Here’s why your Gaming Laptop is overheating (And how to fix it)

Gaming laptop shows an overheating logo

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One of the arguments against gaming laptops is they get really hot and sound like a jet engine that is about to take off.


And honestly, that is true. Gaming laptops do get hot. And they put out a lot of heat because they have high-end CPUs and discrete GPUs that put out tons of heat. 


Unlike Desktop Gaming PCs with spacious towers with a lot of breathing room, laptop components have to live inside a chassis where there is not a ton of space. And the breathing room is quite limited.


This ultimately results in a higher chassis temperature, typically not common in regular laptops.


To be clear, your laptop operating at high temperatures is not necessarily bad. 


As long as those high temperatures remain under an acceptable range and occur outside of heavy use, it shouldn’t be a problem.


That being said, I will go into detail on the signs of an overheating laptop and what you can do to prevent your laptop from overheating.


Symptoms of overheating in a gaming laptop?

Fans running at Max Speed

Laptop fans running at max speed shouldn’t be concerning when you are gaming. It’s quite normal for laptop fans to ramp up to max when you start a game. 


This happens when your core components perform at their maximum potential to ensure your games run smoothly.


Though what is concerning is fans running at max speed when you are not doing anything demanding and your laptop is sitting idle. 


Simple tasks like web browsing, listening to music, or writing a word document shouldn’t cause your laptop fans to run at max speed.


So if your laptop is behaving similarly, you need to take notice.


Abrupt System Shutdown

If your gaming laptop happens to shut down abruptly out of nowhere, then you have a problem at hand.

Core components like CPU, GPU, RAM, etc., trigger a system shutdown when they manage to reach operating temperatures that can cause damage to these components.


This failsafe prevents components from burning themselves up or causing irreversible damage.


In an attempt to save components by shutting the system down, you may lose your work or possibly end up with corrupt files.


When you turn on your gaming laptop after an abrupt shutdown, you may be greeted by a message from your laptop BIOS.


It could be an error message saying something like “Thermal Shutdown Occurred,” indicating that the system turned itself off due to an overheating issue.


If you manage to get this message, then you have some serious problem at hand. But don’t worry; we will discuss how you can deal with this issue later in detail.


Uncomfortably Warm Chassis

Having a warm laptop body itself shouldn’t be of concern. 


As I mentioned earlier, in the beginning, components are tightly packed inside a laptop body, and there is very little room to breathe.


This leads to your laptop chassis warming up. However, you need to look out for when the laptop gets uncomfortably hot. That’s when overheating could be an issue


What I mean by that is you don’t feel comfortable using your gaming laptop because of its body heating up. 


For e.g not being able to type on your gaming keyboard because the keyboard deck is quite warm.


However, remember that some specific laptops suffer from this issue, where their keyboard decks get warm under load. 


So I recommend you google your laptop’s specific model no and check if your laptop suffers from the same issue.


If your laptop manages to get uncomfortably warm under load or especially gets warm when it’s sitting idle, then you probably have an overheating issue.


Decline in Performance

A clear sign of an overheating gaming laptop is the decline in performance. 


Stuttering, lagging, and drop in game framerate are clear indications of a decline in performance. 


If you notice that your favorite game is not running at the framerate you expect it to run, or if your laptop struggles to do basic tasks like opening a program, then your laptop is most likely overheating.


This occurs all happens when your core components’ thermal throttle. 


Check for Thermal Throttling

Thermal Throttling occurs when a component, e.g., the CPU, lowers its speed to put less strain on itself and attempts to cool down and save itself from burning.


One way to check for thermal throttling is by downloading a free software called HWinfo, aka Hardware info.


This software allows you to see in-depth stats of all your components. It can help show you if your gaming laptop is hitting temperatures that it shouldn’t reach. And it also shows you the amount of power consumed by your laptop components.


Download HWInfo and open it. Make sure you have ticked the sensors-only box and start it.


Once it opens, look for the temperature of your laptop. If you see “yes” in the thermal throttling row of HW info, you have a problem.


Also, if your temperatures exceed 90 degrees, that is a sign of overheating. Your temperatures, at best, should be around 80 degrees under load. And if they start to creep up to 90 degrees, you have a problem.


Should I worry if my laptop overheats?

Yes, you should worry if your laptop is showing any signs of overheating. Overheating can shorten your components life and can cause damage to them in the long term. 


So if you don’t take any action right now, you are setting yourself up for a disaster.

How to stop your Gaming Laptop from Overheating?

We have talked about the signs of an overheating gaming laptop and how ignoring this issue can cause to be quite problematic in the longer run.


Now we will dive deeper into how you can deal with your overheating gaming laptop. 


When you finish reading this, you will learn everything you need to know to keep your gaming laptop running at a cool/moderate temperature.


Put your laptop on a hard surface

This is a pretty easy fix. People tend to use their laptops on their beds, couch, or soft surfaces that block the air vents beneath the laptop.


