Game performance is measured in “frames per second” or FPS. The high FPS provides smooth gameplay, while the low FPS is more like a slideshow. See how to improve FPS on your favorite games and how to see it on any PC game.
In general, you'll want at least 30 FPS for smooth gameplay. But more is definitely better - you'll notice that the games look much smoother at 60 FPS. So, without further ado, let's see how to improve the FPS.
How to view the FPS of a game
Many games have built-in FPS counters, but they are almost always disabled by default. To view the FPS using a game option, you will need to take a look at the game's graphic settings menu or its advanced options menu. If you can't find it, do a web search for the game's name and “see the FPS” to see more information about a specific game.
For example, to view your FPS in Fortnite, go to Menu > Settings > Video and activate the option “Show FPS” at the bottom of the screen. To view your FPS in Overwatch, click Options > Video and activate the option “Show performance statistics”. To display FPS in DOTA 2, navigate to Dashboard > Gear > Options > To Advanced Options, and then enable the “Display Network Information” option.
You will see a small FPS meter somewhere on the screen. Each game shows this in a different position.
Steam features its own FPS overlay that you can use in any game in your library. If you're playing on Steam, click Steam > Settings > In Game, click the box under “In-Game FPS Counter” and choose a position for the FPS counter on the screen. You'll see an FPS overlay for every game you play on Steam.
How to improve FPS by updating your drivers
It is important to have the latest graphics drivers for your computer's graphics hardware, or GPU in order to improve FPS. Graphics processor makers like NVIDIA, AMD and even Intel regularly release new versions of graphics drivers that are optimized to make new games work better. You should keep your graphics drivers up to date for maximum gaming performance and how to improve FPS, especially if you play newer games.
Get the latest drivers from NVIDIA, AMD ou Intel, depending on what graphics hardware your PC has. These driver installers include tools that automatically check for updates to help keep your drivers up to date in the future.
If you're not sure which GPU your computer has to know how to improve FPS, Windows 10 makes it easy to check. To see the name of your computer's GPU, open the Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting “Task Manager”. Click on the “More Details” option if you see a small window. Click on the "Performance" tab and look for "GPU" in the left pane to see what type of GPU your system has.
If you see an Intel GPU next to an NVIDIA or AMD GPU here, your computer has a powerful NVIDIA or AMD GPU for gaming and a low-power Intel GPU for other tasks. You should update NVIDIA or AMD drivers for maximum gaming performance, although you should also update Intel graphics drivers.
Intel graphics are often called “integrated graphics” because they are built directly into the computer's CPU. Although the integrated graphics card consumes less power, it won't deliver anywhere near the performance of a modern NVIDIA or AMD GPU while gaming. Intel graphics can still work fine, especially if you have one of the newer Intel GPUs and are playing an older or newer game at lower settings.
If the latest Intel graphics drivers refuse to install on your PC and you see a message like “the driver being installed is not validated for this computer”, there is a way around this error and install the latest drivers straight away from Intel to learn how to improve FPS.
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Increase your FPS by adjusting the graphics settings
The higher the graphical settings – in other words, the more graphical detail you see in a game – the lower your FPS. If you need more FPS in a game and know how to improve FPS, the easiest way to get it is to lower its graphic fidelity. The game won't look as good, but it will run faster and more smoothly.
Each game has its own graphical options. To find them, open the game's Options menu and look for a category like “Graphics” or “Video”. You can adjust individual settings or just use presets. For example, you can lower a game's graphics settings from High to Medium or Low to improve FPS.
You can also lower the game's screen resolution, which will make the image less sharp but increase the FPS. This option may be located in a “Video” options menu separate from the “Graphics” settings menu in some games.
Many older games perform a little better when they are set to “Full Screen” mode instead of “Window Mode” or “Full screen” mode so you can also try enabling full screen mode for see if this improves the game's FPS.
Some tools can automatically configure the graphics settings of your PC games, providing an ideal combination of graphics and performance without any problem.
If you have NVIDIA hardware, we recommend using NVIDIA GeForce Experience, which is included with your graphics drivers. Just launch the GeForce Experience app from the Start menu and you'll see a list of installed games. Select a game and click the “Optimize” button to automatically use NVIDIA's recommended settings for that game based on your system hardware.
Even if you want to adjust your settings manually, optimizing GeForce Experience is a good starting point. You can still access game settings and adjust them after using an optimization tool like this.
Make sure the game is running on your powerful GPU
If you have an integrated Intel GPU and an NVIDIA or AMD GPU, you should ensure that your demanding games run on NVIDIA or AMD hardware and not slower Intel hardware.
Most games should automatically start on the most powerful GPU. However, some games may use the slower GPU by default, resulting in a mysteriously low FPS.
You choose which GPU a game uses on the latest version of Windows 10 by going to System > Settings > Video > Graphics Settings. Task Manager also shows which GPU an application is using.
More tips on how to improve FPS
Here are some other tips on how to improve FPS in PC games:
- Close background apps: there are so many CPU, GPU and disk resources available. If the background apps are using resources, less resources will be available for the game you are playing, which means less FPS. Close background apps – especially resource-intensive ones – while playing. You can check which apps are using a noticeable amount of system resources in Task Manager, if you wish.
- Plug your notebook into a power outlet: Plug your notebook into the power outlet while playing games. Windows typically “limits” your hardware and slows it down on battery power to save power, so connecting can do things like improve FPS.
- Avoid saving the game: If your PC is set to automatically record the game with a feature such as Windows 10 Game DVR or NVIDIA ShadowPlay, this will lower your FPS. Disable all game recording features and you will see the highest FPS.
- Try the Game Mode: Windows 10 has a “Game Mode” that automatically undoes background tasks and assigns more resources to games as you play them. To enable Game Mode for an individual game, press Windows + G to open the Game Bar while playing and click on the “Game Mode” icon on the right side of the bar that appears.
- Overclock your hardware: If you want to make your existing hardware run faster, you can overclock it. You can overclock your GPU and CPU, although overclocking the GPU is more important for FPS in most games. Note that overclocking makes your computer use more energy and get hotter, so it can damage your hardware or just make your system unstable during overclocking.
- Restart your PC: If your PC is performing unusually slow and your FPS is below normal for no specific reason, try restarting your PC. Restarting your computer can solve all kinds of problems.
- Update your hardware: if you're not satisfied with a game's FPS even after following all these other tips, you can always improve it by purchasing and installing a faster graphics processor – or just by purchasing a new PC with more powerful hardware. Depending on your PC's game and hardware, a faster CPU or more RAM can also help.
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