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Gaming laptops are an unmistakable choice if you prefer mobility. You can take your favorite games and work with you everywhere you go. However, the one big trade-off that comes with gaming laptops is the overheating issue.
Modern gaming laptops do have well-optimized cooling systems that use dual cooling fans and heat distribution sinks. But they don’t come on par with the level of cooling you achieve with desktop PCs. That being said, there are several options to use external accessories in order to improve cooling for your gaming laptop, with cooling pads being one of the best ones.
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The importance of using a cooling pad for gaming
Gaming, especially playing modern games, puts a lot of workload on your computer. Although all the internal components work in sync, it’s the CPU and the GPU that work the hardest in order to deliver a smooth gaming experience.
Compared to regular laptops, gaming laptops have a powerful CPU and a dedicated GPU that operate on high power. The use of more power for a sustained period of time causes them to overheat.
Overheating may seem an issue that’s more common in old, extensively-used, and outdated gaming laptops. However, that’s partially true as new gaming laptops can also face overheating issues (as is evident on many forum threads).
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Overheating can ruin your gaming experience and your gaming laptop
Laptop heating is normal during gaming. However, overheating for a sustained period of time can cause the CPU and GPU to throttle. This, in turn, causes the game to freeze and the mouse and keyboard to become unresponsive. While this is a short-term repercussion of overheating, the long-term consequence is the risk of damages of the internal parts.
Excessive overheating, and that too for several hours, can fry up the CPU, the GPU, and other internal components in close proximity. And unfortunately, the expenses for CPU and GPU damage repairs can go high.
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In many cases, other laptop components, such as the display, also get damaged due to excessive and/or frequent overheating.
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6 best cooling pads for gaming laptops
Although there are no shortages of options for gaming laptop cooling pads, not every model is worth the money you spend. Therefore, we have carefully compiled 6 cooling pads that can effectively cool your gaming laptop and keep the risk of overheating and the damages associated with it at bay.
1. KLIM Wind – check it out here
KLIM cooling pads have become highly popular over the past few years. The cooling pad model, KILM Wind, is particularly well-suited for extensive gaming as it comes equipped with four cooling fans that have LED lighting.
Despite having four dedicated cooling fans, this cooling pad isn’t very loud in terms of noise levels. You also get the option to adjust the height and angle of the cooling pad.
2. Thermaltake Massive 14 – check it out here
The larger the cooling fan sizes, the better the airflow and overall cooling. Thermaltake Massive 14 offers optimum cooling with two large-sized 14 cm cooling fans. The mesh grille placed on top of the cooling fans ensures great airflow for consistent laptop heat dissipation. This cooling pad also includes other important features, including LED lighting, and laptop grip brackets.
3. Zebronics NC9000 – check it out here
Zebronics NC9000 offers the best of cooling, portability, and customizability. The cooling pad comes equipped with two 110 mm cooling fans that ensure optimum airflow and feature RGB lighting.
The cooling pad also includes a small dedicated display and controls to make it easier for you to customize the RGB lighting and adjust the cooling fan speed. This model also functions as a height adjustment laptop stand.
4. Targus Chill Mat – check it out here
Targus Chill Mat comes as an unmistakable choice for you if you prefer your laptop’s cooling pad to have a sleek and sophisticated profile. This model uses two cooling fans and a mesh base design to ensure a high level of cooling.
Targus Chill Mat also comes with a built-in USB hub that includes four USB 2.0 ports. The height adjuster of the cooling pad makes it easy for you to ergonomically adjust your gaming laptop’s height.
5. HAVIT HV-F2068 – check it out here
If you extensively game for long hours on end, you cannot go wrong with HAVIT HV-F2068. This cooling pad offers a high level of cooling with five dedicated cooling fans. The largest cooling fan measures 110 mm and four small fans are of 85 mm.
Although having a sleek profile, this cooling pad can accommodate up to 17 inch gaming laptops. This cooling pad also comes equipped with gaming-themed RGB lighting.
