A Look at NVIDIA’s GeForce 800M Mobile GPU Series
NVIDIA’s GeForce 800M mobile series brings the usual performance upgrades that a generational gap usually entails, but it’s with the features it brings that makes me feel like this is one of the most important mobile GPU launches to happen in a while. Read on to learn about them all, and to get a preview of 800M-equipped notebooks.
With NVIDIA’s GeForce 820M having popped-up last month, we knew that the rest of the 800M models would soon follow – and, given the fact that this article exists, you’d be correct in guessing that it’s just happened.
As a bottom-of-the-ladder part, the GeForce 820M told us the grand sum of nothing about what we could have expected to see from the higher-end models. In fact, its base GK117 architecture has been used on the lowest-end mobile parts dating back a couple of generations, so in all regards, it’s not that interesting. The same could be said about the 830M and 840M; neither are targeted at gamers, although they’re at least based on Maxwell, the same architecture utilized on the excellent GeForce GTX 750 and 750 Ti desktop parts (which I took an in-depth look at).
Of today’s launch models, then, the interesting parts are the 850M (based on Maxwell), and the 860M, 870M, and 880M, all based on Kepler. At the moment, it appears NVIDIA’s more interested in using Maxwell on the low-end, whereas the high-performing Kepler retains its place at the top-tier of the current lineup.
Performance-wise, there’s a large delta between the 850M and 880M, as one would suspect. NVIDIA says that the 850M should score an average of 35 FPS in most titles, whereas the 860M boosts that to 40 FPS, and the 870M, to 55 FPS. The big gun, the 880M, is the only chip of the lineup to exceed 60 FPS, settling in at 65 FPS.
Because we’re not able to benchmark each one of these GPUs in the exact same notebook (and, for that matter, we’re working on getting an 800M notebook in at all), it’s not a simple task to provide reliable apples-to-apples comparisons. However, NVIDIA does take the pain out of understanding which tier of GPU is better for which graphics-levels you’re looking for; the 850M and 860M can handle 1080p @ High, whereas the 870M and 880M can handle Ultra at the same resolution.
It’s sometimes easier to grasp details like this when it’s laid-out nice in a table, and fortunately for you, I happen to have one:
|Optimus, PhysX, GPU Boost 2.0, GameStream, ShadowPlay, FXAA, TXAA, SLI (not 850M), PCIe 3.0 (not 850M), OpenCL 1.1, DirectCompute, DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.4, Blu-ray 3D, TrueHD and DTS-HD audio, and Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 support.
|1 Plus GPU Boost. 2 1080p resolution.
As usual, it’s impossible to compare either of these models to anything in the desktop GeForce line, although given that the 880M packs in the same number of cores as the GTX 770, that card looks to be a screamer (but again, core counts are not all that decides a card’s performance). Overall, all of the cards look capable of delivering good gameplay at 1080p – even the 850M. Compromises might have to be made, but that’s to be expected with mobile parts.
What else does the 800M series bring to the table?
A couple of the features NVIDIA has now ported to its mobile chips are what I’d consider “important”. In fact, had NVIDIA not brought over a couple of these features, this launch likely wouldn’t have garnered an entire article on our site. Instead, for mobile users, the latest generation of GeForce cards offer not only high-performance, but a truly fantastic featureset.
Battery Boost Technology
Clearly, there’s few things quite as important as battery-life on notebooks, and no one has the right to complain about it as much as a gamer can. I’ve tested notebooks out before that lasted one hour on a full battery while gaming, so the need to increase efficiency when not plugged in is of huge importance. That’s where Battery Boost comes into play, a feature that ties itself in with GeForce Experience.
Battery Boost’s execution is simple: Once a notebook is on battery power, games are immediately locked to 30 FPS. On the desktop, that kind of performance might seem a little appalling, but for console and notebook gamers alike, it’s better than nothing. In fact, I believe notebooks have the strange ability to disguise low FPS quite well; I had an experience once playing Crysis at about 20 FPS average on a notebook, and unbelievably, it still felt suitable enough. Things would of course change if you’re plugged into a full display, but if that’s the case, you’re not likely going to be on battery power.
If you feel that 30 FPS is too restrictive because you have a notebook with a massive battery, or you feel that you could afford to dip below 30 FPS, NVIDIA allows you to fiddle around with Battery Boost’s lenience.
Framerate-limiting isn’t all that Battery Boost can do, however, and it’s a good thing since that’s been done before. Instead, NVIDIA says that it’s implemented an advanced algorithm that helps to make the entire notebook more efficient, and further, users will have the ability to opt for better quality in one game they refuse to give it up in, or reduce it in another where the difference isn’t that important. An example of this tweaking can be seen in the shot below:
I’ve talked before about how useful GeForce Experience is in helping users optimize select games fast, but with the coordination between it and Battery Boost on mobile, it actually becomes an important feature there, and a much-welcomed one, at that.
Can not a single week pass where I don’t have to repeat myself to say how much I love ShadowPlay? Instead of a rehash, allow me to pull a quote from a post I wrote earlier this week:
ShadowPlay is a technology that utilizes your GeForce GPU to both record and encode video on-the-fly, with minor-to-no visible overhead. Because the video is encoded automatically, the result is a far less weighty file than what you’d see from a solution like Fraps: You can expect about 200MB/1m at max detail, at 1080p.
The key points to note about ShadowPlay: Unlike Fraps, the game’s framerate isn’t locked, and because the video is encoded on-the-fly, you don’t have to worry about free disk space nearly as much. On the desktop, ShadowPlay has consistently worked well for me across a couple of different GPUs and many different games, and I hope that kind of experience sticks on mobile (the only concern is the decreased memory bandwidth). Once I get hold of an 800M-equipped notebook, ShadowPlay will be one of the first things I jump into.
GameStream Twitch.TV Streaming
Like ShadowPlay, GameStream is another major feature NVIDIA unveiled last year. It allows you to effectively stream any game from your GeForce-powered PC over to a GameStream-enabled device, such as NVIDIA’s own SHIELD. I went into great detail about this in my review of that device. Overall, it’s a technology I’ve been very pleased with, especially with regards to how reliable it is – even during the beta period, I was shocked that I was able to play Borderlands 2 on my SHIELD with absolutely no lag (the worst part was playing an FPS with a gamepad!).
