It’s no secret that laptops generally have shorter lifespans compared to their beefier desktop counterparts. The smaller circuit board paired with the meager cooling can only do so much for itself. But you can always prolong that laptop lifespan in case you need more out of the device.
On average, a typical laptop can stay relevant for around three to five years before the components start “wheezing” while running the latest applications or games. However, the actual laptop lifespan (before one or a few components fail) is indefinite, especially if it’s well-maintained.
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That’s where you come in as a user in extending laptop lifespan. There are a few steps you can take in order to make the most out of your laptop’s heyday before you eventually have to replace it or sell it as a second-hand model in order to upgrade.
Follow these steps to prolong your laptop’s lifespan.
Don’t Strain the Battery While It’s Charging
If you’re fortunate and you didn’t get faulty computer components, then the typical other components that will go first will be the battery. These days, most lithium-ion batteries are smart enough to not overcharge themselves, but you can never be too careful with them.
Playing video games while they’re still charging (below 80 or 90 percent) is a good way to overheat the battery and wear it out. It’s not the heavy use that wears it down, but it’s usually the heat that’s the culprit.
Video games are the best example here since they’re the applications that can max out the laptop, but some productivity software such as Adobe Premiere Pro can also tax your laptop’s battery while it’s charging especially if it keeps maxing out the CPU.
So just to be safe, you might want to give your laptop some breathing room if it’s not yet at 100 percent battery life or near it.
Follow Ideal Charge Cycles
In addition to managing or prolonging the laptop’s battery, you’d also do well to keep its charge cycles in mind. As with most lithium-ion batteries, there’s an ideal charge cycle. Most experts recommend charging it at around 30 to 40 percent in order to not trigger the charge cycle.
Additionally, you can opt to not max out the charging process and stop at 80 or 90 percent for safer measures. Because apparently, lithium-ion batteries count their lifespan with charge cycles, with each cycle consisting of a low battery to a full charge.
By following the ideal charge thresholds recommended by most experts, you can “trick” your lithium-ion battery into not counting some charge cycles. Theoretically, this can prolong your laptop’s battery, thus prolonging its general lifespan, but in practice, it’s a bit hard to follow this or turn it into a mannerism; so just take it slow and perform this step as much as you can.
Additionally, you can also pick some conservative battery-saving parameters to help you keep charging to a minimum (as much as possible anyway).
Try to Keep Temperature Low
As we mentioned before, heat is the primary component killer for most electronics. Sadly, laptops are more prone to overheating due to their small and cramped cooling systems. It’s normal to see temperatures past 80 degrees Celsius for both the CPU and the GPU.
Generally, GPUs and CPUs are rated for around 100 degrees Celsius, but they’re far from optimal operating temperatures. You’ll need to find a way to lower these temperatures, and the best way to do this is by undervolting the GPU, which is typically the hottest component in a gaming laptop.
This practice will reduce the overall voltage and wattage of your laptop’s GPU. In turn, this will reduce the heat output of the component. It will also reduce performance, but the impact on that front is negligible. Meanwhile, undervolting can lower the temperature by around five degrees, give or take.
You can do this by following this in-depth guide in order to perform undervolting.
Since undervolting can reduce heat, it can also prolong the component’s lifespan and essentially lower the overall temperature inside the laptop’s chassis. This can also prolong the lifespan of adjacent components.
Blow Out the Dust
Of course, all that effort with the undervolting and battery-saving will have gone to waste if you forget about the most common enemy of computers, dust. They’re everywhere, and sometimes in surprising places.
Laptops with intake and exhaust ventilation will inevitably get dusty inside. They also usually don’t have proper mesh filters to maximize airflow.
Dust will inevitably get inside the case. So cleaning it regularly by opening the case and dusting off the components will go a long way in keeping the laptop running at its optimal capacity, particularly in cooling.
Do note that you will need something more specialized. Vacuum cleaners are out of the question; the static they cause can short some of the components. Rags and cloth might also do the same to a certain degree.
Your best bet is either a can of compressed air or a battery-powered blower cleaner made for computers.
If you notice your laptop overheating too much, being too noisy, or slowing down, make sure to check the grills or even the inside of the case for any dust buildup and clean it accordingly.
Don’t Smoke, Drink, or Eat Around Your Laptop
Dust is usually not your fault, but other contaminants near your laptop like food bits, liquid, or even smoke are also some serious, man-made offenders.
Smoking is even more serious for laptops since the intake fans will suck in the smoke and might cause grime and dirt on the surface of the components. This soot will be hard to remove with just a dust blower and you might need something stronger than alcohol to rub it off.
Of course, it’s self-explanatory why you should avoid placing liquids near laptops, or any wet food nearby. Enough liquid can and will short laptop components.
At the very least, make sure your laptop is placed in an elevated spot like a laptop stand in case you can’t resist not eating or drinking near your workstation in order to avoid some accidental spillage.
Some Things Might be Out of Your Control
With all that’s been said and done, do note that there might be other factors that you cannot control or affect when it comes to preserving laptop lifespan. It could be due to faulty manufacturing, low-quality components, or accidental short circuits caused by lightning.
Still, you’d do well eliminating human error or negligence as a factor when it comes to ruling out the causes of a laptop’s sad death. In any case, it won’t hurt to try these tips, especially if you have an expensive laptop.