6. TopMate C5 – check it out here
Another top-tier cooling pad that uses five dedicated cooling fans is the TopMate C5. If you want to have total control over the cooling level, this cooling pad is an unmistakable choice for you. The dedicated controls and display makes it easier for you to adjust the cooling level as per your requirement.
Similar to other top-tier cooling pads, TopMate C5 comes equipped with LED lighting and height adjustment option. Its mesh top works wonders in ensuring proper heat dissipation.
Cooling pads alternatives
Using a cooling pad may not be the most feasible option for you, especially when you are not home or are travelling. Fortunately, there is a couple of cooling pads alternatives that you can try in order to avoid compromising cooling performance for your gaming laptop.
If you need to game on the go, using one or a set of vacuum coolers is one of the best ways to keep your gaming laptop from overheating to the point of getting damaged. Vacuum coolers are portable, easy to install, and ensure effecting cooling, so what’s there not to like?
KLIM Cool+ is one of the most popular vacuum coolers for gaming laptops. As compared to cooling pads, vacuum coolers prevent laptops from overheating by drawing out the internal hot air.
Portable stands are undoubtedly the most cost-effective alternative option to cooling pads. Considering the fact that stands do no use a cooling fan, they are priced much lower. But are they any good for keeping your laptop cool? If you compare them to cooling pads, they aren’t. However, they sure do open up more room for ventilation which is great if you don’t have your cooling pad with you.
A highly-portable cooling pad such as the Targus Desk Stand makes it easy for you to improve your gaming laptop’s cooling anywhere. Its portable form factor makes it easy to carry around wherever you go.
Tips to improve your gaming laptop’s cooling performance
Apart from using a cooling pad, there are several steps you can take in order to improve your gaming laptop’s cooling performance. Following these steps while using your cooling pad can help you ensure optimum cooling for your gaming laptop.
1. Clean the bottom air vents every once in a while
Blockage in the bottom air vents is one of the common reasons why laptops overheat. In most cases, the bottom air vents get partially or completely blocked due to dust accumulation. Therefore, it is important to clean the air vents every once in a while as part of following a proper maintenance routine for your gaming laptop.
Take a soft, small-sized cleaning brush and clean all the vents at the bottom of your gaming laptop. Make sure not to use too much force as you may risk damaging the internal components by pressing the brush’s bristles deep inside the vents.
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2. Avoid keeping your gaming laptop directly on a tabletop
In most cases, gaming laptops start overheating when there’s very little room for ventilation and overall airflow. Whenever you are gaming, make sure not to keep your gaming laptop directly on the table or any other flat surface.
It’s best to add a bit of height to the laptop using a laptop stand or by stacking together a couple of books. Also, avoid keeping your gaming laptop in blankets or other soft surfaces as they block airflow and cause overheating.
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3. Undervolt the GPU and CPU
It’s often the high power usage of the CPU and the GPU that cause gaming laptops to overheat. One of the best internal fixes you can try in order to prevent your laptop from overheating is to undervolt the GPU and CPU. If you don’t know what this means, it’s simply lowering the power usage for the GPU and CPU.
You can use the MSI Afterburner program to manually adjust the operating voltage of the CPU and the GPU of your gaming laptop.
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4. Eliminate extra workload for your gaming laptop
Gaming puts a lot of workload on your gaming laptop, especially the CPU and the GPU. Therefore, it’s best to eliminate other workload when you are playing modern graphic-intensive games. This way, you will put less stress on the GPU and the CPU and cause them to heat less.
Close all the other unnecessary programs that are running in the background to free up more performance bandwidth. You can kill the unnecessary programs running in the background in the Task Manager.
5. Avoid keeping your gaming laptop in direct sunlight
Do not keep your gaming laptop in direct sunlight in order to lower the risk of overheating. It’s best not to organize your gaming table near to a window where there is direct sunlight. Instead, keep your gaming table at the spot of your room where there is proper ventilation.