Windows 11 could be affecting your gaming performance | digital trends

If you’ve been wondering why your beefy graphics card hasn’t performed as well as it should in Windows 11 or Windows 10, the answer might be Microsoft’s Virtualization-Based Security (VBS). According to tests conducted by Tom’s Hardware, VBS could cause gaming performance to drop by up to 10%.

In a set of new benchmarks, Tom’s Hardware tested 15 different games, from cyberpunk 2077 to red dead redemption 2, both with VBS enabled and with the feature disabled. In some games, the results can be cause for concern.

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In Microsoft flight simulatorFor example, disabling VBS improved average frame rates by up to 10% when using an Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card. In fact, when the bottom 1% of frame rate results were measured, the game benefited up to 15% for having the VBS turned off. That could translate to a noticeable increase in performance.

Microsoft explains that VBS “uses hardware virtualization features to create and isolate a safe region of memory from the normal operating system.” This helps protect against vulnerabilities and exploits that could weaken your PC’s defenses. In other words, it’s a pretty useful security feature.

However, it is important to note that Microsoft flight simulator was an outlier in the results. In all other games, the average frame rate increases were in the single digit range, around 5-6% on average. While some games also saw increases of about 15% in one percentile results, most did not. The increase in Total War: Warhammer 3′The one percentile score was much higher, but Tom’s Hardware noted that this game’s performance is “all over the place right now,” so that result wasn’t given much thought.

There’s no need to panic

Gaming on the Lenovo Legion Slim 7i gaming laptop.
Arif Bacchus / Digital Trends

In practice, most games experienced performance increases of a few frames per second (fps). For example, cyberpunk 2077 running at 4K Ultra with ray tracing enabled went from 40.4 fps to 42.7 fps. The differences at 1440p and 1080p (with the same settings as before) were 5.7 fps and 5.6 fps respectively.

Some titles experienced larger jumps as the resolution decreased: borderlands 3 it went from 319.1 fps to 349.9 fps at 1080p, for example, but at those kinds of frame rates, the difference is less noticeable in real-world gameplay.

The mostly modest payments might not be worth it. As we explained when this issue surfaced late last year, VBS may not even be the main culprit when it comes to frame rate drops. That could be something called Hypervisor Enforced Code Integrity (HVCI), a feature that is enabled by VBS. Our tests showed that HVCI was to blame for most of the impact we saw, but you probably don’t want to turn it off because it helps support things like your laptop’s fingerprint scanner.

In any case, a few frames here and there are unlikely to affect your gaming experience, at least for most people. Instead, you’ll have much more success optimizing Windows for gaming than disabling VBS, and you also won’t have to worry about the potential security impact.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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