Gaming laptops are very powerful and ideal for users who want to be able to play anywhere, but one of the downsides they have is that they are more likely to overheat and can even cause problems due to high temperatures. If your laptop gets too hot, gaming or not, in this article we’ll show you what you can do to fix it, including how to replace the thermal paste.
A laptop that gets too hot creates a few problems: the fans run very fast and make a lot of noise, it can be uncomfortable to put your wrists on the laptop to play or type because of the heat, and the laptop may even shut down due to overheating. Below we will see what you can do to fix these annoying temperature problems.
Clean the external dirt of the laptop
The first thing you should do is a superficial cleaning of the laptop to remove any possible blockages in the ventilation areas. Ideal to do this is to use a compressed air freshener, noticing where the air inlets are and applying it there (dirt will come out of the outlets).
While doing this, keep in mind that if you do it right, a lot of dirt will come out of the laptop’s outlet grills, so put a cloth (cover, don’t stick) or anything else to keep everything from getting lost. You can also apply compressed air to the outlet grilles later, but then back to the intake grilles to prevent dirt from getting in. Also clean the entire exterior with a microfiber cloth.
Use a cooler sole
Laptops often have small rubber “feet” that raise it a few millimeters to allow some airflow in its bottom grills as well as prevent the laptop from moving much of its place. However, this area is usually quite minimal, so adding a cooling floor often helps a lot in improving the temperature.
It may sound silly, but using a cooling pad can improve a laptop’s operating temperature by up to 10°C at best.
What to do if laptop gets hot?
A laptop starts to collect dust over time. If you use high-power applications like PC games, the temperature rises and it becomes very important to take care of your laptop to replace the thermal paste and clean the inside of the laptop.
Now comes the complicated part and we have to warn that doing this in most cases voids the manufacturer’s warranty, so we recommend not doing this if you are inexperienced or if your laptop is still under warranty. In any case, at your own risk.
Materials needed to replace thermal paste:
- Screwdrivers (usually TORX)
- Thermal paste
- Microfiber cloth
- Compressed air freshener
Of course, you will need screwdrivers both to remove the bottom cover of the laptop and to disassemble its heatsink. The type will depend on your laptop and the type of screws it uses, so it never hurts to get a screwdriver set of any type and size.
If you are considering replacing the thermal paste, you will need to purchase this component as well. It’s not expensive and you have dozens of brands and models on hand, but since you don’t do this very often (a few times during the laptop’s lifetime), we recommend that you save money and not buy poor quality.
Finally, you’ll also need a cleaning cloth and compressed air, as the laptop is getting too hot, the aluminum fins of the heatsinks or the fans themselves may be clogged.
1. Opening the laptop for maintenance
Removing the bottom cover of the laptop is usually very simple:
Turn it to reach the bottom part. Remove any screws you see. Apply some pressure to the cap to remove it. It costs a bit on some laptops and you will have to help yourself with a flat screwdriver or a passport sized card or similar for example.
With the bottom cover removed, you will have access to the fan or fans. If you don’t want to replace the thermal paste, you can simply remove the cap and clean it with compressed air and a cloth, as this can also help you improve the temperature. If your laptop gets too hot, it probably has a lot of dirt inside.
2. Removing the fans
First of all, disconnect the fans, note that each fan has a cable connected to the motherboard. You should look at where each of them is connected. We recommend taking pictures with a phone to make it easy to reconnect them when you need to reassemble the laptop.
There are laptops where the fans are connected to the cooling system, but this is not normally the case. To clean with a can of compressed air, you will need to remove one to three screws and remove each. When removing the fans, be sure to thoroughly clean the bottom as well because a lot of dirt tends to accumulate there too.
3. Removing the cooler
Once this is done, it’s time to remove the heatsink. Normally, the laptop will have a set of screws attached to it, but it can range from just 4 (in the processor socket) to as many as many screws, depending on whether the laptop has dedicated graphics cards and the size of the cooler in question. Take a good look, take pictures if necessary and remove the necessary screws.
4. Application of thermal paste
Now you have to clean the residual thermal paste left on both the CPU and GPU, as well as the heatsink itself. There are special liquids for this, but if not, you can use isopropyl alcohol and some toilet paper. They should be clean and shiny.
Once that’s done, it’s time to apply thermal paste. Apply it like a grain of thermal paste rice to the center of both the GPU and CPU die and leave it there. When you reinstall the cooler, that grain of rice will spread over the entire surface. When it comes to laptops it’s okay to apply a lot of thermal paste as there is no IHS, but be careful not to go too far.
5. Reassembling the laptop
Eventually you have to reassemble everything. Carefully insert the heatsink into all the holes and screw it back on. Reinstall and don’t forget to reconnect the fan or fans we removed earlier. With everything connected and screwed, put the bottom cover back on and screw it in as well.
If your laptop gets too hot, replacing the thermal paste and cleaning it well inside and out is one of the best things you can do to improve its temperature.