PC gaming is fun, versatile, and chock full of snazzy utility software tailored to supercharge your experience. That said, there’s plenty of bulky, frustrating utilities out there too. Fear not! After years of playing around with all sorts of tools during intense gaming sessions, we’ve identified the best sidekick utilities for PC gamers. Who knows—they may even help you snag another win in your score column!
Let’s start with the basics: Altering and monitoring your game hardware performance. MSI Afterburner is a free utility that works with both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards and allows you to keep tabs on the vital stats for your hardware.
Afterburner lets you see your GPU clock speed, temperatures, fan speed, and even how many frames per second you’re getting in-game. You can conveniently configure it to show up on-screen while you’re playing. Feeling adventurous? It will allow you to overclock and adjust power limits, too.
MSI Afterburner offers tremendous utility. You’ll be able to monitor performance changes depending on the graphics settings you tweak. You’ll also be able to make airflow adjustments in your case depending on thermal readings. Want to put a beefy GPU in a mini ITX case? No problem—you can custom adjust power and GPU clocks to improve efficiency. (Check this benchmarking article out for further suggestions on testing your rig)
Communication is vital for gamers playing online, be it team games or even competitive solo matches. Discord is the ultimate evolution of voice, text, and video chat that augments your gaming experience. Need to communicate with your teammates in Call of Duty? How about organize a tournament amongst many friends? Discord will allow you to do this, and much more.
It doesn’t stop there – how about Discord channels that update you on hardware availability? Many boutique PC builders have such a community where users can share experiences, lead times, and hardware advice. There are even channels specifically tailored to help you find that elusive piece of hardware, like new GPUs when they restock!
Discord does have a slightly steeper learning curve compared to traditional social media apps, but it is a powerful tool once you’re comfortable navigating through the various communities and chat rooms. Our beginner’s guide to Discord can help get you started.
What’s the first piece of software a gamer usually installs? You probably guessed right! It’s Steam, the massive online library for buying and storing your games. There are other similar online shops out there, but Steam is the most expansive and the one most beloved by gamers. Here is where you’ll find the latest titles, and keep your library updated. The best part is that it’s easy to use and consolidates your games—and…