PGWare – GameGain 2 review

optimise your system for gaming, or that's the theory
Photo of PGWare – GameGain 2

Gamers are, by and large, pretty fanatical about the performance of their rigs. Every extra drop of juice which can be squeezed out of the graphics card, processor, or by streamlining the system in general, is a boost to the frame rate. And it all contributes to the ongoing quest to ramp up the resolution as much as possible and still achieve a constant, fluid 60 frames per second in the latest games.

Most gamers are a fairly cynical bunch, too, and when confronted with a utility which promises to eke out much better performance by implementing a bunch of system tweaks, their first thought is likely to veer towards indifference, or even hostility. GameGain 2 promises that it can pep up your machine, even comparing itself to a hardware upgrade, but the question is, can it really? The short answer, unfortunately, is no, at least not in our tests. The long answer follows…

It’s an incredibly simple program which installs in seconds, and consists of a small menu. The user is asked to specify their operating system, and whether they have an Intel or AMD processor (both of which you would expect any such utility to auto-detect), and that’s all the program’s setup consists of. Then you can click to optimise to “fast” or “fastest” settings. Why would you choose the former? Because the trial version only gives access to this: to run the top level optimisation, it’s necessary to buy the program.

We tried the basic fast optimisation first, and then the fastest setting, just to see how much difference there was between the two. We ran before and after tests using 3DMark, and then Fraps to measure real world performance in several games: a shooter, two 3D action adventure games, and a top-down RPG. In all cases, we cranked the resolution and graphics detail levels up fairly high (but not stupidly high) to make sure the program was put through its paces.

Implementing the tweaks takes just a minute, a reboot, and you’re done. It’s not clear what GameGain does, and the program certainly doesn’t tell you, although the bumph claims it “works by making permanent modifications to the Windows system registry and system files.” This made us a little nervous, we’ll admit, although fortunately nothing went awry during testing (the program also comes with a restore button to reset any changes, in case it does go wrong). The bad news is that nothing appeared to happen at all, at least not according to our benchmarks.

In fact our 3DMark score actually dropped a few points in the fast optimisation. Frame rates for the games stayed almost exactly the same, with a tiny drop in one of the action adventures. The shooter was the one positive result, although barely. It showed an improvement of 0.5 frames per second on an average of multiple runs, but that’s hardly a noticeable result. Running the fastest optimisation after this process, the results remained identical, with minuscule variations all round.

So in the end, our games appeared to have gained absolutely nothing. Results may vary from machine to machine, of course, so you could always give it a run out and try the fast process, which is available to trial users, for yourself.

Company: PGWare

Contact: 00 1 815 425 8539

It's not so much a case of GameGain as GameSame in our experience, and we were distinctly unimpressed with the results. Of course, your pay-off may vary, and there's an easy way to find out: there is a trial version available to download with basic optimisation settings which the curious can give a shot.