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If you are not happy with your current laptop’s performance, and want to play the latest games without lag, you have two options: buy a new laptop with better specs or upgrade your current laptop.
Not everyone can afford a new laptop, so upgrading may be the only option, but are gaming laptops upgradable?
Well, you can upgrade certain parts of a laptop, but not everything.
Still, for most people, it’s enough to upgrade the RAM or allocate more RAM for your favorite game. And for non-upgradable hardware, there are some other options available.
Let’s check all these out together.
Don’t buy a new laptop just yet: Explore the upgrade potential of your laptop
Table of Contents
What Parts You Can Upgrade on Most Gaming Laptops
Below you’ll find the parts you can upgrade in most gaming laptops.
16GB of RAM is often sufficient for new games and a good gaming experience. While you can find laptops with 32GB or 64GB RAM, they are usually expensive.
Since most gaming laptops feature upgradable RAM or multiple RAM slots, you don’t have to overspend as you can easily upgrade later if needed.
However, some manufacturers have recently started soldering RAM to the motherboard. So, make sure to check before purchasing a laptop if you want to upgrade down the line.
Want to know if you can use External RAM on a Laptop? RAM is an internal component and you cannot add it externally.
When it comes to installing AAA titles, decent storage is always welcome. Some laptops come with additional solid-state drive (SSD) slots, and you can upgrade them for an improved gaming experience with faster load speeds.
Upgrading the Wi-Fi card helps achieve faster Internet speeds to improve online gameplay.
This translates to uninterrupted gaming and fast responses — so you don’t have to helplessly look at the buffering icon as you hear the screams of your troops being decimated by other players.
Over time, your gaming laptop’s battery health declines, but you can replace it with a new one to restore — or upgrade — the battery life.
What Parts You Can’t Upgrade on Most Gaming Laptops
Some crucial laptop components can’t be upgraded. More specifically: CPU, GPU, motherboard, and screen.
Typically, the CPU cannot be upgraded because they are soldered to the motherboard. Some models, like the Alienware Area 51, allow CPU upgrades, but they are usually super-expensive and rife with compatibility issues.
Can you change a dedicated graphics card in a laptop? The answer is no in most cases.
That’s because your laptop faces compatibility issues if you try to change the GPU. For example, Windows 10 runs on the BIOS software, which is specific to the laptop’s original components.
So if you try to swap the processor or graphics card, it may clash with the built-in hardware. Plus, finding a graphic card that meets the compatibility requirements for your particular laptop is never cheap.
If you want a laptop with an upgradeable GPU, look for one with an MXM interface. Bear in mind that these laptops are practically obsolete, and the available ones are expensive.
Are Modular Laptops Fully Upgradable?
Modular laptops are not really gaming laptops but they’re upgradable. They are sustainable and flexible machines that allow you to replace any and all components. Unlike standard gaming laptops, all parts of modular laptops can be replaced.
Framework is a popular modular laptop brand. If gaming laptop upgradability is important to you, check out their laptops.
What Other Solution is There?
There are a few other options for non-upgradable parts in your gaming laptop.
For GPU, you can get an external GPU (eGPU) to run more demanding games, like Tomb Raider. These eGPUs are not very portable, and this is far from a good solution, but it’s an option.
For display, instead of upgrading it, you can attach an external screen to your laptop. For example, you can connect a 144Hz monitor to a 60Hz laptop screen and play games at 144Hz.
The only limitation is that you can only enjoy the refresh rate and resolution of the monitor if the connection supports it. For instance, HDMI 2.0 and newer can run a 1440p display at 144Hz, but HDMI 1.2 cannot.
Recommended reading: Is 75Hz Good for Gaming? Decoding Refresh Rates: 60Hz vs. 75Hz vs. 144Hz.
Tips for Speeding Up Your Gaming Laptop
There are many ways to speed up a laptop. Here are a few best tips:
- Keep your Windows drivers up-to-date for a smooth-performing laptop.
- Update your graphics card driver for improved gameplay and enhanced graphics.
- Scan your laptop regularly for malware and viruses to improve its performance.
- Optimize your graphics and enjoy smooth gameplay by managing frames per second (FPS) using third-party tools.
- Get rid of cache and junk files with Disk Cleanup.
- Delete or uninstall apps and software you never used or no longer need.
- Regularly clean your laptop’s motherboard and other internal components to improve the thermals and performance.
Lifetime of a Gaming Laptop
The average lifetime of a laptop is 3 to 5 years, but this isn’t set in stone. So, how long do laptops last? Well, that depends on several factors, such as the laptop’s build quality, specifications, and upkeep.
Remember that your desire to replace your current notebook may come before its lifetime.
Wrapping It Up
Whether gaming laptops are upgradeable depends on the components you want to upgrade. In most cases, you can upgrade a gaming laptop’s RAM, SSD, Wi-Fi card, and battery.
However, replacing the CPU, GPU, motherboard, or screen is challenging, if not impossible. Plus, the cost of upgrading these parts runs high.
When buying a gaming laptop, be careful and ensure it’s future-proof to extend its lifespan.
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