How to optimize PC for gaming & increase FPS
Squeeze more out of your system and increase FPS with these optimization tips
If you are playing games on an older PC, a budget gaming PC, or your new shiny system just simply isn’t living up to its full potential, we are on hand with some optimization tips. This article will run through a few simple tricks that could net you a performance boost and get your FPS higher in Windows. Optimizing your PC for gaming and how to increase FPS go hand in hand, with a few of the methods requiring no downloads at all.
While you may have built a gaming PC, computers after all are multipurpose. A PC isn’t quite as straightforward as a console, which essentially plugs in and is good to go. Gaming desktops require driver updates to run effectively and there is always a bunch of background processes running that you may not even be aware of.
Why optimize your PC for gaming?
There is nothing worse than spending hundreds, sometimes thousands, on a gaming PC for it to underperform. Whether you’ve got unexpected in-game results or just want to ensure your PC is running optimally for gaming, these steps can achieve that. Make sure you are getting as much value out of your money as possible and push for those extra frames, even it’s a small amount.
Low FPS means your PC is either not powerful enough or there is something drastically wrong somewhere. When gaming your CPU, GPU, RAM, and to a lesser extent, SSD all work together to provide a smooth experience. FPS can drop because of the points above or a bottleneck.
Whatever the reason, everyone hates low FPS but if the several steps in this article do not help you achieve the numbers you desire, an upgrade may be required.
Some of us will continue to play on the same system until the games we love become unplayable. An aging PC can struggle with the latest game releases, with AAA titles often taking full advantage of the latest hardware technology.
When your PC starts to age, overclocking or even turning the in-game settings down can be your best bet but some of the steps below could also help you push your old computer further.
If you have a brand new gaming PC with high-end components but you aren’t quite getting the results you expected, some of these tweaks could help. Worst case scenario one or more of your components could be faulty, however, don’t panic just yet, it could be as simple as installing a driver to unlock the potential of your new card.
How to increase FPS and optimize your gaming PC
Keeping your system up to date is one of the first steps to take and can make all the difference. Now, what exactly does that mean? Make sure Windows has the latest updates installed and, more importantly, your GPU drivers are up to date. Windows can automatically download and install updates as soon as they’re available, however, graphics cards and other hardware require a bit more work.
Before we get started, let’s make sure Windows is up to date:
- Go to the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop
- Click the ‘settings’ tab (the little wheel)
- Find and click the Update & Security tab
- Inside Update & Security make sure to click on Windows update tab
- Inside Windows update, you will see any outstanding updates waiting for installation
- Install, restart, and reboot
Now Windows is up to date, let’s create a restore point, so if anything we change you are unhappy with, we can revert back.
Create a restore point
- Type ‘Create a restore point’ into your Windows search bar and open.
- Click your system drive and click ‘configure’.
- Next, turn on system protection and turn it up between 2-5% with the slider.
- Click ‘ Apply’, then ‘OK, then ‘Create’.
- Now, type in any name you desire and click ‘Create’
Make sure your GPU drivers are up to date
Your GPU driver not being up to date could be the difference between smooth gameplay and choppy FPS. We need to ensure your graphics card is working as effectively as it possibly can and if you have never installed graphics drivers before, you could notice a decent boost in performance with some games.
Quick how to:
- Find the make and model of your graphics card
- Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for ‘Drivers’ and find your GPU model
- Download and install drivers
- Reboot your system and you are up to date
If you have no idea what your GPU model is, head to the Windows Start menu and type in ‘Device manager’. Select device manager and then click on ‘Display adapters’ to see your GPU model.
Use Windows Game Mode and increase FPS
There are many programs out there that will close down all the non-important background processes, freeing up a bit of CPU usage. It can be in your best interest to make sure things like Internet Browsers and other applications on your desktop are closed down before gaming too for the same reason.
Windows has a built-in ‘Game Mode’ which has been created to take care of the above for you. With this enabled your PC will also prevent Windows updates from taking place, so is well worth your while if you are having consistent issues.
To turn it on, type ‘Game Mode’ into your Windows search bar and open Game Mode in your settings. Now, click the slider, and you’re done.
Increase FPS with this easy Windows setting
Type in ‘This PC’ and open. Next, you want to right-click ‘This PC’ in the menu to the left and select ‘properties’.
Once in the properties, select ‘Advanced system settings’ on the right and click the ‘Advanced’ tab’. Now click ’Settings’ under the ‘Performance’ section and then click ‘Adjust for best performance’.
That’s you done but you can click ‘Custom’ and turn on a few different things for your own pleasure if needed.
Set Windows power settings to high performance
Another really quick change you can make to Windows is in the performance settings, which by default are set to balanced meaning windows will set your CPU speed to only use the power required to run the tasks currently open. It does this to save overall power and battery life in laptops, so for gamers, this is not the optimal setting to use.
Changing your performance plan is really straightforward, below are the steps required to optimize this:
- In the desktop search bar type ‘Power Plan‘
- The pop-up window will display your current settings and a ‘change advanced power settings‘ below
- Click the tab to bring up advanced settings
- In the drop-down menu select the ‘High performance‘ and click apply
Optimize in-game settings and resolution
Every game will allow you to lower your resolution, which will help your GPU output more frames per second. Not playing in a native resolution can make the game you are playing look a bit rubbish, however, this step may give you the frame boost you need for a smooth experience.
Aside from the resolution, you can also change your in-game settings. Lowering your presets or finding an optimization guide for a specific game will again allow you to push a higher frame rate. It isn’t just graphical detail you can tweak in the settings either, look into AA (anti-aliasing) and other game-specific settings like draw distance to get your FPS higher.
If you have an Nvidia graphics card, you can make use of their GeForce Experience game settings optimizer. This application will allow you to choose between performance and better detail and then automatically pick the right settings for your hardware.
Getting lag spikes online?
For those that love multiplayer gaming, there is nothing worse than lag spikes. If your internet isn’t particularly good anyway small things like streaming video or using wifi can have a big impact on the lag you experience in-game.
Ideally, you need to stop streaming whenever you play and if you can, connect via an ethernet connection for a more solid experience online.
If you are at the stage where these tweaks are making little difference, it could be time for an upgrade. Upgrading is a costly affair and recent stock issues have really made it a bit of a headache for gamers out there.
Upgrading your CPU and GPU are going to cost you the most money but they will obviously make the most difference for gaming. What you may be surprised about is that a small RAM or storage upgrade can also have a reasonable effect, without impacting your bank balance too much. If you are still rocking a HDD, please buy an SSD, it is going to make your gaming life much easier. With an SSD, your windows loading time will be reduced massively, as will any game installed onto it. For example, PUBG on an HDD took anywhere from 45-60 seconds, when transferred to SSD loading time was reduced to under 10 seconds. So you can clearly see the benefits.
If you are still on 8GB of RAM but have a half-decent system, doubling up to 16GB could be an affordable way to get a small boost.
Whether you want to push an old system to its limits or squeeze all the value you can out of your PC build, the tips above on how to optimize a PC for gaming should help you increase FPS. Worst case scenario here is paying for an upgrade and everything above should put you in a great spot to play games at a consistently smooth level.
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