Can A 'Game Booster' Improve Your Frame Rates? Probably Not

Squeezing more juice from your hardware is an ever-present task for the dedicated PC gamer. A number of companies, including Razer, Wise and IOBit, have tossed their hats into the ring with so-called "game boosters", which boast the ability to speed up your system automatically for the tasks of slaying dragons or shooting terrorists. But do they actually do anything?

This post was originally published on Lifehacker Australia.

The answer, unsurprisingly, is no. As gHacks' Martin Brinkmann discovered after putting various offerings through their paces, none of the applications delivered significantly improved frame rates and a few even hurt performance.

Brinkmann tested the following applications:

  • Game Fire
  • IOBit Game Assistant
  • Razer Cortex Game Booster
  • ToolWiz Game Boost
  • Wise Game Booster

The default configuration provided the most consistent results, coming out ahead in three of seven tests. The rest all had their time in the limelight, with Game Assistant the only competitor that failed to post a better score. Even so, the benchmarks did not provide a convincing argument for any of the products.

There are caveats — given Brinkmann's technical background, it's unlikely his default setup was running anything taxing to begin with — invasive AV software, background downloads, etc. It's possible these "boosters" work better on less maintained systems.

For the savvy tweaker however, it's just one more thing cluttering up your notification tray.

Do "Game Boosters" improve PC gaming performance? [gHacks]


Comments

    Would like to see this test done on older hardware though, what he tried it on wouldn't really be having issues any way

    "The core idea is to kill services, processes, background tasks and programs that are not required to run the game or the operating system to free up RAM, reduce CPU load and disk activity"

    I remember people did that a lot back in the days of Windows 98 & XP, but if you've got yourself a fresh install of Windows 7 or 8.1 then there's nothing really worth disabling, unless you're rocking 512 MB of RAM or less.

    "Boost Option #1 - Defrag The Memory"

    Okay, now that's just retarded. It doesn't matter where the data sits in the RAM, there's no mechanical SEEK, it just picks out data like rain falling from a wide open cloud.

      On top of that, I remember a Technet article a while ago saying that since Windows 7, the operating system automatically suspends certain services when a full screen game is detected to improve performance. I can't seem to find it right now but I'll keep searching.

      Haha, yep. My old machine running XP with 1GB of RAM needed everything non-essential switched off if I wanted to play a game with double-digit frame rates.
      I used a game booster programme just because it was the quickest and easiest way to switch everything off with one click and restore it when I was done.

      Not endorsing the product(s), nor claiming they work or anything, but thought I might be able to shed some light on why defragging memory would help games (if indeed it is possible to defrag memory on Windows at all).

      Games tend to make billions of memory allocations/deallocations during execution, ranging in size from a few bytes to multi-megabytes. If the game tries to make an allocation for multi-megabytes of contiguous memory, and the memory is fragmented, then potentially the allocation will either fail completely (usually resulting in an "out of memory" popup dialog in older games) or possibly the memory manager(s) will try to shuffle memory around, page it out to disk etc in order to make room for the large allocation.

      As you can imagine, if this happens many hundreds/thousands of times per frame(s) then your framerate is going to suffer.

      Defragging memory before starting the game therefore could potentially help, on low memory systems at least.

      (N.B Most game engines attempt to minimise allocation/deallocations during a frame for this reason).

      I can still remember the days of DOS and having to edit config.sys and reboot to disable every non-essential driver just to get a game to run at all.

      The day I upgraded to a full 4MB of RAM was a joyous occasion.

    Pretty sure this have never been the case regardless of hardware :P Just don't fill your PC with shite.

    Used to use it on my old laptop because I couldn't play any game due to the lack of ram and stuff. I don't think any modern machine actually need them

    Last edited 24/05/15 8:01 pm

    Of course they work, you just need to download it from the same place you download extra ram: www.totallynotavirus.scam.org

    Only game booster I know is the moolah!!!!!

    Utter baloney, never works, installs poopware in background. Delete

    back in the late 90s there was a program called Gamebooster. Legitimate speed increases. Launching game mode involved you selecting what game you wanted to play, and whether or not you needed ethernet/dial up (for online/lan). It would reboot your computer into just a basic empty windows shell with no services running, no explorer or desktop or anything. made a huge difference considering most people were running < 64mb of RAM, most of it taken up by windows services. For some of us it was the only way of even launching some games, and was my knight in shining armour when it came to the release of Unreal, getting it running on my old Pentium 1 - 133mhz with 16mb ram and 2mb cirus logic gpu...

    I used to have a turbo button on my PC.

    Back in my day we didn't need no fancy shmancy PC game boosters, we just pressed the button! Both ways! Uphill! And we had to share the button!

    Razer Cortex is a resource hog, I would rather use EZ Game Booster.

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