How to optimize CPU for gaming

If you are a gamer, you already know that your GPU and CPU performance is important to achieve a smooth playable frame rate. Your GPU is the workhorse, but you don’t want a CPU bottleneck holding you back, do you?

CPU performance typically degrades when it hits a power limit or thermal limit. Even if neither is the case, you can probably free up CPU resources by closing apps that aren’t currently being used.

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Even when the average frame rate is good, there are sometimes micro stutters indicating low frame rates of 1% and 0.1%. While these aren’t a problem if you use your computer for productivity, they can ruin your gaming experience, especially if you’re playing a lightning-fast first-person shooter.

There are a few things you can do to ensure your CPU is properly optimized for gaming. Read on to find out.

Why might your CPU not really be optimized for gaming?

Your PC is a multipurpose device that can do many different things, not just play games. The manufacturer has no idea about your specific usage scenario and you are the only one who can adjust the settings to your liking.

The CPU may not be optimized for performance.

The CPU may be reaching its thermal throttling limit.

CPU threads can be wasted on unnecessary programs and processes.

Certain CPU characteristics can be undesirable when gaming.

How to optimize your CPU for gaming?

Below, we describe a number of different CPU optimization strategies. You can try some or all of them and see if it improves your gaming performance.

Activate game mode

Windows has a game mode in settings that optimizes your PC’s performance for gaming. To activate it:

Press Win + I to start settings †

Choose Play and click game mode †

In game mode, set the slider up to †

SettingsGamesGame mode

Change your power profile for optimized performance

CPU performance and power delivered to the CPU are directly related. The more power your CPU gets, the better it will perform. Easy. One of the easiest things you can do is to check which power profile your device is set to and switch it to the maximum power profile.

Press Win + R and type cmd. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. This will be the E. start notice increased †

type: powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61and press Enter. This will be Power Plan for Peak Performance †Maximum performance of PowerScheme

Press Win + R and type control panel to open the . start Switch Board †

Navigate to hardware and sound † power management †

click Choose a power plan †

Expand Show additional subscriptions and select Maximum performance †

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Note: Make sure your CPU has proper cooling. If your CPU thermal throttles after setting the power plan to Ultimate Performance, reset it to Balanced.

Disable the launch of unnecessary programs

Some programs are set to run at startup after installation, and many users will not know this. Whether they are needed or not, they will eventually consume resources, including CPU threads, which can negatively affect CPU usage while gaming. Thus, you can identify and disable programs that you do not need at startup.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start task management †

Switch to the Home tab.

Look for unnecessary programs that are enabled, right click them and select Shut down †Task ManagerStartDisable

Close browser background apps

Apparently, background apps called by the browser that continue to run even after the browser is closed consume system resources. You can close them and they will no longer compete for your precious CPU resources while you play.

For Chrome-based browsers, including Google Chrome:

start settings and find system settings. The location of this option may vary depending on your Chrome browser tastes.

You will find an option that says “Keep apps running in the background when the browser is closed”. turn it on outside †

ContinueRunningBackgroundApplicationsBrowserClosed

adjust registration

You can adjust some settings in the registry to optimize your CPU for gaming performance. These are the settings you need to change:

Press Win + R and type regedit to open the . start Registry Editor †

Navigate to:ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionMultimediaSystemProfile

Double click the SystemResponsiveness Dword and change the data value to 1 †RegeditSystemResponsiveness

Then navigate to Tasks † damn Folder in SystemProfile and change Priority dword value data to 6 †

RegeditPriority

Similarly, change the value data for Schedule Category and SFIO Priority to: High †RegeditPlanningCategory

Reboot your machine.

Change High Precision Event Timer Settings

The High Precision Event Timer (HPET) is a hardware timer used in personal computers that generates periodic interrupts and is used to synchronize multimedia playback. HPET is a continuously running counter. Compares the actual timer value to the scheduled timer value for equality rather than greater than or less than. So if a scheduled break is missed, another one is placed at the overflow point. The presence of non-maskable interrupts can also cause an unwanted race condition.

