I Purchased a New Game for My Computer and It Won't Run/Runs Poorly

Introduction

You've just purchased and installed a new PC game, but something’s off. Your frame-rate is bucking wildly. Mouse input is very erratic. The introductory sequence hangs for a second or two every time someone talks. When you move the camera, there’s some sort of horrifying stuttering.

There are a number of reasons why your machine might be struggling to run your new game. This guide will help you determine what the issue is, and ways to potentially resolve it.
Various PC games.

? What type of computer do you have?

  1. I have a PC (Windows 10)
  2. I have a Mac (macOS)

We're here to help!

Connect to a Tech Pro

Call or chat with a Tech Pro 24/7.

You've just purchased and installed a new PC game, but something’s off. Your frame-rate is bucking wildly. Mouse input is very erratic. The introductory sequence hangs for a second or two every time someone talks. When you move the camera, there’s some sort of horrifying stuttering.

There are a number of reasons why your machine might be struggling to run your new game. This guide will help you determine what the issue is, and ways to potentially resolve it.
Various PC games.

All games have posted system requirements. Ensuring that your machine can handle the demands of a game before purchasing is generally best.

Where Do I Find System Requirements?

If you've purchased a physical copy of a game, the requirements are generally listed on the packaging. Here is an example of the physical packaging of Doom:
Doom physical packaging highlighting system requirement information.

If you've purchased a game digitally, system requirements can be found on the marketplace they were purchased from, or directly from the game developer's website.

  • Here is an example of Steam displaying the system requirements for Doom:
    Steam displaying system requirements of Doom.
  • Here is an example of the Bethesda website displaying the system requirements for Doom:
    Bethesda website displaying the system requirements for Doom.

System requirements list what type of hardware and software you need to run a game. Minimum requirements are just that, the bare minimum required to run a game. If you meet the minimum requirements the game will run, but it may run poorly. 

Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

Reducing the graphical settings of the game you're attempting to play reduces the demand it places on your computer's hardware, and can make a game playable, albeit a bit uglier from a graphical standpoint. Each game's graphical setting options will vary, and may still not make the game playable on your machine.

  1. Load the game you are attempting to play and navigate to the game's options or settings menu.
  2. Look for Video or Graphics settings. Depending on the game you are playing, the labeling of this menu will vary.
    Skyrim's graphical settings
  3. Some games offer a simple menu that allows the user to set graphical options using a range. Settings may range from low all the way to ultra. Try reducing these settings below where they are currently set.
  4. Test your game. The reduction in settings may make the game playable. Reducing graphical settings may make the game look visually less appealing, but can be the difference between a game being playable or unplayable.

Graphics Settings and What They Mean

  • Resolution: The number of pixels that make up your game screen. The higher the numbers, the more power your game uses. Lowering this setting will greatly increase performance.
  • Anti-Aliasing: A setting that smooths jagged edges, making the game look better. Reducing this will increase performance while making your game look noticeably dated. Below shows anti-aliasing off on the left, and anti-aliasing set to four on the right. The jagged edges are more noticeable on the left.
    Skyrim screenshots. Anti aliasing is off on the left
  • Texture Quality: Textures are the pictures put over the models in a game. The higher the quality, the better the texture. The lower the quality, the faster the game will run. The image on the left has texture quality set to low.
    An example of texture quality
  • Shadow Quality: Like texture, shadow quality determines how crisp and accurate the shadows in a game are, but they're much easier to set lower as you don't notice them as much. Lowering shadow quality may take out the shadow entirely or just reduce it to a dark circle. 
  • View Distance: Like it says, view distance is how far you can see in the game. It determines how far away things will be rendered. The shorter the view distance, the better the performance. The image on the left has the lower view distance.
    View distance examples
The next steps will walk you through updating your video drivers.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Begin typing "GeForce Experience"
    Windows 10 search bar
  3. Windows will search your machine for the software. Select GeForce Experience from the results.
    Windows 10 search results showing geforce experience
  4. The GeForce Experience software will open. You may be prompted to log in.
    GeForce Experience log in
  5. After logging in, the GeForce Experience software will display any available driver updates. If one is available, select the Express Installation button.
    Nvidia geforce express installation
  6. The driver will begin to install. Your computer may need to reboot after installation completes.
    Geforce driver installing
  1. Right-click anyplace on your desktop where there is not an icon, then select AMD Radeon Settings.
    AMD Radeon settings in the right click menu
  2. From the Radeon Settings window, select Updates at the bottom left. If there is an update available, the button will say New Update instead.
    AMD Radeon Settings showing the update button
  3. If updated drivers are available, you may see New Optional or Recommended drivers on this screen. Select whichever is displayed to proceed.
    AMD Radeon optional driver
  4. Select Express Upgrade.
    AMD Radeon express upgrade button
  5. Select Proceed.
    AMD Radeon confirmation
  6. The installer will open and begin the installation process. Your computer may need to reboot after installation completes.
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Display adapters to expand that section, and see the devices in them.
    Windows 10 device manager showing display adapter
  4. Double click one of the devices under one of these headings to show its properties. Select Driver.
    Device properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Update Driver.
    Driver Properties with Update Driver highlighted.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Update Drivers with Search automatically for updated driver software highlighted.
  7. Windows will automatically locate any updated drivers available.
    Update Drivers searching for drivers.
  8. If any updated drivers are available, you'll be offered the chance to install them. Once installed, or if none are available, close the driver updater for this device.
    Driver up-to-date with Close highlighted.
  9. Repeat these steps till you've made sure all Display adapter devices are up-to-date.
To better assist you, please answer this question.

