As a gamer, I can tell you what pure frustration look like – you get home from work, pop opens a bottle of suds, and you see that there’s a major discount for the latest Call of Duty game.
Click, purchase, install, and let the games begin! Or not, because you’re hit by this message saying that you don’t have enough resources to play this game. Yup, that right there is the reason why people become violent towards their PCs.
And you know what’s the most daunting part? That you don’t afford to buy those specs. Well, after searching high and allow, I think I finally struck gold – a way to play any triple-A on a potato PC.
So, because talk is cheap and so am I, here are X surefire ways to turn your old computer into a high-end gaming rig without spending a single penny.
Get yourself a gaming client
Gaming clients such as Nvidia’s GeForce Experience or AMD’s Gaming Evolved are not just there to collect system information. They have powerful in-built optimizers that can really crank up those frames.
It doesn’t matter if your GPU is brand-new or a decade old – just download the gaming client, scan your PC for games, and hit the “optimize” button. I used this trick back when I had my Intel Centrino Dual-Core laptop with a 1GB Radeon mobile graphics card.
Wanted to play Witcher 2 but I couldn’t get more than 10 frames, regardless of how much I lowered the graphics settings. Don’t know what happened, but the game ran smoothly ever since. Give it a try.
Crank down the graphics setting as much as humanly possible
Yeah, I know that everyone wants the graphic to be as realistic as possible, but do bear in mind that you will never be able to squeeze out 60 FPS from an old computer. So, the best thing to do would be lower the graphics as much as you can in order to boost your frames.
Start with the resolution – if the game has an option for 640×480, go for it. I would advise you not to mess around with the frequency as this can result in the game crashing. Next in line is anti-aliasing – turn it off. That there is the worst FPS killer. Other things you could try:
- Turn off shadows.
- Turn off or disable post-processing.
- Adjust the screen scale slider to the lowest setting.
- Set textures and everything else to very low.
Some games, like Doom, allow the user to switch between Vulkan and OpenGL. If you have a potato computer, it would be for the best stick with OpenGL.
Enhance performance by hacking the config files
It may be a long shot, but it may be possible to improve overall game performance by editing the config file with notepad.
Open up the file and look for the lines associated with various graphics options. Yes, there’s a distinct possibility that editing the config file might make the game crash, but do bear in mind that this file gives you access to options that are not covered by the game’s setting menu.
Though it may be your best shot at enjoying the game, you should search online for some guides on ‘tweakable’ values. As for the config folder, it’s usually located in the game’s folder. If not there, check My Documents.
Overclock your PC
Word of warning: only use overclocking as a last resort. This process basically super-chargers the computer’s hardware. One wrong value and you can wave bye-bye to your PC. Now, if you want to play it safe, you should download software that does the whole thing for you.
In this case, you won’t have to worry about stuff like temperature or voltages. Just hit the overclock button, and you’re good to go.
As for software, grab AMD Overdrive if you have an AMD processor and GPU. You can also try Riva Tuner, Intel Desktop Control Center, or HW Monitor. Best of luck to you and try not to burn your processor.
Disable or limit background applications
Windows 10’s task manager has this nifty option that allows the user to permanently disable applications or put them to sleep.
If you have too many tasks running in the background, you should definitely disable them. Bear in mind that one of the many reasons behind in-game frame drops is bitcoin miners.
Give your PC a thorough malware check to see if you have any nasty bugs festering in your root drive. If the anti-malware software doesn’t detect anything, take a closer look in your task manager.
Apps that eat away resources more than they should are definitely miners and must be closed or disabled. Some antiviruses have game profiles – they limit the number of background apps and snoozes notifications.
You should also check out system optimizers such as AVG TuneUp Utilities. Every little bit helps.
Stream games instead of running them from your PC
Now, if you really are bent on playing a certain game, you can always try to stream it online, instead of installing it on your PC. The game’s hosted on a remote server that meets all system requirements.
This works if you have a fast Internet connection. Bear in mind that the streaming trick works only on Ethernet cards. Don’t try streaming them on Wi-Fi connections because you’ll end up with a nasty lag.
Try Indie titles
If nothing works, you can always go underground, and I don’t mean burying your hand in the sand. There are some great Indie titles out there – rich storytelling, addictive gameplay, and low sys requirements.
They’re perfect for low-end PC. Sure, they’re not triple-As, but great PC games don’t rely solely on graphics.
Well, that’s about it for my short and sweet guide on how to turn any potato PC into a high-end gaming rig.
Hope this helps and if it doesn’t, you should leave the fellow be; it’s not his fault that he’s past retirement. If you have any questions, you can always reach out. Have fun tweaking guys!