Optimize HPET in Device Manager:

Press Win + R and enter devmgmt.msc†

Expand System Devices and select High Accuracy Event Timer †

Right-click High Precision Event Timer, and from the context menu, you can: turn on or off .DeviceManagerHighPrecisionEventTimer

Tune HPET from the elevated command prompt:

Press Win + R and type cmd. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the . start notice raised †

type: bcdedit /set useplatformclock true and press Enter for HPET. enable

type: bcdedit /deletevalue useplatformclockand press Enter for HPET. to turn off

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HPET optimization can be beneficial for real-time activities such as gaming. Check your game performance with HPET enabled or disabled and stick with the setting that works best.

Disable dynamic tick (DPC latency)

Dynamic Tick is a feature that allows Windows to stop the system timer when nothing is being done to save power. This feature is good for portable battery-powered systems, but can be a problem for desktop computers, as no-signals mode has been known to cause strange issues on some systems; especially when playing games or other media-related tasks. To disable dynamic branding:

Press Win + R and type cmd. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the . start notice raised †

type: bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yesand press Enter.

Restart the computer.

To undo the changes, launch the elevated command prompt and type: bcdedit /set disabledynamictick noHit Enter and restart your computer.

CPU undervoltage

Note: It is recommended that you create a system restore point before attempting to force the CPU.

Undervolting means reducing the voltage supplied to your CPU. This will make your CPU slower, but since your CPU runs slower, it can run longer without thermal throttling. Think of this as a sprint versus a marathon. Initially, a sprinter may be much faster, but over a long period of time, the marathon runner wins through steady pace. That is the idea that we pursue when under stressing our components.

Some systems, especially premium systems focused on gaming and performance, allow Undervoltage in the BIOS. Try entering your BIOS to see if your motherboard supports this feature. If you see something like “CPU Voltage” or “CPU Core V Voltage Offset”, your motherboard supports undervoltage.

CPU voltage refers to the voltage supplied to the CPU. CPU voltage boost increases CPU clock speed or CPU overclocking. Reducing the CPU voltage reduces the CPU clock rate. This allows the CPU to cool down and reach thermal throttling much later.

CPU offset voltage refers to the CPU offset voltage. This is useful for overriding the motherboard’s automatic voltage settings. The motherboard will automatically select the CPU voltage based on the current CPU frequency, but if the test shows that the same frequency is stable at a lower voltage, you can use it instead. For example, a user found that the motherboard was delivering 1.49V to the CPU at a clock speed of 4.8GHz, but was still stable around 1.38V. He could then use an offset of -0.11 V.

overclock CPU

Overclocking is the process of increasing the frequency of the CPU. Unlike undervolting, overclocking causes your CPU to run hot and quickly reach the thermal throttling point. Therefore, you must have a good cooling solution before trying to overclock your CPU. We recommend a case with plenty of I/O and a solid CPU cooler, preferably with water cooling, either AIO or Custom Loop.

Now you may be wondering, undervolting and overclocking seem like two opposite actions. How can both increase CPU performance? Well, while technically increasing the CPU voltage will result in overclocking, most of the time the motherboard will automatically select a voltage for a given CPU clock speed. It is an experience of many users that you can achieve the same stable clock frequency at a lower voltage than the one automatically selected by the motherboard.

That’s why you can overclock and undervolt a CPU at the same time!

Remember that both overclocking and undervolting are actions that inherently introduce system instability and require a lot of patience and trying to find the balance point where the system is stable and you are satisfied with the performance. We will have a detailed article on undervolting and overclocking soon, hope you enjoy it!

Clean and reapply old thermal paste CPU for gaming

Firstly, thermal compound is very important for the CPU to function as it transfers heat between the Integrated Heat Sink (IHS) on the CPU and the CPU cooler. Secondly, think of it like a bridge that allows your vehicle to cross from one side to the other. Only, in this case, heat is the vehicle and without a properly working thermal paste, you’re stuck on the CPU side of the equation.

In some cases, if the CPU is more than four or five years old, you may experience thermal throttling because the thermal paste on your CPU has dried out. In such cases, you need to remove and reapply the CPU thermal paste.

At last, Ground yourself before exposing internal computer components to prevent accidents with static electricity. If available, wear an antistatic wrist strap.

Thank you for reading absoluteandrelative.com. Until next time!

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