As Windows 8 reached the end of support in early 2023, and the current Windows 10 22H2 build marks the final version of the operating system (support concluding in 2025), it may be the right time to transition to Windows 11. But gaming enthusiasts could feel apprehensive due to uncertainties regarding compatibility and performance. This begs the question: is Windows 11 good for gaming? This guide helps you determine whether transitioning away from Windows 10 is in your best interest. Also, keep an eye out for a sweet deal tucked away at the end.
Good to know: check out how to start playing games on TV.
Is Windows 11 Better than Windows 10 for Gaming?
Microsoft has poured significant effort into improving the gaming experience on Windows 11. The software giant even claims that “if you’re a gamer, Windows 11 was made for you.” But how accurate is this statement? As it turns out, it’s not an exaggeration.
Windows 11 introduces various improvements with PC gaming in mind, including enhancements in performance and additional features – some of which have been ported over to the Xbox consoles. While it’s true that earlier versions of Windows 11 have experienced various issues, such as glitches with NVIDIA graphics cards and AMD computers, developers have effectively addressed most of these concerns so far.
When it comes to performance, Windows 11 marginally edges out Windows 10 in overall benchmarks, but may exhibit occasional dips in frame rates (FPS) during real-world gaming for specific games.
You shouldn’t expect to see substantial enhancements in gaming performance on Windows 11 unless your system is using a high-end CPU and GPU. If you’re satisfied with how games are running on Windows 10, you may not have enough incentive to make the transition, even though the upgrading process is straightforward. On the other hand, if you’re buying a new PC or otherwise reinstalling Windows, then Windows 11 is the obvious choice.
FYI: getting a Steam error code E8 on your Windows PC? See our tutorial to learn what to do.
New Gaming Features in Windows 11
Windows 11 brings new features that have the potential to enhance your gaming experience – but only if you have the right equipment.
DirectStorage is a new graphics API introduced in Windows 11 that promises to optimize GPU performance for gaming. It can significantly reduce load times and improve frame rates for games that support it.
The feature – which originally made an appearance on Xbox consoles – is designed to optimize the transfer and decompression of game assets from storage to CPU. As a result, games can load much faster and run more smoothly.
However, it’s important to note that currently, only a limited number of games support DirectStorage. While wider adoption of this technology will take a few more years, Windows 11 is the way forward in this respect.
In any event, you should be aware that DirectStorage currently requires a speedy NVMe SSD and a compatible GPU to function, so if you’re working with an older drive, you probably won’t see any performance improvements in Windows 11.
Note: for more information regarding how DirectStorage works and how to activate it, check out our detailed article on the matter.
HDR (or High Dynamic Range) in Windows 11 aims to enhance the visual experience by expanding the range of colors and contrast that can be displayed on a compatible HDR monitor or display. The technology allows for more vibrant and lifelike images, with a broader spectrum of colors and a higher level of brightness and darkness.
The best part is that even when it comes to older games without native HDR support, Windows 11 will still be able to optimize colors and brightness to enhance the visual experience on your HDR monitor.
You’ll need to have a monitor that supports HDR to see these improvements. Unfortunately, many monitors these days tend to leave out this feature to cut costs. If you do have a supported monitor, but HDR looks bad, check out our post on solutions to remedy the problem.
To enable HDR on your Windows 11 PC, you must access Settings -> System -> Display -> HDR -> Display capabilities, then enable Use HDR and/or Auto HDR.
Tip: need to record your screen on Windows? Check out various methods.
3. Built-in Xbox App
Depending on your version of Windows 10, you may still have the old Xbox Companion app, which is being phased out. This changes with Windows 11, which includes the redesigned Xbox app by default. The app offers access to the Xbox Store, where you can browse and purchase games directly from your PC.
Moreover, it boasts Game Pass integration. Microsoft’s subscription service unlocks a large library of games for subscribers to play. In some regions, you may also have the option to use Xbox Cloud Gaming, allowing you to stream and play games directly from the cloud. The app doesn’t neglect the social component, offering users the chance to connect with friends, view their gaming activity, and communicate with them.
Which Version of Windows 11 Is Best for Gaming?
For standard users, Windows 11 comes with a choice between the Home and Pro versions. Not surprisingly, you may be curious whether the version you choose will have any effect on gaming performance.
Certainly, Windows 11 Pro has some advantages in this regard. With support for two CPUs and 128 cores, along with the capability to handle up to 2TB of RAM, it can be the preferable choice for users with a high-end gaming setup. In contrast, the Home edition only supports one CPU with 64 cores and 128GB of RAM.
Yet, as a casual gamer, it’s unlikely that you’ll need such an advanced setup. Upgrading to Windows 11 Pro is not really necessary unless you’re a professional gamer.
Should You Upgrade to Windows 11?
For the majority of users, transitioning from Windows 10 to Windows 11 should be a seamless process. However, if your PC is older, you’ll need to verify a few things before proceeding with the update. First, make sure your device meets the recommended specifications. Specifically, ensure that it has a TMP 2.0 chip. While it is possible to install Windows 11 without it, it’s not a good idea to do so.
The second consideration should be drivers. For older PCs, there’s a chance that a component or accessory may not work as intended with Windows 11, due to driver incompatibility. You should reserve time to perform a compatibility check before initiating the update process. If many issues crop up, it would be wise to wait until better support for your hardware becomes available.
For users with newer PCs equipped with fast SSD, compatible GPUs, and an HDR-compliant monitor, upgrading to Windows 11 will most likely enhance your gaming experience.
FYI: on the market for a new SSD? Consult our buying guide before purchasing.
Getting Windows 11 with a New PC
If you’d rather switch to a new computer, consider investing in a gaming mini PC. This may be a more suitable option for those who frequently attend LAN parties or want a gaming setup that can easily move between rooms or locations. The KAMRUI AMR5 mini PC is perfect for that. It is currently available with a big discount on Amazon and comes with Windows 11 out of the box, so you don’t have to install anything.
Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU with a max turbo frequency of up to 4.3GHz and 16GB of RAM (expandable up to 64GB), this little box packs a punch. It should be able to handle most games with ease, just as reliably as bulkier towers. It ships with a 512GB SSD with support for an NVMe/NGFF SSD upgrade to 4TB (2x2TB), allowing you to benefit from the effects of DirectStorage. Another major plus is that you can switch between various performance modes that optimize system resources as needed, with the Perf Mode suited for your gaming activities.
This mini PC’s uses are not limited to gaming. It can also support simple day-to-day activities, such as browsing the Internet and watching videos. Furthermore, it handles demanding image or video editing software with minimal disruptions.
The KAMRUI Mini PC with AMD Ryzen under the hood is currently available with $190 off on Amazon. The gadget could make for an excellent gift this holiday season, and if you hurry, you can snag it for $339!
Tip: did you know that you can overclock your RAM easily with AMD Ryzen Master? Here’s how.
Making the Leap
Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 11, there are more settings you can adjust to further optimize your gaming experience, as detailed in our dedicated guide. You can also go on to explore new features, such as Efficiency Mode, that should enable you to extend your PC’s battery life.
Image credit: Freepik All screenshots by Alexandra Arici
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