How to make PC games run faster and smoother

by Christina Shaffer

Sluggish or choppy gameplay can dampen the enjoyment for any gaming enthusiast. A variety of PC games, such as first person games, are taxing on a computer’s processor and require your graphics card to work intensively. To increase the speed of the game or to make your gameplay much smoother, you can make certain tweaks to the computer’s hardware, adjust the game’s internal settings or invest in third-party game optimization software. Many of the adjustments, such as adding additional memory, are inexpensive. If you’re PC doesn’t meet the game’s hardware specifications, however, you may need to invest in more powerful hardware.

Perform a routine check for viruses. Malware, spyware, trojans and other types of malicious software can overload a computer system with additional task, slow down your PC’s performance and impact a PC game’s ability to run smoothly.

Shut down any unnecessary applications, including Web browsers, running on the PC. Media players, instant messaging applications, video chat programs and anti-virus software consume memory and can cause interruptions and lags in a computer game. By closing unnecessary programs, you can free up memory and boost the computer’s performance.

Clean the hard drive. Access the Control Panel and free up memory by uninstalling any unwanted programs. After removing the unwanted programs, defragment the PC. Over time, files on the hard drive fragment and become disorganized, which affects the computer’s overall performance. To defrag the computer, run the Disc Defragmenter application in Windows. The defragging tool will reorganize the files and increase the computer’s ability to run more efficiently.

Update video card drivers to improve its overall performance. Many video card manufacturers release driver updates to make sure the device is working properly and efficiently. The update can be installed directly through Windows or downloaded on the manufacturer’s website.

Invest in a new graphics card. Many desktops and laptops do not include high-end graphic cards designed for gaming enthusiasts. First-person and third-person shooter games, for example, include 3D graphics and require the device to work intensively. Upgrading to a more powerful graphics card will improve gameplay.

Upgrade the RAM in your laptop or desktop. Depending on your amount of RAM in the PC, adding additional memory can increase the speed and smoothness of your gameplay, as well as boost the computer’s performance. If your computer has 4GB RAM, however, installing more memory will not affect gameplay. To check whether or not you could benefit from adding additional RAM, use an online scanning tool such as Crucial System Scanner.

Tweak graphics settings in the game. While many graphic settings, including effects, shadows and real-time reflections are largely a part of the game’s appeal, they can slow down the game performance significantly. Set each setting to the lowest level to boost performance.

Install a third-party program game optimization program such as Game Booster, GameGain or Game Fire. Each program is designed to improve performance for resource-intensive games based on your PC’s hardware specifications. As of October 2012, Game Booster and GameGain cost approximately $13. Game Fire, however, is an open source application.


  • Check the hardware specifications for each PC game. If the computer doesn’t meet all of the requirements, some quick fixes such as closing down other applications and cleaning the hard drive may not improve gameplay. You may need to upgrade the hardware, including the graphics card and RAM.

About the Author

Christina Shaffer is a freelance writer based in New Jersey and has been writing arts and entertainment articles since 2005. Her articles have appeared in "Philadelphia City Paper." Shaffer received a B.A. in journalism and gender studies at Rutgers University.

Photo Credits

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