Keep your Laptop Cool: 5 Tips to Avoid Thermal Throttling

Laptops are powerful, compact computers. They have impressive hardware that can power the newest games or render professional videos, which, in turn, creates a lot of heat.

When heat is dealt with incorrectly, some laptops can begin thermal throttling, where the machine lowers performance to avoid overheating. Overheating can also compromise a laptop’s longevity because it damages the internal components.

From poor performance to sudden shutdowns to permanently damaging the device, overheating can cause a host of problems. It’s important to keep your laptop cool if you want to use it long-term. Here are a few tips to help keep your gaming laptop in peak condition.

Remember, Keep Your Laptop on a Solid, Flat Surface

Remember, Keep Your Laptop on a Solid, Flat Surface

Contrary to its name, a laptop shouldn’t be on your lap, at least not for long. What’s under your laptop can actually obstruct the cooling vents, preventing the machine from dissipating heat. Using your laptop on a bed or a soft surface can cover the fan’s vents, reducing cooling performance.

According to Novaro Digital, the best place to put your laptop is on a cool, flat surface, like a clean desk. A lap desk can work, too, as long as it doesn’t block the vents and allows airflow. The rubber feet on the bottom of your laptop need to prop it up enough that air can run underneath it. That way, heat can escape instead of sticking around and lowering performance, damaging the machine, or even burning you.

For Extra-Powerful Machines, Portable Cooling Pads Are a Great Solution


You can also purchase add-ons to help laptops keep cool. For more powerful computers, the fans within the laptop may not provide enough cooling performance to maintain stability, especially for a gaming laptop. External cooling pads, like this one here, are great products when you want to add some extra air circulation.

These pads lift the laptop for better airflow and use several fans to keep that air moving quickly, dispersing heat. There are even models with phone stands and LED lights. Or, if you’d like your cooling pad to be a bit more discreet, there are ultra-slim models that aren’t as noticeable.

Clean the Dust!


Cleaning your laptop periodically will keep the vents from getting clogged or obstructed because of dust. Dust buildup is often the most obvious culprit of overheating and slow performance. Because it can clog up the vent and keep the heat trapped inside, dust can actually kill your laptop.

Regularly shut your computer down and deep clean the fans and vents. To do so, take out the battery and unscrew the bottom panel if possible.

Use compressed air to direct a short burst of air through the computer. If you can’t remove the panel, point the air at the cooling vents and do the same thing.

If you want to know all the reasons to get the dust out of your laptop, check out this article on Reader’s Digest online. It showcases the numerous reasons you should clean your laptop, including the fact that all that dust could make you sick!

Remember to Give Your Computer a Break


Even computers need a break. Even with the best cooling solution, extended gaming periods can cause computers to overheat.

According to the Streamers Playbook, a gaming laptop will last about three to five years. They get hotter than typical laptops, and the components are much more difficult to replace.

In addition to turning it off every now and then, Streamer’s Playbook also recommends reapplying the thermal paste in your computer yearly and cleaning the fans at least monthly. Because they need to cool down, these breaks are crucial for your gaming laptop’s longevity.

Lower Your Graphics Settings for a Cooler Laptop

Lower Your Graphics Settings for a Cooler Laptop

Remember, the harder your gaming laptop works, the more heat it produces. You can find an easy solution for lowering your laptop’s temperature in the graphics menu of your favorite game. Lowering the resolution of the textures and other graphical settings lessens the load on your laptop’s components.

Each setting impacts visual fidelity. If the settings make the game look better, they also increase how much heat your laptop produces, so by adjusting some of these, you can put less strain on your computer. Here are some examples from Game Spot:

  • Frames per second (FPS) – As long as you’re not playing a fast-paced, competitive game, you can give up a few frames per second to put less stress on your computer. Consider turning FPS down to 50 or 60 since your monitor might not even be able to do more than 60 anyway.
  • Resolution (1080p, 1440p, 4K) – Check your laptop’s native resolution. If it can’t produce 4K and 1080p, turning it down to 720p can help cut back on the power drain.
  • Texture resolution (low, medium, high) – When you’re playing a game that doesn’t require as much attention to detail within your surroundings, lowering the texture resolution to low or medium will require less video RAM on your GPU.
  • Field of view (FoV) – Field of view is the angle at which you view the game’s world. In competitive shooters, having a high FoV can be beneficial.

However, lowering the FoV demands less from your gaming laptop if you’re playing something slower. To still enjoy a quality experience, look for a lowering that hits near the middle of the available options.

Heat directly affects the performance and lifespan of your computer. Simple solutions such as breaks and removing dust can help reduce overheating. Still, sometimes external fans and in-game solutions are required.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion about cooling your gaming laptop. Please share your tried-and-true tips for keeping your laptop cool in the comments!