How Long Do Gaming Laptops Last? A Lot, Actually


Asked how long do gaming laptops last, Reddit users will be quick to rush in with anecdotes of devices still running great after a decade. However, if you’re wondering if gaming laptops are a good investment, you have to be clear about what you’re expecting from your device.

Gaming laptops can last for a decade if you take care of them

Minus a huge technological breakthrough, like anti-aliasing back in the day, a high end or good gaming laptop should last a decade easily – but not necessarily for gaming

If you mainly use your laptop for browsing or light work, aka nothing really taxing to your GPU and CPU like gaming or video editing, a decade is pretty much guaranteed at this point. However, if you expect your gaming laptop to be futureproof at gaming, unfortunately the number drops dramatically.

Hardware-wise, a good gaming laptop can run the best games for about 1 to 2 years at max requirements, 3-4 years at medium requirements, and about 5 years for the basic requirements. That means that, if you buy a gaming laptop in 2024, odds are you’ll be able to play a AAA game even in 2030, although on minimum graphics quality.

Gaming laptops last longer if the cooling system works

Like any other tech, from PCs to consoles, phones and so on, you need to take care of your gaming laptop so it doesn’t overheat. Your machine’s cooling system is one of the critical components that dictates how long your laptop will last, as heat can and will degrade both performance and longevity.

To keep your gaming laptop running longer, invest in a laptop cooling pad and keep a close eye on dust. Always clean your cooling vents and keep a tidy desk without dust or animal fur that could get sucked into the laptop intake. If your laptop has loud fans even when not playing, it’s time for a careful cleanup.

If you want to go the extra mile, after your extended warranty expires, you can open up your gaming laptop and apply some new thermal paste for your CPU.

And that’s about it for maintenance under the hood. Of course, it goes without saying, if your gaming laptop lets you swap components, that will future proof your machine even further, as you can always get more RAM or more storage.

The most common breaking point on a laptop, hardware wise, is the hinge, followed by  the battery.

If you don’t open and close your laptop a lot, the hinge could last indefinitely. Also, even though you might be lucky enough to work remotely, don’t use your laptop too much outdoors, especially in sunny conditions. UV rays from the sun can make any plastic brittle, which will add stress to the hinge, and it’s much harder to prevent your laptop from overheating when you’re working outdoors in full sunshine.

As for the battery, it depends.

How long do gaming laptops last in terms of battery life?

Here, the laptop warranty gives you a hint of what to expect.

A laptop battery will have top performance for the first two years, perhaps even three, which is about as much as the warranty covers. Basically, you could treat your laptop like an iPhone – there’s no need to upgrade every couple of years but, if battery health drops to under 80%, consider getting a new one.

How many cycles should a laptop battery last?

According to Lenovo, a major laptop manufacturer, a laptop battery can last between 300-500 charge cycles, or, in real-time, between 2-5 years depending on your use. However, this isn’t a very accurate number because the definition of a battery cycle can vary wildly. 

PCWorld points out that one cycle can mean the battery was discharged by 20 percent five times, or 100 percent once. 

To check your gaming laptop’s battery health on Windows, do these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt by clicking the Windows button on your taskbar and typing CMD or Command Prompt.
  1. Type powercfg /batteryreport in the window that appears, after the blinking dash, and hit enter.

This will save a html file to your PC with the filepath C:\users\your user\battery-report.html. It’s easier if you just click your Windows icon again and type battery-report. 

Once you open that HTML file in your browser of choice, you’ll have a lot of details about your laptop’s battery life, which should give you a hint of how long it will last. 

In our own report we used both a laptop from 2017 that has been treated horribly and still handles day-to-day office tasks well, and one of our gaming laptops.

From water damage to sand in the internals and being left out on a sunny deck, the 7-year old laptop has seen it all. Unfortunately, the Battery Life report doesn’t give us any charge cycles, although real life experience tells us this poor machine can only do two hours on a charge. By contrast, two years ago, the machine, a tiny Lenovo ultrabook, could go for 9 hours on a charge. 

Still, that’s an ultrabook designed for light work using cloud-based services, not a gaming laptop being put through the wringer by a AAA or a poorly-optimized game.

For a gaming laptop, battery runtimes are usually much lower. Here’s how the test we ran on a Gigabyte Aero 15 gaming laptop looks like, and this is a machine that’s been kicking around the office for the past two years.

LaptopMag tested the most popular gaming laptops last year and found most of them run for just 4 hours on a charge. This can mean you do run through battery cycles much faster on a gaming laptop. It would be wise to budget for an earlier battery change, at the 2 year mark tops.

Also read: The Best 4K Laptops In 2023 for Gaming, Work or Both

Main photo by Fredrick Tendong on Unsplash

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