7 Free Tools Every PC Gamer Needs
From chat and gaming platforms to hardware tuning – every gamer should be familiar with these free PC tools.
Get the most out of your games with these free PC tools.
Not everything that falls under gamer equipment has to be expensive. In the gaming software area in particular, there are tons of PC tools that are completely free and yet extremely practical. We have selected the seven best free tools for gamers that take some gaming experiences to a new level.
Let’s start with the basics: hardware performance. With the free MSI Afterburner tool, you can keep an eye on all the important parameters, for example the GPU clock frequency, the temperature, the fan speed and of course the FPS (number of images per second). If desired, the values can also be displayed on the screen during the game. For this you have to install the RivaTuner in addition to the MSI Afterburner during the installation. Those who are particularly adventurous can even overclock and adjust performance limits with MSI Afterburner.
When configuring, the tool undoubtedly shows its greatest strengths. Among other things, you can monitor the changes in performance depending on the graphics settings or adjust the cooling of the graphics card depending on the thermal measured values. Would you like to install a high-performance GPU in a mini-ITX housing? No problem – simply set the power consumption individually using the voltage and the GPU clock frequency to improve efficiency. Incidentally, the MSI Afterburner works with both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.
The most popular chat platform of the gamer community: Discord.
Online gaming without team chat? Hard to imagine. The ultimate free tool that will make all communication with friends and team players easier for you is called Discord. Chat via video, text or audio and network with like-minded people in topic-specific chat rooms. Also practical: Discord channels from smaller PC manufacturers, on which users can exchange hardware tips, experiences or delivery times for specific components.
Getting started with Discord can be a bit bumpy at first, but once you find your way around the various communities and chat rooms, it quickly becomes apparent how powerful the tool is.
With game libraries like Steam you get access to all possible games from selected developer studios. Steam still ranks first among the gaming platforms and, according to its own statistics, recorded around 63 million active players per day in 2020. The reason is obvious: Steam has the largest selection of the most popular games. Trends and innovations? Always stay up-to-date on Steam. Another advantage is that – unless you are using ten other gaming platforms – you can collectively manage your games in a single library. Thanks to the chat function and friend list, communication is not neglected either.
WinDirStat visualizes your storage space and helps to remove garbage.
With today’s games it can quickly happen that the hard drive space reaches its limits after a few downloads. But what if there is not enough space for the latest game? Try the WinDirStat tool. It cleans your PC thoroughly and points out unnecessary garbage data or space-consuming files with which you can free up valuable storage space. Conveniently, WinDirStat visualizes your memory distribution and the respective file sizes so that you can locate and clean up the “problem areas” more quickly.
Insider tip for streamers: Screen recording with OBS Studio.
The free tool OBS Studio should not only be of interest to gamers, but also especially to streamers, because it is a first-class screen recorder. With OBS Studio you can record your gameplay on video and even stream it live. The tool does not come close to the many features and the complex community structure of Discord, but when it comes to screen recording, nobody can hold a candle to it. If you’ve used Windows recording tools so far, OBS Studio might be a little tricky to use at first, but the learning curve is worth it.
Nvidia GeForce Experience / AMD Radeon software
Hardware monitoring with Nvidia GeForce Experience.
Both Nvidia and AMD Radeon offer their own tools for hardware monitoring and optimizing game settings for their graphics cards: Nvidia GeForce Experience and AMD Radeon software. In addition to pure GPU monitoring (Radeon even tracks the total playing hours for each game), the graphics card can be tuned excellently with it. You will also always receive the latest driver updates.
Reshade – the best free tool for game modding.
When it comes to graphics, we want to mention one last tool that every gamer should have heard of: Reshade, a free program that allows you to adjust the graphics in games and even do post-processing. An example: You have taken a screenshot of the gameplay and would like to add a bit of graphic enhancement to it – Reshade is exactly the right choice. Game modding is an incredibly versatile field, ranging from creating custom worlds to tools like this one that let you tweak any visual settings you want.
A note on operation: Reshade is not a science, but it is also not necessarily a lay tool. It was developed for gamers who would like to graphically display their games better with the existing hardware and who are already fundamentally familiar with resolutions, anti-aliasing and other visual subtleties – and who like to experiment with them.
This article is originally from our US colleague PC World and has been translated into German.