Imagine this: You’re sitting at your computer, your new game freshly opened and in your system. You turn the game on and load its glorious graphics and click start. You get about 3 minutes into the game and your graphics are lagging so bad, you can’t possibly keep playing. The problem is, you just got that new graphics card, it should be working perfectly.
Before you throw your system out the window (figuratively, of course), there is a reasonable explanation for why this is happening. It’s called bottlenecking. Bottlenecking is a hardware limitation that occurs when the capacity of a system is limited by a single component. This means that there is too much information being loaded to a component or too slowly compared to the rest of the components in your rig.
On the other hand, it may not be that your components are slowing you down at all. Bottlenecking can also occur without slowing down your computer. If you install a brand new graphics card, but some of the other components are not as new, you will see improved game performance, and better graphics. The downside is that your graphics card will never reach its full potential. Your computer will only perform as best as the oldest part, so keep this in mind when deciding to upgrade.
Which Component IS IT?!
When a computer bottlenecks, it is most often at the GPU, CPU, or HDD. The hardest part is figuring out which one is causing the bottleneck. To do this, you have to measure the load while you are running your game. For example, using an app like MSI Afterburner or FRAPS will help you properly measure the load of your graphics card. Looking at the Memory Usage, Core Clock, and Overall Usage will let you know if any of the pieces of your graphics card is causing the bottleneck. If your GPU memory is over 90% it’s possible that your machine is bottlenecking because of lack of GPU memory. On the other hand, if your GPU usage is lower than 90% it could be your CPU.
Another way to determine if you are having bottlenecking problems is to search the internet on forums and other tech websites to find combinations that work (or don’t). This is extremely tedious, and could mean investing hours into researching the components in your system. In addition, you might never find the answer to your bottlenecking problem.
The third alternative is that it isn’t your computer at all. As games are becoming more advanced, they are demanding more and more out of your computer. This means that they need more graphics power than some cards can handle. The game that you are playing can greatly affect the performance of your computer components. The newer the game, the more advanced it is and the more it demands from your system. If you have older parts, you may not be able to play that brand new game because your computer isn’t capable of keeping up with its demands.
There are so many reasons that a computer could be under-performing, but using these tips and the internet, it shouldn’t be too hard to determine what the problem is. Now, all you have to do is find the solution…
How to Stop the Bottlenecking:
Depending on the component that is causing the bottlenecking, one option is to upgrade the component that is causing the problem. The most difficult of the whole process is diagnosing exactly which part is causing the most upset. Replacing the misfit will definitely help speed your build up. After all, your build is only as good as your slowest part.
Another potential solution is to overclock the component that is causing the slowdowns. This will only provide a fractional difference in performance compared to replacing the part. In addition, it is possible that even overclocking the current component will not provide enough improvement to show results. This would be a waste in resources and efforts to you and your system.
When your system bottlenecks, there is only so much that you can do. Unfortunately, the only way to cure bottlenecking is to identify exactly where it is bottlenecking. After you identify where the bottlenecking is occurring, then you can decide how to proceed to fix the problem. Now, when your computer starts acting up, you will be able to problem solve and get your machine back to max performance. Happy Gaming!