How to Upgrade a Laptop for Gaming? (Step by Step)

You can upgrade your laptop for gaming but that will be harder than upgrading a desktop. That’s because non-gaming laptops come with integrated graphics cards. So increasing or updating that is not viable. However, you can still tweak the performance of your laptop by:

  • keeping it clean
  • installing the latest DirectX
  • updating drivers
  • updating hardware such as RAM and hard drive
  • overclocking GPU with the help of software
  • activating gaming mode in Windows 10
  • adjusting in-game settings
  • closing background apps
  • optimizing power settings
  • disabling in-game auto-updates
  • checking your internet speed online before gaming

11 Ways to Upgrade Your Laptop for Gaming 

Let’s discuss the above-mentioned ways in detail. 

1. Keep your laptop clean from dust and gunk 

One of the things that reduce the performance of a laptop is dust and dirt accumulation. The electronic parts do not perform well because their electric charges are disturbed – courtesy of dirt particles taking the charge themselves. But if they don’t do that, they simply clog all sorts of ways for heat dissipation. Imagine what a clogged fan would do. 

2. Install the latest DirectX

DirectX facilitates gaming in Windows laptops. So, you wanna keep that updated if you want your games to run smoothly. Currently, the DirectX 12 Ultimate has been introduced. Check your version by pressing the windows key plus R. Type dxdiag and when the tool dialogue resurfaces, check the version. To update it, keep your Windows updates on. 

3. Update your drivers 

Updating your RAM, SSD/HDD, GPU, and other drivers is important because the latest games are made by keeping them in mind. If your laptop uses Intel’s integrated graphics, it will be updated by Windows Update. However, if you’re using a dedicated card, make sure you update the drivers. 

4. Update your hardware 

The 4th important method of how to upgrade a laptop for gaming is to update the hardware.

Most laptops’ default hardware can be upgraded. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver and some skills to open screws. Under the hood, you’d find the hard drive and RAM. Upgrade your hard drive to a solid-state drive because it’s faster and your RAM to at least 16GB. 

Integrated graphics cannot be upgraded and neither the CPU. 

5. Overclock the GPU to get most of its performance 

Overclocking a GPU means taking it to its extremes. They are kept at a bare minimum to save them from overworking and thus, reducing their life span. But it’s not a worry when you’re playing games on your laptop for a few hours. Also, remember that only dedicated cards can be overclocked and you’d have to use software for that. MSI Afterburner works wonders. 

6. Activate “Game Mode” in Windows 10 

Game Mode in the Xbox app in Windows 10 dedicates all the resources to your games when you turn it on. Go to Settings and then Gaming followed by Xbox Game Bar and turn it On. Or, you could simply press the Windows key plus G to activate it. Once activated, Windows would close some of the background apps to preserve power and concentrate on running your game. 

7. Adjust in-game settings 

How to upgrade a laptop for gaming by only changing the settings? Open the dedicated app of your GPU and tweak texture and shader details. You may wanna reduce the power consumption on looks and divert it to the performance. This way, your game will not look at its best but it will certainly give more frame rates per second. For online gaming, that’s more than important. 

You can also reduce these in-game. All you have to do is visit your game settings and reduce shades and texture.

8. Close background apps 

Multitasking with your game isn’t a good idea. Any program that you open besides your game puts a strain on your laptop’s resources. Therefore, close Chrome tabs, Excel sheets, or anything else you were working on because it’s time to play.

9. Optimize power settings 

You might already be familiar with this. Like most of us, you must have at some point put your laptop on Power Mode to save some battery. Now is not the time to do that. You’re supposed to get most of the battery and the laptop itself. So, jack it up to Best Performance and see power things improve. However, after doing so, make sure you stay plugged in because the battery would drain faster than anticipated. 

10. Disable auto-updates 

When you’re gaming, make sure you turn off any kind of Windows and in-game updates. That is to preserve the bandwidth of your internet for smooth fps. 

You cannot disable updates permanently but you can do that for a brief time. 

  • Type “services” in the search bar and open the app
  • In the list you see, find Windows Update 
  • Right-click on it and go to Properties 
  • Select Disabled from the Startup type dropdown menu 
  • In the Service status below it, make sure that you “Stop” the service before clicking on “OK”

This will disable the updates for the next time you boot. 

11. Check your internet speed online before gaming 

For online gaming, you obviously need a faster and more reliable internet connection. It’s not about how many MBs your internet package is, but what matters is how many MBs are stable. You need at least 2MB stable internet bandwidth to enjoy gaming at high fps without stutters or lag. 

Check the connection by running online internet speed checking services before gaming. See if the down speed is reliable enough to go into a room to join others. 

I highly prefer that you use an Ethernet connection from your router to your PC. That reduces latency. However, if you have a good WiFi router that transmits signals at an equal rate, use that by all means. I normally sit very near to it when gaming. 

It was all about “How to Upgrade a Laptop for Gaming?”

Will replacing HDD with SSD make my laptop faster?

The answer is yes, solid-state drives are much faster than Hard drives since they do not rely on mechanical cycles to read and write their data, and they also reduce boot times to just mere seconds, thus making your laptop much faster than it was before.

Does Upgrading RAM capacity make a difference?

Yes, Read-only memory(RAM) has a prominent role in making your machine from falling into the pits of stutters and lags. Increasing your RAM capacity up to at least 16GB will reap some fruitful results and will definitely make your investment well worth the money.

How to Upgrade your Laptop for Gaming – Conclusion 

Not every laptop is a gaming machine. Some have to be modified to get the desired performance. You could upgrade your existing laptop by following the 11 ways I talked about above. Remember that your machine has limits. If it can’t run your favorite game at, let’s say 100 fps, then you might wanna buy a beast gaming laptop. I have listed some of the most revered models in my reviews. You might wanna check them out. 

Lisa Antonio
Lisa enjoys technology & has built many laptops and enjoys tinkering with technology!