For PC gamers, gaming laptops are the perfect choice for those who love to game on the go. However, when gaming laptop fans get so loud, it can become annoying and interfere with gaming or anything else you are trying to do.
Gaming laptop fans get loud as a result of spinning extremely fast in an attempt to dissipate the heat produced by powerful internal components, such as the CPU and GPU that are placed in a confined space. Fans can also get loud due to software related issues.
The loud noise you hear is produced by hot air as it rushes out through your laptop’s air vents. Some people go as far as describing the noise as being comparable to that of an airplane taking off or a wind tunnel.
In this article, we’ll look at what’s normal and what’s not, possible causes of high fan noise levels, and what you can do to fix them.
Possible Reasons As To Why Your Gaming Laptop Fans Are So Loud
It is true that gaming and doing other processor and graphically demanding tasks increases fan noise. However, the fans shouldn’t get so loud that you can barely hear what the person seated next to you is saying.
Here are some reasons why your gaming laptop fans could be getting so loud:
1. Using Your Laptop In Bed
The air intake vents of most gaming laptops are located on the bottom panel while the exhaust vents are located on the side or back. So, by placing your gaming laptop on a soft cushion, for example, a duvet on your bed, you block these air vents.
Blocking the air vents increases the internal temperatures and causes fan speed to increase in an attempt to compensate for the lack of airflow and keep temperatures stable. In doing so, they can get very loud.
A solution to this problem is to always place your gaming laptop on a level firm surface. If you have to use your computer in bed, get a lap desk. It not only allows free air intake but also prevents your laptop from collecting dust and other materials from your fabric.
2. Too Many Programs Running In The Background
Having too many programs running at the same time (multitasking) puts a lot of stress on your laptop’s processor and therefore a lot of heat is generated. This ultimately causes fans to go into overdrive and become very loud.
If all of a sudden your gaming laptop gets unusually loud, even on idle, in most cases there’s usually a program running in the background. This is especially true if you recently made changes to your OS or downloaded and installed new software.
You can check these programs by going to your Windows Task Manager and checking the programs that are using up most of your CPU resources.
2. Ineffective or Poorly Applied Thermal Paste
Fans, heatsinks, and thermal paste all work together to cool your computer. Thermal paste, also known as a thermal compound, is used to improve heat transfer from the CPU/GPU to the heatsink.
Sometimes it can be poorly applied in the factory, making it less effective at heat dissipation. Over time, it can also lose its effectiveness and will need to be reapplied.
Without proper heat conduction, the heatsink becomes less effective at conducting heat, thus forcing the fans to work harder than they normally would.
3. Dust And Other Particles Collecting On The Fans And Clogging Air Vents
If you haven’t cleaned your laptop’s interior in a long time, dust and other particles may have collected around the fans and your laptop’s interior. This can restrict airflow in an already crammed chassis and clog the air vents.
Without free airflow, your laptop can overheat, making the fans spin fast, and as a result, fan noise levels will rise. Dust and other debris can also obstruct the fan blades or cause the fans to wobble as they spin, leading to undesirable fan noise.
4. The Game Or Software You Are Trying To Run Is Too Demanding
In order to provide gamers with more features, game developers are constantly adapting to newer technology. This applies to not only games but other software as well.
When new features and functionalities are added, more demands are placed on the graphics card and processor. Therefore, if you’re running modern games or software on an older gaming laptop the fans will likely get loud if your laptop hardware has become outdated.
It is common for old gaming laptops to maintain low fan noise when running older game titles but get loud when you try to run newer titles.
5. Poor Design Of The Laptop Cooling System
Gaming laptops are not designed the same, some have better cooling mechanisms than others. If your particular gaming laptop model has a poorly designed cooling system it will overheat no matter what and fan noise will always be a problem.
Sometimes, in an attempt to make gaming laptops more portable and lighter, manufacturers cram very powerful components into a very small chassis. This highly restricts airflow and limits the size of the fans and heatsinks.
Smaller fans have to spin much faster than larger fans to displace the same amount of air needed to cool the interior. The faster they spin, the more noise you’ll hear.
6. Hot Environment
Loud fan noise can also be as a result of using your gaming laptop in a very hot room. 10-35 degrees Celsius or 50-95 degrees Fahrenheit is the safe temperature to use your laptop.
It is more likely for a laptop to overheat in a hot room than in a cool room. Therefore, if you are using a thermostat in your room, check to ensure that high temperatures aren’t the cause of the loud fan noise.
Is It Normal For A Gaming Laptop To Be Loud?
When fans spin fast and produce a loud noise it usually means they are working super hard to drive out hot air that could otherwise cause permanent damage to internal components.
It is normal for gaming laptops to get loud when under load, especially when performing tasks such as gaming that engage both the processor and graphics card. But when doing light tasks, fan noise is supposed to remain fairly low.
When your laptop is idle, fans should spin slowly or at intervals when the internal temperatures rise past a set threshold. If your laptop is too loud even while idle, that is not normal and indicates a software or hardware issue that needs to be resolved.
Some laptops such as the Acer Predator Helios 700 come with a Turbo mode, which when enabled makes the fans very loud as seen in the video below.
Depending on the design of your gaming laptop, you may notice that one side may be louder than the other. Normally, the GPU (graphics card) fan gets louder than the CPU (processor) fan because oftentimes the GPU tends to run hotter than the CPU.
For example, if your GPU is on the right side, you’ll hear most of the noise coming from the right side.
