Creating the Best Gaming Experience
There's a lot of information online about what you can do to have the best gaming experience. We've put together a few items to consider when aiming to enhance your gaming experience.
Which gaming console should I use?
It's going to come down to what you want to play. Some games may only be available on certain consoles. Most gaming consoles have a variety of games available, so if you're not set on a specific game and already have a console, you can research available games for that console. If you’re really unsure, PC gaming always offers a lot of options.
Can I use my current PC for gaming?
It depends on what you currently have. You may be able to game just fine on your current PC. The essential items needed for a good PC gaming experience are a good processor/CPU, a graphics card/GPU, and sufficient memory/RAM and storage capacity. Although most modern PCs have a graphics card to handle visuals, a dedicated graphics card may provide an enhanced experience. Newer PC games may require a more powerful graphics card, so you might need to play using lower graphical settings if your graphics card doesn't meet the requirement. Before investing in additional equipment, check out your PC's settings and capabilities. Review any criteria for the games you'll be playing to determine if your PC meets those requirements or if upgrades are needed.
How much speed do I need?
Whether you're playing on a game console or a PC, a 5 Mbps download speed should suffice to get you rocking and rolling. Upload speed requirements are usually lower, ranging from .5-3 Mbps. Keep in mind this is needed for each device you use for gaming. Although most online games don't have latency requirements, some may. That's where the type of internet you have comes into play. Satellite internet, for example, on average, has a latency of 500 + milliseconds (ms), whereas cable internet typically has a latency of under 100 ms. If you have several gamers at home or other online users, you'll need to account for that when deciding which internet plan works best for you.
Additionally, you'll need to consider data caps. If you are downloading online games regularly or hosting a server, you might want to opt for a plan that offers unlimited data. If you're right in the middle of two plans, you may want to go with the lower one and monitor your gaming experience and usage to see if that's the right plan.
How should I connect?
An Ethernet connection will provide the optimal gaming experience, as it will help keep latency low. The only downside to this is that you need to keep your gaming device physically close to the modem. If connecting via an Ethernet cable is not an option and you'll be connecting wirelessly, try to place your gaming device as close to your router as possible. Try to keep metal objects or electronic devices away from your gaming device to help prevent interference.
Do I need to buy a new router for online gaming?
Many routers can provide a great gaming experience. We highlighted a few routers in our best router for gig article, including a great gaming router. One of the differences with a gaming router is that it may offer features that make it easier for you to manage the usage, including prioritizing your gaming connection. Some gaming routers offer a specific band dedicated to gaming. While a gaming router may improve your experience, your current router could also be doing a great job. Before you purchase a new router, make sure to check out your router; it may be just what you need.
Whether you use a game console, your PC, or you choose to go all out with an upgraded gaming area, remember to have a good time!
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