Tech that will actually make you a better PC gamer

There’s one thing good about believing that gaming is all about ability. One college of thought subscribes to the notion that even when you have a monster PC outfitted with a beastly GPU, you have the identical possibilities of successful as each different particular person of comparable ability. While I’m a gamer myself, I don’t absolutely imagine that. In reality, some tech can provide you a main edge over your rivals in sure video games.
Skill and expertise are each essential, however what if you wish to give your self that little bit of additional increase? Here’s some tech that I’ve tried that helped me rating greater in my favourite video games.
Refresh price
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
Whether you’re enjoying fast-paced esports video games like League of Legends or Overwatch or immersive RPGs like Hogwarts Legacy, the refresh price and response time of your monitor each play a huge half in your gaming expertise.
Does that imply you must shell out cash on a loopy monitor like this 500Hz Alienware mannequin? Not in any respect. However, it’s not possible to disclaim that if you sit two avid gamers of the identical ability degree and rank subsequent to one another, however equip one with a monitor with better refresh charges, that particular person is more likely to win in a 2v2 match. The distinction is tangible and plain.
Refresh price, measured in hertz (Hz), primarily describes how typically your monitor updates the picture in your display screen. The customary is 60Hz, and has been for years, however the gaming group is slowly leaving 60Hz within the rearview mirror, as shows with 120Hz and above are beginning to be increasingly common. Monitors with refresh charges of 144Hz are at the moment the golden customary for avid gamers, and a 1440p 144Hz show is commonly thought-about to be the candy spot for aggressive gaming.
Going from 60Hz to 120Hz or extra is a big distinction, because the enter lag is lower in half. Everything feels a lot smoother and even simply scrolling by your information appears to run better. In video games, it’s just about evening and day, particularly if you’re into first-person shooters (FPS) and related aggressive titles.
There’s a notable distinction in aiming in video games. Your cursor strikes extra easily, and as a outcome, you get an edge over rivals with decrease body charges. Running these titles on greater frames per second (fps) means that you’ll see issues sooner and react faster. It gained’t make that a lot of a distinction in a story-based recreation, however in esports titles, it’s fairly big.
Another metric to have a look at are response occasions. While much less crucial than refresh charges, response occasions have an effect on movement blur and ghosting in fast-moving scenes — which, once more, is widespread in FPS titles. Many avid gamers purpose for 1ms response occasions, however you’ll should watch out, as monitor manufacturers are infamous for bending the principles with how they market these specs.
Before you equip your self with a new monitor, maintain one factor in thoughts: Even one of the best gaming monitor gained’t attain its full potential in case your graphics card is just not placing out at the very least an equal quantity of frames per second (fps). If you have a 60Hz monitor, but in addition use one of many prime graphics playing cards, chances are high your GPU goes to waste. The similar applies to an costly show paired with a funds PC.
Simply put, your monitor, and the tech that powers it, play a essential half in successful video games.
Latency and anti-lag
You’re already operating your video games at excessive body charges and counting on low monitor response occasions to chop again on enter lag, however what if there was one thing else you may do to shave off a few further milliseconds? It’s doable, and the tech behind it’s known as Nvidia Reflex.
Reflex helps you measure and scale back system latency, which lets each your PC and your monitor react sooner to inputs from the mouse and the keyboard. It depends on varied driver optimizations and SDKs to chop the time it takes for every body to be rendered by your GPU, primarily bypassing the render queue and permitting the CPU and the GPU to speak immediately. In video games, this implies sooner reactions, equivalent to aiming or having the ability to strike again shortly. Reflex has been optimized to work with FPS video games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, boosting responsiveness and precision.
This expertise sounds nice on paper, nevertheless it’s not universally on for each Nvidia person — it may be enabled within the titles that help it. Reflex can be appropriate with some gaming mice and displays, the place the tech works on to optimize latency on that specific peripheral. This tech is obtainable on all Nvidia graphics playing cards beginning with the GTX 900-series, however works finest when used on the RTX 30-series and up.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
AMD has its personal counterpart to Nvidia Reflex, so you don’t essentially want a Team Green GPU so as to eliminate excessively excessive latency. This expertise is known as Radeon Anti-Lag, and in contrast to the case-by-case foundation we’ve seen in Reflex, Anti-Lag is a part of AMD’s drivers and is enabled in most video games. However, as we’ve seen in our testing, Anti-Lag is just not fairly as profitable as its Nvidia counterpart. We’ve examined each on the RX 6700 XT and the RTX 3060 Ti. Not solely did Nvidia Reflex handle to shave off extra latency than the RX 6700 XT, however the AMD GPU additionally had greater latency throughout the board with Anti-Lag disabled.
If you’re not a aggressive gamer, these few (or few dozen) milliseconds that Reflex can slice off for you aren’t going to make or break your gaming expertise. However, some video games put you in conditions the place these milliseconds can resolve who wins the match.
