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Improving Laptop Game Performance

February 8, 2013 8:19:51 AM

Hi there.

I'm a pretty avid gamer, but I don't normally play much on PC. (primarily a console gamer)

Anyways, off to college, parents got me a laptop for a High School Graduation gift last summer. It's decent at running some older games, especially Valve ones, but I'm starting to get more and more into PC gaming. My main limitation is the Integrated Graphics card (or chip, or whatever it's technically called). It works fine for casual stuff, and as a console gamer I'm more than comfortable with 30 FPS, but I'm starting to eyeball and pick up some games that just push my system to, and often beyond, its limit.

Lenovo T530 Thinkpad
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3360M CPU @2.80 GHz
4.00GB RAM (3.73 Usable)
Windows 7 64 Bit OS
Intel HD 4000 Integrated Graphics

I can run Payday: The Heist on a comfortable 30 FPS, most Valve games on Max, and even Metro 2033 on comfortable settings, but I'm looking to expand my library a bit, and also am having issues with some games I already own (like Arma II). I have done everything I know to optimize my system, but it just doesn't cut it sometimes, whether it's games looking extremely ugly on minimum and bugging me to up the settings, or even games just not running well at all.

So here's my question: What can I do to squeeze some extra juice out of my system?

Things I've (mostly) ruled out:
1. Buying new parts, or even a desktop PC. I'm on a pretty strict budget, what with having to pay rent and buy my own food, and save up money for college. And games themselves are pretty expensive on their own! I'm just looking to get the absolute most out of what I already have, although if you do know a relatively inexpensive and easy way to boost performance, I'm certainly open to suggestions.

2. Opening up my laptop. I'm still under Warranty, and I have very little experience with hardware. The last thing I want is to break something over trying to run Crysis.

3. Overclocking. Similar to #2, I'd rather not melt something or cause my GPU to go bad. I'd rather have poor games than no games, just looking at my options. Unless I know for sure that the card can handle it (i.e. I've heard of some IG's being supplied with less power than normal with some certain Ivy-bridge processors), I'd like to avoid this.

Things I've already done:
1. Closing down everything except the actual game. (duh)
2. Using Gamefire to try and minimize external processes.
3. Using the best Power Plan that I can to maximize performance.
4. Keeping my drivers updated.
5. Setting my graphics options to maximize performance with the built-in Intel app
6. Lowering the resolution in some cases where I just need to get something to run.

Tl:D r I have a laptop that I'd like to optimize for gaming. I know that I'm asking for something that may not even exist, and I can live with it if such is the case, but any suggestions otherwise would be appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to read my question.