- Microsoft gives laptop owners various power plans for more customizability and the Ultimate Performance one is a great example.
- You might consider using the Balanced Power Plan too, as it burns less energy and it offers similar results.
- Note that gaming is not affected by power plans, so take this into consideration before choosing your power settings.
Nowadays, performance is a decisive factor, since everybody wants to have a smooth experience while using their devices.
You shouldn’t waste your time waiting for apps, games, and videos to load. Things are no different when it comes to waiting for a page/application to load on a slow PC or laptop.
Thankfully, Microsoft decided to give laptop owners various power plans for more customizability.
You can choose between different options that are either focused on performance, taking full advance of the hardware’s capabilities, or those that focus on preserving power and battery by limiting the CPU.
The Ultimate Performance Plan introduced back in 2018 is perfect if you need your device to perform at maximum levels.
This option includes a collection of settings that allow the OS to adapt the computer’s behavior based on your preferences, the current Registry policy, your hardware configuration, and workload.
The Ultimate Performance Plan is based on the High-Performance policy and was designed to eliminate any micro-latencies.
Additionally, it disables the power-saving features to improve performance even more. As a result, devices that run on battery power aren’t given this option by default, because it will drain the battery much faster than normal.
We will tell you everything you need to know about the power plans that your operating system allows, also including information on how to switch between them, depending on your needs.
What is meant by P-states and C-states?
Rest assured we weren’t going to leave you uninformed when it comes to the more technical terms that not everybody is familiar with.
During the process of executing code, the operating system and CPU can optimize power consumption through different P-states (performance states).
Depending on the specific requirements, a CPU is operated at different frequencies. P0 is the highest frequency, with the highest voltage.
Unlike the P-States, which were designed to optimize power consumption during code execution, C-states are used to optimize or reduce power consumption in idle mode.
Ultimate Performance vs High-performance Power Plans
Even if it is better than using the Balanced Power Plan, the difference between Ultimate and High-performance is rarely noticeable during professional use.
People who rely on their device in such a way that it needs to constantly go from an idle state to being fully loaded will enjoy this feature the most.
Gamers or those who render videos for a living won’t necessarily see a difference between Ultimate and High-performance.
The term ultimate is a reference to the fact that the power plan is constantly keeping the hardware at full capacity.
While the High-performance Power Plan allows the hardware to tap into all the power it has available, the Ultimate one keeps it running at full capacity all the time.
The results are similar. Both plans are capable of pulling the same benchmarks and power.
What does the Ultimate Performance Power Plan do?
First of all, note that this is not the only power mode you have on your Windows device, but we’ll get into those other options a bit further into the article.
For now, let’s focus on this. So, basically, the Ultimate Power Plan forces your CPU to run at maximum P-state at all times, while the ultimate power plan runs both P-states and C-states at maximum all the time.
To get a better understanding, it intentionally disables package sleep states and/or CPU downclocking to lock the CPU into a higher overall power state.
The theory behind this being that the processor won’t have to waste a single millisecond ramping to high speed.
However, there are cases where the High-Performance Power Plans can help, and we are primarily talking about multi-threaded workloads.
With this in mind, also consider that disabling core or package sleep states will also compromise boost performance as the processor depends on putting unused cores to sleep to reallocate their socket power into boosting cores.
Most of the time, the only effects a user will see from the High-Performance Plan are higher idle power and lower lightly-threaded boost performance.
These settings are mostly intended for workstations and servers that are designed to be running multiple tasks consistently and for extended periods of time.
They’re not really made for gaming computers, as using them means that you’re just wasting energy and creating unnecessary heat.
So, after reading all the information we provided above you’ve decided to opt for a different power plan than the one you are currently using, we will help you change it, whether you are running Windows 10 or Windows 11.
How can I enable the Ultimate Performance Plan on my PC?
1. Enable the Ultimate Performance Plan on Windows 10
- Access Settings, either from the Start menu or by pressing Windows key + I.
- If yu used the Start menu, select the System category.
- Select Power & Sleep from the left side panel and then click on Additional power settings.
- Select the power plan you deem appropriate for your current setup.
2. Enable Ultimate Performance Plan on Windows 11
- Access Settings, either from the Start menu or by pressing Windoes key + I.
- Select the System tab and then click on the Power & battery button.
- Click on the Power mode button and select the plan you feel its best suited for your needs from the menu.
The Balanced Power Plan is recommended for all purposes
For exactly the reasons we mentioned during the High-Performance Power Plan section, companies such as AMD recommend Balanced Power Plans and automatically configures one with the chipset driver for the AMD Ryzen 3000 Series processors.
Balanced mode allows your CPU to downclock when there is no demand for voltage from your workload.
This power plan is designed to be an optimal mix of idle power, boost responsiveness, multi-thread performance, and lightly-threaded boost.
Isn’t the Balanced Power Plan going to affect my gaming experience?
Well, contrary to the general belief, the answer is no, not really. When you’re gaming, it takes the CPU a really short amount of time to ramp up.
This will happen as you boot the game, and will stay there as needed. It will not create micro-stutter and it will not affect your FPS or overall performance.
The micro-stutter you might be getting sometimes during playing your favorite game is not a direct result of using the Balanced power plan.
The issue can happen for a multitude of reasons, including entering a vertical sync range, having a hardware issue, the game has bad code, or your firewall is problematic.
Another reason would be the fact that you’re running the game DVR or other intrusive programs. The cooler may not be sufficient, so you need to reinstall some drivers, and there are even times when unused USB devices are causing stuttering like mice, and many other things.
If you want your games to run as well as possible, disable unnecessary programs from running at startup, and uninstall any third-party antivirus or OEM software if you have a prebuilt.
Also, update your GPU drivers when appropriate, and make sure you have enough cooling/airflow to never thermal throttle.
Balanced vs High-performance Power Plan in gaming
Now that we showed how to enable and switch between different power plans, is it worth using the High-performance Power Plan for gaming, or should you stick to the Balanced one?
Before we start, you should know that games have three different FPS rates. The normal FPS, the 1% low, and 0.1% low.
The difference between Balanced and High-performance Power Plans can be seen when looking at the 1% and 0.1% lows during gaming.
In the image above, the upper part consists of the benchmarks taken using the High-performance power plan, while in the bottom the Balanced option was used instead.
As you can probably notice, there is a big difference between the 1% and 0.1% percentiles. However, the normal FPS is barely affected.
It’s because the Balanced power lowers down the CPU’s capacity according to its needs, and games are known to cause power spikes whenever something needs to be loaded, or there are lots of objects/players in the same place, for example.
Using High-performance will unlock the full capacity of your hardware components, but there will be no noticeable difference during the gaming sessions.
People often debate which power scheme would be better, but it really depends on the tasks performed or the rig they are performed on.
Which one of the available power plans have you selected for your device? Let us know in the comments section below.