Another type of latency comes right down to your web connection if you’re enjoying on-line. Most of us excessive handled circumstances of excessive latency, merely generally known as lag, on the worst doable time. That’s nothing AMD or Nvidia may ever assist with, although — if you’re coping with that, it is likely to be time for some troubleshooting or calling up your ISP.
Ah, DLSS. It’s been a sizzling subject for Nvidia GPUs for years now, however up to now 12 months, it feels prefer it’s all we ever speak about in regard to Nvidia. It’s such a huge deal that it nearly seems like Nvidia is promoting DLSS as an alternative of promoting graphics playing cards. This is as a result of with the discharge of RTX 40-series GPUs, Nvidia additionally launched DLSS 3 (and in a while DLSS 3.5), and this tech is unique to RTX 40 playing cards.
DLSS, on the entire, refers to Nvidia’s AI-powered expertise that upscales lower-res frames to greater resolutions, lowering the rendering hundreds that your GPU has to bear. In idea (and sometimes in follow), it may well drastically increase body charges whereas sustaining the identical sort of picture high quality.
It’s fairly protected to say that DLSS 3 redefined picture upscaling in video games. While DLSS 2 may solely generate pixels to fill within the gaps, DLSS 3 can generate whole frames. As you can see within the above screenshot supplied by Nvidia, this alone turned Cyberpunk 2077 from unplayable to silky easy.  Then, there’s the latest DLSS 3.5, which provides ray reconstruction and makes ray tracing a lot extra real looking.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
On behemoths just like the RTX 4090, DLSS 3 might sound pointless, however a lot of Nvidia’s midrange GPUs profit from it tremendously — and that immediately interprets to better gaming efficiency. Take the RTX 4070 for instance. In our overview of the cardboard, we examined the way it carried out in Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K, on extremely settings and with ray tracing enabled. While that is clearly far above the RTX 4070’s pay grade, it outperformed the RTX 4080 by a landslide as quickly as DLSS 3 was enabled. On common, it maintained 73 fps, versus the measly 18 it squeezed out with out an upscaler.
Once once more, Nvidia isn’t the one one who has a horse within the upscaling race, as AMD additionally has FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). FSR does the identical factor as DLSS, nevertheless it works in a different way. It renders frames at a low decision at first after which makes use of a spatial upscaling algorithm to make them seem higher-res than they actually are. Unlike Nvidia’s DLSS, FSR is obtainable to all graphics playing cards from any vendor.
AMD has three variations of FSR out, together with the unique (supported by most video games), FSR 2.0 (a huge enchancment with considerably much less help), and the most recent FSR 3.0. AMD itself claims that FSR 3.0 can as a lot as quadruple body charges in sure video games — however sadly, these video games are few and much aside.
While it’s nice that AMD has launched its personal model of DLSS and up to date it to do one thing much like DLSS 3 by inserting a generated body in between two rendered frames, FSR 3.0 hasn’t been as spectacular as DLSS 3 to this point. It’s not supported by many video games and the expertise is clearly not but mature sufficient to do what AMD desires it to do. One day, maybe, we’ll see FSR 3.0 shine brilliant, however for high-end gaming, DLSS 3 is solely far better proper now.
What else may help you win video games?
Manufacturers and entrepreneurs behind gaming tech will have you imagine that something, from mice to chairs, can flip you into a skilled gamer. The actuality is just not fairly as easy. Sometimes, irrespective of how a lot {hardware} and software program you have, you’ll nonetheless get outplayed or lose as a consequence of a stroke of dangerous luck. That’s simply the way it goes.
However, if you wish to make the many of the expertise you at the moment have, some peripherals can make it simpler to win video games. I’ve talked about gaming displays, and it’s a reality that a 144Hz monitor will assist you carry out far better in esports titles. In these circumstances, the panel issues too.
Some will suggest TN panels for esports, however the reality is that you ought to solely get a TN show if you’re enjoying FPS video games and doing actually nothing else, as TNs are notorious for his or her poor coloration replica and viewing angles, and easily are likely to look a lot worse than IPS shows. VAs, meant to be the center floor between a brilliant IPS and a speedy TN, are generally liable to ghosting. Variations of the IPS panel are slowly gaining traction because the go-to for avid gamers, and if you wish to study extra, take a look at our monitor shopping for information.
What else may help? A gaming mouse. Again, that is particularly vital in titles the place aiming with precision and pace is essential. Gaming mice are likely to characteristic greater DPI/CPI settings, which permits for larger sensitivity and lets you management the cursor motion a lot extra. They’re additionally designed to help gaming for hours on finish, and in lots of circumstances they let you map buttons to sure hotkeys. Some mice include a host of additional buttons, just like the Razer Naga, though that’s probably not a go-to for esports.
The benefit of the tech I talked about above is that a lot of it’s free if you already personal matching {hardware}. Nvidia Reflex is obtainable for many Nvidia customers. DLSS 3 is restricted to the RTX 40-series, however older variations aren’t, after which there’s AMD FSR, which is open-source and obtainable to everybody. With these software program options, generally all that it takes is tweaking some settings so as to win extra video games.

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