Gaming laptops are big investments, I get that. With a big price tag attached, you expect them to play video games at the highest performance. The real question though, how long will a gaming laptop last? The last thing that you want is for it to be outdated in a year.
Unfortunately with technology, it is advancing every single day. While this is a good thing, it can make purchasing a laptop a difficult decision. Thankfully though, computer hardware is becoming more and more powerful. This is allowing it to perform at relatively consistent levels for years to come.
In this article, I will be talking about the average gaming laptop’s lifespan so you know what to expect. I will also get into how you can lengthen its lifespan as long as possible. Upgrading to a new device is pricey and can be avoided with some simple tricks.
Unfortunately, the biggest limiting factor in its lifespan tends to be the hardware. With parts manufacturers making generational releases year over year, gaming hardware tends to become outdated. While this is not too big of a problem in desktop computers as you can easily upgrade them. Gaming laptops are typically a little bit more difficult to upgrade.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, modern components are quite powerful. New hardware releases tend to only be marginal improvements over the previous generation. It is quite unlikely to see 100% performance improvements with a new component release. So, if your gaming laptop has mid-range hardware, there should be no reason it won’t last for years.
Graphics Card (GPU)
Of course, since you will be mostly gaming on this device, you want to make sure it has dedicated graphics. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) will be the most important aspect of the lifespan of the laptop. This is of course if you do end up using it primarily for video games. Usually, the better that the GPU performs from the beginning, the longer you can expect it to last. If your laptop has an entry-level GPU, you can expect it to not last as long as its higher-end counterparts. You can check out User Benchmark to see how well it currently performs.
The main reason why the GPU’s performance gets worse over time is actually from the video game itself. As new games get released or updates happen, they become more and more hardware intensive. This makes older, less powerful GPU’s eventually become obsolete. So as you can predict when a game becomes more intensive your frames and laptop’s performance will start to drop. Having a strong GPU from the beginning can help counter this. While of course, the overall performance will still drop, it may not be as noticeable.
To be completely honest it is quite difficult to say exactly how long and well the GPU will perform on your laptop. This is primarily because it is difficult to say how demanding games will become over the years. Regardless you can expect them to become more and more demanding as the years go by. Due to this, I believe it is fair to expect entry to mid-level laptop GPUs to last about 3-5 years. When we get into the higher-end options you can likely expect 5+ years out of them.
It is not unheard of for the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to last a significant amount of time. I am talking about 5-10 years with no problems at all. Most mid-range gaming laptops will come equipped with an Intel Core-i5 or a Ryzen 5 CPU. Both of these options pack quite the punch in your device.
Provided it is not an entry-level gaming laptop, the CPU should not affect its lifespan too much. Since the laptop will be primarily used for gaming, the GPU and RAM should be the primary concerns. They will bottleneck the lifespan more so than the CPU.
As a general rule of thumb, as long as you have a mid-range CPU, it should last you 5+ years.
In the past RAM (Random Access Memory) tended to play a significant role in a gaming laptop’s lifespan. However, just about every option out there comes with a minimum of 8GB of RAM. This is just about perfect when it comes to gaming. With this amount of memory, you should not run into any problems any time soon.
However, if you do plan to run heavily intensive games and applications, you may want to consider more memory. Thankfully, installing more RAM is quite an easy task. But to sum it up, as long as you have 8GB it should last until it breaks.
So, How Long Will a Gaming Laptop Last?
Again, it is quite difficult to exactly gauge your gaming laptop’s total lifespan. But I believe that when we combine the hardware aspects, you can expect a minimum of 4-5 years. If you have higher-end components you can typically expect 5+ years. However, don’t expect it to be running at the exact same levels of performance year over year. You will likely have to lower the in-game graphics settings slightly to maintain a reasonable FPS. This may seem like a short amount of time, thankfully there are ways to lengthen and maintain it.
How to Lengthen Its Lifespan
As mentioned above there are definitely some easy ways to make your gaming laptop last longer. As mentioned earlier, the last thing you want is to have to upgrade a year later. To be quite honest, it is quite easy to extend its lifespan by years. This can save you not only money but potential headaches as well.
