YES: YOU CAN PLAY GAMES ON AN OLD, LOW-END PC

PC Magazine|July 2020

YES: YOU CAN PLAY GAMES ON AN OLD, LOW-END PC
While many PC enthusiasts look to high-end units or trick out their own custom rigs with the latest hardware, some of us are cursed with integrated graphics and two gigs of RAM. Though you can actually build a gaming PC for less than $1,000, not everyone is going to take the time to piece one together.
WHITSON GORDON

But just because you have an ancient, crappy laptop doesn’t mean you can’t play games—it just means you’ll have to make a sacrifice here or there. Here are a few strategies that can help you start gaming, without needing to invest in a super expensive rig.

LOWER YOUR GRAPHICS SETTINGS

Let’s start with the obvious: You’d be surprised how many games will run below the minimum requirements, as long as you’re willing to give up some graphical fidelity. When you start up a modern game on a low-specced machine, it may not always use the most optimal graphics settings by default. So before you try anything else, head into your game’s Video Options menu and turn down everything as low as possible.

When I say “turn everything down,” I mean everything. Not only should you lower fancy graphical effects such as anti-aliasing, shadow detail, and texture quality, but you’ll want to crank down the resolution, too. If running a game at 720p (or less) is what it takes to reach a playable framerate, that’s what you’ll have to do. I was shocked at how well some of my test games ran on a $500 laptop with integrated graphics, after just a few settings tweaks. If you aren’t sure whether a game will run, Reddit’s /r/lowendgaming subreddit can be a good resource to learn from other gamers’ experience.

HACK THE CONFIG FILES FOR EVEN BETTER PERFORMANCE

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July 2020