My experience with Windows 10 Gaming Mode

EDIT: Do NOT use this feature if you do any screen recording such as what I do with the AverMedia for Playing Games with Snat. It will cause frame drops and have cause me to lose over a week worth of footage that I will need to record yet again.

Everything in this article is going to be heresay as I am not providing screenshots of before and after or video footage but simply will be speaking about my experiences from what I notice. Take it with a grain of salt – your milage will vary.

A short while ago there has been a new update for Windows 10 which brings a couple of features (Download Windows 10 Update) such as the new Dark Mode (Microsoft’s version of F.lux), a new picture editor and the one we will be discussing today which is the gaming mode.

The idea of a gaming mode has existed for ages and I can list a bunch of software that has already tried this such as CPUCores and works by either limiting what CPUs in your system does what or by changing how many processes are running which is how Windows 10 Gaming Mode deals with it – it stops processes that ain’t “vital” and designates more CPU time to your games.

As you can expect from the paragraph above that the built-in gaming mode will be able to help a tiny bit and honestly that’s what I been noticing during my testing. See, this gaming mode will not help you in games where you are having problems due to your graphic card being too weak but will help you make your CPU more stable.

Final Fantasy XIV

... wasn't that busy when I took the screenshot!
… wasn’t that busy when I took the screenshot!

So the first game I noticed a slight improvement was in Final Fantasy XIV. While standing around idle in the game’s major hubs I notice my CPU was a tad bit more stable and my frame rate did not drop randomly. During actual content such as dungeons and raids I never really noticed that much of a difference.

Out of interest, I did decide to pop along with a Rank S hunt to see how things were. I attend two hunts (both had around the same amount of people that I saw) and noticed with Gaming Mode on that I had less FPS lag after the fights got going.

Crusader Kings II w/ M&M DLC+

A slight bug I found, but the screenshot works!
A slight bug I found, but the screenshot works!

And now we move onto a game that needs a lot of CPU in order to actually run the game smoothly. I did the test on my normal PC and honestly, I did not notice that much of a difference as my PC could run the game smoothly in the first place but when I ran it on my Surface Pro I noticed quite a boost.

The game ran quite a bit more smoothly on my Surface Pro and although it did not suddenly turn it being abe to skip years at a time on max time settings but enough to allow playing it smoothish.

Other Games

During my tests, I did try other games and I noticed little to no improvement and they are as follows.

  • Sonic Generations
  • Dying Light
  • Command and Conquer: Kain’s Wrath
  • Fallout 3
  • Fallout 4

Is it worth it?

Well, this is the real question. From my experiences, there is only one reason I would not enable gaming mode and that is if you got a weak CPU and doing something on a second monitor. During my testing, I found watching Bob Burgers on a second monitor made VLC work slowly and the series skipping parts to catch up. This normally did not happen when I had gaming mode on.

But if you are fine with that – I would go ahead and use it. Little gain but nothing lost either. I would love to see a hotkey to enable or disable it in future on the fly.

Need to reference?

Ellis, M. (2017). My experience with Windows 10 Gaming Mode. [online] Snat's Narratives & Tales. Available at: [Accessed 07 Dec 2023].

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Going to add something else to my review but will post it in the comments to keep it pretty. During further testing of Windows Gaming Mode I found something very bad if you are using Steam Streaming.

I have had major lag issues as it also affects whatever Steam does to allow it to stream to your device. If you use Steam streaming a lot I would advise to disable it until they allow white-listing other programs.