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Top 10 | Tips to ensure your PC is running right for sim racing

At RaceDepartment, we wanted to share some Microsoft Windows tips - yes maybe not the sexiest article ever, but this article might help you get your PC running great again.

Does your gaming PC run as fast as it should,? Is it running slower than it used to? Then this is the article for you.

We’ve numbered each tip, but they aren’t in order of importance, they’re numbered for ease of reference. Also, we appreciate there’s more than one way to skin a cat (sorry cats), so if you have an alternative tip, let us know in the comments.

(Disclaimer) It’s also worth noting that you should back up your device before attempting any of these tips and if you’re not confident with any of them – don’t do them.

1. Update your drivers – Updating your drivers is probably one of the most effective ways to ensure your hardware is running in optimum state. The easiest way we have found to update your drivers is to download the following programme https://www.iobit.com/en/driver-booster.php There is a free version, and this is all you need. Download and run driver booster, the software will tell you what drivers are out of date, and you simply click on update to download the latest drivers. Once finished, ensure that you uninstall Driver Booster as by default it starts with your computer and runs in the background.

2. Update your GPU drivers – Either AMD or Nvidia, unsure that you check for updates on a regular basis. Nvidia and AMD release new updates all of the time, ensuring that their hardware is running as efficient as possible (as well as being compatible with the latest title releases). Pro tip, use Nvidia Game Ready Drivers and not Studio Drivers.

Now that your drivers are up to date, it’s time to make sure Windows is running as well as it should.

3. Storage Sense
– If you are starting to run out of storage space, you will notice a significant hit to performance, which is why we recommend that you utilise Storage Sense, which is a Windows feature. Type Storage in your Windows task bar search and at the top of your new window, you should see Storage Sense, with an option to turn it on or off. It should be turned on, but you also want to make sure it’s configured to your needs. Under the on/off toggle, you’ll see a bit of grey text that says, “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” Click on this text and a new window will load. Here you get an explanation of Storage Sense and the various options you have, to configure how it works. Here you can select when it works, what files to remove and the frequency of this. Warning this feature does remove files permanently from your device, so use with caution.

Storage Sense.png


4. Game Mode – Very simply put, Game Mode turns off background services whilst running a game. To turn it on, type “Game Mode” in the windows taskbar search area, which opens up settings and hit the on/off toggle to turn it on.

Game Mode.png


5. Windows Updates – If you were unaware, Microsoft releases new updates for Windows on a Tuesday. That means, avoid playing any sims on Tuesdays! Just kidding, but it’s one of the most frustrating things to hear when people moan about Windows updating whilst they are in the middle of something. Because you are in total control of these updates (most of the time). Hit the Windows key on your keyboard, combined with the “I” key, this will take you to settings, and then click on Update and Security. Here you can set your active hours (when Windows will not perform updates) and you can also pause updates. To pause updates for 7 days, simply hit the option to pause updates for 7 days, to change active hours select the option from the main window and either manually set your active hours or allow Windows to change active hours based on your activity. You’ll also notice on the main Update and Security Window that there’s Advanced options, in here you can pause updates up to 35 days! You can also turn off that pesky reminder to restart Windows to finish an update. As a side note, if Windows release what they class as a critical update, the new update will be downloaded and installed no matter what options you’ve selected.

image_2021-11-18_144442.png


6. Turn stuff off you don’t need – every smidgen of software that is running on your device is taking up resources. Be sure to shut down your browser (chrome is a massive RAM hog), maybe even consider using a less RAM intensive browser. Unless you know what you are doing, we wouldn’t recommended pressing ctlr, alt, delete and shutting down random services, what we do suggest is heading to the right side of your task bar and clicking the up arrow. This will show several services that are running, make sure not to shut anything down that you don’t know what it does or if you need it for sim racing. When checked on Damian’s device, he had Stream Deck, iCue, MSI Center, Discord – all running, all hogging resources.

7. Anti-virus software – We aren’t here to tell you if you need it or not, that’s a debate for another time and place. We recommend that if you are using anti-virus software, make sure it is fully up-to-date and that you are only using one service.

8. Antimalware – What’s malware? I hear some of you ask. Malware is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, network, or server. If your device is a few years old and you’ve never used any antimalware software, it’s a strong possibility that you have some unwanted software hanging around. We recommend bitdefender https://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html there’s a free version that will do a good enough job. Just like Driver Booster, we would also recommend uninstalling it after you have finished with it.

Additional Advice – Yes bonus tips!

9. Turn off your PC regularly
- Your PC will benefit from the occasional reboot. However, whilst off, your PC can’t complete background updates and virus scans etc – so find a balance based on your usage.

