5 tips to Improve Gaming Performance on PC and Laptop

Although it is complicated to Improve Gaming performance of our PC that can seem very complicated, especially when we try to reduce minimizing the sacrifices in terms of image quality. However, the reality is that, in recent years, video game developments have taken a very particular path that has left us a clear trend, and that is that the differences between the high and maximum graphic quality profiles tend to be, in the in most cases, very small.

What does that mean? Well, with few exceptions, the difference between moving a game in maximum quality and in high quality are almost imperceptible. We have to stop the action and take a good look at everything around us to be able to appreciate these differences between one quality mode and another. However, the performance impact that a jump from high-quality mode to ‘ultra’ mode can have on performance can be enormous, especially when the latter mode involves the use of advanced technologies that are very demanding.

Adjusting the graphic quality can help us improve the performance of our PC in games, this is clear. Users with less knowledge tend to resort to the default settings that adjust the quality levels to “low”, “medium”, or “high”, depending on the capabilities of their PC, but the truth is that, to get the best As a result, it is best to carry out manual settings for each setting individually and independently.

Configuring each setting independently will not only allow us to improve performance, and adjust it to the power of our PC, but it will also help us find the best possible balance between performance and image quality. This has an explanation.

The quality of the textures can skyrocket the consumption of graphics memory

How to Improve Gaming Performance: The Automatic Settings Problem

Not all graphic adjustments have the same impact on the graphic section, and they do not equally affect the performance of our PC. For this reason, automatic adjustments, which, as we have said, globally reduce the entire configuration to a specific level, are not a good option.

We will understand it better with an example. Imagine a computer configured with a GTX 1050 Ti that has 4 GB of graphics memory. This PC has enough memory to use high-quality textures in current games, but it is true that in terms of raw power it has been showing signs of exhaustion for a while.

With that graphics card, a game like DOOM Eternal will run smoothly in 1080p and low quality, but we could set the texture quality to high and improve the image quality a lot without making any sacrifices in terms of performance. We could also activate the directional occlusion in medium quality to improve the immersion. Just by applying those two changes, we would notice a noticeable improvement compared to the global low quality mode, and we would maintain a good performance.

I understand that we find it much more comfortable, and less complicated, to use automatic modes to improve performance in games, but if we want to do it efficiently and fine-tune the performance-image quality value, the best we can do is take it. calmly and make the adjustments one by one, manually, and without being afraid to resort to the classic trial and error system, that is, to try different values ​​of the same adjustment until we find the most appropriate for us, and for our PC.

1. Tips to improve gaming performance: Adjust resolution and scaling

tips to Improve Gaming Performance on PC and Lapto, video game
The native resolution makes everything very sharp.

The ideal is to always stay within the native resolution of our monitor, since using a lower resolution can drastically improve performance, but it will also greatly reduce image quality, generating a pixelated effect and showing an unpleasant loss of sharpness. It will be almost as if we are watching the game through a blurred glass, and everything will also appear enlarged.

Resolution is the basic pillar of any graphic configuration, and we must avoid reducing it except in cases where it is our last option to achieve acceptable performance. If you find yourself in one of those cases, I recommend that before reducing the resolution directly, you opt for the resolution scaling options that many current games include, since they can help you gain a lot of performance without having to reduce the resolution much.

For example, think of a game that performs poorly for you in 1080p, but runs smoothly in 720p. To improve performance, you could use this resolution, but the sacrifice in terms of image quality would be very great. If the game has the option of automatic resolution scaling, you can adjust a series of values ​​that will be used to reduce the resolution gradually depending on the graphic load, and set limits that will not be exceeded in any case.

Continuing with the previous example, adjusting the resolution scaling to 90 percent over 100, would give us a big boost in terms of performance, and reduce the resolution by just 10%, so we would hardly notice a real loss of quality in the image, except for very specific cases and scenes. It is a good option to improve performance, especially in less powerful computers.

2. Tips to improve performance in games: Reduce the quality of shadows

tips to Improve Gaming Performance on PC and Laptop
The shadows add a layer of indisputable realism

It is an adjustment that consumes a lot of resources, although this depends a lot on each specific game, since an open world type title that must handle a large number of shadows generated, in addition, with a huge viewing distance, is not the same. in those with more closed scenarios where the shadows are more limited.

They have a very big impact, and reducing their quality will go a long way toward improving performance. However, we should not make the mistake of deactivating them completely, or reducing them directly to low quality without trying first with the medium quality mode. Typically, the difference between low quality and medium quality shadows is usually very large in terms of image quality, but small in terms of performance, so the second setting can be more compensated.

Regulating the viewing distance of shadows can also help greatly improve performance. In games like Fallout 4, for example, this setting makes a big difference, although being fair it is also true that it affects the graphic quality, since it stops showing shadows at relatively close distances when we go down from the highest quality modes to the medium levels. However, it is a sacrifice that is worth it, especially if we have a weak team.

