As modern video games quickly approach the point of photorealism, the demands they place on gaming computers are heavier than ever. Games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and more recently For Honor look stunning, but our mid-range review hardware has struggled to produce anything near playable frame rates.
But nowadays, it isn’t just oversized textures and complex models that cause GPUs to collapse under the weight of this enormous task. Advanced graphical elements like reflective surfaces, complex lighting and shadows, and strange edges are some of the worst offenders. Newer games will even let you crank up the resolution and then scale it back, in order to provide even higher-quality forms of anti-aliasing.
Indeed, PC gaming is typically one of the most stressful operations a personal computer will experience throughout its existence, and often for hours on end. To that end, there are a lot of little tricks that can help you game smoothly, without sacrificing the quality inherent to gaming PCs. Some games do it by offering a wide array of settings that let you tweak to exactly your specifications, or let you drop the rendered resolution without affecting the UI elements.
You can even take things to the operating system level, and prioritize gaming-related applications, while simultaneously cutting performance to non-vital software and add-ons. You can do the legwork yourself, or leverage the new Game Mode in the Windows 10 Creators update to do it automatically.