Get rid of resource hogs

Like already mentioned, video games are quite demanding when it comes to available computer resources. Since you have an old laptop model, you want to ensure that it has as few resource hogs as possible.

For starters, make sure that there is no desktop clutter. Rendering happens when you switch between the desktop and other tabs, and the more shortcuts there are on the laptop’s desktop, the slower it will run.

Next, always have free storage. A cluttered drive spells trouble. What you need is at least 20 percent of the total drive space free.

task manager

Background processes could be a problem as well. Redundant applications running when you do not need them are still an issue. Check Activity Monitor (macOS) and Task Manager (Windows) and sort processes by resource usage to determine which ones are hogging the most. Third-party antivirus software, startup apps you don’t really need, or non-Windows apps that run as services can be all bloatware slowing your PC down unnecessarily.

If you plan to play video games on a laptop optimally, keep in mind that it is crucial to dedicate as many resources to games as possible.

Try games that are not as demanding

One should not expect an optimal performance on a laptop if they are playing high-end video games on ultra settings.

Reducing graphics is a way to circumvent performance issues, but the overall gaming experience suffers a lot if you have to sacrifice the visuals.

Taking a different approach is worth considering. Instead of getting irritated by lag and crashes with high-end games, you can look for some titles that are not as demanding.

There are plenty of great video games with low system requirements. Cuphead, Civilization, Diablo, and Hades are just a few examples of critically-acclaimed video games that offer plenty of neat things without demanding too much from your hardware.

Conclusion

All in all, if you are looking to make gaming easier and more enjoyable as a laptop owner, you can find solutions to this problem. Hopefully, this article will prove useful for those who wish for a better gaming experience on a laptop.

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