If you’re the kind of PC user who enjoys playing the latest PC games, then you’re always looking for ways to optimize your system. Optimizing your PC is an easy way to squeeze more frames per second out of your games while enjoying some of the best graphics settings that technology has to offer.

Today, I’m going to highlight a few of the best ways to optimize your PC and make it run faster than ever before when playing PC games:

Identify your hardware bottleneck

When it comes to PC gaming, optimizing your software will only take you so far. At some point, you’re going to run into restrictions with your PC’s hardware. When that happens, it’s not the end of the world.

First, you need to determine where your PC’s hardware bottleneck is. The bottleneck is the point where your system’s performance slows down. It may slow down when data is moving through your CPU, for example, or your RAM may be limiting your performance.

pc gaming hardware bottleneck

The best way to identify your PC’s bottleneck is to look at the recommended requirements for the games you’re playing. Then, look at your own system. If you don’t know your system specs, type dxdiag into your Windows Start menu. From that menu, compare your video card memory, RAM, and CPU speed to the recommended settings for your PC games.

Focus your upgrade on the hardware setting that is closest to the minimum recommended system settings. If your PC game recommends 4GB of RAM and you have 6GB of RAM, then it may be time for a RAM upgrade.

Here’s how much you should be prepared to spend for each hardware upgrade:

-Upgrading RAM from 6GB to 16GB: $50 to $200

-Upgrading video card from 1GB to 3+ GB: $200 to $600

-Upgrading CPU: $100 to $300 (be extra careful when buying a CPU to make sure it’s fully compatible with your motherboard, otherwise you might have to buy a new motherboard)

Today, brand new gaming PCs capable of running the latest games at full settings can be purchased for around $800. If your PC is over four years old, it may be easier to sell it on Craigslist and invest that money into a new gaming PC.

Upgrade your drivers

nvidia driver upgrade

Drivers are one of the most important parts of your PC, but they’re a part that many users don’t even know about it. Drivers allow your PC’s software to communicate with your PC’s hardware. Outside of gaming, the latest drivers don’t have a huge effect on system performance.

However, with PC gaming, upgrading your drivers to the latest versions is virtually guaranteed to significantly boost your performance – especially if you’re playing the latest PC games. New driver updates are designed to help a video card process the latest PC games.

To download the latest driver updates for your video card, visit:

Nvidia drivers

AMD drivers

Once again, if you don’t know your video card manufacturer, you can type dxdiag into the Start menu to figure it out.

Your video card driver is the most important driver to update. However, other parts of your PC to upgrade include your motherboard and hard drive, both of which may offer firmware upgrades.

Optimize software and system settings


Installing the latest drivers is one part of optimizing software settings. Another important part is simply restricting which programs are running while you’re playing PC games.

If you’re noticed framerate issues and lag when gaming, then here are some ways to optimize your software performance:

-Eliminate programs that run at Startup by typing msconfig into your Start menu bar and unchecking unnecessary programs

-Uninstall unnecessary programs or disable them using the Windows Task Manager prior to starting up your game

-Download and install PC Cleaner Pro to fine tune thousands of PC settings and improve gaming framerates

These three simple steps should free up your PC’s performance power and allow it to devote more resources to your PC games. That means faster gameplay, better graphics, and no lag.

Optimize in-game graphics settings

skyrim in game graphics

Once you’ve implemented the tips listed above, it’s time to test your efforts in-game. If your game is perfectly smooth and running at maximum graphics, then you’re done! Congratulations.

But if your game is smooth and running at less than maximum graphics settings, then you should tweak the game until you have the perfect mix of high framerates and high graphics settings.

Which settings should you tweak first?  I recommend maxing out all settings, including resolution, before working your way down. The first thing to lower is the resolution. Instead of setting it at full HD 1920×1080 (or higher), lower it to 1600×900, which still looks pretty good. If that doesn’t smooth your gameplay, then lower anti-aliasing, texture size, and shading one tick at a time.

Yes, it may take a few tries before you find the perfect combination of high graphics and smooth gameplay, but if it’s a game that you love to play, then I can guarantee your efforts will be worth it.

Other miscellaneous tips and tricks for improving PC gaming performance


-Buy an SSD and install your games on it to virtually eliminate loading times

­-Clean your PC of dust to reduce overheating problems

-Install aftermarket cooling hardware and then overclock your video card and CPU

-Scan your PC for viruses, malware, etc.

-If playing online games, perform a speed test at http://www.speedtest.net to make sure your ISP is delivering the correct internet speeds you’ve been promised

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