It’s GameStream that makes Twitch.TV streaming on a GeForce card look so attractive. Like ShadowPlay, there’s virtually no overhead when recording and broadcasting to the net, so for those who take such tasks seriously, this is an extremely attractive solution – and an important one for those who might not even own a desktop PC.
It’s worth noting that both GameStream and ShadowPlay will work on 700M series GPUs as well with an updated driver.
All of the important features and specs have been talked about already, but since a mobile GPU is useless without a notebook wrapped around it, I thought I’d wrap things up here with a quick look at some of the models that will be packing in the GeForce 800M series soon. But first, an official shot of a levitating GeForce notebook (no, levitation is not another feature):
Here’s Asus’ G750, one of the best-looking 800M notebooks of the lot (in my opinion):
And then there’s Razer’s Blade, a notebook many of you are likely familiar with, I’m sure. It’s no surprise that an 800M-equipped model will be available soon.
In recent years, MSI has been offering some of the nicest-looking notebooks out there, and this is especially true lately if you happen to care about bling. Just look at that keyboard! In addition to bling, though, MSI has also been stepping up its software game, which is good, because gamers tend to care about more than just the hardware. This particular model is the GS70.
MAINGEAR’s attractive Pulse 14 has been updated to support the 800M as well.
Of them all, GIGABYTE’s P35K looks the most ordinary, but there’s something to be said about an understated design that can still pack a punch.
On the topic of understated, that’s one area where Lenovo tends to excel. But on the gaming side, its Y50 looks the part.
Last, but certainly not least, might be the notebook that screams “gamer” more than all the others: Alienware’s 17.
As I mentioned above, I’m without an 800M-equipped notebook at the moment, but that problem should be rectified soon. And, I admit that I can’t wait. Mobile ShadowPlay? Yes, please. Oh – and I suppose the updated hardware is something to look forward to as well. A very attractive launch overall.
Support our efforts! With ad revenue at an all-time low for written websites, we’re relying more than ever on reader support to help us continue putting so much effort into this type of content. You can support us by becoming a Patron, or by using our Amazon shopping affiliate links listed through our articles. Thanks for your support!
Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an ‘Advocate of the consumer’, focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.
How to Boost FPS and Optimize Your PC for Gaming
PC gaming isn’t as simple as console gaming. Instead of plug and play, it’s more plug and pray that your games run smoothly. This article will show you how to optimize your PC for gaming, increase FPS, and improve your GPU’s performance. Then, keep your Windows 10 gaming PC in top shape with AVG TuneUp.
We’ll show you how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming to get a better FPS booster in popular big-name releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, GTA V, Ark: Survival Evolved, Rust, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Destiny 2, to name just a few — with great tips, downloads, and AVG TuneUp, our dedicated PC optimization software that helps boost performance and increase FPS.
Now, let’s take a look at the best performance tweaks that can get your Windows desktop PC or laptop in top shape for the latest blockbuster releases.
What is a low FPS and what causes it?
Low FPS, or frames per second, is when your game slows down because your computer doesn’t have enough power or memory to run it properly. Common causes of low FPS are a weak graphics card, old graphics drivers, an outdated CPU, or insufficient RAM.
Like movies, games are displayed on your monitor in a Rapid-fire series of frames. The number of frames shown on your monitor each second is known as your frame rate and is measured in FPS — frames per second.
Most games run between 30 and 60 FPS. At rates like these, things will look pretty smooth (though many gamers will swear that nothing short of a steady 60 FPS is acceptable). For competitive gameplay and a super-smooth experience, most gaming monitors and new gaming laptops operate at speeds of 144 to 360 Hz, which allow for extremely smooth gameplay and lower latency.
If your computer isn’t powerful enough to keep generating all these frames, the frame rate will fall. This results in the game looking and feeling as though it were running in slow motion.
Viewed as a console gaming vs. PC gaming issue, boosting FPS is a win for the PC gamers — you can’t modify a console once it’s in your hands. The FPS booster tips in this article are all about showing you how to increase FPS and speed up your computer for gaming.
How to boost FPS: easy techniques
Some of the most effective FPS boosters are also the easiest. Here are the best tricks you can do to increase FPS on your Windows 10 gaming machine:
Enable Game Mode in Windows 10
Game Mode is a built-in tool designed to optimize Windows 10 for gaming — whether you’re gaming on a prehistoric museum antique or a custom-built, bleeding-edge powerhouse. Game Mode deactivates background activities like Windows updates and app notifications to help your computer boost FPS in your games.
Since mid-2019, Windows 10 has Game Mode enabled by default. Your computer should be able to detect when you’re gaming and prioritize its resources accordingly.
Here’s how to activate the dedicated Windows 10 gaming mode on your PC to get more FPS:
- Open your Settings by clicking the cog icon in the Start menu.
- Select the Gaming category.
- Select Game Mode from the menu on the left and confirm that the Game Mode switch is toggled On.
Now the gaming mode will help boost FPS and improve performance any time you play a game in Windows 10.
Lower your resolution
Unless you have a super-high-end gaming PC, you may need to make some sacrifices in the graphics department for higher FPS. An average computer simply can’t run modern games at ultra-high resolutions while also putting out a constant 60 FPS.
As resolution increases, the number of pixels on your screen goes up — and so does the strain on your GPU. Lowering your game’s resolution can improve FPS by making your GPU’s job easier, since it won’t have to support as many pixels with each frame. The graphics won’t look as clear, but the game should run more smoothly with tweaked display settings.
Changing the resolution of your game can help boost FPS.
Decreasing your resolution from 1080p (1080 x 1920) to 900p (900 x 1600) will reduce the total number of pixels by just over 30%. Lowering the resolution even more to 720p will give you roughly half as many pixels as your original 1080p setting, making this tip an effective, if inelegant, FPS booster.
Find the resolution settings within your game’s options menu. Experiment to see what your machine can handle and find the optimal balance of clear graphics and better FPS for your Windows 10 gaming.
Changing your display settings can increase FPS.
