Laptop overheating? Well, as we’re getting closer and closer to the hot days of summer, the problem is only bound to get worse and worse. The good thing is that there actually numerous possible solutions for this issue – all of them with their pros and cons. Without any further ado, let’s check them out!
Laptop Overheating? Try Using External Coolers
When it comes to laptop cooling, external coolers have been the most popular choice for quite some time now. There are mainly two types of coolers to choose from:
- Cooling pads
- Vacuum coolers
This is a vacuum cooler. It attaches directly to your laptop’s air vent and “pulls” the hot air directly out from the CPU. If your laptop is suffering from CPU overheating, then this may help quite a bit.
As for which one to choose? According to numerous Amazon positive reviews and our previous review on the best laptop coolers, Opolar’s vacuum is currently one of the best coolers that you can get; if not the best. It’s a tiny bit expensive, but, if that’s what you need to prevent your laptop from running too hot, getting slow, and potentially having a premature death, then it’s worth the investment.
Apart from a vacuum cooler, you can also add a cooling pad for maximum cooling. You can add the vacuum as an exhaust fan that takes the hot air out and the cooling pad as intake fans that push cool air in. They make a great pair.
The only issue with external cooling is that it can get a bit noisy, it occupies extra USB ports, and it also costs money. On the other hand, depending on your laptop, this method can allow you to avoid overheating without losing any performance.
To summarize, here are the pros and cons of this method.
- One of the best ways to cool down your laptop
- Doesn’t sacrifice performance
- Can get noisy
- Costs money
Restrict Your CPU
Restricting your processor’s usage will surely bring down the temperatures. But, it’s also going to slow down your machine. Whether you’ll feel that slowdown or not largely depends on your laptop and what kind of activities you’re performing on it.
For example: if you’re watching a movie, then chances are that you won’t notice a difference in playback smoothness regardless of how restricted your CPU is. After all, most modern laptops have more than enough processing power to play a 720P/1080P movie effortlessly.
However, if you’re doing something CPU intensive like playing games, editing videos, or anything like that, then chances are that you’ll feel the impact quite a lot. So, would we want to restrict our CPU usage?
Well, for once, maybe you added external cooling but that didn’t help too much. Or maybe you’re just too broke at the moment and you want something that’ll get the job done even if that means losing performance.
In any case, here is how to restrict your CPU usage in Windows 10:
- Go to Cortana’s search bar and type: “Power plan”
- Click on the option which says “Edit power plan”
- Click on “Change advanced power settings”
- Go to: “Processor power management -> Maximum processor state
Once you’re there, all you have to do is restrict your CPU usage to the maximum percentage which you think is acceptable. It may be 80%, 70%, half of your CPU power; maybe even lower.
You can use something like open hardware monitor to check your temperatures. Most CPUs will not allow you to over 90-celsius degrees without throttling which impacts your performance anyway.
- Will make your processor cooler
- Doesn’t add extra noise
- Harms performance
Restrict Your GPU
Maybe your processor isn’t to blame. If you’ve got a gaming laptop, there is a good chance that your graphics card is the culprit here and you can add all the cooling in the world while restricting your CPU and you’ll still end up wondering “Why is my laptop overheating?”.
Apart from the fact that your laptop is probably hot to the touch, you can find out if your GPU is to blame by using hardware monitoring software like open hardware monitor or MSI Afterburner. Most GPUs will start throttling after reaching the 83C mark.
And the biggest issues with graphics cards is that they are often way too passive when it comes to cooling. The fans don’t really kick in until you’re already very close to throttling or actually throttling.
For this reason, apart from restricting your GPU, you can also simply turn up your fan’s RPM count as this will offer better cooling at the expense of power consumption and noise. Or you could always do both.
In any case, to control your GPU, follow the steps below:
- Download and install MSI Afterburner
- Open it
- Restrict your power limit, increase your fan speed, or both
If you decide to restrict your GPU’s power limit, then you’re sure to suffer a performance hit. However, it shouldn’t be as major as restricting your CPU.
In my experience, by using a GTX 1060, I managed to go from 75 degrees down to 61 under full load while losing about 20% of performance. And while this is not considered overheating, I’m just trying to show you the power to performance ratio.
And in some cases, you won’t even notice that performance hit. For example, if you’re getting 100 FPS without a power limit and 80 FPS while limited, then this isn’t that noticeable. Unless you have a 144Hz display I guess.
- Can make a huge difference in cooling
- Reducing the power limit makes your fan ultra quiet
- Depending on how powerful your machine is, you may suffer a performance hit
- Increasing fan speed will make your laptop sound like a jet engine
Laptop Overheating Still? Here Are A Few Extra Tips
So, you tried your best, but that didn’t solve the issue. Is there anything else to do? Well, while I’ve got a couple of big tips and lots of minor ones that most of you hopefully know, pay attention here cause you may end up screwing something very bad to the point of bricking your machine. And if such a thing happens, neither I, the author, or WTLS will take any responsibility for it. So, again, be careful here. Treading on thin ice you are.
The first big tip: try replacing your CPU’s thermal paste.
Computers use thermal paste on their processors to effectively transfer the heat on to the heatsink. However, as time goes on, that thermal paste may start drying out a bit and lose its effectiveness.
HOWEVER, this requires you to open your laptop, take off the heatsink, remove the old thermal paste, apply the new one, and reassemble the machine. The problem is that lots of things may go wrong in that process and I can’t guide you through it step by step as each laptop is different.
So, if you’re willing to follow that process, look at YouTube tutorials on how to open your laptop and replace the paste and proceed with caution. As for the second big tip? Open your laptop and use compressed air to clean the dust!
This isn’t as risky. But, it still requires you to open up your laptop. So, again, be careful. All you need to do is open it without damaging anything and use a can of compressed air to blow all the gathered dust from the fans and components out.
You should be able to find compressed air in one of your local electronics stores.
Extra Minor Tips
Most of you should know these. And if not, now is the time to learn:
- Never use your laptop on the bed or soft surfaces. It destroys the airflow which is what can most easily cause overheating issues
- Try to avoid multitasking when you don’t need it as it increases the power usage and thus, heat
- Stay away from hot surfaces and places as it only makes the problem worse
- Don’t leave your computer under the sun or your car during the summer heat – especially if it’s left on
- If your battery is getting too hot, consider unplugging it to take power only from the wall. Most laptops can work solely through their charger/power supply. And don’t forget that heat is extremely bad for batteries as well
That’s all for now. Feel free to correct me if you feel like something is wrong or if I forgot to mention anything. And if you’ve got any questions, you can leave them in the comments section!