Update: New Pc build guide published.
Do you remember my winter PC guide? I am very close to update it with Skylake CPUs soon, but in the meantime I would like to talk about how to get an efficient and fast gaming station to enjoy our sims.
After the Microsoft summer campaign telling us to upgrade for free to Windows 10, things has become clear and finally we can skip that devious upgrade process. Before, if we want to do a fresh install, we have to accept and upgrade an old system first, using that annoying icon right bottom on the desktop. Now it easier and you can activate your new operating system using your original key from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. I tested and it works flawlessly.
So, if you have an old laptop or desktop, or just upgrading, check your key and start fresh. You will be keeping same version (home or pro) which usually doesn’t matter on the performance for a simracing pc.
Let’s start making a bootable USB with the new operating system. What do we need?
- Windows 10 ISO which you can download legally from here.
- Rufus to create USB itself. Click here to get it.
Rufus is faster than Microsoft official tool and it works better, so it is my preferred option.
Now you need to boot from the USB when you switch on your pc. You can use F11 to access a boot menu, but it can be different key depending on the pc motherboard manufacturer. Select your language and settings and use your Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 key on the activation dialog. You don’t need a key if you already made the upgrade process and previously installed Windows 10 there.
After a quick installation process we will be prompted with some privacy options. I disabled them all. Three screens with vertical scroll with toggles to disable. And finally skip Microsoft online login procedure and create your local user as always.
On your new desktop you should be able to check the current status of your system. Start menu, settings, Update and security and Activation. Verify which version you got and activation status, it should be activated once you are online.
Let’s install software. I use a multi installer called ninite. Open Edge browser and write ninite.com and choose whatever you think you need plus my personal recommendation, Classic Start. I’ll tell you what I usually get which covers browsing, multimedia, compressing, utilities, gaming and online storage.
- Classic Start
- Google Drive
Skype and Steam are launching with every Windows booting, so login both and disable them. Settings menu. Also Chrome should be using Adblock or similar extension to avoid all the crap on the web.
While ninite installer works there are a couple of things you can do: look for your video driver controller (AMD or Nvidia) and open your device administrator to check if every devices have been recognized the right way. If not, you should check your motherboard manufacturer support site to download lacking drivers.
Now, login in your iRacing account and get iRacing core installer. You will also have to download all the needed content. If you feel download speed is slowing down a lot, stop it, exit and run the updater again.
After all these installations you’ll have the basics, but there a couple of things left.
- Steering wheel drivers (Logitech, Thrustmaster or Fanatec)
- OBS or your streaming preferred tool. OBS parameters here.
Now, let start with operating system optimization though it should be running quite fast right now.
- Windows update delivery: disable being a server on Microsoft updates network. Settings, Update and security, Windows Update, Advanced options, How updates are delivered. Disable the toggle under updated from more than one place.
- Disable One drive: right click on One drive icon, configuration, uncheck start with windows, apply, exit. Right click and exit again.
- Change the Power plan: Control panel, Power plan settings, High performance.
- Hide Cortana search toolbar: Right click, search, disabled.
- SSD optimizations: Most of these are ok by default, but you can check or adjust them. Read also this OCZ analysis.
- Disable Superfetch and Prefetch. These are enabled by default.
- Make sure Trim is enabled.
- Disable drive indexing.
- Disable defrag.
- Make sure you are running AHCI mode.
- Remove Pagefile if you have 8GB or more RAM memory.
- Restore point disabling.
At this stage you should be working to configure your graphic settings on iRacing menu. If you didn’t save your previous Documents/iRacing folder you will have to start from the recommended iRacing settings and upgrading from there where you feel comfortable.
Let me know if you have any issues or doubts.