Games don’t make us rage, lag does. That’s a fact. Thankfully, there are a few ways for to improve PC gaming performance and avoiding big frame drops without having to spend money – or by having to spend very little money.
How to Improve Gaming Performance
- Lower your graphical settings
- Lower your game’s resolution
- Use performance mods for your games
- Close programs that are running in the background
- Make sure that your PC is not overheating
Lower your Graphical Settings
Your GPU needs processing power to render shadows, lighting, textures, etc. The more demanding that these are, the more powerful that your GPU will have to be to give you an adequate level of performance.
The good thing is that most games allow us to change graphical settings so that we can get a fine balance between good-looking visuals and performance for our particular GPU.
Powerful GPUs can get the highest level of graphical settings without sacrificing performance. Low-end GPUs, on the other hand, may require you to drop everything down to low and you may still not be able to run the latest games.
In my experience, shadows, ambient occlusion, and anti-aliasing are the most demanding graphical settings. Setting those to low or disabling them should give you an immediate performance boost without sacrificing too much eye candy.
The exact process of changing graphical settings differs from game to game. In most cases, you’ll be able to find them at Settings/Options → Graphical settings/Graphics settings or something similar.
For an example, in CS: GO, you can find the option of changing graphical settings at Options → Video.
Lower your Game’s Resolution
An image on your screen consists of multiple small pieces/dots that we call pixels. A higher number of pixels results in a crisp looking image while a lower pixel count may make things look blurry. The problem is that images/frames with a higher pixel count will ask more processing power from your GPU – especially in games.
To describe the overall number of pixels that are being drawn on the screen, we use a term called “screen resolution”. Screen resolutions are measured by pixels drawn in vertical and horizontal lines. Like, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080, etc.
The higher that your resolution is, the less performance that you’ll be getting out of a game. The lower that your resolution is, the more performance that you’ll be getting out of a game. It’s that simple.
The place where you can change your game resolution differs from game to game. But, again, more often than not, it can be found in your graphical settings and it should be named as “video resolution” or something similar.
Do keep in mind that different GPUs will see different performance increases when you tweak with the screen resolution.
Use Performance Mods for your Games
If you’re using an extremely outdated GPU, then chances are that you won’t be able to get an acceptable level of performance even if you drop your resolution and graphical settings down to the bare minimum.
In such extreme cases, extra measures are needed as well. Performance mods for games are created for improving your performance at the cost of almost completely sacrificing your visual fidelity.
Here’s the deal, though. The process of applying performance mods in games differs a LOT from game to game and it takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re not careful with following any manual steps that the modder provides, you may end up breaking your game as well.
With that being said, only look for performance mods when you’re getting a bit too desperate with how your games run. And as mentioned above, the process of finding and applying mods to various games differs greatly. So, I can’t provide you with a dedicated tutorial on that at this moment.
If you’re still interested in trying out performance mods, take a look at the LowSpecGamer’s videos on Youtube. He provides tutorials on how to apply performance mods for various games.
Close Programs that are Running in the Background
A common mistake that PC gamers make, is that they don’t close their running programs before launching their game. Programs that are running in the background consume CPU and RAM resources that your game needs.
If you’ve got a high-end computer then you probably won’t need to worry about such things. But, then again, if you had a high-end computer then you wouldn’t be here reading this article, would you?
So, before launching a game, make sure to close any background programs that you don’t need. You can do that by launching the Task Manager of Windows 10. To close a background program, right click on your taskbar, click on Task Manager, select the program that you don’t need, and click on End task.
Make sure that you won’t close any programs that are necessary for Windows or anything like that.
Make Sure that your PC is not Overheating
Overheating can result in thermal throttling which will greatly reduce your gaming performance. Thermal throttling is when one of your components lowers down its frequency to avoid reaching abnormal temperatures.
If your frame rate drops for a while and then jumps back to normal after a few minutes, then your computer is probably overheating and it thermal throttles itself to prevent any damages.
You can monitor your system temperatures by using 3rd party programs such as Open Hardware Monitor or anything like that. To learn the safe temperatures of your CPU and GPU, just look at their specifications online.
For an example, the specifications of my Core i5 3340m mention that my T-junction point (Maximum safe temperature) is at 105C. By using Open Hardware Monitor, I can see that my CPU only goes up to 74-76C under full load which means that my computer is generally not overheating.
If you find out that your computer is overheating then check out my other guide on How to Fix PC Overheating and you might be able to do something about it.