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Gaming laptops are portable alternatives to tower computers for gamers. While great for their purposes, these gaming computers have very poor battery life.
In this article, we’ll walk you through all the reasons why your gaming laptop has a bad battery life and things you can do to enhance it.
Why Do Gaming Laptops Have Bad Battery Life?
Gaming laptops require a higher performance level than regular laptops. These portable computers have extra features that enhance gameplay while retaining roughly the same size as a standard laptop- though they are usually a little bigger since larger screens make games more enjoyable.
Companies still utilize the same relative size battery to keep the laptop light enough and portable. Gaming computers have more demands and components running off the small battery than normal laptops.
All of these components and actions can cause your gaming laptop’s battery life to drain:
- Dedicated graphic cards
- High-speed processors
- Multiple fans
- Enhanced speakers
- Backlit keyboards
- Using extra accessories with or without Bluetooth
- The screen’s size
All computers have hardware for processing graphics. There are two types of GPU (also known as graphic cards), one integrated and one discrete.
Regular laptops have an iGPU (an integrated graphics card) that can handle everyday graphic demands such as videos and images. Integrated GPUs are cheaper and use less power, making a normal laptop battery last longer. A discrete GPU is separate with its own card and memory.
Many gaming laptops contain an iGPU and a separate discrete graphics card. While performing everyday functions, like watching a video on YouTube, the discrete graphics cards will not run. The laptop will only utilize the discrete card when heavier graphic demands are present.
Most video games today demand a lot from GPU. They must process 2D and 3D graphics, create mapping textures, and more. The discrete GPU enhances a gamers experience by removing lag and increasing frame rates, but it significantly drains batteries.
Open-world games like Minecraft require a higher GPU performance.
The CPU (central processing unit) is the brain of any laptop. It directs and receives all of the computer’s data. CPUs have anywhere between 2 and 28 processors, focusing on a unique task. For gaming, CPU processors control the AI of non-playable characters, among other important aspects.
The more processors, called cores, a CPU has, the more efficient the system. A gaming laptop usually utilizes more cores or processors with higher clock speeds.
Quick-moving games, such as newer installments from the Call of Duty franchise, require a CPU with at least four processors (also known as a quad-core processor).
However, the more cores you have in your CPU, the more power it needs to operate. While high-performance processors in gaming computers work quicker to make gameplay smoother, it drains a battery quickly.
All laptops have fans. Consider all the aspects that have to function inside your computer. CPU processors, motherboards, RAM, and more. Developers tightly pack these components inside your laptop to ensure high performance.
Yet packing these devices tightly together makes it difficult for heat to escape. As they run, they heat up, and that warmth has nowhere to go without a fan.
The fans move the hot air through the laptop’s vents and circulate cooler air throughout the system.
Since gaming laptops require the computer’s system to work harder than normal, they need more fans with higher speeds. These fans receive power from the battery- and the more they have to work, the more it drains.
However, fans should not always run. The heat radiating from your laptop should not stay consistent. If it gets too hot, it may shut down completely.
You want to escape into another world when you play a video game. Truly immersing yourself requires good speakers to engage with the audio fully. Laptop and video game designers recognize that high-quality speakers help enhance your gameplay.
Regular laptops have average speakers- sometimes even below average. These get the job done, but they are not ideal for gaming.
Gamers need to hear a wide range of sounds and frequencies. They also need louder speakers to cover the whirring noise of their multiple high-speed fans.
Gaming laptops came with fairly large built-in speakers because of this fact. These speakers get power from the battery, meaning the more you use them, the more your battery will drain.
Whether for aesthetic or practical purposes, many gaming laptops feature backlit keyboards. These keyboards are not as intensive of a battery drain as other items on this list, but they still contribute to gaming laptops having weaker battery life.
Listening to music with your gaming laptop on a separate app while playing a game can be nice, but it will create extra strain on the battery.
Multitasking requires more CPU resources, causing the laptop to heat up and use more battery power.
Extra Attachments and Accessories
You may not think about it, but wired and wireless attachments drain laptop batteries. A mouse, gaming keyboard, VR headset, microphones, external drives, external monitors, etc. All of these components draw power from the battery.