Change the game’s video settings
While you’re fiddling with your game’s resolution, tweak the other video settings as well for an additional FPS boost. Some games will have simple settings that you can adjust by level: ultra, high, medium, low, and so on. Other games will have sliders, numerical settings, or more nuanced controls.
Explore some of the following settings to try and get more FPS from your game.
- Graphical details: Reduce the quality of things like shadows, lighting, textures, and reflections. Your game will look a bit less lifelike, but it should run more smoothly in return.
- Anti-aliasing: Anti-aliasing smoothes out the edges of the various objects in your game. Turn it off, then slowly increase it to the point where it’s making a difference in your graphics but not negatively impacting FPS. If the game offers different types of anti-aliasing, try each one and see what happens.
- Draw distance: If you can, reduce draw distance to prevent the game from rendering far-off objects. With fewer things to render at once, your GPU can FOCUS its available resources on your immediate environment.
- Graphical effects: Tone down or get rid of motion blur, lens flares, and other types of graphical flare. It’s one less thing for your GPU to worry about.
- VSync: Designed to prevent screen tearing — when your monitor shows portions of multiple frames at the same time — VSync synchronizes the game’s frame rate with the refresh rate of your monitor. It sounds helpful, and often is, but it can sometimes bring down FPS. Turn it off and see what happens. If you notice screen tearing, turn it back on.
Here’s a quick look at some of your options in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition. Reducing some or all of these can give you a considerably better FPS in your next Windows 10 gaming session.
Reducing video settings to boost FPS.
Update your graphics card drivers
Your graphics card is the centerpiece of your gaming experience, but you can’t unleash its true performance without the right graphics driver. Updating your graphics card driver can be a huge FPS booster. Take a look at this recent chart from GPU manufacturer Nvidia, which shows how gaming performance improves with updated drivers.
Updating to the latest driver boosted performance by up to 23%. Source: Nvidia
Here’s how to update the drivers for the Nvidia GeForce, ATI Radeon, and Intel HD graphics cards:
- Nvidia GeForce: Go to the GeForce driver website, select your graphics card and Windows version from the list, and hit the Start Search button. Drivers marked as beta aren’t quite finished, but they should all run as smoothly as the final release — and they’ll likely increase FPS even more. If you have the GeForce Experience tool installed, you’ll get an automatic notification whenever Nvidia releases a new driver.
- ATI Radeon: Go to the AMD software downloads website and select the appropriate device. This will give you access to the latest official driver that you can download and install. You can also install the beta driver to get more performance improvements or features.
- Intel HD Graphics: Mostly found on ultrabooks or tablets, the Intel graphics chipsets are the weakest of the bunch. We don’t recommend doing any sort of gaming on the HD 3000 or earlier, but Intel’s latest graphics chipsets can handle current games — though not at the highest possible resolution or with all the bells and whistles turned on. To get updated drivers, go to the Intel Download Center’s graphics page.
A 2021 driver update lowered the latency for games such as Overwatch. Source: Nvidia
Regardless of which GPU you have, updating your driver can give you an immediate FPS boost and optimize Windows 10 for gaming. AVG Driver Updater automatically updates all your computer’s drivers for consistently optimized performance. When you don’t need to worry about updating your drivers, you’re free to FOCUS on more important things — like actually playing, and dominating, your games.
Wait, how do I even know what graphics card I own?
To find out the manufacturer and exact serial number of your graphics card, all you need to do is follow these steps:
- Go to the Control Panel and head to Hardware and Sound.
- Click Device Manager to bring up a list of all the built-in devices your system has.
- Open the Display adapters drop-down category. This Alienware X51 gaming rig has two Nvidia Titan Xp graphics cards.
Once you’ve identified your graphics card, make sure you’re using the latest drivers for optimal Windows 10 gaming performance.
Remove unused programs and bloatware
Does Windows get increasingly slower with each program you install on your PC or laptop — directly impacting all your games? This is because a lot of programs run background activities even when they’re not being used, which waste your computer’s valuable memory.
AVG TuneUp helps your computer get more FPS and prioritize its resources by removing bloatware, uninstalling programs that you don’t use, and improving the efficiency of the programs you do need. Download a free trial today.
After installing AVG TuneUp, the Unnecessary programs screen will show you all the programs you haven’t used in a while. These may range from useless bloatware to apps you installed ages ago and forgot about. Click Move to Trash next to any program to get rid of it.Found a program you don’t need? Click Move to Trash to dump it. AVG TuneUp will remove the bloatware along with its corresponding files and caches.
But what about all those other programs you use on a regular basis that are still limiting your day-to-day performance? Our handy tool will also help you adjust your power settings. AVG TuneUp can safely put these to sleep, then wake them up when you need them. Here’s how to put unused programs to sleep with AVG TuneUp.
- Open AVG TuneUp and click Speed up to get started.
- Click Background startup programs.
- AVG TuneUp will show you all the programs running in the background and sucking up your computer’s resources. Click Put all to sleep to snooze them all at once, or click Sleep next to each program to snooze them one by one.
Our patented Sleep Mode technology prevents your selected programs from running in the background until you need to use them. Thanks to this performance tweak of snoozing all your heavy background tasks, your PC will run like new — meaning your games will run faster.
Boost your Wi-Fi
A slow internet connection can cause extra lag in games. So though it won’t increase your FPS, boosting your Wi-Fi signal can help to reduce lag and increase gaming performance.
How to boost FPS: advanced techniques
From overclocking your GPU to learning all the advanced settings tweaks, there are some powerful changes you can make to raise FPS to elite levels on your gaming PC:
Overclock your graphics card
than insufficient RAM or a struggling CPU, your graphics chip is almost always the bottleneck that causes stuttering or lackluster gameplay. To improve performance and increase FPS, push your graphics card beyond its default speed setting via overclocking.
Five to ten years ago, overclocking could potentially harm your hardware. But now, most current systems will shut themselves down before taking any damage. Besides, we’re looking at a slight GPU overclock of no more than 15% for a quick performance tweak that can significantly boost your gaming experience.
On my custom-built gaming PC, I pushed an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3090 roughly 15% above its factory clock:
Overclocking an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3090 GPU on a custom-built gaming PC.
