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article imageWindows 10's new Game Mode optimises your PC to boost performance

By James Walker     Jan 26, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has introduced Game Mode, a new feature coming to Windows 10 with the upcoming Creators Update that will improve gaming performance. Part of a wider upgrade of Windows 10's gaming capabilities, it's designed to make the most of your hardware.
Game Mode will need to be enabled individually for each game you use it with. It will be compatible with Universal Windows apps from the Windows Store and classic desktop games direct from publishers and third-party vendors.
Game Mode can be turned on by opening the Xbox Game Bar while playing a game. Clicking the Settings button will then display the Game Mode options, letting you boost performance in the title you're currently playing.
Details on how Game Mode works are still quite light. According to Microsoft, turning it on will lead to an overall improvement in game performance, allowing for smoother play sessions that are more enjoyable and immersive. It will tune your computer's operation to prioritise the running game, ensuring all your hardware resources are working to update your monitor's pixels.
Windows 10 Creators Update - new gaming features will improve performance and social sharing
Windows 10 Creators Update - new gaming features will improve performance and social sharing
In an interview with AnandTech, Kevin Gammill, Partner Group Program Manager at Xbox, said Game Mode isn't being built to increase framerate. Instead, it will help to ensure your current peak framerate remains consistent, reducing stutters and momentary performance dips.
Game Mode will adjust the CPU's core affinity and thread priority to devote the processor's resources to gaming. Microsoft found background programs regularly consume significant system resources while playing games, reducing performance. Game Mode will help to avert this, automatically optimising CPU settings while you're playing games.
The graphics card will receive similar treatment. More of the GPU's clock cycles will be allocated to the game, again limiting other applications' usage and restricting background activity.
"Last year, we set out to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming," said Microsoft. "With Game Mode, it's our goal to now take things a step further to make the gaming experience on Windows even better. Our vision is that Game Mode optimizes your Windows 10 PC for an improvement in overall game performance."
Microsoft is also working on several other new gaming features for Windows 10. As part of the Creators Update, it will add integrated support for livestreaming gameplay. Beam, now owned by Microsoft, will be available from the Xbox Game Bar so you can start to share your gaming sessions with no added software required. Gaming settings will be added to the system Settings app as a new category, reducing the current dependence on the Xbox app.
The Xbox One will receive substantial updates as well, including a new simpler Home screen and redesigned Guide menu. Beam streaming will be integrated into the console too, giving you access to the same set of core Xbox features regardless of your platform choice.
Windows 10's Game Mode will launch in an upcoming Windows Insider build later this week. It will become available to all Windows 10 users with the public launch of the Creators Update in April. Microsoft said it will share more details on how Game Mode works as it continues to develop the feature.
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