In extreme cases, such as when we use an integrated or very weak GPU, setting the shadows to low or very low quality will end up being essential to achieve a minimally acceptable performance. If you have doubts, I recommend that you first try in medium quality and value the result, then try in low quality and analyze if the performance gain is really worth it.

3. Tips to improve gaming performance: Reflexes are also very demanding

Tips to improve gaming performance: Reflexes are also very demanding
Crysis 3 with global illumination and screen space reflections

Screen space reflections are among the most used techniques when creating highly realistic effects, and yes, despite their limitations the truth is that they are very effective and can create high quality scenes, but they consume a lot of resources and they can greatly reduce the frame rate per second.

As it happened when talking about shadows, reflections do not have the same impact in all games, but it is a fact that reducing their quality, or deactivating them, can improve performance a lot, in fact in some cases the improvement can be greater when reducing reflections than when doing the same with shadows.

For example, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an open-world game in which reflections on certain surfaces, such as water, significantly reduce performance. The same applies to other games such as Cyberpunk 2077, although the latter allows activating ray tracing to combine reflections generated by said technology with others that maintain the screen space technique, which basically creates a copy of the visible space and reproduces it on the screen. zone where each reflection should go.

It is true that reflections can greatly improve the immersion and graphic quality, and that in certain titles they make a very big difference, but I think it is a “dispensable” setting, and that it is better to play without reflections, or with these set to the minimum, that without shadows. If you are very fair, I recommend you configure them to the minimum, directly, and reserve some power for other more important settings.

4. Tips to improve gaming performance: Be careful with lighting

Tips to improve gaming performance: Be careful with lighting
Global illumination in Metro Exodus.

It is a very important graphic setting that relies on advanced effects to recreate highly precious scenes. The volumetric lighting and “god rays” are undoubtedly two great exponents of this reality, but are also great devourers of resources, and we must be clear that, to improve performance, we reduce quality, or off.

Since lighting has a great impact on graphic quality in most games, it is advisable to first try a medium setting, keeping advanced effects at medium or low qualities, and adjusting from there. As I said in the previous section, in general it is better to have low-quality reflections, or even disable them, than to minimize lighting and disable certain effects.

I understand that in extreme cases it will be necessary to minimize the quality of the lighting. If you find yourself in that situation don’t worry, some games look good even with the lighting set to low quality, but don’t be afraid to play with this setting in certain areas, as a certain lighting quality is probably not viable in your equipment in certain scenarios, but that it is in others (for example, the medium quality setting may be unfeasible outdoors, but feasible indoors).

By making these adjustments according to each area, you will be able to better enjoy each specific game, and minimize the sacrifices in terms of graphic quality. It is not particularly annoying, since it will not take us more than a few seconds to enter the configuration and make the relevant change.

5. Tips to improve gaming performance: Edge smoothing, seek balance

Tips to improve gaming performance: Edge smoothing, seek balance
The FXAA helps deal with the sawtooth in Destiny 2

Edge smoothing is a technique that has been around for a long time, and that aims to disguise the effect of “aliasing”, also known as saw teeth, that occurs in games naturally when the different elements are generated using pixels. There are many options today, although not all achieve the same result or have the same consumption of resources.

Here is a summary of the best known:

  • FXAA : it is the one that I consume the least resources, and therefore one of the most recommended. Instead of analyzing each frame and calculating the geometry together, it applies the anti-aliasing effect to the entire image indiscriminately. This reduces sharpness and creates some blurring, but has minimal impact on the GPU, making it possible to keep it on in most cases.
  • MSAA : what this version does is collect color samples from each specific piece of geometry found in the game world, which are used to calculate and project an anti-aliasing that starts from an average made with those colors. Being more specific and less general than the previous one, it achieves better results, but its impact is greater in the consumption of resources on the GPU. The higher the number of samples (2x, 4x or 8x), the higher the quality and the lower the performance. Disabling it can greatly improve performance.
  • TXAA / MLAA:  Also known as Temporal Anti-Aliasing (NVIDIA) and Morphological Anti-Aliasing (AMD). They have a common base and are similar to MSAA, although they draw on data from previous frames to create the color swatches in the current frame, helping to reduce workload and improve performance against MSAA.
  • SSAA : it is the most demanding method, and the one that offers the highest quality. What it does is raise the base resolution, and then adapt it to the resolution we use in the game (super-sampling). In essence it is as if we increased the pixel density, and the result is superior sharpness, which comes at the cost of a significant loss of performance.

In many cases, especially when we work with a resolution scale between 90% and 80%, leaving the FXAA activated can improve the graphic quality, since it will reduce the pixelated effect and the saw teeth without affecting performance in a palpable way.

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