On my main laptop, a MacBook Pro 2016 with Windows 10 and a Radeon 460 Pro GPU, I’ve pushed the GPU by 100 MHz and overclocked the RAM 300 MHz.
Overclocking speeds up your GPU but also increases the stress on all of your hardware, not just the CPU or GPU — which raises your computer’s internal temperature. My desktop and laptop overclocks both increased temps by 5° Celsius — significant, but well within safe limits. Always follow safe GPU overclocking practices when trying this yourself. The same goes for overclocking your CPU — slow and steady wins the race.
Using 3DMark TimeSpy to run benchmarking tests, I determined that overclocking my system as described above yielded a 10% performance boost, from 17,018 points before the overclock to 18,591 after.
Upgrade your graphics card
After upgrading to a 4K projector, I noticed how my old gaming PC really couldn’t keep up with the higher resolution. While The Witcher 3 ran decently in Full HD, my two GeForce 970 graphics cards (in SLI mode) struggled with 4K, which essentially quadruples the resolution from 1080p.
Only with Nvidia’s Pascal GPU from the 2016/2017 generation did we get the graphical power to render 4K games at a buttery-smooth 60 FPS and above. But even in 2023 and beyond, you’ll need high-end GPUs like the GeForce RTX 3090 or Titan RTX to support this type of performance and optimize your PC for gaming at this level.
If 1440p or 1080p is enough for your gaming needs, you’ll see a significant FPS boost with a much more affordable GPU. And if you’re currently building your own Windows 10 gaming PC, you can choose the perfect GPU for the way you game.
According to Nvidia’s tests, upgrading from a GeForce RTX 2080 to a GeForce RTX 3080 significantly boosts FPS. Source: Nvidia
Upgrade to an SSD
SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard disks, making them a great way to optimize your Windows 10 computer for gaming. Upgrading to an SSD (solid state drive) won’t boost your game’s frame rate, but it will speed up your computer and reduce loading times while you play.
Choose an SSD with at least 250 GB of storage, though this is more like an absolute minimum than an effective starting point. Many modern games can exceed 50 GB, and you’ll also need to allocate roughly 30 GB for Windows. And that doesn’t even include all your other files. In reality, you’ll likely want 500 GB or more.
I went for the 480 GB SanDisk Extreme (395), which boasts an incredible 540 MB/s of sequential read and 460 MB/s of sequential write. The performance difference between this and my Alienware gaming rig’s stock drive is mind-blowing:
Upgrading to an SSD can significantly reduce loading times.
Upgrade your computer’s RAM
RAM (random access memory) is your computer’s resource pool for all current tasks. The more RAM you have, the more your computer can do at once. Upgrading your PC’s RAM will not only optimize your computer for gaming, but make it more powerful in general.
If you’re adding RAM, make sure your new RAM modules match whatever you currently have. You don’t want to mix and match RAM types. If you’re upgrading all your RAM modules to new ones, confirm which types of RAM your motherboard can support. Then, buy one or more of the same RAM module.
Adding RAM can give you a significant FPS boost, though not as much as upgrading your GPU or CPU. Still, if you can afford the new RAM, it won’t hurt.
Disable SuperFetch (SysMain) and Prefetch
SuperFetch (referred to as SysMain in Windows 10) and Prefetch are built-in Windows features intended to boost startup times for apps on your computer and for Windows itself. But with games, we noticed that loading times and background activity actually increase when these features are enabled. Turning them off is an easy Windows 10 gaming hack. Here’s how to get better FPS this way:
Note: Please read the following instructions carefully, because deleting or changing the wrong values in the registry may cause problems with your PC.
- Type services into the Windows search box, then select Services from the results.
- Scroll down until you see SysMain and double-click it.
- Choose Disabled from the Startup type options, then click Apply and OK. Close this window and the Services window when you’re finished.
- Now, press Windows R to bring up the Run box, type regedit, and press Enter. Press Yes to confirm.
- Paste the following path into the address bar and press Enter: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
- Double-click EnablePrefetcher and enter 0 (the default value is 3) to disable the Prefetcher, then click OK.
Defrag or optimize your disk
As data is written to or deleted from your hard disk, files become fragmented and will physically spread out all over the disk. Disk fragmentation will lead to a significant performance hit — especially with games — as the hard disk will need to collect all of the fragmented portions before it can process the entire file.
SSDs also benefit from regular cleanup with the help of a good PC cleaner and optimizer tool. The TRIM function tells your SSD to erase any data blocks that aren’t being used, which speeds up read and write speeds with more efficient data management.
Games and related files take up a ton of space, especially AAA games — Doom Eternal and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla both recommend at least 50 GB of available storage, and Red Dead Redemption 2 calls for a whopping 150 GB. It’s vital that Windows can continually access all this data without having to jump around through your drive.
Whether you’re using a hard disk drive or an SSD, clean up your drive now to boost your computer and optimize Windows 10 for gaming.
- Open the Start menu and begin typing the word defragment. Choose Defragment and Optimize Drives from the search results.
- Select your Windows disk and hit Optimize. This will either defragment your HDD or optimize your SSD via TRIM.
TRIM should be enabled by default for your SSD. But it can accidentally get switched off, which means your SSD won’t benefit from regular optimization. Here’s how to enable TRIM on your computer if necessary:
- Open Command Prompt: click the Start menu and type cmd into the search bar. Choose Run as administrator from the Command Prompt options and click Yes when prompted.
- Type in the command Fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify, and hit Enter.
- If this returns the result = 0, as shown above, you’re good to go! Otherwise, TRIM isn’t supported and needs to be enabled. Try entering the command fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0. If that doesn’t help, you might need to upgrade your firmware to enable TRIM.
Tweak the Nvidia Control Panel
All Nvidia drivers come with their own control panels that give you more power over your graphics settings and performance to optimize your PC for gaming. Go through the list of options and tweak them to increase FPS and find the right balance between performance and visual quality for your PC.To get to the Nvidia Control Panel, right-click on your desktop, select Nvidia Control Panel, and choose the Manage 3D Settings category on the left. These are some of the lesser-known but still important settings to tweak:
- Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames: This controls the number of frames that the processor prepares before transferring them to the graphics card. Increasing this value results in smoother gameplay, but you may notice lag when using the mouse and keyboard. To eliminate lag, try the 1 setting.