Aside from drawing their power from the battery, these external devices also put pressure on the CPU and GPU and cause the units to heat up.
Size of Screen
It’s normal for a gaming laptop to have a larger screen with a higher resolution than a normal laptop. Regular laptops generally have a screen resolution average of 1080p, while some high-end gaming computers sometimes have 1440p or 4K.
You want a higher resolution screen for crisper images while gaming. A larger screen allows you to immerse yourself deeper while avoiding unnecessary eye strain.
However, compare the power requirements for running a 1080p display versus 4K. A 4K LCD requires more power for its pixels.
Even if your gaming laptop has a 1080p LCD screen resolution, it will need more power if it has a larger screen. A 14-inch display consumes less energy than a 17.3 display.
So if your gaming laptop has a larger screen or better resolution than normal laptops, it will drain the battery faster.
How to Improve the Battery Life of your Gaming Laptop
Turn Down Your Screen Brightness
Keeping your screen’s brightness level at 80 or 90% damages your laptop’s battery. However, you do not want the screen to be too dark, which can cause eyestrain. Instead, search for a middle ground.
Close Unnecessary Tabs
Our brains hop from one thing to the next with rapid speed. However, if you are playing a video game, most of your attention is likely focused on it, making it the most important application running at the time.
Close all unnecessary tabs, windows, and other applications you are not actively using. Other things being open often leads to games running slower as well. Closing tabs you are not using will increase your laptop’s battery and help the games to run smoother.
Aside from extra tabs, you likely also have apps running in the background. Check to see if you can close any of these apps to help improve your gaming laptop’s battery life.
Remove Extra Attachments
While it is nice to have a USB microphone, an extra keyboard, and a gaming mouse, these things all drain power. Use the bare minimum of accessories and attachments while gaming to enhance your battery’s life.
Turn Off Bluetooth/Wi-Fi
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi take extra processors to run, which results in higher power consumption.
Bluetooth emits and receives signals with its paired device. If you connect a set of Bluetooth headphones to your gaming laptop, they will drain each other’s battery fairly quickly.
If Bluetooth is activated on your laptop, it will continue to search for a connection point regardless of whether you have a wireless device nearby or not. This action runs in the background, stressing your processor cores without you even knowing it.
Some games require you to have Wi-Fi, while others do not. If you are playing games offline, disable your laptop’s Wi-Fi connection. Like Bluetooth, the sent and receiving signals put extra strain on your CPU processors.
Choose the Right Games to Play
When you decide it’s time to sit down on the couch, away from an outlet, and play with your gaming laptop, choosing the right game could make or break your battery’s performance.
Playing less demanding games works best when your laptop is unplugged. CPU-heavy games, like Fortnight, will drain the battery quicker.
Instead, you need a game that has less stuff on the screen. Avoid open-world games and real-time strategy. A couple of good alternatives are Red Dead Redemption 2 and Doom 2016.
Turn on Battery Saving Mode
Battery saving mode does just what it says- it saves your battery. This mode lowers the internal component’s power requirements.
Most battery-saving modes will lower your screen’s brightness and reduce CPU clock rates, as well as other things to decrease power usage.
However, it is important to note that turning on the laptop’s battery-saving mode will impact your gameplay. It reduces the output of the GPU and CPU, making some games lag.
Keep Your Laptop Plugged In While Playing
Most gaming laptops doing everyday functions- i.e., watching videos online, surfing the web, etc., can last up to 6 hours on a full charge. It’s gaming’s higher performance requirements that kill batteries faster.
If you want the smoothest gameplay on your gaming laptop, you should keep it plugged in. In fact, most recommend that you keep your laptop charging while playing. It is the difference between indefinite gaming versus one to two hours of playtime.
Your gaming laptop has internal circuitry that switches from battery to AC power once fully charged. AC power is stronger and keeps your battery from experiencing strain.
Video games require higher performance from your laptop between GPU demands, CPU demands, and more.
The best way to ensure you have no battery issues while using your gaming laptop is to keep it plugged in.