How does Game Mode speed up games in Windows 10 Creators Update?


Microsoft has promised that the arrival of Game Mode in Windows 10 Creators Update will improve the performance of games. This sounds great in principle, but how does it work?

Microsoft has already said a little about what's going on, but really it has not gone far beyond saying that more processor and GPU cycles will be dedicated to compatible games. But speaking at the Game Developers Conference this week, Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Eric Walston went into a little more detail.

As explained by Ars Technica, Windows already does a pretty decent job of throwing the most system resources at whatever application is running in the foreground; it's a simple technique that makes a lot of sense. But of course there are bound to be other processes running in the background, meaning that Windows errs on the side of caution and keeps some resources in reserve so they can be used when necessary. With Game Mode, this changes.

On multi-core systems (which is basically any system these days), Game Mode ensures that a certain number of cores are used for nothing other than running the game in question. This helps to reduce the problem of congestion as threads from the game and other running apps and processes do not need to battle for processor time.

Something similar happens with GPUs as well. In addition to giving games greater access to GPU cycles, Game Mode helps to improve game smoothness by ensuring that more game-related processes remain resident in memory. As Game Mode is optional, gamers will be free to experiment to see what it does to help their gaming experience; ultimately it will depend on the raw power of the system in question, as well as what importance a user places on other processes running in the background. As ever, it's a matter of compromise.

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