- Threaded Optimization: This option should always be On, because it allows the support of multi-threaded optimization for modern multi-core processors.
- VSync: This synchronizes the frames that your graphics card renders with the refresh rate of your monitor. If you disable it, you might find that games run more smoothly, but some parts of the screen may not render correctly. Disable VSync only if your monitor has a higher frame rate than your gameplay.
Tweak the AMD/ATI Control Center
The AMD/ATI Control Center is another fantastic way to squeeze out more performance and increase the visual quality of your games. To fire it up, right-click on your desktop, select Radeon Settings, and head over to the Gaming Settings.From here, you can set individual graphic settings for games you have installed. But we suggest going with the Global Settings as our recommendations usually apply to all games.
These are the most important settings:
- Anisotropic Filtering Mode: The higher this is set, the sharper distant textures will appear — but this will also increase the processing load on your graphics card. If your GPU is powerful enough, enable it and see if it makes a difference. Use this only if your game doesn’t support changing the anisotropic filtering in its settings menu.
- Anti-aliasing mode and method: Anti-aliasing reduces the “jaggies” around the edges of the objects in your game, and it can have a severe impact on performance. If you’re seeing shimmering or jaggies, try the Override method and select an anti-aliasing level from 2 to 8.
- Morphological Filtering (MLAA): AMD introduced its own form of anti-aliasing which might work better and faster than other options. Try turning off the in-game anti-aliasing as well as the standard AMD anti-aliasing, and use this instead. If it works, keep it.
- Texture Filtering Quality: According to AMD, this feature changes texture quality. When looking up close, we couldn’t detect a difference between High and Performance, but many of the games we tested ran 1 to 5 FPS faster in Performance mode. Try it out for a small FPS boost.
- Surface Format Optimization: This trades graphical fidelity in older games for a minor FPS increase. It won’t affect modern games, and even when I tried it on 2005’s Age of Empires III, I couldn’t detect any performance improvements. Turn it off.
- Wait for Vertical Refresh: Vertical Sync (or VSync) synchronizes the frames rendered by your graphic card with the refresh rate of your monitor. If you disable Vsync, you might find that games run more smoothly, but doing so can also lead to graphics issues. Disable Vsync only if your monitor has a higher refresh rate than the FPS of your game.
Bonus: improve gaming performance on your laptop
Here’s the good news — if you’re a laptop gamer, you can use most of the tips above to boost FPS and optimize your laptop for gaming. While many laptops aren’t able to handle aftermarket GPU upgrades, you can enable the Windows 10 gaming mode, update your graphics drivers, and in most cases, upgrade your RAM and swap out your HDD for a blazing-fast SSD instead.
Here are a few more tips and FPS boosters to improve the gaming performance of your laptop:
Optimize your power settings for performance
Maximize your laptop’s gaming performance by giving it all the power it needs to increase FPS. Optimize your power options by clicking the battery icon in the system tray and dragging the slider all the way over to Best performance. This will shorten battery life if your laptop isn’t plugged into an external power supply, but as long as you’re using one, you’ll be fine.
Keep your laptop cool
The hotter your laptop gets, the worse its performance becomes: a hot laptop will try to self-regulate its temperatures by slowing things down. Here’s how to keep your laptop cool for more consistent high performance and less stress on sensitive internal components:
- Clean your laptop’s fans and vents. As dust builds up, your laptop can’t vent hot air as efficiently. Physically clean your laptop regularly, and tidy the vents so it can keep itself cool. If you’re feeling brave (and don’t mind likely voiding your manufacturer’s warranty), you can open up your laptop and clean its fans directly.
- Don’t put it on your lap. The word “laptop” is misleading. Place your laptop on a smooth, flat surface so that air can circulate underneath it. If it’s on your lap, or on a carpet or blanket, you’ll smother it.
- Plug it in. When your laptop runs on battery power, things can get hot — especially if you’ve optimized its power settings for performance. Whenever you can, keep your laptop plugged into an external power supply.
- Use a cooling platform: An external cooling stand blows cool air against the underside of your laptop to improve airflow. You can pick one up for a relatively low price, and it’ll plug right into your laptop via USB.
Use a performance-boosting app
There’s a whole world of software out there that’ll automatically optimize your laptop computer for top performance. AVG TuneUp lets you easily perform a number of effective performance tweaks, including snoozing background programs to free up RAM and uninstalling unnecessary software that clogs up space. Give it a spin with a 30-day free trial to boost FPS on your gaming laptop.
How to Make Your Windows Gaming Laptop Play Longer on Battery
Gaming laptops are finally powerful and affordable enough to be viable systems for gaming enthusiasts. The thing is, they’re notoriously hard on battery life while gaming. While you’re not likely to get much game time playing the same way you do while plugged into the wall, there are some things you can do to make gaming, when you don’t have an outlet handy, last longer than 15 minutes.
- Change Windows’ Power Mode
- Limit Frame Rates
- Turn on Vsync
- Turn Off HDR and Crank the Brightness Down
- Turn Off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and RGB
- Use Headphones or Turn Down the Volume
- Kill All Background Applications
- Dial Down In-game Settings
- Play Less Demanding Games on the Go
- Use a Power Bank (If You Can)
- Buy an Extra Battery
Change Windows’ Power Mode
Windows has a sophisticated set of power settings and policies. They allow you to fine-tune exactly how your laptop should allocate power to its components, but who has the time for that when there are games waiting?
Luckily tweaking them is fairly easy.
- Press the Windows button and then select “Settings”.
- go to “System- Power Battery. Power Mode.”
- Select “Best Power Efficiency” from the dropdown menu which pops up once you click on the tiny downwards arrow.
Note: If your power plan is set to “High Performance” you’ll have to change it to “Balanced” before you can access Power Mode options.
Limit Frame Rates
While gaming laptops usually have high-refresh monitors and the components to drive high frame rates, this is also a great way to empty your battery before finishing your game’s tutorial section.
You can limit the number of frames that a game generates. This drastically reduces its power consumption in a number of ways. For Nvidia GPUs, you can for instance, activate “Battery Boost” in the Geforce Experience App.
As for AMD GPUs, take advantage of “Frame Rate Target Control” in the Radeon Settings app.
