Over 150 million Americans play video games, with 42 percent of Americans playing them for at least three hours a week. Gamers invest a significant amount of time into this activity, and the last thing you want to deal with is a game that takes forever to load and that lags constantly.

Here are some tricks to make sure you have a seamless online gaming experience.

  1. Update Your Graphics Driver

If your online game starts to look patchy, it might be time to update your graphics driver. A graphics driver is the software that enables your operating system to communicate with your graphics card. It’s important to keep your graphics driver updated so that your computer can properly display graphics such as text and images.

This is an easy first step to take. With Windows 7 and 8, you will need to find out which graphics card you have before you update the graphics driver. To do this, open the Device Manager, which you can find by pressing the Windows key located on the Start menu, and typing “Device Manager” into the search bar.

device-manager-display

Source: How to Geek

On the Device Manager page, you can identify the graphics card manufacturer and model you have under the tab Display Adapters. Then, visit the manufacturer page for the latest update. Here are some places you can find graphics driver updates for NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD. If you have Windows 10, your graphics drivers will update automatically.

With Macs however, you can’t upgrade your graphics driver yourself — you can only upgrade the driver when you install a new version of the operating system

  1. Invest in a New Graphics Card

If updating your graphics driver didn’t help, you may want to consider investing in a new graphics card. In a nutshell, your graphics card helps your computer display information on the screen. If you’re playing a game with fairly demanding graphics requirements, you’ll need a graphics card that can handle the load.

graphics-card

Source: Digital Trends

Top-tier graphics cards can cost upward of $600, so be sure you understand the needs of your game to avoid buying an unnecessarily expensive graphics card. It isn’t worth getting a more expensive graphics card unless you play games on very high resolutions or with a dual monitor system.

  1. Check Your Internet Speeds

Your internet speed is crucial for online gaming. If you have a slow internet connection, you’ll experience lag — and a single second of lag can result in a lost game. Check your internet speed with a tool like Fast. For most games, you typically need speeds of at least 3 Mbps per gamer, or 6 Mbps if you are playing a Massive Multi Player (MMO) game. You can also participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) campaign to measure broadband performance which aims to make American broadband better.

mmo-mpbs

Source: West Frontier

If your internet speeds are lower than 3–6 Mbps per gamer, call your internet service provider (ISP) and ask for a higher speed. If you purchased an internet package with higher speeds than what the speed test reports, mention that to your ISP so that they fix your slow internet speeds.

Disable Unnecessary Applications

If all else fails, try disabling unnecessary applications to stop your game from lagging. Applications that launch when you start up your computer use memory and slow down your CPU. A high-resolution game also puts stress on your CPU and uses up memory.

disable-applications

Source: OSXDaily

For Windows, you can use a program called CCleaner to disable startup items. If using a Mac, you can disable most applications by opening a finder window, clicking on the “Applications” folder in the sidebar, and then right-clicking on the application and selecting “Move to Trash.” Your online game should run much more smoothly after performing this easy, yet neglected, task.

~ Alice Williams