After a long round of testing, Windows 11 was finally released on October 5th and is currently being rolled out to millions of computers around the world. It's the first significant Windows release in 6 years, and it was as controversial as it was spectacular. Above all, Microsoft wants to address the gamer crowd with Windows 11. But while some gamers are definitely looking forward to their update, others may still be on the fence or not entirely convinced. And understandably so – nobody wants to mess up their gaming rig.
So is Windows 11 good for gaming? Is it an operating system that gamers should look forward to?
Microsoft Says: Yes, Windows 11 is a great gaming operating system …
With Windows 11, Microsoft openly invites gamers to upgrade and even goes so far as to say that "Windows 11 was made for gamers" and calls Windows 11 the "best Windows for games" of all time. And in fact, there are a handful of features that gamers should consider when considering whether to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 – some of them are small, while others could be groundbreaking.
There are a few game-related features to look forward to that have been borrowed from Microsoft's newest game consoles, the Xbox Series S / X. The first is DirectStorage. DirectStorage uses fast NVMe SSDs to significantly reduce load times and improve texture loading while significantly reducing the CPU load for these tasks. While DirectStorage lands on Windows 10 as well, and now it isn't strictly necessary to be using Windows 11 to enjoy it, the updated storage stack in Windows 11 allows DirectStorage to reach its greatest potential.
There's also Auto-HDR, which uses machine learning and AI to bring an HDR mode into any game, whether it supports HDR or not. To take advantage of this, of course, you will need an HDR-compatible monitor. Windows 11 is also deeply built into the Xbox app, meaning users can enjoy Xbox Game Pass titles on their PC if they have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, as well as access to Xbox Cloud Gaming to play their favorite Xbox games. Play titles (which are not available in PC).
If you're interested in learning more about each of these new features and why they are needed, be sure to check out our guide to the best Windows 11 game features. Microsoft is clearly promoting Windows 11 as the next big thing for gamers.
… but it's not perfect right now
While Windows 11 is packed with features that greatly improve the gaming experience on PCs, both high and low end, there are some initial issues and things to be aware of before you get started. And there are also some things that are considered. issues are reported but have been exaggerated by some media, which we will discuss in this section as well.
First, let's talk about the biggest problem affecting gamers on Windows 11 right now, especially AMD Ryzen users. We previously covered this issue in our article on Windows 11 Performance Issues on AMD Processors, but the gist is that L3 cache latencies are greatly increased compared to Windows 10. This latency can result in a performance drop in games ranging from 3 to 5% up to 15% in certain esports titles.
There are also some issues affecting AMD's "core preferred" feature, which can also be a source of performance degradation. Microsoft is working hard to fix the issue by the end of October, but for now, The Verge reports that the situation could potentially get worse before it gets better.
VBS is also said to be a cause of significant performance hit for Windows 11 users. When you buy a commercial or pre-built computer with Windows 11, Microsoft enables virtualization-based security, or VBS, as an additional layer of security for your new PC by default. It was released with Windows 10 and uses hardware and software virtualization to improve the security of your system. In layman's terms, it essentially creates an isolated subsystem that helps keep viruses from wreaking havoc on your computer.
But with VBS enabled it can reportedly degrade your PC's gaming performance by up to 28% in some scenarios, which, if true, is … pretty bad. However, further research into this issue provides conflicting information as to whether or not VBS is actually having a noticeable negative impact on your frame rates.
While sites like PC Gamer have reported seeing significant performance degradation with VBS enabled, other sources like YouTuber ThioJoe have also conducted research suggesting that the performance degradation is actually negligible in most real-world scenarios, and definitely not close to 28%.
Should I get Windows 11 if I'm a gamer?
The short answer to this question is "yes", but maybe not now. After all, there are plenty of things to look forward to in Windows 11 for the gamer crowd, as mentioned earlier.
DirectStorage has the potential to revolutionize the way our games are currently loaded, and Auto-HDR can make our games look gorgeous even if they're not HDR-compatible. And while most people are likely to use a third-party game marketplace like Steam, integrating with the Xbox ecosystem and having access to Game Pass Ultimate are both great perks, even if you're not an Xbox user.
On the other hand, it's a very new operating system and it's always a good idea to wait for Microsoft to fix any bugs before starting the update. In fact, we've already fixed some issues you might run into when you hit the Windows 11 update trigger now that could negatively affect your performance and frame rates in games.
This is another reason why Microsoft is offering the free upgrade to Windows 11 in stages, as the company wants to ensure that all conspicuous errors and problems are eliminated immediately before the new operating system is rolled out for everyone.
It is better to wait for now
We've now outlined some of the pros and cons of getting your hands on the Windows 11 update if you're a gamer. Windows 11 offers several improvements to games, but it's a little rough around the edges right now. However, if you decide to update now, most of the games will work just fine.
How to upgrade to Windows 11 for free now
Would you like Windows 11? Don't want to wait until October 5th? Upgrade now for free.
About the author
(17 articles published)
Arol is a tech journalist and staff writer at MakeUseOf. He has also worked as a news and feature writer at XDA-Developers and Pixel Spot. Arol is currently studying pharmacy at the Central University of Venezuela and has had a soft spot for everything to do with technology since childhood. When you're not writing, you can find him either deep in his textbooks or playing video games.
By Arol Wright
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