Marathon gaming sessions are fun, but they can be challenging for your PC. All those high-resolution graphics mean your PC has to work hard to provide the best gaming experience – and that can lead to overheating.
For your gaming PC to perform at its best, it needs the correct cooling solution. Improperly cooling your gaming computer can leave you dealing with thermal throttling or reduced performance.
Worst case scenario? Overheating can compromise the longevity of your PC.
If you’re like most PC gamers, you feel pretty attached to your PC, especially if you’ve taken the time to modify its hardware and personalize it until it runs exactly the way you want it to. You also want to be certain that your computer isn’t going to suddenly start slowing up right when you need it the most.
Keeping your gaming PC cool is critical if you want to ensure years of reliable game-play. Here are some tips for ensuring that your gaming PC doesn’t overheat in the middle of a match.
Table Of Contents
Remember, keep your PC on a solid, open, and flat surface.
You’ve just lovingly unpacked your brand-new expensive gaming PC. Take a whiff…ahhh, that new PC smell. You hope to spend many blissful hours gaming with your new computer.
Oh, the places you’ll go! What do you do first?
Before you even fire up your new PC, make sure you have a place to put your computer tower where it will be kept cool and safe.
Your PC tower should ideally be set on a solid, flat surface, preferably on a shelf located below your desk or table, or even on the floor. While your tower can be put directly on top of a desk, it’s better to put it where it’s less likely to be knocked against anything or damaged by spills.
The floor is a perfectly suitable place for it as well, but don’t put a PC tower on carpet. The openings on the bottom will not be able to vent properly, and your PC will be more likely to overheat.
There are vents all over your computer tower to keep it cool, so don’t clutter up the space around it with all your cool gaming stuff. Not only does this make for better gaming feng shui, it ensures that your PC won’t overheat or slow down mid-match.
For extra powerful machines, replacing the CPU cooler or adding more case fans could be the solution
PCs come equipped with their own cooling system, not unlike the radiator of a car. That’s how critical it is that they be kept nice and cool. But sometimes, especially with the larger, more powerful models, they need an upgrade to perform properly and maintain stability.
The CPU is the core of your computer, and therefore generates the most heat. Many high-powered CPUs are simply too large and factory parts don’t really dissipate the heat away from the unit fast enough. If you suspect that this is the case with your machine, you’re probably right. Some after-market tinkering may be in order.
If your computer is running hot, or if you’re swapping your CPU for a larger one, you’ll definitely need to upgrade your cooling system. Consider upgrading to a CPU cooling unit with a larger heatsink, or a water-cooled AIO (all-in-one) unit that cools everything down faster. You may need to install multiple case fans as well.
Clean the dust!
Even when you take all the precautions we’ve already described, the components inside your computer case are going to get dusty, and where there’s dust, there’s the possibility of overheating.
But never fear, cleaning the inside of your PC is relatively simple. A can of compressed air will get all the dust off your computer’s inner parts. Just be sure to unplug it from the wall before removing the sides of the tower and wear a dust mask to protect you from any debris that might get knocked loose.
Sometimes though, a light dusting won’t do the trick if there is gunk caked onto your fan blades or other components. In this case, it will be necessary to carefully remove all parts from your case and clean them individually with a lint free cloth or rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.
Remember to give your computer a break
Turning off your gaming PC every once in a while is a good idea, and we’re not saying this because we don’t want you to become a couch potato. Maybe you’re good for an overnight gaming session, but chances are your computer would appreciate a break.
Hours-long gaming sessions generate a lot of heat, and your computer components will wear out more quickly as a result. If you want your PC to last longer, do yourself and your computer a favor and avoid super-long periods of use.
Lower your graphics settings for a cooler PC
It may seem like common sense to crank up all your game settings to the max, but this isn’t always in your PC’s best interest. Keeping certain settings mellow is a great way to keep your computer cool.
Crisp, high-def visuals tend to increase heat. Here are a few settings that make things look great but affect PC performance if not set properly.
- Frames per Second (FPS) – Keep this one set to 60 fps unless you’re playing a very fast-paced game
- Resolution (1080p, 1440p, 4k) – This is how many pixels are on your screen at once. Keep yours set to whatever its native resolution is.
- Texture resolution (Low, medium, high) – This is what gives images greater texture on screen, and having yours set high will always make things look better. However, you can set this lower when playing fast-paced games.
- Field of View (FoV) – Increasing FoV gives you more peripheral vision throughout the game, and how you set yours is a personal preference. You can leave it at default, or experiment with the view that works best for you.
We hope we’ve helped you see how heat can affect your PC, and how taking a few simple precautions can increase performance and extend the life of your gaming computer. If you have any more tricks or tips for keeping your PC cool, share them with us in the comments below!