You can also use in-game frame rate limiter options for titles that support this feature, which includes most modern games.
Limiting your frame rate to 60fps (frames per second) is a balanced option, but for maximum battery life with acceptable playability, 30fps is the best option.
Turn on Vsync
Vsync is an option found in virtually all video game menus. It ensures that the GPU waits until the monitor is ready to draw a new frame before sending it. This is effectively a frame rate limiter because it means that the game will never render more frames than the screen can actually display. It’s useful because it applies globally, even if your GPU app or game doesn’t support frame rate limiting.
Not only does Vsync prevent “screen tearing” where two partial frames are on-screen at once, it also prevents wasteful rendering that pushes your GPU and CPU to the limit.
Of course, if you have a high refresh rate monitor, that’s still too many frames for battery-based play. So you can also turn your laptop screen refresh rate down.
- To do that go to “Settings- System”.
- Next, select “Display- Advanced Display- Choose a refresh rate.”
- Then select a lower number (such as 60Hz) from the options. At lower refresh rates, your monitor itself also uses less power, so it’s a win-win situation.
Turn Off HDR and Crank the Brightness Down
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a display technology that allows a wider color and contrast spectrum. Games look amazing in HDR, but if you have a laptop with an HDR-capable display, it can also use a lot of energy. So turning off the HDR option in your game settings might be a good idea.
Even if your laptop doesn’t have an HDR display, having the screen brightness too high is also an issue. Turn the brightness down as much as you can tolerate and it should have a meaningful impact on battery life.
To turn HDR on (or off) in Windows, here’s what to do.
- Go to “System”, then select “Display” on the right.
- Ensure you’ve selected the correct display if you have more than one.
- Under “Use HDR”, ensure that the switch is toggled to the off position.
Turn Off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and RGB
Pretend you are on an airplane and that it’s going to be a long flight. To conserve battery life, you could turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If your laptop has an RGB keyboard, turn it off or reduce its brightness.
To activate Airplane mode in Windows 11, left-click on the Wi-Fi, speaker, and battery icon and then click on “Airplane mode” to toggle the feature.
Just remember that you may have to activate an offline mode in certain game clients or you can’t play your games.
Use Headphones or Turn Down the Volume
If you’re one of the few people who use the internal speakers on their laptops while gaming, turn down the volume to reduce power consumption. Although it’s even better to use a headset, which consumes much less power and almost certainly sounds better.
Kill All Background Applications
PCs are awesome because they can do far more than gaming. However, if you only have a limited amount of power, it’s better if your gaming laptop concentrates on running your game and nothing else.
If you have power-hungry apps such as web browsers open in the background, close them. You may want to pause or temporarily close applications such as anti-virus software that does background scanning until you are back on main power.
Dial Down In-game Settings
Your CPU and GPU are the main power hogs when gaming. If you give them less work to do, your battery will last longer. Limiting frame rates already helps a lot, but you can do even more by reducing detail settings in the games you play when on battery power.
You don’t have to spend time tinkering, just change the preset to medium or lower. We don’t recommend reducing the game’s resolution. It’s usually better to play at the screen’s maximum resolution, or you risk seeing ugly scaling artifacts.
Play Less Demanding Games on the Go
Your Windows gaming laptop has access to decades of PC gaming history. You don’t always have to play the latest and greatest AAA games. Being away from a power outlet is the perfect opportunity to enjoy older games. These titles only need a fraction of your laptop’s power to run. Both Steam and GoG offer a large variety of classic games that are no less fun for being older!
Use a Power Bank (If You Can)
Modern gaming laptops with USB-C or Thunderbolt ports often support charging the battery through those ports. This is thanks to USB PD (Power Delivery) technology. Not every laptop with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports supports this. However, USB PD support is a minimum requirement for Thunderbolt 4.
If you have a battery bank that offers USB PD over USB C, it can help extend your laptop run time. USB PD does not provide enough wattage to keep your laptop running at full gaming tilt. However, if you’re using the other tips in this article to reduce power consumption, it can slow down or almost halt battery drain while plugged in. At worst, it offers a way to recharge your laptop while you aren’t actually playing anything. When it’s in your backpack, for example.
You can get USB PD power banks up to 99.99 Wh of capacity, which is just below the 100 Wh limit enforced by many airlines. The biggest gaming battery laptops have a similar capacity, so theoretically you could double your cumulative battery life this way.
Buy an Extra Battery
This is possibly the most drastic (and costly) option here, but gaming laptops usually have easily removable batteries. If you own a model that has a battery you can remove without opening the laptop, you might consider buying a second one.
Having a second battery effectively doubles your total battery life. Although you’ll have to interrupt your gameplay to make the change, it should only take a few minutes to be back in business. Assuming that budget isn’t an issue for you, you can buy as many batteries as you like.
Just make sure to buy an original certified battery and not a third-party or counterfeit unit!
Nothing Lasts Forever!
No matter which way you slice it, gaming laptops are power-hungry beasts and even the most efficient models won’t last as long as a Nintendo Switch or Valve Steam Deck. Still, if you know how long you’ll need to keep the fun going on battery power, these tips and strategies are bound to be invaluable.
All screenshots taken by Sydney Butler.
Sydney Butler is a technology writer with a background in Psychology who has written for a wide variety of technology outlets including How-To-Geek, Online Tech Tips, Helpdesk Geek, 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, and many more. He has 25 years of technology troubleshooting experience as a technician and user-education practitioner.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox
Test Nvidia Battery Boost
Länger Zocken! Der Grafikkarten-Hersteller Nvidia stattet seine gesamte GTX-800M-Serie mit dieser Energiespar-Option aus, welche es ermöglichen soll, länger im Akkubetrieb spielen zu können. Wie die Technik genau funktioniert und ob die versprochene Laufzeit-Verdopplung wirklich möglich ist, lesen Sie im Test.
Umfrage Mach mit bei unserer Umfrage zur Servicezufriedenheit 2023: Deine Erfahrungen sind gefragt! Hier teilnehmen
Mit der aktuellen GeForce GTX-800M-Serie treibt Nvidia seine Grafikeinheit nicht nur zu neuen Höchstleistungen an, sondern möchte die mobile Gaming-Erfahrung verbessern, indem auch ohne Steckdose brauchbare Spielzeiten möglich sein sollen. Hierfür entwickelte das US-Unternehmen eine Software-Steuerung, die Battery Boost genannt wird.
