How do I boost gaming performance on my dated PC

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Windows Central Question

Hey there,

I'm running a dated PC, but it can still start some of the new-ish titles that come out. I'm mostly interested in Indie games, so performance isn't such a huge problem, but I'd like to be able to try mainstream titles at least on low settings.

My current specs are 8gb of RAM, Radeon R7 240 GPU, and an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor. The OS is Windows 10. I've read some blog posts on how to boost gaming performance, like defragment disk and overclock CPU but nothing seemed to help. At least the boost wasn't noticeable.

I am looking for some advice on how to improve my gaming PC even if it means getting a new graphics card or another peripheral.
 

Golfdriver97

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An SSD will help your boot times, but that's about it. What is happening on your current PC that you want to eliminate? Is there stutters (frame drops), low resolution quality?

I plugged what you told us into this site: https://www.game-debate.com/

If you search by game, you can get a rough idea where your bottlenecks are. After inputting all your hardware, it looks like the bottleneck is in the GPU. If you told us the right one, this is the equivalent to an Nvidia 700 series (I had to shift it over to Nvidia...I'm not good with AMD models), which is 4 generations behind, so ballpark 8-10 years old?

I found some GTX 1650 cards on NewEgg for about $175. That will bring you up to 4 GB of VRAM, which should be more than good enough for that game.
 

Drael646464

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For most games performance is centrally GPU. SSD is loading times, and some games are more CPU centric like GTA series. 8gb ram covers pretty much everything. Nothing really needs 16 outside of workstation media work, or if your iGPU needs to eat some.

The r7 which I used to have, is a little light for modern titles. It's not incapable, but it's probably about the same as my intergrated intel UHD, because they've improved a lot (maybe even worse actually, because pretty sure I can play more on this).

Gamedebate has some really good rating systems for comparing GPUs. Find something cheapest that beats the rating of your current card, and fits whatever ports your motherboard offers (unless the pcie is really old and only offers single speed or double, in which case that might hold you back).

The other factor is the Power Supply. It might need to provide more and r7 240 is a really low power GPU. So you kind of need to look at what power it can supply, as well as what speed youi can get on your pcie graphics slot before you know what your limits are for the GPU.

When you know that, you can crossreference second hand graphics cards with gamedebate ratings and find a card that'll boost things up.

Ram AMOUNT on a GPU is only textures. It's nice for better graphics, but it's not as key as people often assume. The gpu clock speed, the shaders, fx, and the SPEED of the ram is what'll give you your low settings modern game, getting everything churned out fast enough to keep up.
 

Ryujingt3

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Hey, thanks Golfdriver97. When you put it that way, it makes way more sense than how I was looking into it. I'll try to find some great gaming GPUs online, but I'd be exalted to get a recommendation (budget choice.)

What's your budget, if we may ask? Once we know that we can narrow things down and perhaps give you some options to choose from.
 

Drael646464

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You could go for a mini as an option. Something few people consider these days, and a bit pricier, but smaller desk space, and more mobile. Just a tip I'm on since I replaced my desktop with a mini.

Like: ZOTAC MAGNUS EN1070K, the 1070 mobile is pretty similar to the card you stated as a minimum (10% less effective speed than the card you mentioned). The 1080/i7 version is actually faster than the card mentioned, but over your stated budget.

(Obviously, you can use any m.2 or 2.5 inch drive in these things, but that can add to the price).

https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-EN1080...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3783914


Maybe this isn't what you are after at all, and if so, feel free to ignore it. One of the bonuses is here, with the liquid cooling, the fan doesn't kick in till it's quite warm, so it's fairly quiet.

That said, I've never owned this machine. I trust intel (like their gaming machine), or asus for minis/barebones, but the intel one is not as high performing as you wanted (uses vega m). The reviews online seem to suggest some of those zotacs have hardware issues, so if you got that, I'd want guarantees, or maybe buy from amazon. Reviews are way too mixed for my liking, and likely from build quality issues.

Personally if I went mini, I'd probably go with the more highly rated device, and go intel, despite lower benchmarks. https://www.amazon.com/Intel-NUC-Pe...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3783914

The other bonus is with that, is it doesn't come preconfigured, so you could max out the SSD and ram a bit more. And even then, it would come in under your budget. Intel NMVE 2tb m.2's are going cheap as chips at the moment, which would let you run all your games on NMVE. 16GB is plenty for gaming generally, and that doesn't cost much. I believe this actually supports 2x m.2 cards? You could therefore put 4tb of m.2 NMVE if you wanted + the 2.5 inch Sata drive.

The other bonus with this device is 2x thunderbolt 3. So external HDDs if you like, and if you ever wanted a more powerful GPU, you could get an eGPU.

Again, this might be something you have no interest in. If so ignore me!
 
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Ryujingt3

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You could go for a mini as an option. Something few people consider these days, and a bit pricier, but smaller desk space, and more mobile. Just a tip I'm on since I replaced my desktop with a mini.

Like: ZOTAC MAGNUS EN1070K, the 1070 mobile is pretty similar to the card you stated as a minimum (10% less effective speed than the card you mentioned). The 1080/i7 version is actually faster than the card mentioned, but over your stated budget.

(Obviously, you can use any m.2 or 2.5 inch drive in these things, but that can add to the price).

https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-EN1080...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3783932


Maybe this isn't what you are after at all, and if so, feel free to ignore it. One of the bonuses is here, with the liquid cooling, the fan doesn't kick in till it's quite warm, so it's fairly quiet.

