What you should do on a laptop for better gaming performance

See in this article how you can improve the performance of your laptop so that you can run demanding games.

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Gaming laptops are built to support even the most demanding game in terms of memory, graphics and processing. But they are very expensive. They surpass in price even the best desktop machines.

Those of you who don't have the money to buy such a laptop are content with the simple, conventional laptop whose price is around 600 euros.

Although your simple home laptop will never reach the performance of a gaming laptop that doesn't mean you can't play the latest games. Of course you can, but you should ensure that your laptop is as optimized for gaming as possible.

On desktops, you can upgrade the hardware. Laptop users have limited upgrade options. Here are some ways to improve your laptop's performance and make it faster.

Of course the following applies to all laptops, whether you use them for gaming, graphic work, or just surfing the web.

Keep your laptop clean, dust free

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Want to improve your laptop's performance? Just clean it!. Dust and dirt are the enemies of performance. The build-up will reduce airflow, causing the computer to overheat.

As the heat increases, the processor, GPU and most other components will slow down. And this situation does not make for an effective gaming machine.

The best way to deal with this is to regularly remove the dust. Obviously, this is not easy. Your laptop is sealed and if it isn't, opening it will almost certainly void your warranty. The solution is to use some very specific cleaning techniques.

But it's not just your laptop's vents that you need to keep clean. If you are constantly using the keyboard (a staple of computer games), it is important to make sure that there is no dust inside it, food or other material that it can cause the keys to stick.

And finally, for peak gaming performance, you don't want a blurry screen either.

Upgrade your laptop

Installing new hardware is a key way to speed up your gaming laptop. But what can you upgrade in a laptop?

Laptops are known to generally not be upgradeable. There are only three points you can upgrade and they are:

  • Memory: increasing the amount of memory can change their behavior for the better
  • Storage: the transition to solid state drive (SSD) or fast storage with an M.2 drive will greatly improve gaming performance
  • Battery: when playing games, the laptop should work with electricity, as the batteries cannot support demanding games for a long time

Plus, if you want an inexpensive upgrade, you can improve your personal performance in your favorite game with an external keyboard and mouse designed for optimal gaming.

Update your drivers

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Do you really want to know how to make games run better on a laptop? Notify all drivers.

Computers with Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems are almost all based on the same hardware, with the same architecture. This means that regardless of the operating system, it is vital to keep your device drivers up to date.

This update is usually a simple process. In most cases, it appears automatically during standard operating system updates.

However, when it comes to graphics drivers, you may need a more hands-on approach. Example, Intel graphics that are not automatically updated through a Windows update.

They usually run their own update checker, so make sure your GPU management software (like Nvidia GeForce Experience or AMD Gaming Evolved) is set to update automatically. Also be sure to keep your controller and audio drivers up to date.

Update DirectX

directx tool

DirectX is a collection of software tools that facilitate the graphics in a video game and are vital to gaming on Windows.

It was first released in 1995 and has had several upgrades since then. The latest version is DirectX 12 Ultimate, released in 2020, which you will find pre-installed on your Windows laptop. Provides a common library for Windows and Xbox Series X|S systems.

To check your current version of DirectX:

  • Press WIN + R to open the Run dialog box
  • Write dxDiag and press the OK button
  • Wait for the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (DXDiag) to load.
  • On the System tab look for DirectX Version at the bottom of the list

To update DirectX:

  • Go to Start > Settings (or press WIN + I at the same time)
  • Click Update and security > Windows Update
  • Click Check for updates

In addition to up-to-date graphics drivers, it's worth making sure your audio drivers are suitable for gaming. In DxDiag you can check the sound driver status in the Sound tab.

Also note that in DirectX you will also find the input device and display drivers.

Overclock your graphics card

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Want to improve the graphics on your laptop? Since you can't change the GPU then the best way is overclocking.

Overclocking is the intentional increase in the speed of a computer by the user. It can force your pc into extra performance on both CPU and graphics card.

There are tools for this and they are available for both AMD and Nvidia GPUs, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding something suitable for you. We warn that overclocking is dangerous for a novice user who does not know the limits of his machine.

The main problems with overclocking are with current and heat. Overclocking uses more electricity, so you'll need to adjust your computer's power settings accordingly, but it also raises the temperature.

Usually, this is handled by the laptop's built-in cooling system. That's why you should regularly clean the heatsinks and fans, as described in the 1st tip. If you don't, your laptop will automatically shut down when it gets too hot as a safety precaution.

Looking for an overclocking tool for your GPU? The most popular at the moment eis MSI Afterburner, which is suitable for Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.

You can enjoy good results with overclocking, but it is something you should do with caution.

Adjust your computer's power settings

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Few devices can enjoy improved performance without effective power management. When it comes to portable computers, i.e. devices intended for use away from a permanent power source, power management is important.

