- 10 Steps To Boost Multimedia Performance of Your PC (Part 1)
- 10 Steps To Boost Multimedia Performance of Your PC (Part 2)
- 10 Steps To Boost Multimedia Performance of Your PC (Part 3)
In part 1 of this series , we covered how to optimize your PC for multimedia use. Now, let’s dive into the specific types of multimedia and how to maximize each, finishing off with some Windows operating tips!
Step 6 – Pimp Your Codecs
Want to work (edit or view) with different video or audio formats? Then make sure all your codecs are up-to-date. Instead of going with codecs that include all sorts of toolbars and other adware, better go with Shark007, which features the very latest codecs, filetypes and splitters. There’s even a version for Windows 8 out already:
Windows 7 users get the core component pack; if you’re using the 64-bit version, you need to download the x64 pack. Once it’s installed, go to the Start Menu and launch the “Settings Application” and check “Shark007 SUGGESTED settings” – this will enable the best possible performance.
Step 7 – Improve Sound Quality
Are your multimedia applications lacking proper surround sound? Or is the volume too low when cutting your home video clips? No worries, Microsoft integrated its own little sound center into Windows Vista, 7 and 8 that allows you to tweak sound quality. You’ll find it under “Control Panel”, “Hardware and Sound”, and “Sound”. Make sure to choose the right sound card, as these days, PCs come equipped with more than one audio device.
Double-click on the device that’s used (for example, the HDMI device or the built-in sound chip). From here you’ll have a couple of options to improve sound quality and performance.
• Enhancements: These offer some hardware accelerated audio improvements, such as “Virtual Surround” — which simulates 5.1 surround sound with two speakers or “Loudness Equalization” which improves volume for several applications, including media players and video cutting apps. The “Voice Cancellation” effect is great for karaoke nights or other instances where you just want to listen to the sounds – and not the voice.
• Advanced: If you’re trying to record audio with the best possible quality, make sure both the audio application (for instance, Audacity) and Windows are set to the same sample rate and bit depth. Under the “Advanced” tab, you can increase the quality with the “Default Format” setting. The “Exclusive Mode” setting is good for situations in which two simultaneously running applications cause stuttering. If this happens, just turn off both settings and try it again.
Step 8 – Set Up A Clean Windows Installation For Just ONE Task
Usually, your PC is an all-round workhorse, right? You browse on it, work on it, game on it and cut your home movies on it. However, an all-rounder doesn’t perform nearly as well as a specialist. You can easily make a specialist out of your PC by creating a separate partition and installing a new copy of Windows for JUST one specific purpose.
Obviously, you can go the “dual-boot” way or create bootable VHD. How? We’ve explained all you need to know in this 7-step post!
Step 9 – Turn Off Non-Essential Windows Background Services
There are several dozen Windows and third-party services running constantly in the background. They often provide very critical functionality to the operating system and your applications. The good news is, Windows has gotten to the point where it pauses or delays services until they’re actually needed. Nonetheless, there are some services that you should turn off on a machine that’s used for multimedia purposes. These are services that are constantly active, but only used on business machines.
Hold down the WIN-key and press “R”. Then, type in “services.msc” and hit Enter. Now, go through the list of services and make sure to turn off those that you don’t need on your multimedia machine. To turn off a service, double-click on it, and select “Disabled” from the drop-down menu. The following list describes the services that are, in most cases, safe to turn off on dedicated multimedia rigs.
Step 10 – Keep Your PC Clean
A PC can’t run quickly if its hard disk is cluttered. Make sure to routinely clean your system and get rid of thousands of files and GBs worth of data junk. Be mindful that freeing up 20 GB of free space will not completely transform your multimedia performance. What could happen, however, is your apps will be more responsive and run more quickly if your hard disk or SSD has enough free space for temporary cache data.
Stay tuned for the final blog post in this series where we put these steps to the test!