3 simple steps to speed up your favorite PC games

GPU costs are soaring through the skies due to the silicon chip shortage in the market. So while upgrading your GPU might be out of the question for a little while, here we bring you the tricks you can do to achieve some minor gains in your PC gaming performance.

Considering the ongoing shortages and price increases in the GPU market, many gamers have likely dialed down their upgrading ambitions a bit. Besides, squeezing some additional performance out of your current hardware is always worth a minor effort.

While tuning and tweaking can't perform miracles, most gaming PC owners can achieve modest performance gains – often at no cost whatsoever. So, without further ado, these are some of the most basic and effective tips that may benefit your gaming experience.

1. Boost your frame rates

Low frame rates, as measured in frames per second (FPS), is the #1 annoyance that gamers face and consequently the most critical issue to address. If you are into first-person shooters, you will likely want to reach a minimum of 60 FPS, whereas strategy gamers might get by with 30 FPS or better.

The graphics card (GPU) is the single most important component in the frame rate equation, so boosting its performance should be your priority. Make sure that your drivers are up to date, as newer games could see considerable gains thanks to driver enhancements.

However, overclocking will improve performance in every game and is practically always worth trying if you cannot quite reach your desired average FPS. There are several free overclocking utilities that will get the job done, such as Asus GPU Tweak, EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner (any will work regardless of the branding on your graphics card).

Use the overclocking utility to raise your GPU and memory clocks by a couple of percentage points at a time, while simultaneously stress testing your card with e.g., FurMark. Today's graphics cards are usually rather well optimized out of the box, but it is not uncommon to achieve a performance boost of around 10%.

2: Load your games from a fast SSD

Another issue that will put brakes on your gaming experience is when game levels load slowly, or get stuck for a short while when you reach new areas. Normally, the reason is that the game is copying all or parts of the current level from persistent stoMrage (hard drive or solid-state drive/SSD) to the computer's memory (RAM). In other words, these slowdowns are caused by a slow storage device.

If you are currently loading from a standard mechanical hard drive, you will usually see vastly improved loading times by moving the game files to an SSD. Just about any SSD is a huge improvement, but more recent PCI-Express drives are far faster than SATA SSDs. On the downside, they are a lot more expensive as measured in cost per GB, but you will likely find that the performance gains are worth it.

3: Find game optimization guides

The last step is not about general optimization but instead about tweaking the settings in individual games. While Nvidia and AMD now both ship their drivers with utilities that apply the recommended settings, there are often additional gains to be had.

Instead of doing all the tweaking and testing yourself, you can save a lot of time by searching the web or YouTube for an optimization guide by someone who has already done the heavy lifting. If the guide author uses a similar GPU and processor as you, this is an advantage, but not critical as the tweaks will mostly have the same general effect on any hardware.


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