After a long gaming session listening to your fans keep up with a red-hot PC, you might be wondering if gaming is damaging your computer.
Gaming itself won’t hurt your PC and even overclocking is unlikely to do serious damage. Any use will cause wear and tear that will eventually wear down your PC components, but gaming isn’t any more hazardous than anything else. There are some unique problems that come with gaming like more critical heat management, increased wear, and a few other problems you should know how to address.
Can gaming completely destroy your PC? Probably not, but there are some hazards that come with gaming.
9 Ways Gaming Might Damage Your PC
You want gaming to be something you enjoy, not something that’s going to damage your PC. Even though it’s pretty rare, there are some things that you should look out for to keep your PC safe during long gaming sessions.
1. Extreme Overclocking
Overclocking used to be a much more of a hot topic than it is today.
Today, your gaming PC likely comes with some software that will allow you to overclock. You can even overclock your graphics card with built-in software.
Overclocking has become safer than it’s ever been. However, overclocking used to be a little dangerous.
In the early days of overclocking, you ran a real risk of burning out PC components if you pushed things too far. You can still push things too far if you overclock using third-party software that can push your components beyond their limits.
2. SSD Read/Write Cycles
Solid state drives allow you to get faster load times. Gaming with an SSD also comes with the price of wearing down that SSD a little faster than you would otherwise.
SSD storage drives are rated to last for a certain amount of Read/Write cycles. Every time you fire up your favorite game, you’re going to be burning through a good number of these cycles.
However, it’s not probably not going to be enough to create any meaningful impact on your SSD. Unless you’re doing something extremely intensive, your SSD was likely built with heavy use in mind and can stand up to the demands of gaming.
A free program like CrystalDiskInfo will show you the total number of reads and writes, along with the health status of your drives:
3. Poor Heat Mitigation
A very real concern that you’re going to have to consider is heat mitigation. Your PC is going to get a lot hotter while you’re gaming then it will while you’re just browsing the internet.
This increased heat can damage the components in your PC. You can even run the risk of burning out your RAM or graphics card if things get too hot.
You need to make sure that your fans are properly installed in order to mitigate this increased heat that comes with gaming. If you have water cooling or other heat mediation solutions, you need to make sure that it can stand up to your most hardcore gaming sessions.
4. Rage Quitting A Little Too Hard
Let’s face it, we’ve all lost a game right at the last moment when we fumbled and absolutely clutch play. In the heat of the moment, you might be tempted to rage-quit a little bit too hard and throw your controller, but this is a great way to break your PC.
You don’t have to search YouTube or Tik Tok too long to find videos of people raging out and accidentally breaking their PC in the process. Heck, Gamer Thrones has a compilation video showing dozens of rage quits if you’re interested:
If you’re getting a little hot under the collar during a tense Fortnite shoot out, it might be a good idea to take a quick breather after the match. It’s better to take a short break than to be forced to take a long break when your PC accidentally goes crashing to the ground.
5. Poorly Installed Custom Builds
Building a custom PC is almost a rite of passage for PC gaming. There is an undeniable rush to seeing all of your parts show up in the mail and then assembling one of the most expensive Lego kits you’ve ever seen.
However, poorly installed custom builds are a pretty common way gaming PCs get damaged. Inserting and components too hard, bending CPU pins, or halfway inserting RAM are all great ways to accidentally brick expensive components.
If you’re new to building your own PC, make sure to watch plenty of guides beforehand. It’s even better if you can invite a friend over who has some experience putting together their own PC.
You should also be weary about rushing to the latest PC build trends. It’s tempting to build a mineral oil cooled fully submerged PC in an old aquarium, but that requires a lot of technical know-how.
6. Not Keeping Your PC Clean
You need to keep your PC clean in order to get the most out of it.
You’d be surprised how quickly dust, pet hair, and other debris get caught in your PC fans. Regularly cleaning your fans is going to help with heat mitigation and prevent that dust from building up inside your computer.
That dust is a great insulator and it’s going to be driving your PC temperatures up if you don’t take the time to clean it out on a regular basis.
7. Eating Near Your PC
Long stretches of gaming build up a mighty appetite, but eating next to your PC is a great way to damage it.
Small particles of food can fall into your keyboard which can cause keys to be sticky and lower your performance in your favorite games. They can also attract pests which can easily set up shop in the nice warm environment of your PC.
Who hasn’t accidentally knocked over a drink while at their computer? Having a little side table for drinks and snacks is a great way to lower the risk of accidentally spilling anything on your expensive gaming PC.
8. Viruses and Malware
If you play a lot of PC games, you should also be aware that your risk for viruses and malware is going to be a little bit higher than your average user:
- You should always double-check the source when you’re downloading a new game. This is less of an issue if you’re getting your games off of the platform like Steam or itch.io, but you should always be cautious when buying games from a third-party website.
- Looking up information on games often means digging through forums and plenty of old websites. Practicing basic internet safety is going to help prevent you from accidentally downloading a virus or malware while searching the internet for gaming tips.
- The same is true for downloading additional software like drivers, mods, and any other software you’re looking for an addition to your games.
- Finally, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-malware program (like Malwarebytes) installed in your computer, and have it scheduled to run regular scans automatically.
9. Laptop Gaming Problems
Here’s one area where gaming might actually do some damage to your computer.
Laptops aren’t really built for gaming. They’re mostly built for creative programs in office work. While they can handle gaming, it puts them under a lot more stress than your desktop PC.
You should be especially cautious about building up too much heat while gaming on a laptop. Never game with your laptop sitting on a blanket or another insulating surface that’s just going to make things even hotter.
Your laptop battery might also wear down faster if it’s constantly plugged in while gaming. In general, you want to go a little bit easier on your laptop than you would have to with a desktop PC even if they’re playing an identical game.