Technology

Is your PC Being Bottlenecked? Here’s how you Fix That

Is your PC Being Bottlenecked? Here’s how you Fix That
Photo by Josh Sorenson

Do you feel as though your PC is bottlenecked? If so then now is the time for you to do something about that. If you don’t take steps to improve your PC now, then you may find that you never get the result you want out of your gaming and this is the last thing you need.

CPU Bottlenecking

Your CPU is responsible for a great deal of things. It sends rendering instructions to the graphics processing unit and it also calculates operations. Often, you may find that the CPU is just too weak to keep up with the graphics card you have. This restricts the number of frames per second. At the end of the day, it is possible for you to be using 100% of your GPU if your CPU is powerful, but if this is not the case then it may be spending most of its time idling because of this particular situation.

GPU Bottlenecking

If you have a very powerful CPU but your GPU is sub-par then this is another issue. It may be that your CPU is processing the game quickly but your GPU is unable to render it. Although this sounds bad, it means that your computer is doing what it should be when it is gaming. To solve the issue here, one of the best things you can do is speak with someone who knows all about gaming as they can then give you the advice you need.

Hard Drive Bottlenecking

One bottleneck concerns storage. If you happen to be using a very old device but you have upgraded everything from your RAM to GPU and CPU then this is a major issue. Older HDDs experience way longer loading times and in some instances, they may even stutter. Your program may be spending half of its time trying to pull information from the HDD and if this is the case, you should probably upgrade to an SSD.

Display Bottlenecking

It’s not just your internal components that will cause bottleneck issues. If you know that the graphics card you are using is the top of the range but for some reason, you are still gaming with 60Hz then this is not good, to say the least. While your video output may be good, and you will be playing games with an ultra setting, you won’t be getting the most out of your hardware. This is a bit of an issue, as your system may give out eventually and you will have never been able to experience what it can do. If you are playing games such as Spider Solitaire then this won’t be a huge deal but if you are playing huge and sprawling RPGs then you will be missing out by quite a large margin.

How to Prevent Bottlenecking

If you want to avoid possible bottlenecks then one thing you can do is make sure that every component within your system is compatible. You also need to make sure that it is fully up to date. You should be monitoring and tracking your system so that it always performs optimally as well. This includes keeping track of your general usage patterns while ensuring that your drivers are up to date. Another thing you can do is make sure that your antivirus and malware software is up to date. If you can see that yours isn’t then it may be that you need to wipe your system to make sure that there are no bad software installations holding you back.

Always make sure that you check the minimum requirements before you install anything too. If you don’t then you may end up installing games that your PC just can’t handle. By doing this, you will slow it down even more, as you will be taking up space on your computer but not using it.

Upgrading your PC Components

Upgrading components is one of the best ways for you to prevent PC bottlenecking. Upgrading the processor, graphics card and even the RAM is always a good thing to do and it also helps you to reduce the chances of bottleneck in general. You may also find that you can give your system the extra power that it needs to fuel your programs and games. This is especially the case if you have ones that require more resources than previous versions. If you do find out that upgrading your system doesn’t solve the issue then you may want to look into an alternative solution. One thing you can do is narrow down which processes are taking up the most room and then take the time to optimize how your system works overall. You can also make tweaks and then disable background activity. It may be that you have certain programs which are consuming more data than others, or that you have things sucking up your power when they shouldn’t be. Ultimately, some bottlenecks cannot be prevented or avoided. For this reason, you shouldn’t invest too much money in them, until you can pinpoint the source of the issue.

Identifying Bottlenecks

Identifying the source of a bottleneck isn’t easy as you may find that it is caused by a lot of different things. By mentoring the task manager and the task reports that your PC generates, you can make it easier to deal with them. If your disk usage seems to be higher than it should be then this can indicate that there is something wrong with your setup. If this is the case then be sure to look into the SSD or HDD that you have. It may be that you are throttling your system, or that you have background sessions that are triggering abnormal behavior for your programs.

What Problems Can Occur?

With bottlenecking, you may find that you end up experiencing several issues. This is especially the case when it comes to certain applications. You may find that you experience stuttering audio, as well as lagging video when streaming content. Slowdowns and general unresponsiveness can also cause issues. Even worse, you may experience issues such as blue screen error messages and total screen freezes. If this happens then you have a serious problem on your hands and you need to be dealing with it immediately. Generally speaking, if you do not deal with problems such as this then you may find that they get worse over time, which can make it very difficult for you to avoid costly repairs.

Overclocking your PC 

Overclocking gives you the chance to increase your CPU operating rate over what it was originally rated for. This helps you to take advantage of increased performance. However, the risk of experiencing hardware failure increases greatly when you do this. Additionally, the gain you will get from overclocking may mean that you don’t see a difference in your games. If you want to see a major benefit then one thing you need to do is upgrade your system. When you do upgrade your system, you will be able to resolve issues while making sure that everything is as it should be. When you do decide to upgrade your system, just make sure that you don’t overlook the importance of cooling. If you do not get a good cooling system installed, this can lead to overheating which will fry your components. If you’re not sure what you are doing then it’s always wise for you to consult an expert in PC building so you can make sure that you get the result you want out of your computer and your general gaming experience.

How to Troubleshoot PC Bottlenecking

A few handy tips and tricks you can adopt to try and troubleshoot your PC bottleneck would be for you to try and regulate the number of processes that you have running in the background. Be sure to use Task Manager properly and make sure that you deal with any rogue problems or ransomware too. Keeping all of your drivers up to date is also very important. Keep an eye out for malware or viruses too. Bottlenecks can happen with time so make sure that you do what you can to try and avoid this by updating your PC and by making sure that you take steps to try and keep everything on par with each other. As one part of your system dates, you then need to take steps to try and improve it so that you don’t end up with one component dragging everything else down. If you can be mindful of this and if you can take steps to ensure that you are always mindful of your PC and its general performance before things end up influencing it then you will also be able to help to prevent bottlenecks in the future. 

So as you can see, there are things you can do to try and improve your PC’s performance and if you follow this guide then you will soon find that it is easier than ever for you to reap the benefits.

About the author

Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Steven enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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