How Windows 10’s Game Mode will make your PC games run better – PCWorld

The “Game Mode” destined to arrive in the Windows 10 Creators Update has been a tantalizing tease for months now, but now Microsoft’s pulling back the curtain—somewhat—on the performance-boosting technology.

Game Mode’s designed to focus your PC’s resources on the game you’re playing in order to increase frame rates. It does so by tweaking how Windows handles allocating tasks to both your processor and your graphics card, Xbox program manager Kevin Gammill revealed in a series of interviews.

On the graphics front, Game Mode forces Windows to grant more of your GPU’s processing cycles to your game, rather than to background processes, Gammill told PC Gamer. The exact split will be different on every system, depending on the hardware and software you’re running, but Gammill made a point to stress that Game Mode will definitely reduce the graphics performance of background operations.

Nvidia AMD graphics cards Brad Chacos

If you’re running intense Adobe Lightroom tasks in the background while you play a game with Game Mode enabled—why the hell would you do that?—Lightroom’s performance will suffer. Into watching videos while you play? Game Mode could also make, say, Netflix or YouTube chug if your GPU’s being maxed out, Gammill told Rock Paper Shotgun.

Game Mode also follows in DirectX 12’s footsteps by optimizing how your CPU behaves while gaming. When the feature’s enabled, Windows will dedicate a given number of your CPU threads to the game alone, forcing all background software and processes to fight over the scraps. The baked-in overhead allows your game to run smoothly even if CPU demands suddenly ramp up, resulting in more consistent overall performance, Gammill told PC Gamer.

How Windows 10’s Game Mode works

Now for the part PC gamers have been waiting to hear: Game Mode will work with Windows Store games designed as universal Windows apps as well as traditional “Win32” games. Windows Store games will likely receive slightly larger performance increases from Game Mode than traditional games, Gammill told Ars Technica. That’s because Game Mode focuses your PC’s resources on the program in the foreground, and traditional games often create multiple processes or run background services to run properly.

“There’s no way at the platform level to really know where a [Win32] game starts and stops,” Gammill told PC Gamer. “You could have a number of Windows services running, we don’t know if that’s part of the game or not, that the game’s calling into. UWP is more of a contained package, and you know where it starts and stops.”

windows 10 pc gaming game settings Microsoft

See the Xbox logo in the center? Those are the new Gaming settings, where you can enable Windows 10’s Game Mode.

You’ll need to enable Game Mode in the new Gaming options found in the Windows 10 Creators Update’s Settings. “We will have what we call kind of an approved list or whitelist of games that we feel super-comfortable about and we want to enable out of the gate. Those will be turned on by default,” Gammill told Rock Paper Shotgun.

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