If you’re a PC gamer, a low frame-per-second (FPS) rate can mean lag and choppy gameplay. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your gaming experience, from updating your operating system and drivers to upgrading your hardware.
Try these quick fixes to get your FPS up and keep your games running smoothly.
1. Upgrade Your Graphics Card
The graphics card is one of the most important parts of a gaming computer. It is responsible for rendering images on a display, including photos, video games, and even your regular desktop environment.
If you are having trouble playing recent Triple-A games without dropping your game settings to the lowest setting, it may be time to upgrade your graphics card. This can make a massive difference in gameplay performance and frame rates.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a new GPU, including its memory speed, frame rate capabilities, and power requirements. Make sure that you are buying a card that can handle your needs and that it is compatible with your motherboard.
Once you have your new GPU installed, it is important to update its drivers. Both nVidia and AMD have software suites that allow you to keep your drivers up to date, which can lead to improved gaming performance. You can also try disabling in-game features like anti-aliasing and draw distance to give your GPU fewer tasks to do, which can improve FPS rates.
2. Upgrade Your RAM
When you use your computer, it executes a lot of processes—type a document, save a file, jump in a game—and those tasks run much faster when data can be accessed from RAM rather than a slow hard drive. If you’re finding your computer slows down frequently, then a RAM upgrade might be in order.
The type of RAM you need will depend on the type and speed of your motherboard and processor, but a quick online scan with Crucial System Advisor can help you find sticks that work with your specific hardware. You’ll also want to check how many slots your computer supports—and remember, all RAM must be installed in pairs.
You can further optimize your RAM by paying attention to its timings, which are listed on the packaging with a numbering system like CLXX/Timings. The lower the latency, the better the RAM is. However, it’s worth mentioning that higher clock speeds don’t necessarily translate into better performance. A higher frequency can actually have a negative impact on responsiveness. Regardless, always install the fastest memory that your motherboard and processor support.
3. Upgrade Your Hard Drive
While CPU and GPU upgrades will make the biggest impact on performance, a hard drive upgrade can also significantly improve gaming results. SSDs are much faster than hard disk drives, which can greatly reduce Windows and game loading times. Plus, they consume less power and produce less heat.
When upgrading your hard drive, decide whether you want to use a PATA (older style) or SATA (newer style) hard drive. Both are compatible with your motherboard and come in a variety of sizes. The SATA version is a little cheaper and more energy-efficient, but it may not have as long a life capacity as an older ATA drive.
Before installing the new hard drive, it is recommended that you clone the old one onto the new drive. This process will move the operating system, programs, and data to the new drive so you don’t lose any data. You will also need to restart your computer once the clone is complete. This will allow the operating system to recognize the new hard drive and start using it as your primary storage device.
4. Upgrade Your CPU
If you’re looking for ways to improve your PC gaming experience, a CPU upgrade may be worth considering. This component performs the basic tasks required by your computer, and upgrading it can lead to faster application and system start-up times and smoother gameplay.
However, it’s important to evaluate your requirements and budget before investing in a new processor. Doing so will ensure you get the most value for your money and that you select a CPU that is compatible with your motherboard and other components.
Fortunately, most gaming CPUs are designed to meet the needs of casual and power gamers, and they typically have large L3 caches for fast operation. So, you’re unlikely to encounter a CPU bottleneck in most games unless your graphics card is too powerful for your current system.
When performing a CPU upgrade, it’s important to take precautions to prevent damage to your components and to ensure a smooth installation process. For example, it’s best to work on a clean, non-conductive surface and wear an antistatic wrist strap while disassembling your PC. Also, remember to use proper thermal paste and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying it correctly. Finally, be sure to carefully track all screws and connections during the upgrade and double-check compatibility and cooling system requirements before installing a new processor.
5. Upgrade Your Sound Card
Whether you’re a gaming enthusiast seeking immersive audio experiences or a music producer looking to capture Jimmy Page solos in pristine quality, your PC needs a high-end sound card. But first, you’ll need to consider your intended use and budget.
Sound cards come with a range of ports for connecting external devices, such as speakers and headphones. They’ll also have their own internal hardware for processing audio, compared to motherboard sound chips which depend on your computer processor.
Some sound cards include surround-sound virtualization that converts 3D effects into stereo output for your speakers. Gamers may find this feature useful for identifying enemy positions with auditory cues.
To install a sound card, shut down your computer and remove it from its case. Open the case and carefully remove any cables connected to the old sound card, such as speaker connectors and audio headers. Once you’ve disconnected all the wires, detach any screws or clips securing the old sound card to its slot on the motherboard and carefully align it with a free PCIe slot.