Die Software ist Teil der Nvidia GeForce Experience und versteckt sich unter den Einstellungen im Unterpunkt Akku. Die Konfiguration ist simpel gehalten. Die Technik lässt sich lediglich ein- und ausschalten. Außerdem lässt sich einstellen, auf welchen Framewert unterstützte Spiele beschränkt werden sollen.
Genau darin liegt auch der Trick, Energie zu sparen. Das Leistungspotenzial der entsprechenden Grafikeinheit wird so angepasst, dass die voreingestellte Framezahl erreicht wird. Laut Nvidia wären Titel, welche mit 70 bis 80 fps dargestellt werden, am besten geeignet. Denn ein System, welches bereits bei 30 fps am Limit operiert, hat nur wenig Einsparpotenzial. Sollte eine flüssige Darstellung drohen, ins Stottern zu geraten, soll das System die Leistung selbständig erhöhen. Wie sich das im Detail auswirkt, haben wir an verschiedenen Titeln getestet.
Als Testsystem kommt das MSI GT70 2PE-890US zum Einsatz, welcher uns freundlicherweise von Nvidia Deutschland für Gaming-Tests zur Verfügung gestellt wird. Der Bolide bietet neben einem Intel Core i7-4800MQ Prozessor, welcher zwischen 2,7 und 3,7 GHz taktet, 12 GB DDR3-Arbeitsspeicher. Mit der Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M befindet sich die derzeit stärkste Single-Grafiklösung an Bord, welche für Notebooks erworben werden kann.
Die GPU besitzt einen GK104-Kepler-Chip und setzt noch nicht auf die aktuelle Maxwell-Architektur. Satte 8 GB GDDR5-Speicher und ein 256 Bit Speicherinterface sind an Bord. Das System verspricht viel Leistung und hat dies in unserem ausführlichen Test bereits unter Beweis gestellt. Nur die wenigsten Titel treiben dieses System momentan an seine Grenzen. Als Betriebssystem kam Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Update 1) in der 64-Bit-Variante zum Einsatz. Als Massenspeicher dient eine 1.000 GB große HDD, welche mit 7.200 U/min rotiert.
- Intel HM87 Chipsatz (Lynx Point)
- Intel Core i7-4800MQ (Quad-Core, bis 3,7 GHz)
- 4 8 GByte DDR3-RAM (1.600 MHz, Dual Channel)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M Kepler (ForceWare 332.35)
- HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630 (1.000 GByte, 7.200 U/min)
- Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Update 1) 64 Bit
Das Autorennspiel Grid 2 liefert bestmögliche Bedingungen als Test-Kandidat. Es läuft auch im Ultra-Preset (1.920 x 1.080 Pixel, höchste Details, 4x MSAA) mit durchschnittlich 72,6 fps noch sehr flüssig und liegt in dem von Nvidia vorgeschlagenen Idealbereich für den Einsatz der Battery Boost Technologie.
Ein weiterer Vorteil für eine möglichst gleichmäßige Entleerung des Energiespeichers ist der integrierte Benchmark. Dieser kann in einer Schleife ausgeführt werden, sodass in allen Testläufen mit einem ähnlichen Leistungsbedarf gerechnet werden kann. In jedem Spielzyklus wird das Energiesparprofil des MSI GT70 2PE-890US auf Ausgeglichen eingestellt. Die Panelhelligkeit wird außerdem auf 150 cd/m² angepasst und die Hintergrundbeleuchtung der Tastatur deaktiviert.
Zunächst wird ohne aktiviertem Battery Boost die Laufzeit des Gaming-Notebooks ermittelt. Hierbei erreicht das System eine Laufzeit von 45 Minuten. Im Anschluss folgt der erste Test mit aktivierter Batterieoptimierung, in dem die Bildwiederholfrequenz auf 50 fps festgesetzt wird. Die Laufzeit steigt auf 51 Minuten an und liegt damit rund 13 Prozent höher. Empfohlen werden 30 fps, um sowohl ein flüssiges Spielerlebnis als auch eine höchstmögliche Laufzeit zu erzielen. In diesem Setting erhöht sich die Leistung nochmals und lässt den Benchmark 56 Minuten rasen. Die Ausdauer des Systems erhöht sich damit um bis zu 25 Prozent. Von der offerierten Laufzeit-Verdopplung sind wird aber noch weit entfernt.
Aufgrund seiner kontinuierlichen Auslastung bietet sich der Titel an, um einen Blick auf die Taktfrequenzen der Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M zu werfen. Im Netzbetrieb arbeitet die GeForce GTX 880M mit rund 993 MHz Kern- und 2.500 MHz Speichertakt und erzielt so im Schnitt 72 fps während des Benchmarks. Im Akkubetrieb, bei einer Limitierung auf 50 fps, fällt die durchschnittliche Framerate auf 54 fps. Wird der Battery Boost auf 30 fps eingestellt, werden dennoch durchschnittlich 45 fps dargestellt. Der Kerntakt liegt dabei immer noch in der Turbo-Range der GPU und operiert in der Regel mit 967 MHz, schwankt aber auch in den einzelnen Sequenzen in beide Richtungen. Beim schärferen Energiesparmodus fällt der Takt zeitweise auf 914 MHz, liegt aber die meiste Zeit auf dem gleichen Niveau wie beim leistungsstärkeren Modus.
Auch der Speichertakt wird gesenkt, wenn das Notebook vom Netz getrennt wird und sinkt auf knapp 2.000 MHz. Doch damit lassen sich die etwas besseren Laufzeiten nicht erklären, denn die Taktsenkungen treten auch ohne aktivierten Battery Boost ein. Gut möglich, dass die Ingenieure von MSI hier Nvidia zuvor gekommen sind und somit den Effekt des Battery Boost dämpfen. Außerdem fällt es auf, dass der Takt der GPU primär in den Menüs stark gesenkt wird und teilweise unter 800 MHz fällt. Im Netzbetrieb arbeitete die 880M auch dort mit vollen 992 MHz. Die Prozessor-Leistung wird von der Akkuoptimierung nicht beeinflusst, hier konnten wir bei keinem der getesteten Titel eine Veränderung feststellen.
