How to speed up a gaming laptop
The Internet is full of articles about speed of laptop, but most of them only affect one component of the software. In these materials, you will be prompted to clean the registry to configure the operating system and even to defragment the hard disk. Do not argue, critical preventive measures will speed up your laptop, but a truly effective solution is to timely upgrade the system. You can dig into the Windows registry, but if a computer game, for example, not enough RAM, then the problem can
The easiest method
The most simple and radical way to solve the current problem would be to buy a new laptop. No, this is not an attempt to make a joke on the topic — sometimes to upgrade the device makes no sense. For example, increasing the amount of RAM in the system graphics with the GeForce GTX 960M and lower will not increase gaming performance. The fact that the performance of this GPU is not enough to get comfortable frame rates on high graphic settings. And on presets “medium quality” and “Low quality” is sufficient and 8 GB of RAM. So if you want to play modern games at high or even maximum graphics settings, the easier (though more expensive) to take a more modern model. As you know, the mobile version of the NVIDIA GeForce video controllers generation Pascal little in yield than the discrete options that are used in desktop PCs.
Even more interesting is the case with the laptops which elementary it is impossible to modify. Usually this type of devices are ultra-compact ultrabooks, notebooks tablets with detachable keyboard and hybrid laptops, the display of which can spin 360 degrees. In such devices, typically the RAM already soldered on the motherboard. And if the RAM is 8 GB, it’s forever. So, for example, ultrabook Acer Swift 7, we can replace only two components: the SSD format M. 2 2242, connected via SATA 6 GB/s, and a network controller format M. 2 2230.
Finally, there are models of laptops that may undergo upgrade, but without certain skills and equipment to do it is not so simple. Here is the brand new Microsoft Surface Book is recognized as almost completely non-repairable. Therefore, after a certain time it turns into a clever “pumpkin”, nothing more.
From the foregoing we conclude: upgrade your laptop is always a special case. With regard to game models, I recommend the following: if you want to be relevant as long as possible, then buy a laptop either with a full “meat”, or with easy modernization of at least the disk subsystem and RAM. With the replacement of other components much more difficult.
What can be improved in the laptop?
In General, replace in the laptop can be almost any component. Though not always can do it at home. Not always upgrade a laptop is a cost effective exercise, but often — useless and dangerous. Since the main topic of the article is to modernise in order to increase device performance, we consider the possibility of replacing only those components that affect the overall performance of a gaming laptop.
In sale there are laptops with LGA connectors. In such models, typically of conventional desktop CPUs. In most cases we are talking about high performance solutions, as the same Core i7-7700 is obviously faster mobile Core i7-7700HQ. When loading all four cores for a desktop clock frequency above 600 MHz (4.0 vs 3.4 GHz) and bigger cache of the third level: 8 vs 6 MB. Only change this processor no reason. Let’s say you have a model with LGA processor Core i7-6700. Make sense to go with this chip, for example, on Core i7-7700 no: frequency gain is meager, and the expenses enormous. Besides, we are still dealing with a laptop that is physically impossible to install more efficient cooling than a set of 2-4 teplorulon and a pair of tangential fans type. Secondly, to move from processor generation Skylake on Kaby Lake, you need to update the BIOS version of the motherboard. In most cases, the manufacturers of laptops either does not provide free new firmware, or do not add fresh firmware updated CPU list.
In fact, laptops with removable processors in the sale of units. The vast majority of laptops come with soldered chips. Obviously, at home to replace this CPU is problematic. The same applies to the graphics subsystem. Even the mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1080 GTX 1070 and in most cases soldered on the PCB of the motherboard of the laptop. Therefore, their self-replacement is impossible without a full analysis of the device, the soldering station and the required template for reballing.
In performance models of GPU can be made in the form of a removable plat form factor MXM. However, removal of such adapters is also not an easy call, as it is necessary to remove the entire cooling system, and sometimes will need to pull the motherboard entirely. For example, we have produced all the complex procedures for recovery equipment, but then what? Is GeForce GTX 1070, you can install GeForce GTX 1080, if this model laptop has a modification with such a graphics accelerator. Otherwise the motherboard will not define a new GPU. This includes decisions on the basis of Maxwell graphics NVIDIA 900-series.
