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Is Gaming Bad for PCs? (Read THIS First!)

Is Gaming Bad for PCs? (Read THIS First!)

Gaming is an intensive task for your PC, consuming more power and computing resources than other uses. So, is gaming actually bad for your computer? Here’s what you need to know.

Is Gaming Bad for PCs?

Gaming isn’t bad for your PC. PCs are built for performance and durability, so you can usually game for hours without a causing any harm to your device. As long as you have proper cooling to keep your CPU at acceptable temperature, you will not damage your PC by using it for gaming.

There is nothing unique about gaming that will damage your PC. However, gaming is an intensive activity, so it will generate more heat than other uses.

Excess heat is the main way PC components become damaged over time, especially your CPU. So, you’ll want to make sure your PC can handle the heat generated by your gaming sessions.

Using free software like Open Hardware Monitor, you can easily monitor your CPU temp during long gaming sessions.

As long as your CPU isn’t getting hotter than ~70°C, you have nothing to worry about.

If your CPU is getting hotter than that, then you’ll want to upgrade your cooling system. More powerful cooling systems can protect your CPU by keeping it cool and preventing damage to your components.

Let’s see what else you can do to ensure gaming will not damage your hardware.

System Requirements

Not all PCs can handle all games. Because games require different amounts of processing power and storage, some games will inevitably be more challenging to run on your PC than others.

The danger of playing games that push your hardware to its limits is that your hardware can easily overheat and wear down.

To check if a game is challenging your hardware, open up task manager and navigate to the “performance” tab.

If your CPU and GPU are consistently at 99% usage, then that could be a sign your hardware isn’t up-to-par for the game you’re playing.

Of course, pushing your hardware to its limits isn’t always bad in itself, as long as you are managing the heat correctly.

Using an application like Open Hardware Monitor, you can monitor your CPU and GPU temperatures to make sure they aren’t overheating.

Generally, your PC should be fine running games that are at the very limits of its capabilities, so long as you aren’t allowing your GPU and CPU to become too hot.

Do Not Overclock Your PC Too Often

Straight out of the box, CPUs have certain speed constraints in place meant to protect your CPU from overheating.

Overclocking involves removing these constraints from your processor, allowing it to run faster than normal, but also greatly increasing the amount of heat it generates.

If you overclock your CPU, then it is extremely important that you have a powerful cooling system installed.

Liquid cooling systems are frequently used by overclockers as they are known for providing the best cooling for your CPU.

Even with adequate cooling, overclocking will still tend to wear down your CPU more quickly over time. To reduce the damage caused by heavy gaming, try overclocking your PC less often, and for shorter stretches of time.

Determine If Your Computer Is a Gaming PC

The first thing to understand here is that there’s no major difference between gaming PCs and regular PCs. Both can play games given a chance, but the main difference is in the hardware.

Unlike regular PCs, gaming PCs usually come with specific features (like a powerful GPU) that make them better suited to gaming.

That isn’t to say that you can’t game on a normal PC. However, there will usually be a significant difference in performance.

Compared to normal PCs, gaming PCs can handle a lot more intensity and a higher workload. As you might expect, games do much less damage on these PCs than on regular PCs. 

If you’re an avid gamer, it’s always worth it to buy a gaming PC that can handle intensive games. Although you can play heavy-duty games on a regular PC, it’s a far better experience on a PC built for it.

Does Having Games on Your PC Slow It Down?

Having games installed on your PC will not slow it down. When games are not running, they simply sit on your hard drive and do not place any additional strain on your PC. You will only notice a dip in performance if you use up all, or nearly all, of your hard drive space.

Having games on your PC isn’t inherently bad, but filling up your storage with anything–games or otherwise–will eventually slow down your PC.

So, while filling your hard drive with games may not be problematic, letting these games take up most of your drive would eventually affect your PC’s performance.

As a rule, you shouldn’t use more than 75% of your hard drive’s total capacity. So, if your hard drive has a capacity of 400 GB, then try not to store more than 300 GB of data on the drive (including games).

As long as you don’t download too many games for your hard drive’s capacity, you will not see a performance dip from having several games on your PC.

How Many Games Should You Have on Your PC?

You can have as many games as you want on your PC. However, this number depends on the amount of disk space you have and the size of each game.

Having lots of games on your PC will not slow it down, as long as you have adequate storage.

Generally, you should not use the full capacity of your hard drive, as doing so could result in lagging and slow performance.

Try to use no more than 75% of your hard drive’s total capacity. So, if your hard drive has a capacity of 400 GB, then try not to store more than 300 GB of data on the drive, including games, movies, music, etc.

Can a Game Break Your Graphics Card?

No particular game can break or fry your graphics card. Although intensive gaming does generate considerable heat, this heat will not break your graphics card if you have the proper cooling in place. Always be sure to air dust your graphics card and ensure its fans are in good working condition.

Some common things that can damage graphic cards are:

  • Too much moisture in your PC.
  • A buildup of dirt and dust around the graphic card.
  • Problems from the manufacturer.
  • Inadequate airflow in your rig.
  • Broken fans/cooling system on your graphics card.
  • Static from a malfunctioning motherboard or improperly installed components.

If you want to preserve the health of your graphics card, avoid these problems. Also, try not to overclock your PC for long periods of time. 

Additionally, regularly dust your PC and check the temperature of your CPU and GPU. Dusting and regular temperature monitoring can avoid damage caused by your components overheating.

Should You Shut Down Your PC Every Night?

There is no benefit to shutting down your PC every night. In modern PCs, sleep mode is incredibly efficient, consuming less than 1W of power. Whether you choose to shut down your PC at night or leave it in sleep mode is up to personal preference.

In modern PCs, it’s not a requirement to shut down your PC each night. Sleep mode consumes hardly any power, and it allows you to pick up right where you left off.

In some cases, however, you may want to shut down your PC to turn of the LED lights in your rig.

While some motherboards allow you to disable LEDs while in sleep mode, this isn’t the case for all rigs. I shut down my gaming PC every night because I can’t get the power button LED to turn off otherwise.

Whether you leave your PC in sleep mode or shut it down is really just a personal preference, since neither option consumes much power, and neither option will damage your rig.

The only potential caveat is if you choose to shut down your PC and unplug it each night.

Even while your PC is shut down, it still continues to draw power from your PSU in order to keep a small amount of power flowing to your motherboard, allowing the motherboard to keep your BIOS settings saved.

When you unplug your PC, however, the motherboard instead draws power from its onboard battery. This is a coin-sized battery installed on the face of your motherboard.

Over time, continually unplugging your PC each night will cause this battery to drain more quickly, and you will eventually need to replace it when it dies.

So, outside of this caveat, which only applies in the case that you unplug your PC each night, there is no benefit to shutting your PC down at night vs placing it in sleep mode.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.