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How to optimize my old laptop to play some games?

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  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
March 11, 2013 2:47:44 AM

Hi
So I have a Asus M50VM series laptop that's about 5 years old, here are the specs:
OS: Windows 7 x64
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 2.53Ghz
Memory: 4gb
GPU: GeForce 9600M GS

I switched to desktop two years ago but recently I have the need to use the laptop again. It runs at about 55-60 degree Celcius a couple minutes after startup in a 18 degree room. It performs tasks like web browsing and watching youtube fine, but if I try to play any game or use more intensive apps like 3ds max or adobe premiere it would go up to 75-80 degree and it often just freezes the whole computer. My goal is to optimize it so it can at least play some less demanding games on lowest setting.

I realize having a 64bit OS on a system with only 4gb memory was a dumb move, so I'm wondering if I can reinstall a 32 bit version of either Windows 7 or XP and reduce the heat problem? If anyone have any suggestions to help me better optimize the system without hardware upgrades I would really appreciate it.

More about : optimize laptop play games

a b D Laptop
March 11, 2013 2:56:20 AM

What games? What are your expectations?

Unfortunately, that laptop is old and your expectations might be too high for modern games. :( 
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March 11, 2013 3:06:13 AM

some really old games like the original fallout collections, baldur's gate, Age of empires, and recent 2D indie rogue-like games like FTL, dungeon of dredmor, etc. And maybe even dota 2 on low setting and low render, which I was able to run a couple month back it just gets the laptop to about 75 degree.
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March 11, 2013 3:13:10 AM

I'd say look it as a great 2008 and treat as one. Wipe it all, install XP SP3 with the security, then play games of "that era". Laptops alway run hotting than desktops, I'd say an extra 10 degrees is normal if not more. Choice of OS doesn't affect heat. And if nothing else, the XP OS helps keep you grounded in gaming expectations and keeps upgrades in the front of your mind.
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March 11, 2013 3:22:14 AM

abbadon_34 said:
I'd saw look it as a great 2008 and treat as one. Wipe it all, in all XP SP3 with the security, then play games of "that era". Laptops always running hotting than desktops, I'd say 10 degrees is normal if not more. OS doesn't affect heat. And if nothing else, the XP OS help keep you grounded in gaming expectations and keep upgrades in the front of your mind.


Good points, I was thinking of wiping everything and get XP and hope I'll get better performance. Just out of curiosity, are there any simple upgrades that can help revitalize an old system like this without getting too costly? Only thing I know about upgrading a laptop is putting in a SSD.
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March 11, 2013 3:36:11 AM

The SSD help with the start, loading, and response time, but once in the game it's no different. You can try a little overclocking, but be conservative, as laptops already run hotter than desktops. Low latency ram *might* make a improvement at least on some apps, but I'm guess the cost isn't worth the marginal gains, IF ANY you would notice. As you know, you're pretty limited.
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March 11, 2013 9:25:58 AM

harry781012 said:
Hi
So I have a Asus M50VM series laptop that's about 5 years old, here are the specs:
OS: Windows 7 x64
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 2.53Ghz
Memory: 4gb
GPU: GeForce 9600M GS

I switched to desktop two years ago but recently I have the need to use the laptop again. It runs at about 55-60 degree Celcius a couple minutes after startup in a 18 degree room. It performs tasks like web browsing and watching youtube fine, but if I try to play any game or use more intensive apps like 3ds max or adobe premiere it would go up to 75-80 degree and it often just freezes the whole computer. My goal is to optimize it so it can at least play some less demanding games on lowest setting.

I realize having a 64bit OS on a system with only 4gb memory was a dumb move, so I'm wondering if I can reinstall a 32 bit version of either Windows 7 or XP and reduce the heat problem? If anyone have any suggestions to help me better optimize the system without hardware upgrades I would really appreciate it.


This system should not be having issues with the games you quoted. If it's getting that hot and then freezing, there's going to be some kind of issue with the hardware rather than that you're demanding too much from it, IMO. I would recommend blasting out the fan vents, and possibly reseating the heatsink/fan after a new application of thermal grease. There was an issue about the time you purchased the system with nVidia mobile chipsets getting very hot, to the point of lockup/visual issues due to overheating, but I checked the model list and no Asus systems were on the recall list. That doesn't mean there's a problem with your specific card, but I would start by making sure there's nothing preventing the system from cooling properly. Five years is plenty of time for the cooling components to accumulate dust, and with a laptop it doesn't take much blockage to be a big problem.

