SAN FRANCISCO—A few months ago, Microsoft announced that its upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update (currently in testing) would include a new "Game Mode" that improves the performance of interactive titles running under Windows by at least a few percentage points. At the Game Developers Conference this week, Eric Walston from the Xbox Advanced Technology Group explained a bit about how exactly that Game Mode will "focus the existing hardware on providing the best possible gaming experience."
Currently, on the Windows OS level, a game is just another process among many running simultaneously. With Game Mode, though, Windows will isolate CPU resources to be devoted exclusively to that game process and optimize the GPU to give the game as much attention as possible as well.
On the CPU side, Game Mode allocates a majority of the CPU's cores to be devoted exclusively to the target game, so an eight-core system might get six gaming-dedicated cores when running in Game Mode (depending on what other processes are running). The system then moves threads devoted to other processes off of those gaming-focused cores, reducing thread contention among the various gaming process threads and improving performance.