The Top Gaming Software to Install on a New Gaming PC
The Top Gaming Software to Install on a New Gaming PC
PC gaming is already a huge market and it’s expected to grow even further, with projections showing 12 percent growth from 2020 to 2025.
With more than 2.5 billion gamers across the globe, there’s a big market for gaming PCs. Most major brands offer computers optimized to play games.
But even if you buy a system that’s made for gaming, there are some ways to make it work better. Let’s look at some of the best gaming software to optimize your gaming experience.
If you want to play games on a PC, you’re going to need this app. Steam is an online marketplace for PC games that has the biggest selection of games, by far. It has all but replaced the off-the-shelf software you buy at a local computer shop.
One of the biggest advantages of the Steam platform is its security. Every game gets vetted by Steam before it gets listed in the marketplace so you can rest assured that it’s safe for you to install and play.
Discord is a messaging app that supports voice, video, and text communication. It’s one of the most widely-used messaging tools in the gaming world so if you plan on playing multiplayer games, you’ll likely need Discord to stay in touch with your friends and teammates.
It’s also becoming more popular outside the gaming space so you’ll likely be able to use it for other communications as well.
TeamSpeak is a VoIP (voice over IP) tool that lets you set up voice chats with one or more people. It’s the most popular VoIP system in the gaming world and many professional E-Sports leagues, such as the Overwatch League, use it.
TeamSpeak offers better voice quality than many other tools and military-grade security so you can be sure your chat isn’t getting monitored without your knowledge.
LogMeIn Hamachi is a VPN (virtual private network) tool that lets you create a secure virtual network connection between players in different locations. You can use it to set up multiplayer games that aren’t open to anyone on the internet.
The end result is similar to the LAN parties that were popular in the early days of multiplayer gaming before high-speed internet connections made it unnecessary to have the players connected through a local network.
MSI Afterburner is an overclocking tool for GPU-based video cards. It’s made by MSI but it works with other brands of cards as well.
Overclocking lets you tweak some of the settings in your GPU to push the frame rates as high as possible. Most video card manufacturers configure their cards on the conservative side for maximum compatibility. Overclocking lets you go beyond those stock settings.
OBS Studio is a free app for recording and streaming live video. This lets you stream your gameplay to sites like YouTube and Twitch so other people can watch you play.
While there are several options for live-streaming games, OBS Studio is one of the most powerful. It supports many popular platforms as well as streaming through your own server and best of all, it’s completely free to use.
f.lux adjusts the color temperature of your computer’s display to be easier on your eyes at different times of the day. This is particularly helpful if you tend to do your gaming late at night.
The blue light that a typical computer monitor emits tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime so looking at a screen at night can affect your sleep. f.lux helps reduce that blue light so you can play without disrupting the rest of your life.
CPU-Z is a freeware app that reports various technical details about your computer such as CPU details, motherboard and chipset information, memory specifications, and details about the processor cores.
CPU-Z doesn’t do anything to improve your PC’s performance directly but it provides information about a lot of factors that other apps in this list will tweak. It’s a good way to monitor what’s happening with your PC as you test and tweak different things.
Just prepare yourself for an odd-looking app. It has been around for years and is targeted at techies so it’s not the most attractive app on this list.
Antivirus and Anti-Malware
Viruses and malware are a problem for any computer, not just gaming PCs. But they can have an even bigger impact on gamers for several reasons, including:
- Gamers tend to install a lot of extensions and tweaks that could slip malware into their PC
- The performance hit from these threats is more noticeable on gaming PCs
- Gamers tend to do a lot of multiplayer interaction so there’s an even higher risk of spreading viruses to others
Windows 10 includes the Windows Defender app, which is a solid antivirus and anti-malware tool. But if you want to get even better protection, opt for a third-party tool like Webroot Secure Anywhere or Avast Premier.
CCleaner can help speed up and optimize your gaming PC by tweaking various settings, removing junk that’s taking up space and slowing things down, and tidying up the registry and other system-related information.
It performs a similar function to antivirus and anti-malware apps, in some ways, but goes beyond what they do. Ideally, you should run it along with those apps to keep your computer running at its optimal performance.
Most manufacturers like HP, Lenovo, and Dell include a lot of pre-installed software on their computers. This free gaming software will help you remove anything you don’t want or need so it doesn’t impact your gaming performance.
A Better Browser
Windows includes the Microsoft Edge browser which isn’t a bad browser but it’s not as powerful as some of the other options available. Google Chrome and Firefox are both better options for gamers.
Chrome and Firefox have a huge selection of extensions that add new features to the browser. Some of the tools on this list, such as Discord and TeamSpeak, work better through these browsers because you can install extensions that integrate them more closely.
You may also want to look at the newer version of Edge that Microsoft recently released. It’s based on the Chromium browser engine, which is the same engine that Chrome uses. This gives it many of the same advantages of Chrome while keeping you on a Microsoft app.
You can install most Chrome extensions in Edge, giving you the best of both worlds.
Notepad++ is a free text editor with some powerful editing features. This isn’t necessarily for all gamers but if you play games like Minecraft that use a text file to store configuration settings, it will be much easier to work with in Notepad++.
Windows comes with Notepad but it is about as barebones as a text editor can get. It’s hard to work with files that are more than a few lines long and it doesn’t have any kind of code recognition or formatting options.
Most gamers like to know how their PC performs compared to other computers on the market and the people they’re playing with or against. Benchmarking software runs tests on the computer that simulate gameplay and other applications, scoring the computer so you can compare it with others.
There are different benchmarking tools for different aspects of the computer.
Geekbench is the industry-standard CPU benchmarking tool. It will tell you how fast your CPU is for both single- and multi-core operations.
Heaven Benchmark focuses on the graphics card, testing your GPU’s performance. It also lets you stress-test your GPU, which is helpful when you’re overclocking it.
You can also use one of the tools we’ve already covered — MSI Afterburner — for benchmarking purposes. It will show you the frames per second (FPS) you’re getting in any game you’re playing.
Razer Cortex: Game Booster
Razer makes peripherals for gaming PCs, like gaming mice and keyboards. Their Razer Cortex: Game Booster tool works with their products but it also supports any PC, whether you use Razer products or not.
It tweaks various settings in your games and your PC configuration to improve their performance. It works with platforms like Steam and can help with any type of PC, whether you’ve got a high-end gaming rig with all the latest hardware or a more modest PC that you want to use for gaming.
Win More Often With This Gaming Software
You may not need everything on this list of gaming software but even if you only use a handful of these tools, your gaming experience will be better. You’ll get more performance out of your PC without spending a dime on new hardware, which means you’ll win more games.
Be sure to check out the Technology category of our blog for more helpful tips and tricks about gaming and other related topics.