Early Benchmarks Suggest Windows' FPS-Boosting Game Mode Needs A Lot Work

When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would get a dedicated "Game Mode", our interest was definitely piqued. Can't say no to higher framerates for nothing, right? Well, it turns out you can when said new mode delivers minimal benefits, or in some cases, worse performance. How is that even possible?

When it comes to any new piece of software or hardware purporting to boost your framerate, there's only one way to verify those claims: Benchmarks... and lots of them.

The folks at PCGamesN took it upon themselves to put Game Mode through its paces — keeping in mind that the feature isn't officially a part of Windows 10 yet; it's still only available via Windows Insider, a sort of "testing" version of the operating system.

Still, the results were not promising. For Hitman, Game Mode did little, sometimes improving the minimum FPS on NVIDIA cards by a frame or two. And for Forza 3, well, it actually killed performance by up to 23 per cent.

OK, so that's the bad news. Rise of the Tomb Raider did go up a couple of percentage points, but it really shined when paired with a background process, such as a screen recording app, where it made a massive difference to minimum framerates, in the order of 25 to 33 per cent.

So... Game Mode hasn't really busted out of the gates, but it's still early days. Perhaps with some tweaks, it'll provide a net benefit, to the point where it can be always on and provide boosts in other situations where you have one dominate foreground task and a couple of things churning in the background.

For now, however, there's quite a bit of room for improvement.

Windows Game Mode performance preview — the early numbers are not good... [PCGamesN]


    From what I understand is game mode delivers very little gains to DX12 games. Although I have very little experience with it.

    Its quite obvious from the get go this would not amount to much for gaming, if anything a very slight increase like 1-5fps, even then its questionable that it was game mode making a difference as benchmarks can vary a few fps between runs.

    Any PC gamer worth their salt knows how to unpark cores and prioritize programs if they are having any problems with a game, even then it barely makes a difference on a PC that meets specs for whatever game is being played the only solution to "boost frames" is to upgrade your old components, only CSGO, Dota and LOL run on toasters.

    While it may be a slight benefit and piece of mind thing to not so tech savvy PC gamers with lower end machines, it is not and will never be of any benefit to mid-high end machines with a more practical user.

    Last edited 05/02/17 7:02 pm

      Any PC gamer worth their salt knows how to unpark cores
      Please explain.

        pretty good explanation, as well as a utility to unpark cores here:


          Why do I want to unpark a core that isn't being utilised?

            so it can be utilized and take load off the other cores doing overtime.... imagine your six cylinder car only running on 4 cylinders. you are essentially pulling the brakes off that core that kept it from doing any work

            to clarify, parking a core means keeping it on standby. unparking it, means to put it to use. so a quad core processor may at times only be utilising 3 out of the 4 cores. you unpark the core and then you have all four cores firing at once.

              I do like the bad analogy that was cut and pasted.
              Thing is though, When you force a core not to be parked and it is sitting idle, it's still not doing anything.
              Even if you do shift some load over to it, you wont see any gains.
              You OS will automatically move load from one core to the next depending on load, if your only using 50% capacity of core one, moving thread to core 2 will have no improvement at all.
              if you are using 100% of core one, you OS will enable the parked core and move load over to it.
              All your doing by unparking a core is letting it idle empty.
              your not "having all 4 core fire at once" if there is no work to be done.
              Windows 7 was the first OS that controlled core parking, but with the latest intel CPU's and even ones from a few series ago, C6 functions are now controlled at a hardware level rather than software level, so core parking software in windows 8 and 10 is more useless than ever, plus a lot of AMD CPU's still don't utilise C6.

              In the end I will go back to my original question, please explain how this has any benefit?

                lol this is why i shouldnt talk cars lol...

                ok so in cpu lingo, the OS will at times restrict, for example, a 4 core cpu to only utilize 3 cores. say you max out 3 cores, the fourth core in this scenario will not unpark.

                  That would only ever happening of you had your apm settings turned to max power save or a laptop on battery mode.
                  At no other times with a standard setup would that scenario happen on a desktop computer.
                  I don't think companies like intel would deliberately throttle their own product.
                  Cpu parking is power management. Don't set your computer to power save and you won't have an issue.

        You'll get better gains from going to AboveNormal process priority and closing background apps such as webbrowsers and virus scanners (most have game modes these days).

        This whole argument becomes quite redundant if you happen to have a 6+ core cpu with decent clock rate, diminishing returns basically which is why I just don't bother with it. If you have a low-mid clocked dual or quad core (esp the older models) then sure give it a go.

        Last edited 07/02/17 1:12 pm

          I get a bit anti all these mods, yes I am biased. I sit in the discussions on steam listening to people whinge a game is broken and the development are shit, while 99.99% of people have it run flawlessly and it's usually the kind of people that mess with things they don't need to or don't understand that are having the issue, then say the games broken but really their system is broken.

    Meh. If you're a PC gamer you have a PC for gaming. If you've got performance issues, cough up the extra money for hardware or suck it up and turn down a graphics setting or two.

    I doubt 'game mode' was ever really supposed to be making converts out of people. The other enhancements (Beam streaming, Play Anywhere, and - hopefully - the rumoured Xbox-Games-on-Steam) are far more exciting than some ridiculous feature that sounds more like a sales pitch...

      All i was expecting is to have the background processes that were not needed to be killed or lower the priority.

      Usually that wont increase frames, but makes sure that the game wont hang or get massive frame stutter if your rig is having issues.

    The most this is likely to do is reduce framerate dips, but if you're suffering from them your hardware is probably in need of an upgrade. It seems like they're trying to fix an issue that doesn't really exist except on hardware that probably won't benefit much from it anyway. That's the unfortunate reality of PC gaming - we have multipurpose systems as a strength, but part of that strength means performance overheads that we have to brute force our way through with better hardware.

    This is the same company that brought us the Xbox One OS. Is anyone actually surprised even a tiny bit?

      You're right. But they're about to launch the third version of the UI next cycle, and they iterate quickly (monthly) so improvements come thick and fast. MS failures largely surround poor optimisation and structure of the hardware.

      cf. Sony who are just giving us, finally, Ext HDD with v4.5, no service improvements and SFA ticked off the #BetterPSN list.

    Somehow this reminds me of the old Turbo button on my old 088 186

      Skipped, 286, 386, 486 and 586?

        286 was my first PC. Wing Commander 2 was the first game I ever saved up for. It cost $110 and as a 12 year old, I thought it was worth EVERY cent.

        The days!

    Company makes mistake of releasing new feature for free in Alpha state. Quick! To the pitchforks!

      I think people miss what you've highlighted in your post. This is a developer release. That thing called testing every one complains never happens. Though it's Microsoft it's cool to hate or so the kids tell me.

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