Gamers logo

New Games Vs. Old Computers

by Matt Willis 3 years ago in pc

A Guide for Getting the Best Performance out of Your Low-end Machine

Up until pretty recently, I was always on the bleeding edge of technology, barely keeping up and definitely not meeting the cutting edge. I'd buy a game that looked fun to play, turn down all the settings ingame, and realize I was still getting low frames that caused the game to be jerky and mostly unplayable. Eventually I got sick of this, and started messing around trying to figure out a way to make these games work. There had to be a way, right? Sometimes, no. There are some games that just can't be played on some machines. If you have 4GB RAM, an integrated GFX card, and an Intel Pentium processor, don't expect to be playing Rust or Ark. Still, you should be able to play a lot of games that are just a few years old on a machine like that. Here's a few things to try, but keep in mind these are mostly tricks for Windows users, since Windows is the largest-supported gaming platform out right now:

1. Check the install folder for config files.

A lot of times these games have files with a .cfg extension that can be opened in Notepad. These files will allow you to lower settings beyond what the game developers wanted you to be able to ingame, as it doesn't fit their view of how their game should be presented. That's fair and all, but sometimes you'd rather be able to play it than to be able to see grass in full HD quality.

2. Disable some processes.

This one can be tricky (and dangerous, depending on your Operating System), so use this at your own risk. I will say it's usually fine as long as you don't close your antivirus. Modern Operating Systems like Windows 10 won't let you close processes that are vital to your machine's functions, but will let you close things like explorer.exe, which is basically just the application that shows what files you have open and holds those files for you while you do other things. Ending this process can free up some RAM, though a tiny amount. Still, when you're gaming on an old machine, you squeeze every drop of resources like a dehydrated man in a desert squeezing an orange peel. Plus, you might find out some unnecessary background application like SonicStudio.exe is sucking a lot of resources. You'd be surprised how often that's the case.

3. Cannibalize older computers.

Remember that old PC your mom doesn't use anymore? She just stuffed it in the closet or attic where it's been gathering dust. That thing might have a couple sticks of RAM in it that just might fit your machine.

Believe it or not, this happens more often than you think. My uncle had a desktop PC with 6GB RAM and wanted to play a game that was way above that in requirements. I took apart all of his trash computers (what he called boat anchors, because that's all they'd be good for in his eyes), and I found one RAM stick that was 4GB. I took out one of his three 2GB sticks, and slapped that 4GB stick in its place, and his machine jumped up to 10GB of RAM, which was just enough to run the game he wanted.

Keep in mind that if you want to play on a PC, there's more to it than just what you've got in the machine. Know-how goes a long way, so do your research, especially before you buy the game. Also, stay away from Early Access titles as you never know if they'll upgrade to a new physics engine that makes the game unplayable for you.

Matt Willis
Matt Willis
Read next: Pitch Ya Game Round 2
Matt Willis
See all posts by Matt Willis

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links