How Long Do Gaming Laptops Last? [Plus TIPS To Increase Lifespan]

If you’re looking to buy a new gaming laptop, or just recently purchased one, it is common to wonder how long it will last. 

You want to make sure you are getting the best value for your money, especially considering the fact that gaming laptops are expensive and aren’t fully upgradeable. 

You may also be wondering if there are some measures you can take to ensure your laptop serves you for as long as it possibly can before becoming obsolete.   

In this article, you are going to learn how long gaming laptops last, what affects their lifespan, as well as what you can do to prolong it. 

Let’s dive right in!

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Gaming Laptop?

The average lifespan of gaming laptops is roughly 3 years, but with proper care and maintenance, you can expect them to last at least 5 years. At around the 4-year mark, some parts such as the CPU and GPU will start to become outdated while others such as the battery and fans may need replacement. 

Overall, gaming laptops are designed to be quite durable and it’s not uncommon to find a gaming laptop that has lasted upwards of 10 years. When primary parts such as the CPU and GPU become outdated, it doesn’t mean your gaming laptop becomes completely unusable. 

It just means that your laptop will struggle to play current demanding games or you might have to play them at their lowest settings. This is because developers tend to adopt new technology to provide gamers with more features that enhance their overall gaming experience. 

gaming laptop lifespan vr

For example, VR (Virtual Reality) gaming is a fairly new technology. Older laptops that were released before its development aren’t able to power VR headsets. This makes it impossible to play VR games such as Elite Dangerous, Assetto Corsa, and Hover Junkers on older laptops.

However, even with outdated hardware, you’ll still be able to run older or less demanding game titles and other applications as long as your laptop still meets their minimum system requirements. 

Doing normal tasks such as browsing, word processing, and watching videos will still be possible. In fact, many gamers eventually convert their old gaming laptops into their everyday laptop once their hardware gets outdated and is unable to run current games. 

Do Gaming Laptops Last Longer Than Normal Laptops?

Gaming laptops can last longer than normal laptops and vice versa. It just depends on their hardware quality, the tasks they are used for, and how you care for them. But, generally, gaming laptops tend to be more durable than normal laptops. 

Their interior is built to tolerate high temperatures and parts such as the keyboard are designed to be tougher than those of normal laptops. If both were used for demanding tasks, a gaming laptop will likely outlive a normal laptop. 

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop Lifespan

The lifespan of gaming laptops and desktops depends on the hardware quality and how well you take care of them. However, gaming desktops have an advantage over gaming laptops in that their parts can easily be upgraded. 

What Affects The Lifespan Of A Gaming Laptop?

Eventually, all electronic devices, including laptops, start to fail. However, some longer than others before having to be replaced. What could be the reason? It all boils down to the following main things:

  1. The quality of hardware
  2. What you use your laptop for
  3. How you handle and maintain your laptop

The Quality Of Hardware

Laptops, just like smartphones, come with different hardware specifications and their overall build varies greatly from one manufacturer to another. The standard of the hardware you start with significantly affects how long your gaming laptop will last. 

When it comes to a gaming laptop’s lifespan, the processor, graphics card, chassis, and cooling system play a big role. This is because unlike RAM and storage, these parts cannot be upgraded. 

Very few gaming laptops such as the Dell Alienware 51M allow you to upgrade the CPU and GPU. 

The Processor (CPU)

gaming laptop cpu longevity

The processor, also known as the CPU(Central Processing Unit), is the brain of your computer. It instructs all other components what to do and how to do it based on the program running on the computer.

The processor in gaming laptops is responsible for processing input from your keyboard or mouse and sending graphical data to the GPU for image rendering. As technology advances, processors get faster and more efficient at processing data. 

For example, an Intel core i9 processor is much faster than an Intel core i5 processor. While getting a laptop with an intel core i9 processor might be overkill for most games and applications at the time of writing this, that will likely not be the case 3-4 years down the line.

For instance, games such as Witcher 3 and Batman Arkham Knight currently have an i5 processor listed as their minimum requirement. But in their next sequels, they might demand an i7 processor.

As games get more advanced, they come with more features and assets that require a faster processor in order to achieve smooth gameplay.

Therefore, getting a laptop with an Intel core i9 or i7 processor rather than an i5 processor would be a wiser decision if your goal is to future-proof your purchase. The one with an i5 processor might be cheaper but it will become obsolete faster.

Graphics Card (GPU)

gaming laptop gpu lifespan

The GPU, as we mentioned earlier, is responsible for rendering the images you see on your display. Nvidia and AMD are the most popular GPU manufacturers.