10. Don’t install updates on a Tuesday – this is the day Microsoft roll out new updates, sometimes these are small fixes, sometimes they are security updates. The problem with these updates is that sometimes there’s issues with them (they might break something else), so it’s always worthwhile to hold off a few days and allow for any additional issues to be fixed.
As well as updates, we'd also recommend that you think twice before updating to Windows 11 – just like updates, it’s sometimes worthwhile just holding back and let other people be the guinea pigs. If you’ve paid close attention to the Windows 11 update, there has been lots of issues reported. We recommend that you let Windows 11 develop and allow these issues to be ironed out before taking the leap from Windows 10.

There we have it, hopefully with these tips your PC will start to run buttery smooth again. Let us know ion comments if you did any of these tips and did you notice a difference?
About author
Damian Reed
PC geek, gamer, content creator, and passionate sim racer.
I live life a 1/4 mile at a time, it takes me ages to get anywhere!

Comments

I haven't read the article yet, but . . .

As a "set it and forget it" PC user, I am extemely grateful!

Thank you for the coaching advice!
Chris
 
You can search online: I'm not the only one. This is because WMR starts MANY different processes, maybe 5-6 in the background for VR. So not only the game *.exe is running but also the WMR window, SteamVR for WMR etc.

"Very simply put, Game Mode turns off background services whilst running a game."
So you can understand that this causes trouble because of what I just explained. So I recommand you to update this newspost with the information that I just gave to you.

I'm honestly curious. Can you give an example of which WMR processes are terminated by the game mode in Windows? Or perhaps which ones get lowered priority.

5-6 is not many. I just ran a simple command line and counted the current ones on my computer: 191 processes running. Then I did the same for services and it's 285 running.
 
Despite the fact I clicked "no" at every option Driver Booster installed several programs without my consent.
 
Capitalism at its finest.
I'm not buying.
I don't have a well paid job, I don't have the opportunity to earn more money, but I'm having a blast in my DIY rig.
Nothing can get you into feeling so miserable as the things you can't get.
Ken Kutaragi said that we just need a second job to pay for our PS3... maybe we can get a third one for our sim rig.
Did that, now I have an uber nice rig that runs great, but I have no time to use it.
Me too... but before buy the new rig I get that sickness called "kids"... and now I keep playing my racing sims in my good old DFGT, but instead of doing it twice or trice a week, I do it only once a month. YYYYYEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY
 
Me too... but before buy the new rig I get that sickness called "kids"... and now I keep playing my racing sims in my good old DFGT, but instead of doing it twice or trice a week, I do it only once a month. YYYYYEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY

My kids are both out of college now, so I technically have "lots" of adult time. Much of that time is spent with my wife.

My sim rig has turned into a running project that I rarely use because of my circumstances. Being self-employed should mean that I work when I want. I do have a lot of flexibility during the day. I can work out, do things around the house, design things and build things, BUT I have to be able to nearly immediately be in my office in a conference call all day long. That makes it very hard to drive and take part in races on my rig. Then my wife comes home and we tend to do things together and sim racing doesn't lend itself to that.

There is some supreme irony that the rig from hell doesn't get used much, but it's a fun project.
 
With all comments (well, with those which good one) this topic become Hot'n'Sexy.
Don't doubt.
Get a next level with your relations with hardware.lol
 
Use a LTSC windows version combined with Eset Internet Security suite, cleanest windows you can have and one of the safest complete and reliable firewall-antivirus over there without any noticeable hit on pc performance.
LTSC is a enterprise long term service windows without most of the crapware of regular windows, no ms store, no xbox stuff, no cortana, no "new features" updates, only security patches and fixes. So less useless services running in the backgroud, more resources for your games. This way you have most of the advices from Damian covered.

2021 LTSC is recently released but i dont tried it yet, im still on 2019 (its a 1809 windows version) and im not gonna update at least in 2 or 3 months cos i use same pc for work and for simracing and i cant take the risk of updating to a new system until i finish my actual work.
Anyway the biggest "issue" i have as simracer with LTSC 2019 is i cant play forza horizons 4 or 5 , 4 cos i dont have ms store installed, but you can install it over a 2019 LTSC, but i dont want and 5 requires a newer windows version so... im a patient guy and gonna give it a try to 2021 LTSC when i finish my work.
Obviously before the update im gonna backup my whole windows drive using Acronis True Image so if something dont work as expected i can go back to my old rock solid OS with all my programs working in less than 30 minutes (i strongly do that for any of you before move to a new windows).
If i was you, i try LTSC 2019 for a while and let some other fools try the new and shiny LTSC 2021, as a safety measure allways wait for a bit for any Microsoft new stuff before install it, no matter if its a new windows or a new patch, they **** it everything very often and even there is a chance for everything to work as intended ( sometimes happen) there is a chance to everything crash and is a messy pile of issues ( happens more often).

