The purpose of this article is to share how to fix gaming laptop performance issues. There is nothing more frustrating while gaming than having performance issues that cause stuttering, lag, and low FPS. Modern games require higher performance from hardware which will exacerbate existing issues. Furthermore, laptops that were bought 3-4 years ago for gaming may not meet the system requirements of new games being released and will have to be upgraded with a new laptop.
Step 1: Check System Requirements.
Your first step to fix gaming laptop performance issues is to check your hardware against the system requirements of the game you are trying to play.
Step 2: Plug your laptop into the wall.
Your next step should be check if your laptop is plugged into the wall. You can expect a decrease in performance while gaming if your laptop is not connected to a power source. The reason for this is due to the fact that laptops by default try to save power. In order to do that, they oftentimes switch from using your dedicated graphics card to your processor when not plugged in. You can fix this in your battery settings in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Step 3: Upgrade RAM.
You bought your laptop, and it came with one stick of RAM. This can be a source of performance related issues. Laptops often come with one stick of RAM and although your laptop may meet the published system requirements, the RAM in the laptop is not fast enough to process data because it is limited to the speed of one stick. You can double the throughput your memory can process data from the processor and graphics card by adding another memory stick.
Step 4: Check Battery Settings.
Your next step should be to check your battery settings to make sure they are in “Best Performance Mode”.
Step 5: Make Sure Your Game is Using Your Dedicated Graphics Card
You may need to manually select your graphics card for the game you are playing. You can do this in Windows 11 by navigating to System > Display > Graphics. Then, you need to find the games you play and change the setting from “Let Windows Decide” to “High Performance” where your graphics card is selected.
Step 6: Change Your In-Game Settings.
You may be experiencing problems if your in-game settings do not align with your laptop’s hardware. The list below provides general recommendations that can be applied broadly to most modern gaming titles.
- Screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) – Disable this or put it at the lowest setting
- Shadows – Lower this setting or turn it off if you can
- Texture Quality – Make sure you are staying within your graphics card VRAM. You will experience stuttering if your texture quality is set too high and your graphics card can’t handle it.
- Reflections – Turn this down lower or disable it
You can find more graphics card optimization settings in your NVIDIA control panel. We created the ultimate guide for NVIDIA control panel optimization for gaming here.
Step 7: Doublecheck your drivers
Make sure you are on the latest graphics card drivers. You should do this within your NVIDIA or Radeon control panel.
Step 8: Add more Thermal Paste
You may need to add more thermal paste if you bought your laptop 3-4 years ago. Thermal paste is needed for cooling the processor and your operating system will automatically reduce performance if it is overheating. You can find out how to re-apply thermal paste here.