Just like the processor, GPUs get more powerful as technology advances. A good example of such advances includes ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technologies. 

Ray tracing tries to emulate how light works in the real environment to produce incredibly realistic shadows and reflections. DLSS, on the other hand, leverages the power of AI to boost your frame rate when playing graphically-intensive games. 

However, these technologies are designed for the newer Nvidia RTX 20 series graphic cards. 

To support ray tracing, on the previous GTX 10 series and 16 series GPUs you have to install some new drivers. And even then, you might experience a massive drop in the framerate with these new features enabled than if you used an RTX 20 GPU. 

Graphics cards that were released before the GTX 10 and 16 series graphics cards are already outdated and do not support ray-tracing and DLSS technologies out the box. 

With this in mind, you can expect RTX 20 series GPUs to get more popular as GTX 10 and 16 series GPUs slowly become obsolete over the coming years. 

Therefore, getting a gaming laptop with a more current GPU will serve you longer because it will likely be able to support graphics-related features that will be released in the future.

Cooling System

gaming laptop longevity cooling system

When running processor and graphically-intensive games and software, the CPU and GPU generate a lot of heat. And because these components are in an environment with limited airflow, temperatures can rise to very high levels.

Extreme heat is a major cause of premature hardware failure and CPU throttling. Throttling reduces the performance of your laptop and you may start to experience lags during gameplay. 

Every gaming laptop manufacturer has their own design of keeping temperatures under control. 

Some of these ways include using multiple high-speed fans, vapor chamber cooling, and using metallic casings that help dissipate heat better instead of plain plastic. 

Some even come up with their own ingenious methods. Take the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 gaming laptop for example. 

It is designed to allow a portion of its bottom to flex when opened. This creates an open space that improves air circulation and this helps the laptop run cooler and avoid throttling.

If your laptop’s cooling mechanism is not well designed, components on the motherboard will fail earlier than they should, drastically reducing its lifespan.

Chassis Quality

The chassis (enclosure) plays an important part in your laptop’s longevity. This is because it is responsible for holding your laptop’s internal hardware in place and protecting it from direct environmental elements such as dust and water. 

The material your chassis is made out of determines how well your laptop is able to survive abuse and withstand shock in case it is accidentally dropped.

For example, a chassis made out of aluminum is better at protecting your laptop than one made out of light plastic. On impact, aluminum tends to dent while plastic is more likely to warp, bend, or break. 

However, this does not mean that all gaming laptops chassis made out of plastic aren’t tough. In fact, most laptop chassis are made out of plastic and still last long. The quality of the plastic is what matters. 

Generally, high-end gaming laptops will have a more rugged chassis than budget laptops. The last thing you want is the life of your laptop to be cut short by a fall. 

What You Use Your Gaming Laptop For

gaming laptop use effects on lifespan

Obviously, gaming laptops are mainly designed to play games. However, they can also be used for other tasks that you’d normally do on a regular laptop or desktop.

Some games and tasks are more demanding than others and will put a lot of stress on mainly your CPU and GPU. Stress on these components means a lot of heat is generated, and as we mentioned earlier, it is a major cause of premature hardware failure.

For example, a gaming laptop used by a college student for casual gaming, browsing the web, and taking notes in class will likely last longer than another used mainly for heavy gaming, video editing, and downloading torrent files overnight. 

This is of course assuming that both laptops are the same model and all other factors are kept the same. The amount of load placed on a laptop ultimately affects its lifespan.

How You Treat Your Laptop

If you don’t take proper care of your laptop, it probably won’t last you long. Gaming laptops, like most electronic devices, have some parts that are very delicate. And doing certain things can cut down their lifespan. Things that can cause damage to your laptop include: 

  1. Dropping your laptop
  2. Accidentally spilling coffee or can fry your laptop’s motherboard
  3. Using your laptop on soft uneven surfaces such as your bed causes overheating
  4. Not cleaning your computer at least every 6 months 

What You Can Do To Make Your Gaming Laptop Last Longer

1. Pick A Gaming Laptop With The Best Hardware Your Budget Can Afford

Your budget ultimately determines if you can afford a high-end, mid-range, or budget gaming laptop. Avoid low budget laptops (usually under $ 800) because they tend to feature older hardware that gets outdated faster. 

Prioritize buying a gaming laptop with a better processor and graphics card over one with more RAM and storage. You can always update RAM and storage later. 

Also, check the specifications online to get an idea of the chassis quality and cooling mechanism implemented. If you find many reviews of users complaining about issues such as overheating, that’s a bad indicator.  

