If you’ve ever noticed your laptop gaming performance is underwhelming and wanted to improve it, this is the video for you. In this week’s DIY in 5, Trisha Hershberger shows you how to get the best out of your tiny but mighty machine.
Not all gaming laptops are created equal. Some look the part but don’t have much under the hood. Others are compact but high-powered and intended for overclocking until they’re the match of any desktop rig. These tips will help in either scenario and everything in-between.
Plugging in your laptop makes a huge difference. Gaming laptops are notoriously power-thirsty. Most laptops have off-mains power settings to promote high battery life at the expense of performance. Even if you are plugged in, check that your machine’s power mode is ready for gaming-level performance. You can create a custom power plan specifically for gaming if necessary, so you can switch back and forth.
Never assume your airflow is fine. You want to optimize for maximum cooling and heat dissipation so that your processor doesn’t compensate for the heat by throttling its speed. Throttling causes dropped frames and possibly lag. Keep your laptop on a space like a cooling pad to ensure proper airflow. Under no circumstances put your laptop on a pillow.
Windows game mode
For Windows computers, close all background apps and enable Windows Game Mode. This prevents PC restarts and (besides Windows core functionality) doesn’t allow background apps unrelated to the game to run. No other programs or tasks can cause an in-game performance drop during Game Mode. That said, it’s still advisable to close background apps before playing.
Don’t forget about your network! Try to use Ethernet. If you must use Wi-Fi, try to get on the 5GHz and use router optimizations to send more throughput to gaming traffic. We made an episode on how to optimize your network, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qIqbN-8gA
This is an issue for lots of folk: don’t forget to manage your gaming laptop’s automatic updates. Every available update should be applied as soon as possible. This includes Steam, your GPU management software, and DirectX too.
Check that your display refresh rate is locked to 60Hz because you have VSync turned on. Turn it off and enjoy the 100+FPS.
Upgrade your hardware
To further stack the deck in your favor, there are performance-enhancing hardware upgrades. RAM and storage are both on the table. Memory and storage updates make almost any laptop sing compared to the standard issue components that come stock with your laptop. Make sure that your laptop’s storage and memory are both upgradable, though, before investing. Some laptops have RAM soldered to their motherboards, in which case you’re stuck with what you’ve got.
1) Plug in your laptop
2) Create and select a gaming performance plan
3) Move your laptop to a dedicated space or surface with proper airflow
4) Close all background apps and enable Windows Game Mode
5) Check your internet connection
6) Make sure automatic updates, Steam, and GPU management are all up to date
7) Make sure Vsync is off
8) Replace or update hardware as needed (if possible)
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2:29 Windows Game Mode
2:54 Internet Connection
3:15 Automatic Updates
4:06 Upgrade Hardware