There's a new feature coming to Windows 10 that may help gamers game better than ever before. The feature is supposed to be part of the 14997 update and some people are talking about how this new feature will greatly improve the performance in Windows 10 when running games.
A programmer and coding library assembler who goes by the Twitter handle of WalkingCat recently posted up some findings from the upcoming Windows 10 14997 update. The Twitter post details that Microsoft's upcoming OS update features what appears to be a prioritization algorithm to dynamically shift GPU and CPU resources from non-essential programs to the game. More specifically, resources are put more heavily into helping the game run when in "Game Mode".
Some users figured it may be equivalent to the exclusive app mode when running games on the Xbox One. Users weren't the only ones coming to that conclusion... an article from Gamespot also pointed to a report from Windows Central which also claimed that sources told them that the update will work on PCs the way the Xbox One handles game operations; prioritizing resources for games once they begin running in "Game Mode".
As pointed out by Gamespot, this feature may not be retroactive or all encompassing. Given that the update supposedly features a gamemode.dll then it's likely that games will have to reference that dll if it features any sort of specific game-changing rendering priorities. Alternatively, it could function similar to the way the injector works for GTA V mods, where Windows injects the dll into the running app to modify how GPU and CPU access/cycles/etc., are managed.
Gamespot believes that the feature may be limited to games purchased from the Windows Store, others believe it may be in relation to Play Anywhere games, offering more optimizations and better compatibility for games that can run on the Play Anywhere devices supported by Microsoft.
The gamemode.dll won't be readily available for everyone until it launches as part of the Creators Update due for release in spring of 2017. There's really no telling exactly what Microsoft has up their sleeve with this new update, but it does appear to fit in line with their current ecosystem focusing on bridging together PC gaming and the Xbox One.
This could also be something designed to leverage upcoming games that are planned to have cross-platform support, such as Crackdown 3, which is supposed to be due out sometime in 2017. The game's heavy reliance on physics-based simulation would likely benefit greatly from improved GPU and CPU handling. That's not to mention that having game-ready optimizations available on the OS front ahead of the game's release could work wonders for a smooth launch -- again this would be especially beneficial for taxing games like Crackdown 3.
We could also see this applied to games that feature a lot of large-scale rendering, such as Platinum Games' upcoming Scalebound, which is also due for release on the Xbox One and PC at some point in 2017. Stabilized frame-rates, better anti-aliasing performance and improved memory bandwidth for streaming textures and assets could be a huge boon for Microsoft's efforts to court hardcore PC gamers.
For now we'll have to sit back and wait to see what becomes of this new update and the gamemode.dll file. I'm sure there are benchmarkers who simply cannot wait to test the performance differences between games on Windows 10 utilizing the dll and games that don't.