When I was younger, my low-budget PC struggled to run most games, so I made it a habit to shut down any unused background programs, virus scanners, and services before every gaming session.
Nowadays, I'm older, have a real job, and am fortunate enough to be able to spend more money on my beloved hobby. With a high-end CPU and two high-end GPUs in SLI, I have the luxury of being able to just boot up a game, put all settings to max, turn on 3Dvision, and enjoy what is usually a smooth, sumptuous gaming experience. But I started wondering: was I hurting my performance by forsaking this old habit? Could I still get a noticeable boost by shutting off a few programs before I launch a game?
Conventional wisdom says that 'No, those days are over': today's CPUs are much better at multi-tasking, so leaving background programs running shouldn't impact gaming in any serious way. Still, I decided to find out for myself, if only for peace of mind.