13 Tips, Tricks And Secrets To Boost Your PC Gaming Performance

Crank your gaming rig up to 11...

If you recently bought, built or otherwise acquired your first gaming PC, congratulations. As a former console gamer who returned to PC gaming after a decade's hiatus, I can say that there's never been a better time than now to own one. The brilliant Steam platform, a flourishing indie scene, and the ever-growing capabilities of hardware have ensured that I haven't once glanced over enviously at what my console counterparts are up to... Ok, so there's Bloodborne on the PS4, but I prefer not to linger on that. Something you grow to love as a PC gamer is the amount of tweaking and micro-management you can do to squeeze the best gaming performance out of it. From stress-testing new settings to monitoring framerates, to tweaking in-game graphics to get the perfect performance/quality balance, PC tweaking becomes a whole game unto itself. But ultimately - for those of you who aren't liquid-cooling, overclocking junkies who just want to see how much they can rev their rigs before they explode - you tweak things on your PC to boost your gaming experience; you want your games to look beautiful and run smoothly, without putting your precious PC hardware at risk. Here are 13 things you can do to safely harness the power of your PC, without any upgrades, overheating or explosions.

13. Keep V-Sync Off... Most Of The Time

V-Sync (Vertical Synchronisation) is a feature you can switch on in an individual game to limit its framerate so that it doesn't exceed your monitor's refresh rate. Most standard monitors have a refresh rate of 60 hz or 75 hz (check this by going to the Display section of AMD Catalyst Control Center or Nvidia Control Panel). If you have a game that's running at a much higher frame-rate than your monitor's refresh rate, then the graphics card sends frames too fast for the monitor to respond, causing tearing (see picture). If you're suffering from this badly, then turn V-Sync on. Plenty of gamers - particularly those into online shooters - are happy to suffer the occasional screen tear and leave v-sync off because it causes slight input lag on the mouse.While this is barely noticeable in most cases, in the realm of online shooters in can cost you your life. V-Sync also limits your frame-rate to factors of your monitor's refresh rate, so if your frame-rate is 57 fps and your monitor refresh rate is 60 hz, then v-sync will knock your frame-rate down to 30 fps. For that reason, it's best to leave v-sync off unless you get noticeable tearing.
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Gamer, Researcher of strange things. I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.