What does Microsoft Windows 10 Game Mode mean for PC gamers?
The Game Mode optimises system hardware to deliver a smooth gaming experience on PC
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Microsoft is adding a new feature called Game Mode on Windows 10 to deliver a better gaming experience to PC users. The Game mode is available right away to the members of Windows Insider Program, a Microsoft initiative which allows any user to sign up for early builds of the Windows operating system which was earlier available only to select developers. The Game Mode will be made available to a wider demography of Windows 10 users through Windows 10 Creators Update in early 2017.
In a video released on YouTube, Microsoft shows the difference it can make through its Forza Horizon 3 racing game and talks about the highlights of the Game Mode.
How does it work?
According to Microsoft, Game Mode will improve game performance by increasing the overall and average frame rates. A frame rate is the speed at which a frame is processed and displayed in a game or video. Rendering multiple frames in a short time is a resource intensive task and requires powerful GPUs. Game Mode will handle it by prioritising resources from both CPU and GPU.
In case of CPU, it will allocate a specific number of threads to a game while leaving the rest aside for other processes. So if the game requires more CPU power all of a sudden, the number of threads allocated will automatically step in. This will optimise the gaming performance as the game won’t have to contend with other processes for the resources.
Most PCs use multi-core CPUs with hyper threading technology to handle processes. Hyper threading works by making the operating system look at a single core CPU as a dual core CPU. This allows the two CPUs to share resources and speed up things when required.
Some games will be tweaked to automatically detect and activate the game mode. In other cases, users will have to do it manually, until the game developers add the auto-enable feature. It can be activated in Windows Settings-> Gaming-> Game Mode.
Another feature that will be available along with Game Mode is the Game Bar. This section offers additional options such as recording game clips and taking screenshots using keyboard shortcuts in the middle of a game. This will help users record their game scenes without interrupting the game so they can broadcast it on Twitch or post it afterwards on YouTube.
What does it mean for the users?
For a PC gamer this means better gaming experience with minimal lags. Most of the modern day PC games are not as well optimised as Microsoft XBox One or Sony PlayStation 4 games. In some games, the minimum system requirements are so high that users need high-end machines having at least 40-50GB space for a single game. Many of the games can be made to work by reducing the graphics and visual detailing, but users will end up compromising on the overall experience. While we are yet to take Game Mode for a spin, it is important to understand that the difference it makes will differ from PC to PC, depending on the hardware it runs.