In General, the replacement of the Central processor and graphics card in the laptop (assuming that’s even physically possible) — this is a real lottery, and there is a very high probability that instead of a gaming laptop you will get a cute but useless brick. Yes, you will find successful examples of upgrade some models from EUROCOM, MSI and Alienware, but in other cases, nothing good comes out of this venture will not work. So to deal with such difficulties for the sake of 10-15% of the performance gain I would not. And you do not advise.
Most manufacturers of gaming laptops allow users to change the RAM and drives, which also affect the device performance. Upgrade those components, I’m going to do next.
Replacing RAM and drives
As a rule, modern notebooks set of 8, 16 or 32 GB of RAM, although not without exceptions. For example, in the aforementioned model MSI GT73VR 7RE Titan SLI installation of the set capacity of 64 GB, because the motherboard of the laptop has four ports SO-DIMM. In most cases, have laptop two slots for installing RAM. Therefore, for models with processors Skylake generations Kaby Lake and the maximum amount is 32 GB DDR4. For laptops based on Haswell chips — 16 GB. In some of the cheap laptops there is only one connector SO-DIMM. There are models in which the SO-DIMM slots are present, and a certain amount of RAM already soldered on the motherboard.
All modern computer games is exactly enough 16 GB of RAM, however it has left a decent number of projects that consume more than 8 GB of RAM at high graphics quality settings. Therefore, laptop with 8 GB of DDR3 or DDR4 memory would not hurt to “increase” the volume by half. Or at least add another 4 GB of RAM.
To determine which memory is installed in the laptop without having to take it will help the free program CPU-z On tab SPD, in-line Part Number, shows the exact labeling used RAM, and Manufacturer — manufacturer. The ideal option when upgrading will be to buy the exact same memory card, but it is not always possible. In this case, we need to install in the laptop module with the same characteristics. To focus on the effective frequency and the set delay. Usually the situation is as follows:
- For laptops with processors Kaby Lake — DDR4 memory-2400T delays 17-17-17-39.
- For laptops with processors Skylake — DDR4 memory-2133T delays 15-15-15-36.
- For laptops with Haswell processor — DDR3L-1600 memory with delays 11-11-11-28.
- For laptops with processors Ivy Bridge — DDR3-1333 with latency 9-9-9-24.
- For laptops with Sandy Bridge processors — DDR3-1333 with latency 9-9-9-24.
- For laptops with AMD processors A9/A10/A12 — DDR4 memory-2133T delays 15-15-15-36.
Gaming laptops, in most cases based on Intel CPUs, models, performance, discrete graphics, based on AMD chips, in the minority. Perhaps with the advent of mobile versions of Ryzen the situation will change.
Information about the characteristics of the memory modules is written in their SPD (Serial Presence Detect). Typically, the chip RAM has several preset modes. And if you install the kit DDR4-2400T with 17-17-17-39 timings on a laptop with Skylake processor, it will work on the effective frequency of 2133 MHz (DDR4-2133T) delays 15-15-15-36.
For writing this article, I used a dual channel kit SO-DIMM memory Kingston KVR21S15S8/8, each module which operates at effective frequency of 2133 MHz with CL15 latency.
Many modern grabaci, starting-generation Intel Haswell, with two types of ports for connecting hard drives: a traditional SATA 6GB/s M. 2 and progressive. In some cases, interfaces may be several. With regard to the first type connectors, connect hard drives and SSD form factor 2.5 inches. The only limitation with the installation of this storage device is its maximum thickness. So, some laptops do not support installation of hard drives with a thickness of over 7 mm. otherwise no issues you will have. In many laptops, the 2.5-inch memory attached with a special sled.
In some laptops still set absolutely useless optical drives. You can also install one 2.5 inch drive. Only this will require a special adapter that can be purchased, for example, on AliExpress.
Connector M. 2 is more complicated. In most cases in the gaming laptop will be the seat under the storage format 2280 (where “22” is the width of the PCB in millimeters, and “80” — length). However, the options with the SSD installed with a length of 42, 60, 80 and even 110 mm. Therefore, before purchasing an M. 2 drive make sure what size you need “targetlink”.
And form factor M. 2 implies two types of keys — “B” (Socket 2 on two lines PCI Express) and “M” (Socket 3 on four lines PCI Express), but in today’s gaming laptops for processors Skylake and Kaby Lake is used only the second option, which fit the SSD as SATA 6GB/s (SSD such there are two key cut) and PCI Express. Again, before buying find out what kind of interface the motherboard of your notebook: M. 2 SATA M. 2 PCI Express, or both at the same time.
