Shader Cache on or off: Maximize your Gaming Experience

by Paul | Last Updated: July 22, 2021

Maximizing Your Gaming Experience. Gaming is without a doubt one of the most exciting things you can do on a PC. Different games might have similar requirements, but one thing is certain, if a game has high-end graphics, you need to maximize your gaming experience with the right settings.

Shader cache on or off?

Turning on the shader cache is dependent on the game you are playing, not all games require it but there is no harm in leaving it on to accommodate any game that might need it. This feature can be found in graphics cards. Every game has colors, pixels embedded in the software, a shader is used to calculate all these features.

Shooting, strategy, Fantasy, sports name it! Games have served and will always immense entertainment purposes and these days have become a source of income for players. As much as gaming gives pleasure, it can be a source of frustration when it constantly freezes or glitches, there are a number of things that might be responsible for this issue, but the article will focus on shader cache.

Benefits of Shader Cache

Shader cache is good news for gamers because as the gaming industry seeks to make gaming more realistic, they increase the quality of graphics used to create these games. This includes detailed sceneries to emulate real life locations, car details, shop details and so on. Even for scenes or things that do not exist in real life, there are certain details that make them appealing and these games try to depict them.

It is a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) feature that can be navigated via the driver control panel i.e., AMD or NVIDIA. Navigation is easy, you can choose to turn it on or off depending on the CPU power required for your game. We pointed out earlier that leaving it on does not necessarily have a bad effect on your system so why will people prefer to leave it off?

Leaving it on means reducing your disk space because shader cache like any other cache takes up space. If you have a large disk size maybe 2TB, one or two games might not affect your disk space, but more games mean more space and you will soon be forced to clear it.

How does the Shader Cache Work?

When you launch your game, it might come on smoothly, but your game might seem like it is glitching during a gameplay. This might be shocking to your if your system meets all the requirements, well you are experiencing this because the cache is being built. Every time a “serious” or new action occurs, the game will glitch.

While playing a game, the processing power comes from your CPU. This hardware plays a major role as it processes the loading of screen times, so what turning on the shader cache does is to take this burden off by saving the game data on your local disk. Turning on the shader cache does not mean an automatic load; it builds the cache the first time you run the game.

The first time does not translate to once as it takes a few times to write a cache, after that it just reads frequently used data and relieves your disk of that duty. Setting your shader cache on is not supposed to affect your frame rate but there are occasions when it does, in this event you can turn it off but you can easily set your FPS manually in the game if you experience this issue.

Why is a Shader Cache Important?

How important is a shader cache? It is very important for gamers to enjoy a smooth experience as it prevents glitches or any freeze that will occur as the CPU tries to load the game. As important as this feature is, it might not be relevant for all games, but it is something worth trying out to evaluate is it has an effect on your game or not.

Can the Shader Cache be lost or damaged?

While shader cache cannot necessarily be damaged except the disk is damaged, a more likely occurrence is it can be deleted, or it can be reset. For instance, you might have a full disk and, in the bid, to clean your drive to create space, you can delete the cache. There is also another way of clearing it, this is when you reset your shader cache, it clears all stored cache files.

This means that the compiled and stored game shaders will be removed, and you will have to start the process all over again. You do not have to do this manually because when you delete the shader cache, it regenerates as long as it is on.

The HDD and SSD Debate

There are people that debate if the cache is necessary for SSD since they offer better performance. Let’s look at a quick summary of both disks.

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) are storage drives that run on SATA interface. It has moving parts to read/write data this process makes it run hot, fragments it, and does not produce optimal performance for a computing system.

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are created with NAND technology and have flash memory which means no moving parts and no fragments making it produce the best performance of a given computing system.

So, people argue that by the mere function of SSD, you should only turn on your shader cache if you use an HDD as that is the disk that needs a boost. Well, it is true that SSD improves your gaming experience but as we pointed out before, you do not have anything to lose by turning on your shader cache except on rare occasions. Also, more often than not, you will benefit from your shader being on even on an SSD.

Related Question

Do all computers have shader cache?

No, not all computing systems have the shader cache feature. This caching feature is only for people with a dedicated graphics card.