Windows 10’s Game Mode gets detailed, coming to Insiders this week

January 25, 2017

We reported about Windows 10’s upcoming Game Mode just a few weeks ago. Today, Microsoft is revealing some important details regarding Game Mode and what it actually does.

As we reported previously, Windows 10’s Game Mode will prioritize games and allocate your PC’s resources to the games so that you get a slightly better experience while playing games on your Windows 10 PC. According to Microsoft’s Kevin Gammill, the Program Manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Platform Partner Group Program, when the Game Mode is enabled, a game will be able to use 80% of the cores on your PC while other parts of the system will be able to use 20% of the cores:

“We know you’re in a game, we know you’re taxing the GPU, [so] if you’re in the foreground will actually give more of those GPU slices than you would normally get with Game Mode turned off. We’re essentially affinitizing [or separating] the CPU cores. If you take an eight-core machine and you’re running a game on it, typically the game is spread across those eight cores along with the system processes that are running.”

When you’re playing a game and you run into some of those hiccups, it’s often not because of the game, but because of something going on the background just kicked up and stole some of the CPU resources. So, what we do is we affinitize a lot of CPU cores, so that the game will get 80% of the cores [for example], and they will get 100% of that 80% of all the cores. And, the system will get the remaining 20% of the cores, but at 100% of their capacity.”

Microsoft also confirmed that the Game Mode will support Win32 games as well as games based on the Universal Windows Platform — however, it seems like some Win32 games may not support the new Game Mode. Additionally, UWP games will also benefit more than Win32 games which isn’t anything surprising to see as Microsoft wants more game developers to build UWP games:

“Essentially, with Win32, we know where the game starts, at the .EXE, [but] we really don’t know where the game ends. It could call into system services that we’re not aware of. With UWP, we understand the full bounds the of game. So, there are some cases we think that UWP-based games get slightly more benefit from Game Mode than Win32 games, but no question that both will benefit.”

The new Game Mode in Windows 10 will be available this week in the next Windows 10 Insider Preview release. It isn’t clear when exactly the new build will be released, but Microsoft will likely release the new build to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring tomorrow. As for the public, Microsoft is expected to release the new Game Mode in April along with the Windows 10 Creators Update.

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