Regarding 64bit versus 32bit Windows 7...it shouldn't make a difference, honestly, especially with the games you're playing. It certainly won't have anything to do with your lockup problems. Dropping to a 32bit OS (win7 or XP) will just make you lose the additional ~800mb of RAM that the 64bit version gives you access to. Some games may not be compatible with Win7 64bit, but that's a different issue.
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March 11, 2013 10:13:23 AM

it's good enough for Skyrim/WoW/Dragon Age and many many games.

just get a clean win7 64bit and then google "How to Disable Unnecessary Services in Windows 7". turn off explorer.exe and play games on low or medium settings.
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a b D Laptop
March 19, 2013 4:44:02 AM

Or .... you could get a bit Diy , as that asus has an expresscard 54 , you could make or buy a external graphics adapter that plugs into your express card. You would need to stick to windows 7 to do this , it handles multiple graphics cards much better than windows xp , read about this here

http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/grap...


my other suggestion would be a laptop cooler , something like this - http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-NotePal-Configurabl...
you may even be able to get away with just the cooler, most laptops after running hot for a long time will shutdown due to their thermal override so if your happy ish with game performance it could just be a heat issue.

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a b D Laptop
March 19, 2013 5:36:12 AM

Your laptop could easily handle almost any DirectX 9 game (the aforementioned Skyrim, WoW and Dragon Age: Origins and the like). You've probably somehow toasted your thermal paste on your CPU and GPU. If you're brave enough to open your laptop up (your warranty is already gone anyway so you might as well go ahead) and remove your HSF (the long copper bar/fan) you should be able to use rubbing alcohol to clean the existing paste off of the HSF and the CPU/GPUs. Look up a YouTube video on how to reapply said paste. This should help you the most temperature-wise.
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a b D Laptop
March 19, 2013 8:40:14 AM

I say clean it. Remove any scumware. Open the case up and remove any/all dust you can. 9600m won't max out games but it should play most anything out there.
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a b D Laptop
March 19, 2013 6:14:20 PM

yeah clean it, and i also mean physically clean it, from dust and everything.
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May 25, 2013 4:14:13 AM

nbelote said:
Your laptop could easily handle almost any DirectX 9 game (the aforementioned Skyrim, WoW and Dragon Age: Origins and the like). You've probably somehow toasted your thermal paste on your CPU and GPU. If you're brave enough to open your laptop up (your warranty is already gone anyway so you might as well go ahead) and remove your HSF (the long copper bar/fan) you should be able to use rubbing alcohol to clean the existing paste off of the HSF and the CPU/GPUs. Look up a YouTube video on how to reapply said paste. This should help you the most temperature-wise.

though I didn't see your post before, I actually did exactly what you describe last week and the temperature have been around 50-60c in 25-30 degree room temp :) 
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June 5, 2013 2:35:08 PM

I have the same laptop, and I still play skyrim, fallout 3/nv, and a host of other recent, but slightly older games (like crysis, etc). just play around with graphics settings to get a happy middle of playability and aesthetics.

first off, i don't know too much about computers, but I like to think that my common sense and logically trained brain can feret out basic issues.

try to clean it and keep it clean. maybe try that thermal compound stuff the other poster mentioned. I keep my computer pretty clean with an occasional compressed air cleaning, and even more occasional opening up the under side and going crazy with the canned air.

it will always run pretty warm, but I only had a problem once. after opening up the back, there's a little thermometer attached to a wire. it came lose and found a home too far away from the hot parts (cpu or gpu) so the fan wouldn't turn on as necessary, and I had a couple shutdowns. by dumb luck and a failure to solve the problem listening to the advice of others, i assumed it was a thermometer and unanimously decided it was the culprit. i moved it closer to hot stuff and the problem was solved. it's only held down by a little piece of tape that will lose its stickiness over time. i just set it somewhere warm and everyone's happy.

also, I would not change from windows 7-64. the 32 bit doesn't recognize all your memory.
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