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As games become more complex and resource-intensive, PC gamers can experience situations wherein their rig can’t keep up with their game. After all, not everyone can afford fully-fledged gaming loadouts like the folks at Reddit’s /r/battlestations.

Image Credit: /u/scottemzz via Reddit

All is not lost, however! With these simple tips, we’ll make your PC — high-end or not — ready for games in no time.

Maintain Your Machine

The largest problem most users have with their rig isn’t money, but time. Over time, all PCs become slower 7 Warning Signs It's Time to Replace your Old PC 7 Warning Signs It's Time to Replace your Old PC When should you buy a new computer? Read More . Whether that’s due to bloatware, hardware issues, or dated components, games won’t run like they used to.

Image Credit: ESB Professional via Shutterstock

Before you continue to optimize your PC, consider benchmarking How to Benchmark Your CPU and GPU Like a Pro How to Benchmark Your CPU and GPU Like a Pro Benchmarking allows users to gauge hardware performance, troubleshoot issues, and compare system setups. It's commonly used among gamers. We introduce you to the technical details and show you how the pros benchmark their systems. Read More (or stress-testing How to Safely Stress Test Your (Overclocked) CPU, GPU, and RAM How to Safely Stress Test Your (Overclocked) CPU, GPU, and RAM Stress tests can reveal whether or not your system remains stable under heavy loads, particularly if you overclocked your hardware. We show you how stress tests work and pitfalls to look out for. Read More ) it first. While your current frames per second (FPS) count is almost never good enough, finding where exactly your PC is suffering could determine which course of action to take next.

Recommended Maintenance

1. In order to keep your rig at peak working conditions — no matter the setup — you’ll need to perform regular maintenance 5 Simple Habits to Stop Your Computer From Running Slow 5 Simple Habits to Stop Your Computer From Running Slow Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and slow computers after hours of Internet browsing. Let us show you habits to keep your Windows computer as fast as new. Read More on your PC. While the specific programs you should use are up to you, tasks like regularly defragmenting your PC are a must. If you have a hard disk drive as opposed to a solid-state drive, Windows should already do this for you automatically.

There are a few key parameters all users should keep in check:

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  • Fragmentation is created over the normal course of software installations, and occurs when files become scattered across your hard drive (as opposed to ordered in easy-to-access sections). This only affects traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and is not an issue on solid-state drives (SSDs).
  • Bloatware is the term for unnecessary, pre-installed — or default — programs How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 Windows 10 comes with several pre-installed apps that take up space on your device and aren't easy to remove. Sounds like bloatware, doesn't it? We show you how to remove these apps. Read More . These programs may create popups, update, and cause memory conflicts at startup or during regular use.
  • Startup programs activate when your PC is turned on. These programs may interrupt foreground processes and take up processor power regularly. Some may even be virus infections, initiated from the get-go and lurking in the shadows while you use your PC.

To prevent these and more problems from occurring, check out the article on maintenance provided above.

2. Have you ever been playing a game on a Windows 10 machine, only to have it update during a round? Suffer from networking issues even though your PC is brand-new? You can prevent this and more from happening by adjusting certain adjusting certain Windows parameters 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming A growing number of gamers are using Windows 10. With these simple tweaks, you will be able to enjoy the best gaming experience Windows 10 has to offer! Read More .

While Windows 10 is a great operating system and highly favored among gamers, there’s always room for improvement. Our guide linked above shows how to do just that: improve Windows 10 so games run better for longer.

Maintaining your PC and ensuring it is bloatware and virus-free are a must before using it as a gaming machine. While the above won’t magically turn your PC into a souped-up gaming machine, they’re necessary steps in getting your machine working at peak condition.

Modify Your PC

I get it: you’re a casual PC user, with no desire to fix what’s not broken. For avid PC gamers, however, part of the fun is modifying your PC to meet your wants as well as your performance needs.

Image Credit: Denis Rozhnovsky via Shutterstock

PC modding comes in many forms — some are simple and some complex. All the methods we provide here are secure, easy to learn, and can have a lasting effect on your PC’s gaming performance.

The Most Important Modifications

3. Before anything else, ensure you have maxed your motherboard’s RAM capacity. This is often the simplest — and cheapest — method of upgrading a PC’s general performance. RAM, among other things A Quick & Dirty Guide to RAM: What You Need to Know A Quick & Dirty Guide to RAM: What You Need to Know RAM is a crucial component of every computer, but it can be confusing to understand if you aren't a tech guru. In this post, we break it down in easy-to-grasp terms. Read More , controls the overall speed at which your PC commits tasks. A boost from, say, a 2 or 4 GB stick to 8 GB of RAM will provide a major performance boost both in-game and when using your computer for other tasks.

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz PC3 12800 240-Pin DDR3 Dual Channel Memory Kit 1.5V Corsair Vengeance 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz PC3 12800 240-Pin DDR3 Dual Channel Memory Kit 1.5V 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Dual Channel Kit Buy Now At Amazon $67.52

Not all motherboards can support the same amount of RAM or the same RAM types. Double-check your motherboard specifications before springing for that 32 GB RAM stick. The current AAA-rated gaming norm is 8 GB of RAM, with a 16 GB standard for heavier PC users How Much RAM Do You Really Need? How Much RAM Do You Really Need? RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more. Read More . Most modern motherboards, including many budget motherboards, support up to 16 GB.

4. Modern overclocking How to Safely Overclock Your GPU to Gain FPS How to Safely Overclock Your GPU to Gain FPS Overclocking can make your PC perform at clock speeds one generation above its release. If done right, it's safe and easy. We'll show you how to get a GPU performance boost for free. Read More is simple, safe, and quick. While it’s not a fail-safe way of boosting PC performance (even I have had issues with overclocking software), you could conceivably boost the performance of any single component a generation upward. That’s a serious improvement for a few mouse clicks.

Keep in mind, not everyone will receive such fantastic overclock numbers. Rarely, however, will you end your overclock journey empty-handed. Besides, it’s free!

5. If you want to take a walk on the paid upgrade side, there are three essential component upgrades to consider Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? If you need a faster computer but aren't sure which component would be most beneficial to upgrade, then here are the guidelines you should follow. Read More : graphics card, CPU, and storage. While deciding on uniform component upgrades Building Your First PC? Use These Tips to Avoid Common Issues Building Your First PC? Use These Tips to Avoid Common Issues There's nothing quite like powering on a PC that you've assembled, especially considering how much money you saved and PC knowledge you gained during that sweet, sweet bonding time. Read More is difficult — since it requires prior knowledge of your motherboard, budget, gaming taste, etc. — finding upgrades is a fairly simple process.

While installing PC components may seem dangerous to some people, at times it’s as simple as unplugging and re-plugging a component.

If you’re not familiar with your PC’s hardware components, Speccy provides a great interface to view component names and models. For upgrades, I would suggest using PCPartPicker. Its library is extensive, the website automatically searches for compatibility issues among components, and you can save your configuration for later viewing or editing.

Get Game Ready!

There are PCs, and there are gaming PCs. The difference? The user, mostly. You don’t have to own a maxed-out PC to enjoy every in-game pixel the virtual world has to offer, so optimize your PC and get to gaming now!

Did these tips help? Have any more you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Syda Productions via Shutterstock.com

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  1. ZentixZaneic
    April 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Could you create a guide for laptops? I have a mid-range Windows 10 laptop (Dell Inspiron 3542) that I game on. I mainly run Minecraft, and even though it can handle other things well (I've been getting into Paladins), it doesn't make the cut sometimes.

    • Christian Bonilla
      April 19, 2017 at 12:43 am

      That article is currently in the works!