It should come as no surprise to learn that Americans use their computers for more than work. Statistics indicate that about 37% of gamers use their PCs, instead of consoles, to play games online. And more than half of Americans use their computers, instead of their TVs, to stream shows and movies.
But, there are a few steps a user needs to take to optimize their computer and make sure they get the best experience while gaming and streaming on a PC. We’ll walk through best practices and industry recommendations for each, below.
Getting the most out of gaming
At the very least, when it comes to gaming, industry experts recommend that the computer being used is equipped with an Intel Core i5-4670 processor. And the computer will need to have at least 8GB of RAM. Some other tips include:
- Optimize your network connection by checking your speed and bandwidth, playing on a local server, moving closer to your router, connecting by an ethernet cord, and closing any background programs and websites that may be running.
- Use a cooler running computer or get support from a CPU cooling product to make sure your computer does not overheat while gaming, which is a taxing activity and actually causes hardware to generate heat.
- Make sure your PC is optimized for sound, which is a huge part of gaming. On Windows, this can be done by navigating to Sound Settings>Speakers>Enhancements>Loudness Equalization. You may also consider updating your sound card, adding desktop speakers or purchasing high quality headphones.
- To get the best visuals while gaming on your PC, be sure to turn on gaming mode. Since Windows was designed, in part, for gaming, game mode is generally on by default. To check, navigate to Settings>Gaming>Game Mode.
- Turn off notifications so you aren’t distracted while playing.
- Update your mouse settings, within the “Pointer Options” tab, disable “Enhance pointer precision.” Any other mouse adjustments can be made in game.
If you’re considering using your computer to stream movies and shows, experts recommend using Windows 7 or newer — ideally Windows 10. And, the computer should be utilizing a 2 GHz dual-core processor at the very least, with at least 8 GB of RAM. Before streaming, it’s best to make sure the computer is up to date, too. A few other tips include:
- Begin with a freshly restarted computer to ensure that you’re working with a clear cache and the streaming performance will not be hindered by the temporary files attached to individual web applications that may be open.
- Disable the computer’s hardware accelerator, found in the display settings window. Simply slide the toggle to “none.” This adjustment impacts internet videos the most.
- Search for and install a software video accelerator that improves streaming performance.
- Make sure you are close enough to the router that you can see it. Proximity to a router, even over wireless internet, improves streaming performance.
- Avoid peak internet usage times in your home since traffic, when others are streaming or downloading, could impact your streaming experience.
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