Blocking these air vents tends to restrict airflow, which leads to overheating. Try using your gaming laptop on a hard surface like a desk or the floor. 


The feet on your gaming laptop elevate it just enough to breathe in some fresh air.


Though if this simple fix does not fix your overheating issue, there are still a couple of things you can try.


Update your Gaming Laptop BIOS

It’s possible that your laptop is overheating and not behaving properly due to an outdated BIOS.


A bug in the BIOS can cause such issues to occur. Search for your laptop’s latest BIOS on your laptop’s manufacturer’s website and download it.


Makes sure your laptop is charged at 70% and is plugged into the wall. A power loss during a power update can potentially brick your gaming laptop.


Once you update your laptop’s BIOS, check for any signs of overheating. If your gaming laptop continues to show any unusual signs of overheating, you can try a couple of things.


Unnecessary programs running in the background 

There can be some apps or programs that might be running in the background while doing absolutely nothing. 


Or you might have installed apps and programs you don’t use anymore, and they are just sitting there eating up your laptop resources. 


Putting unnecessary strain on your laptop can not only cause performance issues, but it can also lead it to overheat.


The solution to this issue is to delete or close such apps. Open up the task manager and check what apps consume most of your resources, like RAM and CPU usage.


 After finding the culprit app, delete it or close it if you plan to use it in the further sometime.


However, if you still experience overheating issues, something else might be causing this issue.


Clean your gaming laptop

This is an obvious and quite effective one. Dust can easily clog up your gaming laptop’s heatsinks and fan, which hinders the airflow inside your laptop.


This unsurprisingly leads to your gaming laptop overheating and performing poorly.


The solution is simple: open up your laptop and carefully clear out all the dust bunnies inside your laptop heatsinks and fan. 


You would need a Philips screwdriver, a small brush, and a prying tool.


After having these tools on hand, search for a disassembly guide for your laptop model.


Once your laptop is opened up, clean off the dust from the heatsink fins with the brush. Repeat the same process with your gaming laptop’s cooling fans.


Once you are sure that you have thoroughly cleaned your laptop, reassemble the laptop again and turn it on.


See if it sounds any better, and check for the temperatures in HWInfo. If your laptop is not thermal throttling anymore, you have solved the issue.


However, if your gaming laptop continues to show symptoms of overheating, then there are still a couple of things you can try.


Replace the Thermal Paste

This is a step you can do while you already have your laptop disassembled during cleaning.


Thermal paste is applied on your CPU and GPU heat spreader to ensure efficient heat transfer from your CPU/GPU to the heatsink. 


If your gaming laptop is a couple of years old, chances are that your gaming laptop’s thermal paste has dried up and needs to change.


Replacing the thermal paste might seem intimidating for newcomers, but it’s quite easy. 


However, I would still recommend you get it done by a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing it.


You would need the following things to replace the thermal paste: A Philips head screwdriver, isopropyl alcohol, a paper towel/Q-tips or a piece of cloth, and a prying tool.


You can get the Artics MX-4. It’s a cheap and effective thermal paste.


I recommend you look up a thermal paste replacement tutorial for your gaming laptop. 


Each gaming laptop is built a little differently and might have internals laid out a bit differently.


However, if you cannot find a tutorial video for your specific laptop, you can follow this tutorial below.


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After replacing the thermal paste, you should notice a drop in temperatures. However, if you notice that the issue is still not going away, you can try some other things too.

Get a laptop cooling pad

Despite all the efforts, gaming laptops tend to get hot, and there’s no way around that.


But one way you can deal with this issue is by getting a laptop cooling pad. 


A cooling pad blows fresh air beneath your laptop, where the vents are located, and increases the overall airflow to your gaming laptop.


Though they might seem like a gimmick at first, cooling pads have proven to be quite effective. Testing shows that they manage to drop a couple of degrees in temperature while also improving FPS in games.


If you are not sure which cooling pad is best for your overheating gaming laptop, you can check out our top picks for the best laptop cooling pads.

Tone down your overclocking settings

If you were trying to squeeze out some extra performance from your laptop by overclocking it, then that’s most likely the reason behind overheating.


Overclocking has always been a trial-and-error process where you attempt to find the sweet spot where your gaming laptop provides better performance while also being stable.


So, try to tweak your fan curves to ensure your gaming laptop stays cool when it’s under load. 


But if you find out that even after optimizing the fan curves, your laptop is still overheating, then I recommend you just sacrifice some performance by switching back to stock settings and safe your laptop in the longer run.



Is 90 degrees too hot for a gaming laptop?

Yes, 90 degrees is really hot for a gaming laptop. And you should do something about it, as using your laptop at such high temperatures over a long period can shorten your laptop’s life.


What is the normal temperature of a gaming laptop?

The normal temperature of a gaming laptop while idling should be around 40 degrees.


 And it’s normal for a gaming laptop to reach around 70-80 degrees when running a game. 


Anything above 80 degrees is alarming, and you must take action before it worsens.


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