Article Number: 000123108
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Keeping the drivers updated for your graphics card or chip and processor ensures that you always get the best performance from your gaming computer. Click the appropriate links below to download the latest drivers:
There are several options and tweaks within your operating system that, while they may not provide the biggest boost in gaming performance, are easy to implement and cost nothing.
Windows 10 users with the Creators Update can take advantage of Game Mode, which gives your game priority access to your computer's resources. To learn more about activating Game Mode on your computer, browse to Use Game Mode while gaming on your Windows device for more information.
Virtually all games come with a menu of graphics features that can be accessed from within the game. Adjusting the settings for these features can deliver a significant framerate boost at the cost of some detail quality.
The easiest way to optimize your game’s settings for your computer is to use the official apps from your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU - also called a graphics or video card) manufacturer. These apps scan your computer for installed games and create an optimal settings profile for each game based on your computer’s gaming potential. This allows you to go straight to playing with the best possible balance of performance and quality.
If you want to adjust your game’s graphics settings manually, keep in mind that some features have a bigger impact on performance than others, and the features that you should adjust first can vary from game to game. The following resource-heavy features can be turned down or even off to boost your performance without making a significant visual difference:
Also, you may consider checking on your display’s native resolution vs. higher resolution settings - both in-game and in Windows. Higher resolution settings like Ultra High Definition (UHD) 3840 x 2160 would be more taxing on the graphics card processing capabilities than native resolution settings like Full High Definition (FHD) 1920 x 1080, and this would have an impact in framerates. The native resolution differs with display specifications, however you can try using this setting if experiencing a low framerate on higher resolutions.
To "overclock" a component is to increase its clock rate beyond the manufacturer’s specifications. A faster clock rate means more operations per second, so gaming enthusiasts often overclock their processors or GPUs to squeeze a little extra power out of their existing hardware.
Dell does not support manual overclocking in its gaming laptops and desktops, due to the risk of damage to components. However, certain Alienware models can be ordered "factory that is overclocked" from Dell; these computers come with Dell-approved overclock profiles that can be activated using the instructions in the Alienware Overclocking article.
Game Shift improves gaming performance by increasing the fan speed for optimal thermal cooling of the processor.
Game Shift is enabled by pressing the Game Shift key on the computer keyboard (when the fn default is enabled; otherwise, press and hold fn, and then press Game Shift key). For more information, see the Keyboard shortcuts section of the Setup and Specifications manual for your computer.
Alienware Command Center displays a blue G icon, a notification appears to indicate that that Game Shift is enabled.Disabling Game Shift
When you are not using the computer for gaming, disable Game Shift by pressing the Game Shift key on the computer keyboard (when the fn default is enabled; otherwise, press and hold fn, and then press the Game Shift key).Game Shift is also disabled when:
To download and install Alienware Command Center and Alienware OC Controls perform the following steps:
If you have tried all the above options and are still unsatisfied with your gaming experience, you may want to upgrade to newer, more powerful components. Upgrading provides the biggest boost in performance, but it is also the most expensive option, and potentially the most complicated.
Protect your investment in your Dell gaming computer by taking the following precautions before you start upgrading your components.
Your Dell-branded gaming computer has a limited warranty, as are any components bought through the Dell website. If you upgrade your computer with a component from Dell, it is covered under the computer’s original warranty. If however, you purchase your component from a third party, it is warranted by the component manufacturer. While the act of upgrading your computer does not violate your Dell warranty, you should consider the following limitations:
Preventing Electrostatic Discharge
Upgrading your computer involves opening up your computer and touching its internals. Without the proper precautions, you risk causing electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage to your computer and to yourself. Watch the video on how to Avoid ESD Damage to learn how to properly ground yourself and your computer before opening it up. (English-only video, with subtitles available for several languages)
Before you order a new component for your computer, ensure it works with your existing computer! To find out what kind of components your computer already has, go to the Product Support page for your computer and find the proper document on the Manuals and documents tab. You can also get some of your component specifications from the product description on the Dell store page for your computer.
Once you have found your specifications, take note of the details in the Video, Storage, and Memory categories. They guide you as you shop for compatible upgrades.
Modern games demand a lot from your GPU, so upgrading this component will usually provide the biggest boost in gaming performance. However, upgrading your GPU is also the most expensive option, and is only an option for desktop computers. Laptop owners cannot upgrade their GPUs, although certain Alienware models may be able to use the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. See the product page in the Dell Store for more details about the Alienware Graphics Amplifier.
See the guides below for specific instructions on replacing your GPU:
Adding a GPU (SLI/Crossfire)
If you have already got the latest and greatest GPU in your computer - or if you are not ready to purchase the latest, and greatest - adding another GPU to your computer is a great way to take your gaming to new heights. It really is as simple as "more GPUs = more gaming power," although setting up a multi-GPU computer that is used to be an experimental technique practiced only by hardcore gaming enthusiasts. Now, official software from NVIDIA and AMD makes going multi-GPU relatively easy.
Tired of staring at loading screens? Solid state drives (SSDs) are several times faster than traditional spinning hard drives, meaning you will rarely wait more than a few seconds for your game to load. As a bonus, everything that is installed on the SSD gets a significant speed boost, including your Windows operating system. This is a great way to make an old, slow computer feel better than new!
Upgrading your hard drive is an option for both laptop and desktop owners. See the guides below for specific instructions.
For random-access memory (RAM), games usually have a "minimum" and "recommended" specification. Meeting the minimum specifications for RAM gets you into the game, but having the recommended amount of RAM can deliver a smoother gameplay experience. Meeting that recommendation may require adding more RAM to your laptop or desktop, but a RAM upgrade will also allow your computer to run more programs simultaneously. A solid investment, to be sure.
When adding RAM to your computer, there are two important considerations:
For instructions on upgrading your Alienware computer’s RAM, browse to the Installing and Replacing Parts in your Alienware Computer article, select your Alienware model from the list, and then click "Memory."
Closed captions: English Only
Closed captions: English only
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10 Nov 2023