How to Make your PC Faster for Gaming

Compared to just about any other software on your PC (video editing software notwithstanding), video games will put the biggest strain on your system. There's a reason gaming laptops emphasize tons of RAM and monster video cards! But even the best gaming rig will experience slowdowns over time. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to make your PC faster for gaming.

Through a combination of routine maintenance, basic upgrades and some adjustments to your settings and preferences, you'll be well on your way to gaming domination in no time at all. Here are the tips you need to make your PC faster for gaming.

Basic maintenance tips

Basic maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your computer running smoothly and reliably. When you're putting it through its paces running a high-framerate game or stressing your processor to the max playing a massive multiplayer online (MMO) game, a well-kept computer is going to fare better. Here's what you can do routinely to make your PC faster for gaming:

  • Defrag your hard drive:

    Your computer is efficient at storing files and saving data, but not always as efficient as it could be. Sometimes, it writes data in the best available space, instead of with similar data. Defragmenting your hard drive fixes this. It congregates all your various data with similar bytes, to ensure everything is quickly accessible. This is important for speed and fluidity. You might not notice the milliseconds it takes for your computer to retrieve a file, but they make a difference. Keeping your hard drive defragged will keep it efficient.
  • Clear caches and flush RAM:

    Another bit of basic maintenance involves clearing your caches and flushing the RAM. Caches are important for gaming because they preserve data that's already been recalled by your computer. When you enter an area in your game, leave it, then come back, the computer doesn't have to render it over and over every time—it has that data cached. Over time, caches get full and slow things down. Clear them out periodically and you'll be back to a speedy PC in no time. The same goes for RAM. Flushing RAM terminates the processes that are no longer necessary, to free up memory for gaming.
  • Clean your PC thoroughly:

    An all-around smart way to keep your PC faster for gaming is to thoroughly clean it once every week or two. Running a cleaning program like MyCleanPC will take care of all the little things that add up to computer performance. It lifts the burden of use from your computer. A PC cleaning tool will handle all the little tasks for you in minutes, so you can reap the speed advantages that come with a well-maintained computer.

These are all things anyone can do (and should do!) to keep their computer in prime condition for gaming. Plus, your daily computing will benefit as well.

A few upgrade tips

If you really want to squeeze every last little bit out of your computer, there are plenty of upgrades you can invest in. Some are more expensive than others, but all will have a big impact on the speed of your PC.

  • Invest in a new video card:

    Video games put heavy stress on your video card. If you're a hardcore gamer, you might need a new video card every few years! Games are also getting more graphically demanding, which means your stock video card from a few years ago may not be getting the job done anymore. An instantaneous way to make your PC faster for gaming is to put in a new state-of-the-art video card. It's not going to be cheap, but it's much less expensive than buying a whole new gaming rig.
  • Install an SSD:

    One of the more affordable upgrades you can make to speed up your PC for gaming is a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSDs are easily retrofitted into most computers and will dramatically increase the overall speed of your operating system. Because there are no moving parts to an SSD, data retrieval is almost instantaneous. When you're playing a fast-paced video game, you want your hard drive to be as quick as possible! Most SSDs can be had for a few hundred dollars and are able to be installed at home.
  • Throw in more RAM:

    Another affordable upgrade that can work wonders for your PC's speed is a RAM upgrade. Most computers have 2-4 slots for RAM, with stock capacities that usually hover in the 4-8GB range. If you're a gamer, this isn't nearly enough. The more RAM, the more power your PC is going to have when processing your gameplay. Ditch those 2-4GB sticks for 8-16GB sticks and exponentially increase your computer's speed. Make sure you're buying the right stick configuration for your computer and making sure your PC supports the higher levels.

There's no getting around the cost of these upgrades, but if you're a serious gamer, they're well worth the expense. Paying a few hundred dollars or even a thousand for major upgrades is still a lot cheaper than dropping the money on a state-of-the-art gaming rig in most cases — especially if you're just trying to speed up your PC for gaming!

Check your preferences and settings

Optimizing your operating system can make a big difference in your gaming experience. If your system is constantly lagging or you're dealing with errors and inefficiencies every time you boot up a game, it might be time to inspect your preferences and settings.

  • Disable SuperFetch and Prefetch:

    In Windows 10 systems, there are settings for SuperFetch and Prefetch. In a nutshell, they're processes that attempt to smooth out your computing experience by loading data for a program before you actually need it. This is a great feature… sometimes. For gamers, SuperFetch and Prefetch can actually work against you, clogging up your cache and RAM with unnecessary data and processes. Before you boot up your game, consider disabling these features. You can always re-enable them after you're done. It's worth a shot, to see if it makes a difference.
  • Update your graphics drivers:

    Graphics drivers are updated frequently. Most PC users have auto-updates enabled. But not everyone has auto updates set up—especially gamers who may tinker with their graphics cards on a routine basis. It's a good idea to update your drivers periodically, to ensure they're optimized to handle the high frame rates and demands of your video games. Updated graphics drivers will also make your PC faster for gaming by processing information more efficiently and without error. For example, a new driver may resolve a bug that caused slower speeds in some games.
  • Adjust your framerate settings:

    Tinkering with the refresh rate of your monitor can yield speed improvements in some cases. Generally, a framerate of between 30-60fps is acceptable for most games. Out of the box, most games will install with settings pre-specified to run at optimal levels (60fps). If your computer is a little older, this could cause some speed issues. Try cranking the frames-per-second down a notch to 45fps and seeing if that helps. Many games don't allow you to adjust the frames-per-second, but do have options to adjust graphic settings to reduce the frame rate required to process them. Most times, this is a small concession to make. You're not likely to see a huge drop in quality from your game, but the speed boost will be plain to see.

Little tweaks here and there can support faster speeds for the games you love to play. It's often a good idea to try these adjustments after maintenance but before upgrades. It's worth noting that adjusting these settings takes broad effect for your whole computer, not just games. You might have to change things back after you're done gaming.

Boost your PC's gaming speed

Speed is everything in gaming. If your game isn't running at peak quickness, you're at a disadvantage. And, because most modern games require split-second reflexes and decision-making, you can't afford to waste a millisecond!

Give some or all of these tips a shot and you're sure to see a substantial increase in speeds from your gaming rig. For the ultimate test, run a demanding game like a first-person shooter or an MMO and experience the difference. Even these major games should run smoothly after you treat your PC to the optimizations above.

Keeping up with the times

If you've tried everything and your computer just can't handle the stress of gaming, it might be time to upgrade. Games get progressively better every few years and before long, they need better hardware to support them. Upgrading your rig will only get you so many extra years of play.

Start paying attention to the system requirements on the games you're buying to see if your system is still in the realm of being able to support them. The further outside those capabilities your PC gets, the more you should think about upgrading. After a while, no amount of cleaning or maintenance will make your PC faster for gaming!