That said, I've never owned this machine. I trust intel (like their gaming machine), or asus for minis/barebones, but the intel one is not as high performing as you wanted (uses vega m). The reviews online seem to suggest some of those zotacs have hardware issues, so if you got that, I'd want guarantees, or maybe buy from amazon. Reviews are way too mixed for my liking, and likely from build quality issues.

Personally if I went mini, I'd probably go with the more highly rated device, and go intel, despite lower benchmarks. https://www.amazon.com/Intel-NUC-Pe...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3783932

The other bonus is with that, is it doesn't come preconfigured, so you could max out the SSD and ram a bit more. And even then, it would come in under your budget. Intel NMVE 2tb m.2's are going cheap as chips at the moment, which would let you run all your games on NMVE. 16GB is plenty for gaming generally, and that doesn't cost much. I believe this actually supports 2x m.2 cards? You could therefore put 4tb of m.2 NMVE if you wanted + the 2.5 inch Sata drive.

The other bonus with this device is 2x thunderbolt 3. So external HDDs if you like, and if you ever wanted a more powerful GPU, you could get an eGPU.

Again, this might be something you have no interest in. If so ignore me!

I'm not a PC gamer, I prefer consoles, mainly because I don't want the hassle of stuff like this. But I can definitely understand the appeal though.
 

Drael646464

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I'm not a PC gamer, I prefer consoles, mainly because I don't want the hassle of stuff like this. But I can definitely understand the appeal though.

A intel or asus mini is pretty similar to a console, in that it's all self-contained, discrete. You gotta throw in ram/hdd, and install your software, but I think it's a good alternative for someone that wants something console like, but a pc.

In terms of zotac, yeah I hear you. In the reviews some people report graphics card issues, and some people are happy. When you get a product that has quality assurance issues, it can be a hassle. I only mentioned it, because it's at the level the OP wanted, performance wise.

Plus with a console, you don't have to set anything up, plug anything in, it's just ready to do.

I game on my Asus pn61, and it's integrated intel graphics. Does fine for what I need. Played the last tomb raider for eg, medium settings, no worries. Probably lower frames than purists would like, but was playable. I don't game hardcore, but it does what I need.

Thing is tiny, and outside of gaming, basically silent. I went to it recently over my mini-tower with graphics card, and whilst that was old, and this has less GPU power, it's got more cpu, quieter, takes up less space, it's just nifty having things small. Mobile chipsets have come so far. This thing has more gpu power in it's tiny iGPU than the r7 240 I had previous to my last card and boosts up to 4.3ghz for cpu.

I could just see that intel rig I linked sitting in a lounge just like a console. Or take it to your mates. Some xbox controllers, kodi for media, bigbox for games. Console like PC gaming experience. You can get these beasty looking fanless cases for it too. Has fins that fold out.
 
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Ryujingt3

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A intel or asus mini is pretty similar to a console, in that it's all self-contained, discrete. You gotta throw in ram/hdd, and install your software, but I think it's a good alternative for someone that wants something console like, but a pc.

In terms of zotac, yeah I hear you. In the reviews some people report graphics card issues, and some people are happy. When you get a product that has quality assurance issues, it can be a hassle. I only mentioned it, because it's at the level the OP wanted, performance wise.

Plus with a console, you don't have to set anything up, plug anything in, it's just ready to do.

I game on my Asus pn61, and it's integrated intel graphics. Does fine for what I need. Played the last tomb raider for eg, medium settings, no worries. Probably lower frames than purists would like, but was playable. I don't game hardcore, but it does what I need.

Thing is tiny, and outside of gaming, basically silent. I went to it recently over my mini-tower with graphics card, and whilst that was old, and this has less GPU power, it's got more cpu, quieter, takes up less space, it's just nifty having things small. Mobile chipsets have come so far. This thing has more gpu power in it's tiny iGPU than the r7 240 I had previous to my last card and boosts up to 4.3ghz for cpu.

I could just see that intel rig I linked sitting in a lounge just like a console. Or take it to your mates. Some xbox controllers, kodi for media, bigbox for games. Console like PC gaming experience. You can get these beasty looking fanless cases for it too. Has fins that fold out.

Another reason I prefer consoles is the controls. I'm not really a keyboard and mouse gamer. I guess I am just weird like that.
 

Drael646464

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Another reason I prefer consoles is the controls. I'm not really a keyboard and mouse gamer. I guess I am just weird like that.

For me, depends on the game. Some titles, like third person adventure type games, or hack and slash, or racing, or fighting, I definitely prefer the controller on PC. For strategy, or top down RPG (which are both favs), mouse is definately easier.

I don't play FPS at all.
 

Ryujingt3

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For me, depends on the game. Some titles, like third person adventure type games, or hack and slash, or racing, or fighting, I definitely prefer the controller on PC. For strategy, or top down RPG (which are both favs), mouse is definately easier.

I don't play FPS at all.

I also don't play FPS games at all. I prefer racing games.
 

Golfdriver97

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Another reason I prefer consoles is the controls. I'm not really a keyboard and mouse gamer. I guess I am just weird like that.
There is a lot of controller support on both Steam and Windows Store. Upside to Steam is they state if there is controller support, and there is a return window of 2 weeks or less than 2 hours of gameplay.

On Steam, I usually buy my game, fire it up, play for 10 minutes. If there are any issues, I usually ask for a refund right away.
 

Ryujingt3

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There is a lot of controller support on both Steam and Windows Store. Upside to Steam is they state if there is controller support, and there is a return window of 2 weeks or less than 2 hours of gameplay.

On Steam, I usually buy my game, fire it up, play for 10 minutes. If there are any issues, I usually ask for a refund right away.

I used to use Steam. They always have a good sale with lots of bargains. But now, seeing as an Xbox is my main gaming platform, I use Xbox Game Pass.
 

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