I’m sure most of you are well aware of the term, but just in case you’re not, “FPS” stands for frames per second. It is a measure of how quickly images are drawn to your screen and what this means is that when your frames per second rate gets too low you may find that your game starts to become choppy.
This can be a huge problem in video games, but there are a few simple steps you can take to improve your frame rate.
- Change the resolution in your graphics card drivers. Some video cards have higher resolutions that their specified resolution, and while this is great for detail, it also takes more power to run at higher resolutions (especially at about 1680×1050). You’re better off sticking with what your card supports and trying to lower the resolution to compensate for the added detail.
- If you’re running a multi-monitor setup it’s best to turn on all of your monitors and deactivate the one closest to the video card if you’re looking for maximum FPS. This way you can get better performance without reducing your field of view, just be sure to disable this monitor if you need it.
- To reduce lag when moving your mouse, get a gaming mouse pad (or any kind of smooth mat). The smoother the surface the better, so be sure to stick with those materials over some rough cardboard or paper, even expensive mouse pads that are designed for gaming can introduce a lot of drag on your mouse when in use.
- Lower the resolution of your game. You might not like it, but doing this lowers the demands on your video card and can increase your frame rate. If you’re looking for high detail though be sure to check online for patches or mods that make the game look less detailed and more cartoonish, which leads us to our next point;
- If you have an old computer, try disabling some of the advanced features in your games such as anti-aliasing and shadows to improve performance (note: these features are not available in all games). Even if you don’t have an old computer and a top notch graphics card, turning off anti-aliasing can make a huge difference.
- If you have a CPU of at least 2.5GHz or higher you should be fine to crank all the settings up, but if you don’t have a top notch processor then consider disabling some of the more demanding effects like anti-aliasing and shadows.
- You can also set your “graphics settings” to lower levels and this will also improve your frame rate. Sometimes we all like the way games look on default settings, so it’s best to try this out first before doing anything else, but if that doesn’t help then be sure to do some research for game patches that are less resource intensive (yes they exist).
- If you have a “high end PC” than it’s best to use a high-end video card and get the most out of it. Just be sure to research your card before purchasing (there are tons of different cards out there), and be sure to update your driver with the latest version available. If you’re on Windows Vista or Windows 10 there is an option for Windows that updates your driver automatically, but if not just keep checking up on any new drivers whenever they are released.
- Limit Frame Rates (FPS). You may think that having a high FPS* is always a good thing, but sometimes this can actually be bad for your games. For example, if you’re playing an FPS and the game is optimized to run at 60 frames per second it’s best to set it to 59 (just enough to hit the cap) and then raise the cap later once you’ve increased other settings.
- Upgrade your RAM. You might notice that your game starts to slow down if you try to open a lot of menus and windows, but upgrading your RAM will make this much less of an issue. The game only needs so much memory, and with more speed you’ll get better performance without spending more money.
- Turn off some of the extra gaming features in your games that tend to eat up resources like anti-aliasing and shadows as this will give you greater FPS without introducing a lot of lag or an overly cartoonish look in your game.
- Optimize for Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you’re on Windows Vista or 7 then it’s best to try and use the Game Boost feature whenever you play your game.
- Limit the music volume in your game. If you have an earbud set to a pretty high volume than be sure to turn down the music and/or voice in your games, this will allow more FPS while not being able to hear everything around you.
- If you have any kind of computer with a glossy screen/monitor than be sure to turn off anti-aliasing, shadows, and reflections if you’re on Windows 10 (this is not always necessary for Vista users). Thankfully this feature is already on in Windows 10 by default, but be sure to double check and disable it if you see any kind of lag or slowdown.
*FPS = Frames Per Second, how many times your screen updates per second, basically the number of snapshots that are taken per second. Be sure to know that FPS is measured differently for different types of games/computer hardware (frames drawn per second).
- Disable High Detail Water Effects. This is a Windows specific setting that can give a “laggy” look to your water in the game. It’s usually not worth having when it comes to performance, so be sure to disable this setting if you see any kind of gaming issues with your water.
- Disable “shadow mapping” if possible (this may not work for all types of games). If you have a powerful video card then be sure to try and disable this setting as it can really reduce your FPS at times.
These are just some simple suggestions for speeding up your game, but if you need any further assistance than contacting the game manufacturer (or going online) is the best option at times. If nothing else works, than you should probably get a new computer… isn’t it time for an upgrade? 😉
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