Laptops have become increasingly popular for gaming due to their portability and ease of maintenance. Gaming laptops are already optimized to give you the best possible settings and achieve the top performance the underlying hardware is capable of. However, certain tricks will help you to squeeze the maximum out of your components. To sum it up briefly, the way the steps in this guide help you optimize your laptop for gaming is by letting your game access more resources from your computer. Let us first agree with a point — there is a limitation, and that is your hardware. Thus, that will be the most important factor for determining your performance.
1. Eliminate redundant background apps
Here’s the first thing you can do to optimize your laptop for gaming. Check your system tray and click the little arrow on the right-hand side of your taskbar. Almost all resource-heavy apps running in your background can be found here. Feel free to close them. A few examples can be Bluetooth Drivers, Windows Defender, Audio Console, Discord, Epic Games, Steam, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Skype.
For instance, we would close Adobe, Skype, Discord, and Epic Games because we’re am about to play Fall Guys on Steam. Feel free to keep Discord open (or any VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) program) if you are playing online games. Otherwise, close it too.
Now, lots of resource-hungry programs are processes running in the background. If you don’t need them to play games, it’s time to shut them down. Right-click over your taskbar, and go to Task Manager. Lazy gamers can press Ctrl + Shift + Escape on their keyboard to open Task Manager, too. It may open in a compressed or an expanded view. Head into “More Details” if you are in the compressed view. Close any browsers and apps unrelated to the game you’re playing now. Also, end all processes that are in no way associated with gaming or the inner workings of Windows.
2. Plug your laptop into an outlet
Take a real-life scenario. If you bring more people to your project, the project gets done faster. The same applies to your laptop. Provide more power to it, and you get more performance out of it. Always plug in your laptop before gaming on it. Some high-end laptops provide power straight to the components and bypass powering the battery in the middle. This provides more power to the components and enables them to perform at their best.
3. Turn on Game Mode in settings
Over the past decade and a half, Windows has firmly established itself as the king of all the operating systems you can game on. With that in mind, it makes sense to turn on an entire Game Mode that exists in Windows 10. Type “Game Mode Settings” in the Start search bar. Toggle it on in case you haven’t. This built-in feature adds more power to your components and delivers that power to your game, kind of pushing your device harder.
4. Apply the latest driver updates for your graphics cards
Graphics drivers are this sweet connection between your video game and what it says and requires, and your graphics card and what it has to offer in terms of performance. Updated graphics drivers do it better thanks to improvements on the GPU manufacturers’ side. Thus, games can ask for more power out of your graphics card, or the graphics card can give more. Whatever the case might be, the two converse better, resulting in better performance.
It makes sense why they’re oftentimes called “Game-Ready Drivers”. However, Nvidia, AMD, and now even Intel have their dedicated driver software. You can do this from the Device Manager built into Windows, or even via Windows Updates. However, some things are better handled by the manufacturer, especially if you want updates as soon as they’re released.
Nvidia has a GeForce Experience software, which automatically searches for the latest updates for your Nvidia graphics card and installs them. They have two versions of their drivers: a Game Ready Driver and a Studio Driver. Game Ready Drivers excel at getting the most performance out of the latest games. In contrast, Studio Drivers are the best for using your graphics card in productivity scenarios.
The GeForce Experience can also be used as a game library. It also helps you to record your gameplay and upload it directly to social media platforms like Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube. Alternatively, you can directly download drivers from Nvidia’s official site. This way, you avoid downloading and keeping GeForce Experience, as it consumes a considerable amount of computer resources.
AMD offers Radeon software that automatically looks for the latest updates for your AMD graphics card and performs the installation. Radeon software also helps you to live stream, record on-screen gameplay, fine-tune your display settings, and overclock your graphics card to get the maximum out of it. The software is extremely well-made and a lot lighter than GeForce Experience. Once again, you also can directly download drivers from AMD’s official site if you want to avoid the bloat.
5. Set your laptop to High-Performance Mode
Performance Mode supplies more power to your components. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to turn it on before you jump into your game. One can do it very easily from the battery icon on the taskbar — just slide the bar to Best Performance. While you are not gaming, the Better Performance mode is the sweet spot to stick with. You neither starve your components of power nor drain it too fast.
You also can walk the extra mile and set up a new battery plan from the Control Panel. This will completely revamp power delivery to your hardware. A new battery plan might hit battery life and give you more gaming performance, or vice-versa. Therefore, you can set it up the way you like.
6. Invest in a laptop cooler
Laptops generally lack cooling hardware, which is a problem because laptops oftentimes have bad thermals. Thus, we suggest purchasing a cooling pad to keep the temperatures under control. Although the difference won’t be day and night, something is better than nothing.
There are several cooling pads available on the market. These range from simple laptop raising pads to pads with fans and fancy RGB lighting effects. However, you most likely don’t need the cooling pads with fans. The difference in performance is too slight to justify the premium they come at. A simple raising pad should be enough to reduce the temperature compared to simply placing the laptop flat on a surface.
7. Configure game Settings according to your hardware’s capability
Reminder: your hardware largely determines your system performance in a particular game. Therefore, we recommend that set it up based on your system’s capabilities. If you don’t know what hardware your system packs, download a small utility called CPU-Z. It will show you all the necessary information about your hardware. A simple Google search will pull up even more information about that hardware from the manufacturer’s websites. This will help you to decide the game settings accordingly.
Do not cross the limits your hardware is capable of. This can cause performance penalties, and at times, destroy the gaming experience. Thus, set your game at settings that both subjectively look decent and perform well. This step, alongside those above, will help you to squeeze the maximum out of your hardware. It will help you to push your device before you decide it’s time to get a new gaming machine, like a gaming PC or one of the leading gaming consoles.