It’s true that Windows 11 has a handful of features that Microsoft has ported over from their Xbox consoles that can enhance your gaming experience, but PC gaming is far more complex than a few useful features. Before you upgrade, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Windows 11, in addition to potential issues.
How is Windows 10 vs 11 when it comes to gaming performance?
At the base level, Windows 10 and Windows 11 offer similar levels of gaming performance. Benchmark tests show that identical hardware produces almost identical results when running Windows 11 versus Windows 10.
Windows 11 performs slightly better overall in most tests, but occasionally returns slightly lower scores when checking frames per second (FPS) performance when actually playing some games. In other games, FPS performance is slightly better on Windows 11.
While Windows 11 delivers better overall performance on average, that’s not enough to warrant an upgrade just for sheer performance. However, Windows 11 includes some useful gaming features that aren’t in Windows 10, so that’s worth considering as well.
What are the new gaming features of Windows 11?
DirectStorage and AutoHDR are the two main gaming features built into Windows 11. These features were both first introduced in Xbox consoles, and Microsoft has adopted them to improve PC gaming on Windows 11.
DirectStorage is a feature that allows the Xbox Series X to take advantage of its extremely fast storage. This effectively reduces load times, allowing you to get into the action faster and spend less time on loading screens.
If you have a particularly fast SSD and aren’t using Windows 11, there’s a good chance your games won’t be able to take advantage of the speed. DirectStorage allows Windows 11 to take full advantage of the blazing data transfer speeds of high-end NVMe SSDs, which can both reduce load times in games and reduce the load on your CPU.
The catch is that unless you have a fast NVMe SSD and GPU capable of working with DirectStorage, you won’t see any performance improvements thanks to DirectStorage. However, the feature will be enabled automatically if you have compatible hardware and you will definitely notice the difference.
Auto High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a feature that you can toggle on and off. This feature automatically adjusts the standard dynamic range content to HDR, which can provide more detailed, colorful and vivid images in your games.
This feature is great if you have an HDR monitor and are playing older games that don’t have native HDR support, but it’s not useful if you don’t have an HDR monitor.
To enable Auto HDR: Open Ideas > system > Advertisement > HDR > display optionsand activate both Use HDR And Auto HDR.
Should you update if you’re an avid gamer?
Gamers should consider updating to Windows 11, but with some caveats. Only update if your computer meets the recommended specifications especially just if it has the TPM 2.0 security chip. If your system is on the low end of specs or doesn’t have TPM 2.0 and you’re happy with its performance in Windows 10, you might want to avoid the update.
If you have a fast NVMe SSD, a compatible graphics card, and an HDR monitor, your overall gaming experience in Windows 11 will likely improve. DirectStorage shortens your load times and Auto HDR improves the look of your older games.
The final consideration when upgrading a gaming rig to Windows 11 is the issue of drivers. Windows 11 regularly receives patches that continually improve its hardware compatibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s bug-free.
Before upgrading, you should check if there are driver issues with Windows 11 and your graphics card and other components. If you’re getting a lot of complaints, it’s best to wait until support for your hardware improves before upgrading.
Make sure you spend enough time playing a variety of games after the update. If you notice driver issues or other issues, you can downgrade to Windows 10 within 10 days of the update, so it’s important to identify any breakthrough issues within this time frame.
How to optimize Windows 11 for gaming
Windows 11 has a gaming mode that can help optimize Windows 11 for gaming. This feature is on by default, but you can turn it back on if it’s accidentally turned off. You can also set certain games to use your gaming graphics card if your computer has both low-power onboard graphics and a more powerful graphics card.
To enable and use Windows 11 gaming mode:
Open Settings and click Play.
Click game mode.
Activate the game mode Switch.
You can also get here by navigating to Ideas > system > Advertisement > graphic.
press the Game you want to customize.
Click yours powerful graphics cardand click Save on computer.
What Makes a PC Good for Gaming?
When you see pictures of “gaming” PCs, you often see lots of bright lights and really big cases. These are usually just for fun (and they’re fun!), but for sure the lights aren’t necessary. When it comes to gaming, you need a really good graphics card (which generates a lot of heat, so a big case is good for dissipating that heat) and usually more RAM than you need for day-to-day use. We dive much deeper in our article What to Look for in a Gaming PC.
Do I need a mechanical keyboard to play?
Technically, no, every keyboard works perfectly. However, mechanical keyboards are a bit sturdier when it comes to the treatment that gamers typically give their keyboards, so something with a little more sturdiness will last longer over time. They’re also a lot of fun to use. But they can be very expensive.
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