My gaming laptop kept stuttering when playing FIFA 12 while I had more than the minimum required specifications to play that game. I began to suspect a faulty graphics driver issue, but no matter how many driver updates I tried the problem was still there. I noticed however, that while running my laptop in a fully air conditioned building the stuttering did not occur. This led me to believe that the problem was not with the graphics driver but rather with the heat generated by the laptop.
There are many ways to cool down a laptop including cleaning, using commercial cooling pads or simply propping up the laptop. This Lifehacker article explains how this can be done by using bottle caps. Whichever method you choose to use the point is to improve air circulation and keep the operating temperature of the laptop at an acceptable level. Cleaning dust from the vents and fan of the laptop will help air to circulate while it is running. Propping up the laptop on small sturdy objects increases the airflow beneath the laptop also providing a cooling effect. Next time you are having performance issues with your laptop try this technique and see if there is any improvement.