How to Transform Your Laptop into a Viable Gaming Machine

If you are tech savvy, at some point you have thought about building your own computer.  Maybe you have even done it.  If you like gaming, perhaps you have thought about building your own gaming laptop.  It can’t be much harder than building a PC, right?

Unfortunately, figuring out how to build a gaming laptop is not as easy.  Building a laptop overall is much more difficult than building a PC and creating a custom gaming laptop is very impractical.  But don’t worry, there are some steps you can take to upgrade your current laptop that will make it more efficient at playing games.

Upgrading Your Laptop

First, we want to let you know most of these steps are not for beginners or those who have no experience building computers.  You need to have some computer experience to make your laptop a viable gaming machine.

If you do have some base knowledge and are ready to create a laptop geared towards, gaming here is just a few things you can do.

1. Upgrade Your Ram

Upgrading your laptop’s RAM is perhaps one of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest ways to make your gaming experience better.  

Your laptop’s RAM serves as the working memory for the machine.  It stores data temporarily and allows it to work with the information input.  The more RAM your computer has, the better it will run.

If you increase the RAM on your laptop, it has more working memory and can run games faster.  Gaming takes up a lot of space on your computer, and if you have a small amount of RAM, those games will bog down the whole operation.

You can buy chips with more RAM, sometimes for as little as $50.  To install:

  • Locate the memory compartment on the back of the laptop. 
  • Remove the screw that secures the cover.
  • Ground yourself before touching the memory module by touching a grounded metal surface such as a light stand.
  • Remove the new memory chip from its packaging, don’t touch the connector.
  • Find an empty memory slot and insert the memory chip and press down to latch it into place.
  • Replace the cover and screw it shut. 

2. Upgrade Your Graphics Card

Your graphics processing card (GPU) allows your laptop to create images and manipulate computer graphics and image processing.  Simply put, a GPU makes the pictures you see on your laptop work.  

A GPU is a critical component of your gaming experiences, and if your GPU isn’t up to snuff, you can have slow buffering or poor images.  That isn’t what any gamer wants to see, so upgrading your GPU can make your laptop more efficient at gaming.  

There are two ways you can upgrade your GPU.  The first is with an external graphics card.  This setup is a little easier to use with your laptop, but it will take some time and research.  You can’t just pick any external GPU, and you do need to know what will work on your laptop.  

You can also get a new graphics card with a DIY kit.  This option will require a little more knowledge about the internal workings of your laptop.  Experience with building a computer will also help make this process easier.  

The price for both options can cost anywhere between $150 to over $1,600.  That is a big price range, so make sure you find the right choice for your laptop.

3. Overclock Your GPU

You can also boost your existing graphics card by overclocking the system.  Your laptop must have a dedicated chip from AMD or Nvidia for this option to work.  It also puts some stress on your laptop’s current specifications, so keep that in mind before you try it.  

If you do have the proper graphics card for overclocking, you can find tools by searching Guru3D.  Most of the software on this list is free and downloadable.  It’s also easy to follow along as the software will walk you through the entire process.

Once you have finished overclocking the GPU, you should test it to make sure it worked.  You can find programs online to stress test your system and see if overclocking did anything to help.

4. Upgrade or Replace Your CPU

Another option you have to make your current laptop better at gaming is to replace the CPU.  The central processing unit is essentially the driving force behind your laptop.  The slower or cheaper the CPU the less your laptop will be able to handle gaming.

Replacing a CPU on your laptop is one of the harder options and requires more knowledge and experience.  Even if you have replaced a CPU on a computer before, it is more difficult on a laptop because there is less space and more complicated components.

You also must purchase a CPU that is compatible with your laptop.  If you don’t get the right unit, it could generate too much heat for your laptop’s fans and cooling settings.  That heat could break down your laptop and create a more significant, and expensive problem, than a slower CPU.

Do your research before you by a new CPU and set aside a decent amount of time to install the new unit.  Again, if you have never done this before, this might not be the best option for upgrading your laptop.

5. Find a Gaming Specific Laptop

Perhaps none of these options will work for you or your laptop.  You might not have the tech knowledge to make it happen or can’t find the right parts for your laptop.  In that case, a gaming specific laptop might be your only option.

You can purchase a new laptop explicitly created for gaming.  These laptops often come with better a better CPU and GPU, they have much more ram, and the cooling systems are more advanced to prevent overheating.  

Sure, a new gaming laptop might be more expensive than any of these other options, but it is the most reliable.  You don’t have to worry about messing up an installation or stressing your laptop beyond its capabilities.  You can also customize your laptop to fit your gaming needs

While it might not be possible to build your own gaming laptop, there are a few upgrades you can try.  If you have the know-how to perform these updates, they could make your laptop a viable gaming machine.  If you aren’t quite tech-savvy, there are plenty of gaming laptops on the market that could fit your needs and your budget.  

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