How can you make the most of your existing gaming PC?

It’s much more fun to play games when they are running smoothly, free from any lag or online time-outs. Gaming PCs, whether bought or home-built, are designed and optimized to run games, but you always need to make sure you can meet the minimum and recommended system requirements. In other words, you need the right hardware capabilities to begin with.

If your PC is new, it probably still meets the system requirements for the latest games, even if this requires a little bit of tuning. There’s no escaping the fact that aging gaming machines start to slow down, and it can feel like the only option is to buy a new one. If your PC only just meets the requirements for your games, there are steps that you can take to bring it back over spec. Here’s how to make the most of your gaming PC.

Photo by Jordan Hyde

Update and Optimize Graphic Cards

One of the main causes of poor performance when gaming, is an outdated graphics card. Graphics cards with the latest drivers will boost the performance on both newer and older games. If yours are out of date, consider upgrading or adding multiple graphics cards to your setup.

You can also optimize the frame rate and tweak the settings of your graphics cards to improve the performance of your games. A slight overclocking of the card can bring your graphics up to spec and is totally safe. Use tools like MSI Afterburner to overclock pretty much any GPU.

Install More RAM

Photo by Daniel Dionne (Flikr)

Installing more RAM is one of the easiest ways to improve performance.

Another very common problem is the amount of RAM you have available on your computer. When you are close to maxing out your RAM, the data will spill out over onto your hard drive, which will, in turn, clog up and slow down. The performance will, therefore, degrade if you do not address the issue, meaning either reducing the number of applications saved on your PC or adding more RAM.

It’s easy enough to upgrade your RAM. Though Windows can run on as little as 1GB, it’s recommended that your PC has at least 8GB of RAM for gaming in 2018/19. This will allow you to run most games. However, 16GB of RAM is more optimal, and it’s likely that you will never run out of memory if you have this setup. If you’re struggling with 8GB, add another 8GB to get going.

There are also 32GB setups available, and even higher, though these are pretty pointless unless you are looking to “future-proof” your machine. You will need a 64-bit operating system to run 16GM of RAM.

Reduce Start-Up Applications

Over time, you will install many applications of your gaming PC. Some of these will be set to run upon startup or will run in the background. Though you may not even notice these extra processes running, they take up resources and use RAM, eventually slowing down the performance of your machine.

Thankfully, this is a very easy problem to remedy, and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Use the manager or free tools to kill these applications and take control of your temporary files. Use system configuration, go into “Services” and select “Hide All Microsoft Services” and then “Disable All”. You can also shut down your web browser and any other active applications to free up space before starting up your game.

A general clean up of temporary internet files, windows files and programs will also help to free up extra hard drive space. If you really don’t have enough space, consider purchasing more hard drive or cloud storage, but cleaning up your files often makes this unnecessary.

Stream and Compete

There’s more to getting the most out of your gaming PC than upgrading and optimizing. It’s also about the experience of gaming, and how you can get involved once your performance issues have been put to rest.

Gaming is now more than just a niche hobby. It is an international pastime with its own communities and competitions. You can stream your gaming sessions to the world in real-time, build an audience and even playing apps for real money. Every type of gamer streams on Twitch, from VR poker, streamed by Jamie Staples, to Fortnite streamers with millions of followers.

Competitive gaming is another way to spice up your gaming life. E-sports is now massive, and there are many PvP tournaments to aim for. Of course, you have to be good to make it, and your gaming PC is the perfect place to get hours of practice.

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