And another important tweak too is set the rigth amount of L2 and L3 caches of your Cpu ( windows still using a 2mb L2 caching by default) so.... here you have a more detailed information about how to do it. How to tweak your windows registry to use all your cpu caches. if you think you dont need it.... as example my 3950x have 8mb of L2 ( windows use 2mb by default) and 64mb of L3 (windows dont use it at all).

Regards.
 
Afaik cpus allways use their own caches internally but if windows knows the amount of each cache in your cpu, it can actively use this caches and improves the system performance.
Anyway the registry tweaks take a couple of minutes to do ( including system reboot after doing the tweaks, this is very important) you aint gonna break anything and you can put the original values again if you want so you can test it and keep the original or tweaked values, what works better for you.
At least for me i noticed some performance improvements and a better overall system responsiveness. Maybe win 11 have updated the part who pick the cpu cache values to put it into the registry in same way they put a new scheduler focused on new Intels big-little architecture, but i dont have a Intel or Win 11 to test it.
Btw, if you try the tweaks plz, tell us how worked in your rig, im curious about new Intel platform performance and probably some people want to upgrade to new Intels and this kind of info is interesting :).

Regards.
 
My kids are both out of college now, so I technically have "lots" of adult time. Much of that time is spent with my wife.

My sim rig has turned into a running project that I rarely use because of my circumstances. Being self-employed should mean that I work when I want. I do have a lot of flexibility during the day. I can work out, do things around the house, design things and build things, BUT I have to be able to nearly immediately be in my office in a conference call all day long. That makes it very hard to drive and take part in races on my rig. Then my wife comes home and we tend to do things together and sim racing doesn't lend itself to that.

There is some supreme irony that the rig from hell doesn't get used much, but it's a fun project.
Your kids aren't kids anymore... mine are in the "diapers age" lol. Depending on the circumstances, even if I had free time, can't do sim racing because the audio volume can't be too high to don't wake him (the older used to heavy sleep with any noise... not so much after learned to talk) and can't use headset because I like to know when he awake and, also, have to give some attention to the older.

But he got sleepier when I play Pro Evolution Soccer with only the stadium sounds turned on... one month with PES2021 in my Steam account earned me more playtime than AMS2 since it's release... it's the only videogame I can play when he is sleeping lol
 
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Don't bother with all that stuff just make your own iso. Like the man said remove all the crap from windows
And YES afterburner cpu-z and gpu-z are mandatory. And maybe a process lasso if you are on older hardware like me with four cores CPU.
 
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Btw, if you try the tweaks plz, tell us how worked in your rig, im curious about new Intel platform performance and probably some people want to upgrade to new Intels and this kind of info is interesting :).

Regards.

Always interesting to know.

The last piece I was waiting for is out for delivery right now, but will likely need to wait until next Sunday before I can take my time and carefully go through the build. If I did it now I would be in a rush since we are about to have a houseful of guests and even if the HW didn't take long to assemble, there will be a number of software trickledowns and I don't want to be in a rush to get everything sorted.

I'll see what I can do with regard to benchmarks. I'm a bit curious myself.
 
My advice is to stay away from any update and leave everything as it is, until the community proves otherwise.
Windows update is annoying as hell, you can completely block it through a 3rd party software.
No need for any antimalware/antivirus if you use the PC for simracing only. That software just hogs the system down.
GPU drivers, one version and one version only.
There's been many-a-time my system collapsed due to an update.
If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

This is the most stupid thing i have read in a long time. if you use your sim racing PC connected to internet you allways should using at least Windows own Antivirus/Antimalware and Firewall turned on.
i only update my "gaming PC" when i dont use it. my pc have never done stop working because im always trying to have an updated system. if a update or patch have a problem or a bug i just wait until they fix that, it is just simple as that.
 
This is the most stupid thing i have read in a long time. if you use your sim racing PC connected to internet you allways should using at least Windows own Antivirus/Antimalware and Firewall turned on.
i only update my "gaming PC" when i dont use it. my pc have never done stop working because im always trying to have an updated system. if a update or patch have a problem or a bug i just wait until they fix that, it is just simple as that.
"This is the most stupid thing i have read in a long time."
Totally agree on this one mate, couldn't have said it better myself!
 

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