Young woman gaming on a laptop
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Maintaining a high rate of frames per second (FPS) will keep your competitive edge in gaming. If you’re using a laptop and seeing some lag in your games, there are a few steps laptop-specific you can take to help you increase FPS.

What Are the General Causes of Low FPS?

A decline in the FPS is a result of your laptop not getting enough resources or power to run a program. To fix this problem, you must first identify the issue’s root cause. It’s probably a consequence of one or more of the following factors.

  • Power Issues: The laptop may not be plugged in properly or is in battery mode. When running on battery mode, laptops tend to optimize the battery life so it compromises on the system’s speed including the frame rate.
  • Temperature Issues: The laptop’s temperature could be too high. Heavy rendering on graphics and too much utilization of resources can cause your laptop to overheat, causing a drastic drop in the FPS.
  • Resource Issues: You may have insufficient resources to run your program. All programs on your laptop utilize the available hardware such as memory, CPU, and disk. High consumption of these resources will certainly affect the FPS of your game during runtime.
  • Driver Issues: Your graphics driver may be out of date. Programs may require your laptop to have the latest drivers. If this criterion is not met, the display performance may not be as top-notch as it could be.

RELATED: How to Update Your Graphics Drivers for Maximum Gaming Performance

FPS drops are common in low-end laptops, but it’s essential to know that even high-end laptops experience this mishap. So, before you decide to spend your money to upgrade your laptop, try out our quick fixes first.

Change Your Power Plan

One factor you need to consider is your laptop’s power plan. Most laptops have a power-saving mode that you can activate to optimize battery life. However, this will have an impact on the FPS of your games as the system will focus more on energy-saving rather than performance.

To ensure that your system is at its peak performance to run all processes you want it to, configure the power option to be at a high performance. Thankfully, in Windows 10 you can easily achieve this mode through the Power Options window. Access it by right-clicking on the battery icon on your taskbar and choosing “Power Options”.

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From the Power Options window, select the “High Performance” option to give your laptop a boost for running applications.

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When your laptop is at this level, the battery will drain rapidly, so we highly recommend you keep your device plugged in while gaming.

Play While Your Laptop Is Charging

Conserving the battery life of your laptop is important for people who unplug and go. Unfortunately, your laptop operates much slower when it’s drawing only from the battery. If you’re playing games while your laptop is on battery mode, then you’re going to have a bad time.

Charging your laptop while playing is the way to go for two reasons: it increases speed and your laptop stays cooler. Your laptop will know when the battery is full. When that happens, your laptop uses the power coming in from the socket and not the battery—to preserve the battery’s lifespan even when it’s fully charged.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Improve Battery Life on Windows Laptops

Improve Your Laptop’s Ventilation

Prolonged usage of your laptop causes overheating, which results in the reduction of FPS. Of course, you wouldn’t want to get robbed of a clutch victory just because of a lag. So, at least try to improve the positioning and cooling system of your laptop to provide better ventilation.

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Several products are available to improve your setup. You can purchase external fans or cooling pads to help alleviate the temperature of your laptop while gaming.

In addition to cooling systems, you need to be very conscious of where you set down your laptop when gaming. Placing it on a foam mattress is not recommended as it may block the airway of your cooling system. Make sure to place it on top of a stable and sturdy material with enough airflow.

RELATED: How to Clean the Dust Out of Your Laptop

Undervolt Your CPU

A laptop’s biggest problem is heat. Unlike PCs that have a lot of room for huge fans, a laptop is a thin brick with a couple of circuits. If having a fan right next to your laptop doesn’t bring down the heat, then you should try undervolting your CPU.

CPUs heat up quickly on a laptop, which can quickly damage it. Not only are you risking the life of your CPU, but having it overheat will also slow down how well it can perform.

Undervolting means lowering the electricity or power running to your CPU. This will lessen the heat of your CPU, keeping it cool. You might think that less power means a weaker processor, but the cooler and more stable CPU should perform better. Tools like the Intel Tuning Utility are among the tried and tested programs out there that you should try out.

Test Your Laptop Performance

Just because your laptop has a big-name GPU, that doesn’t mean it’s a beast. Sometimes, a laptop model just performs badly all over. If your system still isn’t performing as fast and as much as you want it to, then we suggest testing out its performance against other laptops in the same model.

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GPU User Benchmark is a great way to test your laptop’s performance. You’ll get to see how fast your computer is compared to other models just like yours.

Improve FPS for a Better Gaming Experience

There are many ways to boost FPS and ultimately improve your gaming experience, but laptops have special tricks that are different from desktops. Ultimately, it’s all about keeping the heat low, making sure your GPU is being used to its full capacity, and researching the laptop model you have.

RELATED: 10 Quick Steps to Increase PC Performance

Mako Young Mako Young
Mako Young is a Computer Science graduate turned writer for How-To Geek. He's a tech enthusiast who has written tons of tutorials, technical articles, and blog posts. From tweaking hardware components to fixing software bugs, Mako is constantly experimenting with technology. His computer has been through hell and back, troubleshooting problems and testing out solutions.
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