PCs usually deliver a better gaming experience than consoles though there are some exceptions. In addition, a PC is more versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. Despite the benefits of PC gaming, many gamers still prefer consoles. It’s understandable. PCs don’t come prebuilt with gaming in mind.
If you want top notch performance, you must build a custom rig from scratch. And herein lies the headache because there’s really no standard process for making sure your gaming PC meets play expectations.
Still, it helps to know the most common problems with gaming rigs as this will ensure you can resolve problems in minimal time. The following are the major challenges that PC gamers usually encounter.
Glitches and Artifacts
Glitches and artifacts are manifestations of graphical interface weirdness. Game geometry may be malformed, inflated or missing, textures might look colored or pixelated and some sections of the screen may experience banding, flickering or otherwise odd behavior.
Usually glitches and artifacts are due to the video card not fully and accurately processing the information relayed to it by the game. Outdated and beta drivers are often the culprit. In this case, installing the correct driver should resolve the problem. At other times, a failing and/or overheating graphics card could be the root cause. Replacing it is the way to go.
Tearing is a unique type of screen artifact that occurs when game frames split into two halves that aren’t aligned. In severe tearing cases, there may be a three-way or four-way split. Tearing is caused by excessively high PC performance.
Most computer monitors have a refresh rate of 60 Hz meaning images are refreshed 60 times per second. However, a computer’s processor and RAM specs can play games at much higher speeds. When frames are coming in faster than the monitors refresh rate, tearing occurs.
The most common fix for this problem is to adjust game output to be consistent with monitor refresh rate. Alternatively, you could buy a monitor with a higher refresh rate.
Excessive Online Lagging
You assume a perfect shooting position, squeeze the trigger (by pressing your corded or cordless gaming mice) and fire. For a couple of seconds, nothing happens on the screen. When your shot eventually fires, your opponent has already moved. Lagging is arguably gaming’s most frustrating problem. Every rig and gaming console will have some lag but the key is in ensuring the lag isn’t big enough to deteriorate gamer experience.
Online lag is largely determined by the speed of your internet connection. However, lagging could also occur if the game is competing with other applications for bandwidth (e.g. background downloads). There are few things you can do other than upgrade your internet connection.
Temporary Freezing and Hanging
Games are meant to flow seamlessly on PCs. That doesn’t happen all the time though. Gamers will occasionally run into a hanging or freezing title, sometimes for a couple of seconds each time. Unlike glitches and artifacts, freezing is caused by performance bottlenecks in the PC. It’s a sudden absence of requested resources which forces the game to hang as it waits for the instruction to be executed.
Check your PC RAM, graphics RAM, hard drive and processor to confirm that they are not operating at near full capacity when the game is running. Upgrade your RAM and processor, and clear unneeded files from your hard disk.
Stuttering differs from hanging/freezing in that it happens at a higher frequency though it is less disruptive on gameplay. Each stutter lasts for just a millisecond or less. Players may not even notice it until they are in a game phase that requires rapid movement.
Stuttering is common in multi-GPU setups since the GPUs aren’t always in perfect sync. You can fix stuttering by either disabling one video card or installing the latest drivers.
PC gaming has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. As long as you know how to tackle the most common problems with a gaming rig, playing on a PC can be a memorable experience.