How to Optimize Your Computer for Gaming
Gaming evolves every day, and you want to be sure your computer is up to the task. Many factors influence your computer’s gaming performance, some upgradable, others not so much. Here’s a rundown of how you can bring out the best in your machine.
The Memory Myth
A common misconception is that more RAM (random access memory) equates to better gaming performance. Installing more RAM helps you run more programs simultaneously and reopens frequently used files faster; it won’t turn a slow PC into a super gaming machine. Multiple benchmark tests at 4 GB, 8 GB and 16 GB RAM configurations across various computers showed little to no improvement in FPS (frames per second) in some of today’s most popular PC titles, as Tech Buyers Guru explains. RAM speed can, however, make a difference if you’re using integrated graphics like an AMD APU.
The Hard Drive Dilemma
The type of hard drive matters more than storage capacity (which is also important). Solid state drives (SSDs) consume less power and seek and transfer data much faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), according to Best Laptop For Gaming. This means you can play games longer and enjoy faster load times. If you’re on a budget, consider upgrading to a 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute) HDD over slower 5400 RPM models. Faster HDDs consume more power, so be sure to plug in your AC adapter if you go this route. Consider an external hard drive if you need more space to store downloaded games.
Your computer’s CPU (central processing unit) has a huge impact on gaming performance. Most mid-range laptops and desktops use dual core or quad core processors. Fast dual core processors are sufficient to play many games, but more games are moving toward the quad core configuration. If you plan to play the most popular games for years to come, invest in a quad core CPU.
The Graphics Card
Your computer’s video card or GPU (graphics processing unit) is the most important piece of the puzzle. A powerful GPU enables maximum FPS and eliminates lag—the bane of multiplayer games, especially first person shooters. HD (1920×1080 or higher) graphics depend on a brawny GPU. The highest end gaming laptops come with a dedicated GPU and video RAM that can tackle even the most demanding games, albeit at a hefty price tag. Choosing your GPU configuration is crucial from the start, as the chip is soldered to your computer’s motherboard and can’t be removed or replaced.
Some games play better with a mouse, others with a joystick. Choose an ergonomic device to keep your hands comfortable through long periods of gaming. Most accessories offer USB or Bluetooth support. Comfortable headphones or a high-end sound system can enhance your gaming experience, but prepare to pay for quality.
Cleaning Your Computer
A clean computer is a faster computer, and a faster computer is better for gaming. Here are a few tips for making your machine leaner and meaner:
Close unnecessary background programs.
Avoid running too many programs at once.
Run regular virus and spyware scans.