2. Clean Your Laptop Every Six Months

Every six months, it is usually a good idea to clean your laptop’s interior especially if you travel often or live in a dusty environment. Due to the limited space in a laptop’s interior dust and other particles tend to collect around the fan, vents, and components on the motherboard. 

This restricts airflow and can cause overheating. Before opening your computer to clean it, make sure you read what the manual says about the warranty; in some cases opening your laptop can void the warranty.

Also, ensure you unplug your laptop from the power supply before cleaning. If you do use compressed air to clean the fans, hold the fans to prevent them from spinning. Otherwise, you could damage the fan.

Unlike desktops, laptops can be a bit tricky to take apart and if you aren’t very tech-savvy you should seek the help of a technician.

3. Always Carry Your Laptop In A Laptop Bag

bag to make gaming laptop last longer

If you travel often, always carry your laptop in a laptop bag. Laptop bags have a well-cushioned pouch designed to protect your laptop from damage in case of an accidental drop.

4. Use An External Keyboard And Mouse When You Are Not On The Move 

PC gaming demands a lot of input from the keyboard and mouse. This often involves lots of right-clicking and left-clicking on your mouse as well as repetitive pressing of certain keys on your keyboard. 

If these parts fail your laptop becomes unusable. Finding a keyboard or touchpad replacement for your exact laptop model can be hard, especially if it was released years ago. 

However, if you use an external gaming keyboard and mouse to play games, and any of them fails, you can easily order another one online and plug it into your USB port and keep gaming. 

This reserves the inbuilt keyboard and touchpad for gaming on the go, allowing them to last much longer.

5. Keep Food And Drinks Away From Your Laptop

increase laptop life by avoiding spilling drinks

Water and electricity don’t mix. Therefore, by keeping drinks and food away from your laptop, you decrease the likelihood of spilling them on your computer and causing liquid damage. Apart from frying your computer, liquid damage can also lead to data loss if water gets into the sensitive parts of your hard-drive or SSD.

6. Keep Your Operating System And Antivirus Software Updated

By keeping your OS and antivirus software updated, you reduce the likelihood of malicious malware running in the background and causing your laptop to overheat. 

7. Use Your Computer On A Flat, Hard Surface

care to make gaming laptop last long

Most laptops have their air intake vents located at the bottom. Materials such as a duvet tend to fold and curl, thus blocking the air vents. If you have to use your laptop in bed, get a portable lap desk or place it on a cooling pad.

By placing your laptop on a flat hard surface you allow air to flow in freely and cool your system. This prevents overheating and extends your gaming laptop’s lifespan. 

8. Replace Your Computer’s Thermal Paste Every Few Years 

Thermal paste, also known as a thermal compound, helps keep the processor and graphics card cool by allowing them to make proper contact with the heat sink.

Sometimes poor application of thermal paste or failing to replace it after many years can be the main cause of throttling and overheating. Replacing it every few years improves heat dissipation and helps your laptop last longer.

9. Keep Your Laptop Plugged In When Gaming

Most laptops use lithium-ion batteries which have a limited number of charge cycles. Charging and discharging a laptop battery often causes your battery’s fail sooner.

Keeping your laptop plugged in when gaming not only improves its performance but also helps the battery last longer. 

You don’t have to worry about leaving your laptop plugged in because it has an internal circuit that protects your battery from overcharging.

How Long Do Gaming Laptop Batteries Last?

Gaming laptop batteries can last 1-2 years before needing replacement. Most laptops use lithium-ion batteries that have a limited number of charge cycles, after which they start to lose their capacity and ability to hold a charge.

How Long Do Gaming Laptop Batteries Last On A Single Charge?

On a single charge, gaming laptop batteries last 1-3 hours when playing games. But if you are using your laptop for light tasks, the battery can last between up to 8 hours. Gaming laptops are quite power hungry and it is recommended to keep them plugged in when gaming. 

Conclusion- Gaming Laptop Lifespan

How long your gaming laptop lasts will depend on how current the hardware is, the tasks you use it for, and whether you’ll take good care of it. Expect a new gaming laptop to last at least 3 years before it needs a replacement. 

If you take good care of it, you can push its lifespan to 5 years or more. However, keep in mind that past the 4-year mark, some of its hardware will be outdated or may need to be replaced.

Eustace is a technology enthusiast and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunication and Information Engineering. His passion and knowledge of computers, and technology in general, is channeled towards helping others understand complex concepts so that they can make better decisions.

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