Do "Game Boosters" improve PC gaming performance?
So called Game Boosters are designed to improve PC gaming performance by limiting background operations when PC games are played on a computer running Windows.
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.
Most programs allow you to switch between game mode and normal mode with the press of a button, and some even recognize games automatically which makes things even more comfortable.
The question we are going to answer is if running Game Booster software has a positive effect on a PC game's performance or if the gain is negligible or even counterproductive.
- Intel Core i5-2500K CPU @ 3.30 GHz
- 8 Gigabyte of RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card
- Corsair Force GT Solid State Drive
- Resolution: 1920x1080
- Windows 10 Build 10122
- Benchmark 1: Star Swarm Stress Test (default settings)
- Benchmark 2: Resident Evil 6 (default settings)
- Benchmark 3: 3D Mark Demo (default settings, primary tests)
The Game Boosters
The following programs were tested on the machine:
Game Fire 4 uses a profile system that determines which services, background processes, features and programs are stopped when game mode is enabled.
You need to make that decision as it does not ship with a default profile. A long list of features can be disabled including network access and sharing, Windows Search, visual effects or Windows Defender.
In addition to that, it supports the termination of custom services and applications that you need to specify for each profile you configure.
Game Fire 4 displays a list of applications and services that you can terminate when you enter game mode.
Other features that it supports are game defragmentation and quick access to Windows tools such as Memory Diagnostics or the Performance Monitor.
IOBit Game Assistant (no longer available)
The program scans the system for installed PC games and displays those in its interface. It supports custom games as well as you can add those to the list of games.
Game Assistant supports an automated mode that cleans RAM when enabled. Instead of using that mode, you may select processes manually that you want closed to free up RAM on the system.
Since it seems to do nothing else than stop processes and free up RAM, it may even be less effective than other boosters especially if the system has plenty of RAM.
Game Booster requires that you create an account before you can run the program. It scans the system for installed games and displays them in its interface.
The program uses a recommended boost by default but provides you with the means to customize the boosting.
It lists plenty of options to do so, from terminating processes and services to tweaks that you can apply to the system.
The program ships with a couple of additional options like synchronizing save games using cloud services or video capture.
ToolWiz Game Boost (no longer available)
The program is as simple as it gets. It displays several boost options on start, for instance to stop scheduled tasks or network shares while in GameBoost Mode.
Since all options are selected by default, it is only a matter of enabling game mode in the program to get started.
It lacks advanced features like disabling services or terminating processes that other programs in this test support.
The program offers to scan the local system for games on start. While it did so, it did not find any installed games on the system even though some were installed.
It features an optimize all button that runs optimization tasks on services, processes and the system itself. You may switch to optimization tabs in the program to see what each optimization does, for instance which process gets terminated when you run the optimization.
|PC Default||Game Fire||Iobit Game Assistant||Razer Cortex||Toolwiz Game Boost||Wise Game Booster|
|3D Mark Fire Strike||3074||3056||3066||3072||3072||3072|
|3D Mark Sky Diver||9262||9278||9256||9293||9232||9247|
|3D Mark Cloud Gate||12635||12667||12611||12634||12615||12576|
|3D Mark Ice Storm||124762||123645||123835||123081||123708||124048|
|Star Swarm Average FPS||22.65||23.13||20.39||24.69||22.32||24.39|
|Star Swarm Average Units||3843||3900||3946||4093||4174||3950|
Analysis of results
Default results and boosted results are in close range of each other in all tests and it is unlikely that users notice improvements when they run these tools to improve gaming performance.
While the difference may be noticeable on older hardware, it is unlikely that the same cannot be achieved by terminating background programs manually before starting games.
For instance, if you run a BitTorrent client or large file download in the background, it may impact game performance significantly.
Some booster apps offer additional features, like screen capturing which you may find useful.
All Game Boosters run on the machine listed above did not improve gaming performance significantly. In fact, performance was lower in some cases when game boosters were run but the differences were always marginal at best.
It is fair to say that other tweaks, overclocking comes to mind or the modification of quality settings, may impact gaming performance significantly more than game boosters do.Advertisement