There are lots of rumors surrounding gaming laptops and whether or not you should plug them in while gaming. So let’s get down to the truth about gaming laptops and when to charge them.
Do Gaming Laptops Need To Be Plugged In While Gaming?
Gaming laptops should be plugged in while gaming. Gaming laptops use a lot of power due to their hardware (high-end CPU, dedicated GPU, etc). If a gaming laptop isn’t plugged in while gaming, then its components will not get enough power, thereby limiting its performance and draining the battery.
Gaming laptops are so good at running games because they have high-tech hardware inside of them. One of the most important pieces of hardware inside of a gaming laptop is the GPU.
GPUs actually require considerable power to run properly. Because of this, most gaming laptops have a feature that will lower the GPU’s clock speed when the laptop is unplugged.
If your GPU’s clock speed is lowered, then the GPU’s performance will drop and you could go from 120 FPS down to 30. So, unplugging your laptop while you game will directly impact its performance.
Now, if your laptop does not hinder your GPU’s performance when it’s not plugged in then your frames won’t drop.
However, this means your laptop will be sucking up and using a ton of energy from the battery, and nothing will be recharging that battery since it isn’t plugged in.
This means that your gaming laptop will probably only last about 30 minutes before it dies on you. So no matter which way you slice it, you’re going to want to plug your gaming laptop in while you game.
How Long Will A Gaming Laptop Battery Last Without Being Plugged In?
A gaming laptop battery will only last about an hour without being plugged in if you’re playing games on it. If you are just browsing the internet or watching videos, then the gaming laptop will probably last about 2-3 hours. Gaming laptops also have worse performance when they are not plugged in.
Unfortunately, even the best gaming laptops are not built to last a long time if they’re not plugged into some kind of power supply.
If you plan on playing games on the laptop, then you should probably only expect an hour of gameplay at most when you’re not plugged in. Keep in mind that this hour of gameplay will also be severely handicapped.
GPUs require lots of power to run at their full potential. So if you unplug your gaming laptop, it will most likely limit your GPU’s performance in an effort to conserve power.
This power limit will likely make your games lag, sometimes severely. However, it will also extend your gaming session.
Most gaming laptops allow you to turn off this power-limiting feature, but doing so will mean your laptop will die even faster.
If you play games on a gaming laptop that isn’t plugged in and that isn’t limiting its power usage, you’ll probably only get about 30 minutes worth of gameplay before your computer dies.
Now, if you’re doing things besides gaming on your gaming laptop, then you can squeeze many hours out of it while it’s unplugged.
How many hours you can get will depend on your specific laptop and its battery, but two or three hours is average. With that being said, you should always have your gaming laptop plugged in when playing games.
Is It Ok To Leave A Gaming Laptop Plugged In 24/7?
It is okay to leave a gaming laptop plugged in 24/7. In fact, it is actually better to leave a gaming laptop plugged in than to use it while it isn’t plugged in. The only time you do not want your gaming laptop plugged in is when you are not using it. Leaving your laptop plugged in 24/7 is fine, though.
You pretty much always want to have your gaming laptop plugged in. If you try to play on your gaming laptop when it isn’t plugged in, your performance will take a huge hit.
Your CPU and GPU both need a lot of power in order to run at their full potential.
If your laptop isn’t plugged in while you game, then either your performance will take a huge hit or your laptop will die after about 30 minutes.
Now, whether you should leave your gaming laptop plugged in or not overnight or when you’re not using it is a personal preference. You won’t hurt your laptop by leaving it plugged in.
I have left my laptop plugged in 24/7 for the better part of 6 years and have not had any issues.
When your laptop isn’t in use and it is just idling, it also isn’t using a lot of electricity so you don’t even have to worry about your electricity bill.
How Can You Save Laptop Battery While Gaming?
You can save battery life on your laptop when you game by turning your brightness down and closing unnecessary applications. If you shut down programs like Cortana that do not add to your gaming experience, your laptop’s battery will last longer. Less demanding games will also use less power.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do about your laptop’s battery life when gaming. This is why it’s recommended to keep your laptop plugged in when you play games.
Lowering your screen’s brightness will help a bit, but it won’t add hours onto your play time.
Other than that, you should shut down any and all unnecessary programs. This includes Cortana, your internet browser, and even Windows Explorer (make sure you know how to get it back after, though).
Of course, playing less demanding games will also help your laptop last longer. Playing 3D games with nice graphics and high-resolution textures is going to use a lot more power than playing 2D indie games.
This is because the GPU in your laptop is a huge power draw, so the more pressure you put it under, the faster your laptop will die. So if you can’t plug your laptop in, I recommend sticking to a game like Stardew Valley and not Apex Legends.
If you have any questions, or just want to hang with me, follow me on Twitch here. Also, for streaming tips and how to’s make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.