Starcraft 2. Heart of the Swarm
Ein weiterer Titel, an dem wir die Batterieoptimierung überprüft haben, ist der Echtzeitstrategie-Hit Starcraft 2 – Heart of the Swarm. Die Performance dieses Spiels liegt deutlich unter der empfohlenen Framemarke von Nvidia. Im Ultra-Preset (1.920 x 1.080 Pixel, extreme Details, AA eingeschaltet) erreicht das MSI GT70 gerade mal 47 fps. Es läuft damit zwar absolut flüssig, doch bleibt für den Battery Boost nicht mehr viel Luft. Die Rahmenbedingungen (Display 150 cd/m², Tastaturbeleuchtung aus, Energieprofil Ausgeglichen) sind hier die gleichen wie bei Grid 2.
Zunächst überprüften wir die Laufzeit ohne die Batterieoptimierung. Hier konnten wir 54 Minuten am Stück spielen, bis das Notebook sich herunterfuhr. Bei einer Framebeschränkung auf 30 fps wurde die Gaming-Dauer gerade mal um drei Minuten erweitert und kam so auf 57 Minuten, was ein Plus von knappen sechs Prozent bedeutet. Angesichts des knappen Puffers haben wir aber auch nichts anderes erwartet. In diesem Fall kann auf den Battery Boost wohl auch verzichtet werden, vor allem, da es bei massiven Truppenverbänden vorkam, dass Ruckler auftraten.
Mit dem Fußball-Simulator Fifa 14 haben wir ein Spiel, bei dem enorm hohe Frameraten erzielt werden. Hier gibt es für den Battery Boost keine Ausreden mehr, denn das MSI GT70 2PE-890US schafft es, das Game im Ultra-Preset (1.920 x 1.080 Pixel, höchste Detailsstufe, 4x MSAA) auf 294 Bilder pro Sekunde zu beschleunigen. Auch hier kommen wieder die gleichen Rahmenbedingungen (Display 150 cd/m², Tastaturbeleuchtung aus, Energieprofil Ausgeglichen) wie bei den beiden anderen Titel zum Einsatz.
Ohne aktivierten Battery Boost erreicht das Spiel eine Laufzeit von 44 Minuten. Da wird es selbst mit einer vollen Halbzeit schon eng. Im Anschluss führten wir direkt einen Testlauf mit einer Reduzierung der Bildwiederholrate auf 30 fps durch. Fifa 14 zeigte sich hier nicht spielbar. Anfangs rollte der Ball noch geschmeidig über den virtuellen Rasen, doch bereits nach wenigen Spielminuten stellte sich ein extremes Ruckeln ein. Wenn wir das Spiel unterbrachen und kurz ins Menü zurückkehrten, funktioniert es anschließend wieder für eine Minute. Doch auf Dauer konnte dies keine Lösung sein, weshalb wir diesen Test abbrachen.
Wir starteten einen neuen Versuch mit einer Frameraten-Begrenzung von 50 fps. Auch hier zeigte sich das Haken anfangs ein paar Mal, jedoch deutlich abgeschwächter. Nach etwas zehn Minuten verschwand das Phänomen sogar ganz und Fifa 14 lief flüssig. Nvidia offeriert eine automatische Leistungsanpassung, um einen flüssigen Spielablauf zu ermöglichen. Gut möglich, dass es einen Moment gedauert hat, bis die Software das Optimum ausgependelt hatte. Schließlich war auch hier der Akku leergespielt. Dies dauerte immerhin 98 Minuten. Der Battery Boost verlängerte die Laufzeit in diesem Fall um 122 Prozent und übertrumpft damit sogar die versprochene Laufzeitverdopplung.
Mit der Battery Boost Technologie der aktuellen GTX-800M-Serie offeriert Nvidia eine Laufzeitverbesserung für Notebooks und von der Software GeForce Experience unterstützte Gaming-Titel. Mit ihrer Hilfe soll eine Verdopplung der Ausdauer möglich sein und Gaming somit wirklich mobil werden. Das gelingt aber nicht bei allen Titeln.
Da die Technik mit einer Beschränkung der Frameraten arbeitet und somit die tatsächlich benötigte Leistung reduziert und sinnvoll dosiert, macht dies vor allem bei Spielen Sinn, in denen hohe Bildwiederholraten erzielt werden. Das hier verwendete Testsystem gehört bereits zu den momentan stärksten am Markt, wenn lediglich eine Single-GPU-Lösung verwendet wird. Doch wer keine Einschnitte bei der Darstellung hinnehmen möchte, verfügt meistens nicht mehr über genügend Puffer bei den Frameraten, um eine entsprechende Reduzierung durchführen zu können. Starcraft 2 ist an dieser Stelle sicherlich ein gutes Beispiel, dessen Laufzeit gerade mal um sechs Prozent verlängert wird. Games wie Starcraft 2 oder Grid 2 beanspruchen auch die CPU recht stark, doch der Prozessor zeigte keine Leistungsbeeinträchtigung im Battery-Boost-Mode.
Mit Fifa 14 befindet sich im Testumfeld auch ein Spiel, dessen Anforderungen nicht sonderlich hoch sind und welches deshalb hohe Frameraten ermöglicht. Hier wird die Laufzeitverdopplung problemlos erreicht. Dafür dauerte es einen Moment, bis der Fußball-Simulator flüssig lief. Hier ist seitens Nvidias noch etwas Fein-Tuning nötig.
Bei aktuellen 3D-Shootern, wie Battlefield 4 oder Metro: Last Light, macht eine Anwendung des Battery Boost keinen Sinn, da die Frameraten nicht hoch genug sind. Wer jedoch bereit ist, seine Einstellungen für unterwegs etwas zu reduzieren, kann auch hier spürbare Laufzeitverlängerungen erzielen. In summa liefert Nvidia mit dem Battery Boost ein sinnvolles Feature, mit dem einige Titel auch unterwegs durchaus spielbar werden, ohne eine Steckdose zu benötigen.