How Loud Are Gaming Laptops?
The loudest component in gaming laptops is the fan. How loud a gaming laptop gets will depend on the design and size of its fans (thickness of the blades) as well as how fast they spin.
On idle, the noise level of gaming laptops ranges between 30-35 decibels (dB) and on load it ranges between 40-45 dB. With the fans spinning at maximum speed the noise level can reach 50-55 dB or higher. Noise levels that are 50 dB and beyond are considered too loud.
To put it into perspective, the noise level of a refrigerator is about 50 dB while that of a vacuum cleaner is around 70 dB. You can check out some common environmental noise levels here for comparison.
How To Make A Gaming Laptop Quieter
Making your gaming laptop quieter generally involves improving airflow to prevent your computer from overheating and eliminating any hardware and software related issues.
Ideally, when your laptop is under load you want your CPU and GPU temperatures to average between 70-80°C. Not only does this reduce fan noise, but it also prevents throttling. Here are a few things you can do to make your gaming laptop quieter:
1. Place Your Laptop On A Cooling Pad When Gaming
Laptop cooling pads can help reduce your gaming laptop’s internal temperatures by a few degrees and prevent overheating. They consist of a flat top surface with fans underneath it.
When you place your laptop on a cooling pad the fans at the bottom blow air on your computer’s bottom panel where the air intake vents are located. This allows your laptop to take in air more freely, thus allowing the fans to spin slower with less noise.
2. Clean Your Gaming Laptop Computer Every 6 Months
Cleaning your gaming laptop gets rid of dust and other fine materials that may be clogging up the air intake and exhaust vents. This improves airflow and helps reduce fan speed, which ultimately results in less noise.
While some people suggest blowing compressed air through the vents, it is only a temporary solution to cleaning your laptop. Taking your laptop apart is the best way to clean your laptop.
For this, you may need to take your laptop to a computer technician if you are not very tech-savvy.
Simply blowing compressed air through the exhaust and air vents disperses dust in the casing without actually getting it out.
If you choose to use a can of compressed air to dislodge dust from the fans, make sure you hold the fan to prevent it from spinning. Otherwise, you could damage the fan blades.
In addition, when cleaning, take note of whether the fans are spinning freely. If their rotation seems labored, you should consider replacing them, especially if it’s an older gaming laptop.
3. Replace faulty fans
Over time, your laptop’s fans can become faulty due to normal wear and tear. This can cause them to start to swirl, creating a loud, and sometimes squeaky, noise.
Therefore, if you’ve had your laptop for quite a while and have never replaced the fans, it would be wise to consider replacing them and see if that fixes the problem.
4. Undervolt Your CPU And GPU To Prevent Overheating
Both software are free to use, however, you’ll need to reference a few videos on YouTube to learn how to use them. Lower temperatures result in slower fan spin and therefore less noise.
5. Lower The Temperature Of Your Room
If your room is too hot, find a way to cool it as this reduces the chances of your laptop overheating. You can lower room temperatures by improving the air circulation in your room.
Some measures you can take include opening windows to improve airflow and adjusting your air conditioner’s thermostat settings.
6. Reapply Thermal Paste On Your CPU And GPU
Removing old thermal paste and reapplying a new one can help improve conductivity between the heatsink, CPU, and GPU. An even better solution would be to replace the normal thermal paste with liquid metal which is an even better heat conductor.
Application of liquid metal should be done with a lot of care so that it doesn’t spill onto the motherboard as it can cause short-circuiting when the computer is turned on.
7. Use Task Manager To Close Programs You Are Not Using
Through the Windows task manager, you can view all the programs that are currently running and close the ones you are not using at the moment. This reduces the load on your CPU hence less overheating and fan noise.
On Windows, use the “Ctrl+Shift+Esc” keyboard shortcut to access the Task Manager. Next, Right-click on the programs you want to close and on the pop-up menu that appears select “Disable”.
8. Always use your gaming laptop on a hard, flat surface
Placing your gaming laptop on a flat hard surface such as an office desk or table ensures that the bottom air vents take in air freely, thus keeping your laptop cool. A cool interior consequently results in less fan noise.
9. Adjust Your GPU’s Fan Curve Using MSI Afterburner
MSI Afterburner is a free software but you’ll need to play around with it to find out what works for your laptop. It helps you set how fast fans should spin in relation to temperature.
Check out the video below:
SpeedFan is also another great software you can use to adjust the fan speed. However, it has a bit of a learning curve because it is designed for power users.
10. Return Or Ask For A Refund if Your Laptop Is New
Just like with smartphones or other electronic devices, a gaming laptop can get past a manufacturer’s quality control team with a few flaws and having it replaced can solve the problem. So if you try all the above and nothing works, try this option.
Most manufacturers will offer a refund or replace your gaming laptop with a new one if it is found to be faulty. Be sure to do this within the time period stated in the warranty.
Conclusion- Why Your Gaming Laptop Fan Is So Loud
It is normal for gaming laptop fans to be loud, especially when you are playing a demanding game or running demanding software. But the noise levels shouldn’t be so high even when performing light tasks such as word processing, watching videos, and browsing the web.
If your laptop is too loud even when idle, that could mean there is a problem with the software, hardware, or the environment you’re using it in. If your gaming laptop is too loud even when idle, taking the above steps should help reduce fan noise.
if you determine there is nothing wrong with your gaming laptop but the noise still bothers you, you can get a good pair of gaming headphones to help mask the noise.