Some desktop computers can have certain physical components added or replaced to give them more power. Depending on the age of your machine and the cost to upgrade, it may make the most sense to upgrade these internal components rather than replacing your entire system.

If you are not comfortable with performing upgrades on your machine, or are not sure if upgrading is the best option for you, we recommend having a professional assess your device to determine what upgrades would be best for your machine.

The most common upgrades that can be performed without having to have major software work done to your machine are:

  • Expanding/Adding RAM: Adding additional RAM to any machine generally increases performance, but depending on the age of your machine, replacing the existing RAM with a larger amount of even faster RAM can make an even bigger difference.
    RAM in a computer
  • Add or Upgrade Your GPU: When it comes to gaming on a PC, this piece of hardware is generally the single most important component in your computer. Replacing your existing video card (commonly referred to as a GPU or graphical processing unit), or adding one to a desktop machine that does not currently have one is a great way to boost your machine's graphical capabilities to where they need to be. However, these cards can be a large financial investment, and may require that your machine's power supply also be upgraded to be able to handle the increased power demand this will place on your machine.
    AMD video card

Because of their physical architecture, laptop computers are difficult to upgrade, and often times not upgradeable at all. Some laptop computers do provide access to upgrade RAM and sometimes the hard drive. Similarly, many all-in-one desktop units suffer from the same types of shortcomings when it comes to upgrading internal hardware.

We recommend having a professional assess your device to determine what upgrade options are available to you.

All games have posted system requirements. Ensuring that your machine can handle the demands of a game before purchasing is generally best.

Where Do I Find System Requirements?

If you've purchased a physical copy of a game, the requirements are generally listed on the packaging. Here is an example of the physical packaging of Doom:
Doom physical packaging highlighting system requirement information.

If you've purchased a game digitally, system requirements can be found on the marketplace they were purchased from, or directly from the game developer's website.

  • Here is an example of Steam displaying the system requirements for Tomb Raider:
    Tomb Raider Mac OS requirements
  • Here is an example of the Square Enix website displaying the system requirements for Final Fantasy Online:
    Mac OS requirements for Final Fantasy Online

System requirements list what type of hardware and software you need to run a game. Minimum requirements are just that, the bare minimum required to run a game. If you meet the minimum requirements the game will run, but it may run poorly. 

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

Reducing the graphical settings of the game you're attempting to play reduces the demand it places on your computer's hardware, and can make a game playable, albeit a bit uglier from a graphical standpoint. Each game's graphical setting options will vary, and may still not make the game playable on your machine.

  1. Load the game you are attempting to play and navigate to the game's options or settings menu.
  2. Look for Video or Graphics settings. Depending on the game you are playing, the labeling of this menu will vary.
    Skyrim's graphical settings
  3. Some games offer a simple menu that allows the user to set graphical options using a range. Settings may range from low all the way to ultra. Try reducing these settings below where they are currently set.
  4. Test your game. The reduction in settings may make the game playable. Reducing graphical settings may make the game look visually less appealing, but can be the difference between a game being playable or unplayable.

Graphics Settings and What They Mean

  • Resolution: The number of pixels that make up your game screen. The higher the numbers, the more power your game uses. Lowering this setting will greatly increase performance.
  • Anti-Aliasing: A setting that smooths jagged edges, making the game look better. Reducing this will increase performance while making your game look noticeably dated. Below shows anti-aliasing off on the left, and anti-aliasing set to four on the right. The jagged edges are more noticeable on the left.
    Skyrim screenshots. Anti aliasing is off on the left
  • Texture Quality: Textures are the pictures put over the models in a game. The higher the quality, the better the texture. The lower the quality, the faster the game will run. The image on the left has texture quality set to low.
    An example of texture quality
  • Shadow Quality: Like texture, shadow quality determines how crisp and accurate the shadows in a game are, but they're much easier to set lower as you don't notice them as much. Lowering shadow quality may take out the shadow entirely or just reduce it to a dark circle. 
  • View Distance: Like it says, view distance is how far you can see in the game. It determines how far away things will be rendered. The shorter the view distance, the better the performance. The image on the left has the lower view distance.
    View distance examples

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.

Physical upgrade options for Macs can be very limited. Depending on the model and manufacture date of your Mac, upgradeable hardware such as RAM and internal hard drive can actually be soldered to the logic board, making them impossible to remove or add to at all. Other internal Mac hardware is not made to be upgradeable whatsoever.

We recommend having a professional assess your Apple device to determine if you can upgrade it at all.

We use cookies on our website to enhance your experience, analyze site usage and support our marketing efforts. To learn more, visit our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.
Accept