This is something that many new gamers forget to look into. Component manufacturers often release new updates specific to the individual pieces of hardware. You want to make sure that you are installing the new driver updates as they will often make your system run smoother. I am not sure why so many gamers forget to install their hardware driver updates. Simply put, it helps keep your system running at optimal performance.
Updating drivers will often solve many of your system’s problems. I don’t want to say it will solve them every single time. But, if your system is starting to run games slower than before you should look into updating your system drivers. It is quite easy to do and should only take you a few minutes at most.
Just as hardware drivers, you want to make sure you are installing any system updates. This will help keep your gaming laptop running smoothly. Oftentimes these software updates are meant to remove any previous faults or bugs. Again, installing them will only take you a few minutes at most and are generally well worth it.
Simply put, you want to keep your device clean. Conducting a weekly or monthly cleaning will make all the difference in how long it will last you. I have written a guide on how to safely clean your laptop keyboard. The last thing you want is for debris to start building up, potentially damaging your device.
I recommend conducting a physical cleaning as often as you see fit. Personally, I do a light clean daily (removing any dust) and a thorough clean monthly.
I have also written a guide on how to safely clean your monitor.
Clean The Cooling System
With it being a gaming laptop, the components tend to get rather hot. To cool them down, your fans have to operate at very high speeds. As you can imagine this means more dust and grime are being sucked into the system. Over time this can build up and cause parts to overheat. Therefore they will tend to run much slower than they used to.
Every so often I would take the base of your laptop off and inspect the fans. If they are starting to look dusty or packed full of grime give them a clean. There are many useful guides on how to do this, it should only take 30 minutes at most.
Keeping your laptop’s cooling system free from dust will significantly increase its lifespan. You would be surprised at how many gamers I hear of not cleaning their systems fans. I mean it takes no time at all and will keep your system running healthy.
Unfortunately, parts do tend to become obsolete over time. In a desktop computer, individual parts are a lot easier to replace and upgrade. But with a gaming laptop being so small and compact, it is quite difficult. Thankfully manufacturers have made it very easy to upgrade both the RAM and HDD/SSD. Upgrading these two components can help future proof your system.
Provided you have at least 8GB of RAM, these two components will likely not have a direct impact on your gaming experience. They can however improve your system’s general speed which is nice. For example, booting up your PC or opening applications and video games.
Remove Unnecessary Files and Applications
If you plan on hanging onto your system for a long period of time, this is important. Conducting regular system cleanups will keep your gaming computer running smoothly. Unfortunately, over time we tend to collect unnecessary files and applications. This may not seem like too big of a problem but it can slow your system down over time. Of course, you could just upgrade the storage, but that takes both time and money. What I recommend doing is removing unwanted files and applications once every six months. You may have to do it sooner if you start noticing you are running out of room.
It is also worth mentioning that some of these applications like to run in the background. This can further slow down your system making it seem dated. Removing them will cause less stress on your hardware. This has the potential to increase not only performance but lifespan as well.
General Maintenance and Care
I decided to throw this into the list as just taking care of your gaming laptop can make a big difference. But what do I mean by general care? Simply put, just avoid anything that can cause damage to your laptop. This can mean not drinking or eating near it to avoid any potential spills.
With these devices being so portable, you may tend to travel with them quite a bit. Why not pick up a nice laptop carrying case to help keep it safe. I see many gamers just shoving their PCs into things like a backpack or even worse just carrying it around in their hands. Should you accidentally drop it, it has a significant chance of breaking.
There are endless examples of how you can take general care of it. But as a general rule of thumb, just use common sense and avoid doing things that may damage it. This can extend its duration significantly.
Overall I think it is fair to say that most modern gaming laptops will last about 4-5 years. If you have a higher-end model, its lifespan can be 5+ years. Now, provided you take care of the device you can definitely extend its lifespan by a few years.
With that being said though, it is very difficult to say how long exactly as many factors go into it. For example, as games are released or updated they tend to get more hardware intensive. It is difficult to say how much more it will be over the years. But it is fair to say that year over a year most games only become marginally more intensive. So, you should be good to go for the next little while at least.