Microsoft has said they are trying to get Windows 11 on par with Xbox in terms of features. Well, let’s talk about those wannabe Xbox features, and if it’s actually worth it for a gamer to upgrade to Windows 11.
DirectX 12 Ultimate Isn’t Changing
Microsoft’s newest API isn’t changing. All of the features that were added for Direct X 12 Ultimate last year are in Windows 11, with things like Variable Rate Shading, DirectX Raytracing, Mesh Shaders, and Sampler Feedback still there. But, there are some things Windows 11 brings to the table.
What’s New For Gamers In Windows 11
AutoHDR and DirectStorage are pretty cool, with AutoHDR making it so titles that don’t have native HDR support can have HDR built into their games. DirectStorage will eventually help with faster loading times, and maybe take off a bit of CPU overhead. Though with the latter, it’s unlikely it will make a big difference, since most of the time when you’re loading large assets in a game it’s during a load screen.
Currently DirectStorage probably won’t make a huge difference; the difference in load times between a run-of-the-mill older SATA SSD versus the fastest NVMe SSDs is generally less than a second or two. This feature is also rumored to eventually come to Windows 10 at some point as well.
FastConnect Wi-Fi Can Be A Game Changers For Wireless Gamers
FastConnect is a feature built into some of its wireless radios, that used both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal (the Wi-Fi 6 signal too if your router supports it). This feature has been used to some degree before on MSI laptops, with Killer equipped networking cards.
This is great for those who game on laptops, tablets (actually not that bad with a controller for some games believe it or not), or can’t run their desktop wired. For the rest of us though, this probably isn’t a consideration; since most gamers run on a wired connection whenever possible.
Windows 11 Improves Game Mode
Game mode is a feature that most users ended up turning off in Windows 10. It’s supposed to be getting new improvements in 11 that will have “a shortcut to graphics settings that will open up the Per-app GPU selection menu.” Microsoft says this will improve on reducing background app usage further to free up your CPU for games.
Last time it really didn’t improve anything unfortunately, and at least in the early iterations of Windows 10 had caused slightly worse performance. I would personally turn it off before benchmarking hardware. They say this time it will further limit background app activity, and dedicate more CPU horsepower to games.
Personally I doubt this will make a big difference; unless Microsoft has severely increased telemetry data and the sort of spying many have worried about, and the “game mode” disables this temporarily. This of course is wild speculation on my part.
Performance Doesn’t Improve, and Can Be Worse
The thing most gamers care about is performance, and Windows 11 can lead to lower performance on certain systems. Linustechtips shows it leading to a loss of over 100 FPS in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It turning VBS on for OEM systems will also lead to a loss of up to 20% performance as well.
Losing frames for the latest operating system just isn’t something many users will take for some UI changes, and the promise of future features.
There is No Rush To Upgrade
Microsoft gave Windows users the ability to upgrade to 10 for free for over two or three years, and were incredibly pushy on it. There is no reason to think if you upgrade today you’ll lose the ability to upgrade ever again.
Even if you are interested in upgrading to the OS eventually, and the tracking of your usage data via telemetry doesn’t bother you; the option to upgrade in 6 months to a year, or the next time you want or need to reformat your PC, you can do it then. As for now, there will be kinks that need to be sorted out, and eventually it will improve over time.
Should Gamers Upgrade to Windows 11?
If you ask me, no. Everyone is different, and a few people might be excited to start using the new operating system and getting used to it. Others might be excited for AutoHDR. I myself am probably going to wait as long as possible.
While there was tons of talk about improving security, there wasn’t much talk about them limiting their telemetry data they record from your usage. If that is a major issue to you, frankly consider moving over to Linux, since Microsoft won’t be getting much better with this anytime soon.
But for the vast majority of users and readers; you should wait. If that’s waiting 6 months until bugs get ironed out, and they walk back some of the bad UI changes they’ve made, or 6 years until Windows 12 comes out- is entirely up to you. As a gaming platform it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot right now, and there is very little reason to consider jumping onto their newest platform.