How Do I Increase My Game Performance?

Games often require you to have a fast computer, especially newer games. If you encounter 25 FPS or lower in your games, then something is slowing it down and affecting your game performance. You should (if possible) be running a minimum of 30 FPS at all times or else it will be difficult to play the game smoothly. 

The following steps will help you to increase your game performance:

Step 1: Identify Your PC Specs

Getting your PC specs in one place in Windows is difficult so we suggest you use "HWiNFO" application. The tool is also great for troubleshooting overheating problems.

  1. Download it from HWiNFO here.
  2. Start it and click "Run" button and you should be shown a window like the following (minus the arrows):
    How Do I Increase My Game Performance?

Take note of everything with a red arrow next to it because you'll need them in the next section. Open Windows Notepad and copy/paste the following with the values of the corresponding numbers in the red arrows:

1) CPU Type:
2) CPU Turbo Speed:
3) Graphics Card Model:
4) Graphics Card Memory:
5) Total RAM Size:
6) Hard Drive Speed:
7) Operating System:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 will be mentioned in the specs of the game you're wanting to play. 6 won't be mentioned. 6 should be 6Gb/s. If its 3Gb/s then your computer is really old and that's where the main bottleneck is. It's time to do a total system upgrade (where you get a new Motherboard, CPU and RAM)

Step 2: Comparing PC Specs

  1. How old is the game you want to play? How old is your computer? If the difference between them is 2 or more years then that's why the game is running slow. Try lowering your graphics quality.
  2. What are the minimum specs for the game you want to play? The steam page or game product page will tell you. Take the minimum specs for the game and compare it to the values you uncovered in the previous step.

Step 3: Hard Disk Performance

If your hard disk is a mechanical hard disk (you can easily tell by the size if it's 2TB or more, chances are its a mechanical drive. Most SSD's are under 2TB due to high cost). If your disk is a mechanical drive then you probably need to defrag it. Why? It's because defragging puts all the files that the game needs to run in one continuous space instead of spreading out all over the hard drive.  You should defrag at least once a month, but it's better to do it daily (preferably during off-hours like at night).  Alternately, buy yourself an SSD and install your games on that drive instead.

NOTE: If your hard drive is an SSD, do not defrag it. Defragging an SSD does not improve performance but does decrease the lifespan of the SSD (by lifespan we meantime before it dies and you buy a new one).

Step 4: Processes: check your process list

Check your process list before starting your game. Often anti-virus software and other applications that read or write to the hard drive will slow down your game performance. Especially applications that defrag it, they really slow it down. Close all unneeded applications prior to launching your game. If your game is multiplayer make sure nothing is downloading on your PC or in your network. For instance, Netflix uses a lot of bandwidth. If someone is watching Netflix in your household and your multiplayer game is suffering from lag problems you have 2 options: tell them to stop watching or get faster internet.

Step 5: Game Tweaks

If your game is still performing poorly, here's how various in-game settings affect performance:

  • Screen Resolution: Extremely high screen resolutions will really hurt game performance. Try reducing it to 1920x1080 or even 1280x720.
  • Shadows: Sure, they add realism but they really put a lot of strain on your video card. Try putting them at low or even off.
  • Aniscopic Filtering: This makes objects ahead of you more clear. It's a real game performance hog, though, so you should leave it disabled if you're experiencing game performance difficulties.
  • Anti-aliasing: This makes the edges of objects slightly blurry. It also puts a lot of strain on your video card and unless you're really paying attention, you won't notice it most of the time. Leave anti-aliasing disabled for that extra performance boost.
  • Texture Quality: The last thing you can try is reducing texture quality. Higher textures take up more video card memory.

Step 6: Time to reinstall Windows

How long ago did you install Windows? If you can't remember or it's been several years then it's time to do a reinstall. Save everything you want to keep (game saves, music, documents, email, etc.) to a thumb drive and format your OS hard drive. Then reinstall Windows. Windows often slows down after a year or two due to uninstalled software leaving things behind. Also, consider cleaning up your machine with CCleaner.

Step 7: Maybe it's malware?!

If your computer is slow even on the desktop then there's the possibility that your computer is infected with malware (computer virus, trojan, worm, ransomware, etc.)! Depending on infection severity you might not even be able to recover files. Download ESET Online Scanner and do a complete scan (this can take several hours depending on how many files you have). Some malware is so nefarious that it can even copy itself to the firmware of your motherboard or hard drive and survive formats! Since Anti-Virus software is reactionary, sometimes it can't even detect the malware. So if your computer is really slow or application windows appear on their own then your computer is infected. You'll need to zero your drive (zero is different than formatting, zero destroys all data while formatting just empties out a partition). If you don't know how to do this, take the computer to your local computer repair store and ask them to zero your hard drive and reinstall Windows. Make sure you specifically say "zero my hard drive".

Step 8: Nothing else worked!

If you tried all these things and your game is still performing worse, then your next course of action is to upgrade your computer to increase your game performance.

  1. How much RAM does your graphics card have? If its less than 2GB, then you likely need to upgrade to a newer graphics card.
  2. How much RAM does your PC have? If its less than 16GB then you need to get more RAM.
  3. Do you use WIFI to connect to the Internet? Wifi is really bad for things like multiplayer games, depending on how much radio interference is in your area, you'll encounter latency and possibly packet loss.

If you want to run your game server as a Windows service you can do so with FireDaemon Pro and manage those services via your browser or phone with FireDaemon Fusion