On some default PCs, Windows 11 can reduce PC gaming performance

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Windows can use this `virtual secure mode’ to host a number of security solutions, providing them with greatly increased protection from vulnerabilities in the operating system, and preventing the use of malicious exploits which attempt to defeat protections.” While that sounds laudable, and it is, anyone who knows PC gaming will tell you that any layers of virtualization you introduce into a system are going to seriously affect your gaming performance.

Windows 11 PCs are going to be some of the hottest items this holiday season, but for PC gamers, these prebuilt systems might be significantly underpowered by default. In a new report from our colleagues over at PCGamer, prebuilt Windows 11 PCs will come with Virtualization-Based Security (VBS), an enterprise feature already used in Windows 10 machines designed for business purposes. As Microsoft describes VBS as using “hardware virtualization features to create and isolate a secure region of memory from the normal operating system.

Highlights

  • VBS is not required when upgrading to Windows 11, but the security benefits it provides are very important.” We wanted a minimum system requirement to ensure that all PCs running Windows 11 could meet the same level of security as the Department of Defense. the company said in an update post. “Working with OEM and silicon partners, he will enable VBS and HVCI on most new PCs over the next year. We will also continue to explore opportunities to extend VBS to more systems in the future. ”

  • As PCGamer investigated, using VBS could nerf your frame rate by as much as 28%, which is the kind of performance hit you’d get by dropping to an RTX 3070 from an RTX 3080. This does not affect PCs upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 (unless you already have a VBS-enabled version of Windows 10), only new systems. Microsoft believes this performance hit is worth the increased security. “The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) requires virtualization-based security for Windows 10 on devices.

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