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How to optimize your computer and router for gaming

How you set up your home network can have a huge impact on your online gaming experience. Find out how to choose the best router, devices and settings for online gaming performance.

How to choose the best modem/router for gaming

Is your router affecting your online gaming experience? It might be time to trade it in for a gaming router.

Gaming routers are designed to optimize network traffic to your gaming PC, reducing lag even if other devices are downloading and streaming at the same time. Here are some things you’ll want to consider when choosing the best device for gaming:

 

  • High-bandwidth range: Having faster speeds can drastically reduce loading times when working with multiplayer games, large-format files, 3D and virtual reality content and backup data.

  • Ethernet ports: Having wired capabilities can help reduce ping times, signal loss and maximize speeds. Avoid lag by plugging in during online gaming sessions.

  • Geo-filtering: This is an advanced feature on some gaming modems that allows you to access the nearest server, which can reduce your ping.

  • Dual/Tri-band: Dual-band can support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies and Tri-band can support either one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz bands or a 60 GHz band. All of which means you get faster speeds and the ability to split up network traffic, so you can assign your gaming devices to the 5 GHz band and everything else to 2.4 GHz for more bandwidth.

  • Quality of service (QoS): This tool helps you manage bandwidth by prioritizing devices based on preference. With QoS you can play games without slowing down the internet for other users in your household.
Optimized gaming computer setup

How to optimize a PC for gaming

Here are some tried and true tips to optimize your PC for optimal gaming performance:
 

  • Check your hardware: There are several applications, like Belarc Advisor or CanYouRunIt, that can test whether your PC meets the minimum system requirements needed to run your favorite online games. While PCs with hardware below the minimum requirement can still run a game, your experience may be less than ideal. If your hardware isn’t meeting the requirements, it may be time for an upgrade.

  • Update your graphics driver: Ensuring your PC's graphics card driver is up to date will help optimize its efficiency at rendering visual content and, in some cases, free up additional RAM.

  • Close background applications and processes: Make your computer better able to handle the gaming load by closing all the processes that you aren’t using. To find out what’s consuming CPU and RAM resources, go to your Windows Task Manager, then click on the Processes tab. There you can sort by CPU and memory and begin clearing anything that’s occupying too much space.

  • Defrag your hard drive: Another way to pick up the speed is to optimize storage by using Microsoft Drive Optimizer tool or similar. These tools not only optimize your computer’s storage but can check to see if there are other storage issues that may be hindering optimal computing.
Optimizing your pc for faster gaming

How to choose the best GPU for gaming

A GPU can greatly impact how your PC performs. A GPU functions by rendering the information that your PC is displaying. The more powerful the GPU, the faster visual information can be refreshed/drawn and the smoother your visual experience will be overall. Here are some GPU gaming considerations:
 

  • Discrete vs. integrative: When comparing GPUs for gaming, you’ll have the choice between integrated graphics and discrete. Integrated graphics tend to be lower-performance options and may be more suited for casual gaming. For hardcore gamers, you’ll want the power of a discrete graphics card.

  • GPU power by type of game: Gamers who enjoy games like Minecraft and Dota 2 may not need the extensive power of a higher-end graphic card. If you’re playing a graphic-intensive game with millions of polygons, like Battlefield 1, Apex Legends or VR games, you’ll want to seek a higher end card.

  • Resolution: When choosing the best GPU for gaming, you’ll want to know your monitor’s resolution. The higher the resolution, the more pixels will need to be rendered on each frame, meaning your GPU will need to work harder.

  • Refresh rate: Your monitors refresh rate will also affect how hard your GPU works to render more frames per second.

If you choose to game over a wireless connection, try optimizing your home wifi network in addition to your PC, for the ultimate gaming experience.

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