Windows offers you some detailed power management options, but for a powerful gaming experience, plug your laptop into a power outlet.

Once that's done, look at your computer's power settings. For Windows:

  • Click Start > Settings (or WIN + I )
  • Go to System > Power and sleep > Additional power settings
  • Select “High Performance”
  • Click Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings
  • Confirm that the power settings are set to optimal levels

Note that some gaming laptops (such as the Dell G5 15 series) manage their battery settings automatically.

Whatever your system is, avoid the “Power Saver” setting that is common on laptops.

Windows game mode

xbox game bar 1

This is a tip that anyone can use. Windows 10 and Windows 11 are equipped with an Xbox app which includes functions such as screen recording, streaming and game mode. Optimizing your laptop for gaming can be as simple as turning on the Game Bar and Windows Game Mode.

  • Click Start > Settings (or WIN+I)
  • Click Games > Xbox Game Bar
  • Turn it on
  • In the left pane select Game Mode
  • Enable

At any point you can now press WIN + G to bring up the Xbox panel. If prompted, check the “Remember, this is a game” box.

With game mode enabled, Windows will run games at optimal settings. To do this, Windows may close or suspend certain background tasks.

Close background apps for increased FPS

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We're assuming you're using Windows 10 or 11. If not, there's a manual change you can make on your laptop before starting a game, regardless of OS.

Just make sure all other apps are closed before starting a game!.

Once you've done that, look at the System Tray. In the right pane Windows lists the applications running in the background. Right-click each icon and close it, unless it's relevant to your game. For example, keep your graphics card manager application open.

Online Gamers: Check your network speed

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use it Speedtest.net by Ookla to check your internet speed.

Gaming performance for your laptop is mostly determined by your hardware, drivers, and how your computer is configured. But if you're playing online games, there's another factor to consider: your internet connection speed.

Lag is the usual cause of problems with online games, either due to internet connectivity or a slow connection between the laptop and the wireless router.

In most cases, your wireless network card will have the most up-to-date drivers, thanks to Windows Update or any system updates your operating system has downloaded, so focus on your connection to your carrier.

If again the network card driver was not updated and after updating it there is still no change in behavior, consider installing a wired Ethernet connection to your router rather than a wireless one.

You should also check if your router has the ability in its settings to optimize gaming performance.

Are you using a gaming laptop? If your system has a Killer network device, the Intel Killer Control Center can help you optimize online games.

Take care of automatic updates

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Automatic updates can become a big headache. For example, Windows Update may download updates in the background before reminding you that the update needs to be installed.

Not only can an update not installed affect performance, but so can reminders.

Unfortunately, you can't permanently disable Windows Updates, so you have the following options:

  • Keep your computer offline while you play games.
  • Install updates when prompted.
  • Since the May 2019 update (version 1903), you can block updates for 35 days.

It's unlikely that you'll be able to completely disconnect from the internet for a long period of time if you're using a gaming laptop, so installing these updates as soon as possible is the best answer.

Update Steam

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Digital streaming systems such as Steam also promote updates. There is a possibility that a second game may be downloading updates in the background while you are already playing another game.

To avoid this:

  • Open Steam
  • Go to Steam > Settings
  • On the Downloads tab uncheck the box Allow downloads during gameplay
  • Click OK to confirm

You can also manage update rules for individual games.

  • Right-click a game in your Steam library
  • Select Properties > Updates
  • Set your preferred options for Automatic updates and background downloads

For Automatic Updates, you can choose between “Always keep this game updated”, “Update this game only when I launch it”, and “High priority”.

You can choose between three background download settings: Pause background downloads while playing, Always allow background downloads , Never allow background downloads .

Modify graphics texture settings

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If you've tried everything so far and still want to make your laptop even faster for gaming, it's worth looking at your graphics card driver settings. This is especially true if you need to run a specific game.

In your graphics card driver settings, you'll find texture and shader controls that will determine how your games look.

The available memory on your laptop's GPU limits the options available, so choose a configuration that offers performance over looks. In short, high resolution textures will consume RAM, affecting frame rate. You can also give individual games their own texture and shader preferences.

Wondering how to boost gaming performance on older or low-end laptops? It's easy: just lower textures and framerate.

It may take some time to find the optimal video settings for gaming. However, once you make this quality – performance trade-off, you will see that it was worth it.

Now you know how to improve your gaming laptop performance
While most apply exclusively to Windows laptops, some tips are transferable to equivalent setups on macOS and Linux.

For desktops, things are completely different, as a hardware upgrade can have a huge impact on games. But as a laptop user you are limited.

You can't upgrade the graphics card or processor on most laptops. That's why these 10 tips are so vital to improving gaming performance on a laptop.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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