Is your laptop overheating? Today laptops are more powerful than ever and at the same time they have come down in price significantly. Many people are taking advantage of these powerful laptops to play games, which is one of the most stressful operations a computer can be tasked with.
Heat has long been the enemy of computers. Not only can heat shorten the life of a computer but it can also cause it to run slow, lock up or the video might become distorted. The challenges to remove the heat are compounded with a laptop because of its small size. Heat can become trapped in a small area and heat it up fast causing any of the problems we mentioned.
So how does a computer remove the heat from inside the computer? Most computers use a combination of cooling fans mounted to heat sinks. The heat sink is mounted to the component that needs cooling. The main components that produce heat are the CPU itself and the GPU, which is tasked with producing the video you see on the screen. The harder the CPU and / or GPU are worked the more heat they produce. Some newer computers are now combining the GPU with the CPU, making it simpler to cool and maintain.
What happens with a laptop when it is unable to maintain a cool temperature? Your average laptop will begin to underclock the CPU and the GPU. This causes the CPU and / or the GPU to run slower, slowing your computer down in the process. If you happen to be playing a game when this occurs it is often very noticeable as your game begins to run slower.
If you suspect your laptop is overheating there is some maintenance you can perform yourself on most laptops. It is very common for the cooling fins to become clogged with dust, reducing the airflow. Most of the time a can of compressed air can be used to blow the dust out of the cooling fins. This is something that can often be performed by the owner of the laptop.
I suggest the average person clean out the cooling system at least every 6 months to keep it running cool, improve performance and longevity. You can often find exact directions for your model of laptop on youtube. Some laptops have a cover that can be removed for better cleaning. A few laptops might require dis-assembly to properly get all the dust out.
The symptoms of an overheating laptop can vary quit a bit but the common complaints I will mention once more. Blue screens, rebooting, locking up or running slow after the computer has been used for awhile are all very common. Most of the time this will occur from 5 minutes to several hours of usage but will never happen when the computer is first turned on. The harder it is worked the sooner you see the symptoms.