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What Are the Pros and Cons of Overclocking a Laptop?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Overclocking a laptop, which is a method by which processors in a computer are set to run faster than normal, provides increased performance but can quickly overheat a system. Laptops offer fast and easy access to the Internet, though they can be difficult to use for gaming and similar applications. Overclocking a laptop, usually the graphics processor within it, can improve performance and allow a machine to run more demanding software. Doing this produces additional heat, however, which can be difficult to vent from a laptop and may potentially damage other computer hardware within the case.

The process of overclocking a laptop typically includes the use of software on the computer to alter the way in which one or more processors in it run. Basically, a processor is an internal clock that sends out a pulse that sets the pace at which everything else in the computer operates. A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a component that serves a similar function but deals specifically with the rendering and display of graphics on a computer, assisting the Central Processing Unit (CPU).

Overclocking a laptop increases the speed at which the CPU or GPU in a computer send out this pulse. This effectively speeds up all other processes and applications on that machine, allowing it to run faster than at normal settings. Someone overclocking a laptop might specifically increase the speed of the GPU to allow the computer to better run programs like computer games.

This is an effective way to boost performance on a computer, but it also produces a great deal of heat. After overclocking a laptop, the GPU runs faster, which means it generates more heat than it did under standard, factory settings. In a desktop computer, there are many ways to improve cooling, such as the addition of fans or use of a liquid-cooling system. Laptop computers, however, are a small, enclosed system and have far fewer cooling options.

Overclocking a laptop without making allowances for this increased heat can quickly lead to damage of the GPU or other internal components. The internal heat of a laptop can quickly double after being overclocked. There are cooling stands and mats that can be used with a laptop to combat some of this increased heat, and some people even make holes in the computer case and perform other modifications to improve cooling. Overclocking a laptop can also void any warranty that the computer's manufacturer may offer, especially for damage caused by overheating.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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