For this article I used SSD Kingston SM2280S3G2/480G nominal capacity of 480 GB. This SSD has both keys-cut, therefore, works in mode SATA 6 GB/s.
Depending on the specific model of the laptop to reach the required iron in three ways. The easiest way to replace the drives and memory are presented the models with removable hatches. To get access to the appropriate slots, it is necessary to Unscrew one or two screws (usually Phillips slot screwdriver slotted small diameter, less — Torx) and then remove the cover. All, you should only install pre-bought the RAM and SSD/HDD.
The second option implies the removal of the bottom of the laptop entirely. For this article I used a 15.6-inch laptop ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE. To get to its components, you must Unscrew the ten screws, one of which is hidden under the rubber cap.
Please note that the laptop can be sealed. And if during the upgrade you will break the seal, then the device will lose warranty support. Typically, the removable hatches not sealed, but on one of the screws on the bottom can be affixed to the warranty “charm”. If the warranty on the device (usually 24 months) is still relevant, you do so at your own risk.
The third way to reach the necessary interfaces for the most complex, and consists in the removal pad with the keyboard. Will not only have to Unscrew a few screws on the bottom, and carefully disconnect the keyboard and the base without damaging the device. You will also need to disconnect from the motherboard plumes responsible for the keys, touchpad and backlight (if any).
By the way, sometimes it’s better to buy a laptop minimum configuration and immediately to stuff it with the necessary memory. For example, the start package contents ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE with Core i7-7700HQ, 8 GB DDR4-2400, 1 TB HDD and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB costs an average of 79 000. A variant with exactly the same hardware, but with 12 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD (SATA 6 Gbps) — 92 000. However, over this amount we can improve the initial equipment of the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE additional 8 GB RAM (+4 000) and solid state drive 250 GB (NVMe, PCI Express 3.0 x4, +9 000). Agree, this version of the laptop looks much more interesting.
Increasing the efficiency of the cooling system
Another kind of option to upgrade the laptop is to optimize the operation of its cooling system. Of course, the cooler unit should be kept clean and periodically change the thermal paste. Practice shows that even in expensive solutions use thermal interface of mediocre quality.
In reviews I often I draw readers ‘ attention to the fact that in the case of laptops (and compact models especially) a lot depends on the cooling efficiency. Therefore it is not always the most productive “on paper”, the CPU is faster in real applications. It all depends on the specific model of laptop. If the cooler can not cope with cooling the CPU and GPU, it was throttling aktiviziruyutsya. In the end, the fall of the clock frequency of the processor and mobile graphics affects the performance of the applications.
To get to the chips is not always easy. For example, in laptop Dell Inspiron 7567 cooling system consisting of two fans and copper teplorulon, hiding behind the metal frame, and for replacing the thermal paste will have to disassemble the device almost completely.
The ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE, on the contrary, remove the cooler easy. To do this, just need to Unscrew the four screws that press teplostroy to the CPU and GPU. This laptop uses Core i7-7700HQ and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with a TDP of 45 and 75 W, respectively. In my opinion, such a system (two heat pipes and one fan) are clearly insufficient for efficient cooling of CPU and graphics. So the surprise appearance of throttle under heavy load is not necessary.
In the program LinX 0.7.0, which is very strongly loads the CPU frequency Core i7-7700HQ kept at around 2.8 GHz, but occasionally a single core chip resets the frequency to 800 MHz. We see that, firstly, there is no Turbo Boost, since more efficient cooling frequency of the CPU when loading all four cores should be 3.4 GHz. Second, there was throttling. Simultaneously, the temperature of the Core i7-7700HQ rose to 88 degrees Celsius.
Instead of thermal paste I decided to put a couple of strips Coollaboratory Liquid MetalPad is termoplastici that are 100% metal and will melt at a temperature of 58-60 degrees Celsius. In the solid state resemble the foil and are cut well with scissors. As a result of application of such an interface, I managed to get rid of the serious drawdowns in the same LinX 0.7.0 CPU frequency was kept in the range of 3.0-3.4 GHz without any hint to reset the frequency to 800 MHz. The maximum temperature Core i7-7700HQ when it reached 84 degrees Celsius. Therefore, I expect that ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE will work faster, including in resource-intensive tasks such as video conversion and graphics processing.
A similar situation is observed in the games. With the use of the Coollaboratory Liquid MetalPad has fallen markedly, the temperature of the CPU and GPU, but the increased frequency (and with them and speed). However, in this you will see next.