How to boost fps

Image of someone playing Overwatch on a PC with a mouse and monitor.
Credit: Florian Olivo

Image of someone playing Overwatch on a PC with a mouse and monitor.
Credit: Florian Olivo

Knowing how to boost fps is a crucial step for anyone looking to achieve a smooth and seamless gaming experience. Whether you’re running a beefy desktop with the latest and best graphics card, or you're trying to squeeze that extra drop of life out from a lower-end laptop, solid frame-by-frame fidelity will help you get the leg up in a competitive match, or simply help to alleviate some chugging throughout demanding AAA games.

By having a high FPS count, you're ensuring a smoother, cleaner visual experience that'll allow you to react accordingly, especially during fast-paced action like first-person shooters or fighting games. However, optimising your settings for maximum FPS can be challenging, and even the best gaming laptops may encounter issues such as frame stutters, ghosting, or freezes when pushed to their limits. Fortunately, our guide is here to help you maximise your fps performance.

What is fps?

Image of someone in an NVIDIA t-shirt playing an FPS game on their PC and monitor.
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Credit: NVIDIA

The term ‘fps’ stands for ‘frames per second’ and is sometimes referred to as the ‘frame rate’ or ‘update rate’. Essentially, it’s a numerical count of the frames displayed on your monitor at every second. For example, a 30fps count means that you’ll be shown images 30 times each passing second.

With a high frame rate, any movements you perceive in-game will appear smooth and as intended, whereas when low, actions can often feel as though they're stuttering.

What is the best/optimum fps?

Nowadays, 60fps is considered the optimal benchmark for most games, while 30fps is seen as the minimum achievable by lower-end machines on less resource-intensive games.

While some insist on nothing less than 60fps for competitive play, a 30fps frame rate is still adequate for narrative-driven titles. For the ultimate gaming experience with smooth visuals and fast-paced action, consider aiming for a high fps count and pairing it with a low-latency gaming monitor with a refresh rate of 144-360Hz.

What causes low fps?

Low frame rates are caused by your computer slowing down due to a lack of memory or power to run demanding visuals, with common issues being an outdated or weak GPU, old graphics drivers, a stumbling CPU, or a lack of RAM. Console players will often struggle with the need to go next-gen to keep up, but fortunately, PC gamers have plenty of options available to them to increase fps.

How to optimise your PC for gaming - Quick tips for higher fps

Aside from the obvious such as meeting the minimum system requirements for the game you’re trying to run, there are some easy setting adjustments available to optimise your gaming PC before you get into worry about any physical component upgrades.

Before trying any of these though, double check you don’t have anything resource-heavy running in the background, and perform a clean restart of your setup to ensure that you’re setting up the best high fps testing environment.

Check and update your graphics card drivers

Image of NVIDIA's graphic card driver update options.
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Ensuring your GPU drivers are up to date is usually the first port of call for any frame rate woes, as it allows you to take full advantage of the best graphics cards and boost your fps easily. Depending on your on-board graphics card, you can download NVIDIA and AMD’s Geforce Experience and Radeon Adrenalin suites respectively in order to access their game-ready drivers, which often release in tandem with the latest and greatest games.

For those who may be running lower-specced machines, be sure to check out Intel’s online driver depository, where you can ensure you’re up-to-date with the right drivers for the job.

Tweak the game’s video settings

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If you're still experiencing low FPS even after updating your drivers, it's time to adjust the game's graphics settings. Some video settings can put a heavy demand on your GPU, and even professional esports players often choose to disable non-essential visuals like shadows, chromatic aberration, and anti-aliasing, or reduce texture quality. After all, smooth aiming and movement are more critical than the number of leaves on a nearby tree.

Lower your resolution

Image of scale and layout display settings in black and white.
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If you’re running Windows, another option is to enter the display settings to adjust the resolution of your monitor. To access display settings on Windows:

  • Right-click anywhere on your desktop.
  • Select Display Settings.
  • Under ‘Scale and layout’, scroll down to the ‘Resolution’ drop-down menu.
  • Select a lower monitor resolution and choose ‘Keep Changes’.

Once you’ve tweaked your hardware’s resolution, reboot your game and you should see a noticeable improvement in frame rate.

Close background programs and processes

Image of the Windows task management window open with the NVIDIA task being ended.
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If you’re still not quite sure what could be eating up your CPU or memory stores, it’s best to check Task Manager and close any unwanted background programs and processes to speed up your PC, in turn giving leeway to visual optimisation for your fps. To access Task Manager and close programs:

  • Hit CTRL+ALT+DEL on your keyboard and click Task Manager. You can also press WIN+X to pull up a list of quick destinations, including Task Manager.
  • Scroll down the ‘Processes’ tab and locate any unnecessary apps or background processes running.
  • Right-click on the unwanted ones and click ‘End Task’ to close them.

Be wary of sneaky background processes left open by certain applications or web browsers like Google Chrome though, which can leave memory-wasting processes running even after the app is closed.

Advanced options for boosting fps

If you have exhausted all the quickfire steps mentioned above, or if you require a more technical solution, consider exploring advanced methods to optimise the performance of an older machine or upgrading to newer hardware

Manage your GPU software settings

We’ll first touch back on your installed graphics card and its relevant software suite (usually either NVIDIA or AMD), where you’ll find a number of granular settings that when added together, can really make the difference in visual fidelity and frame-by-frame upkeep.

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

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NVIDIA Control Panel software can be accessed with a quick search on your PC, which will grant you direct access to your GPU’s settings, right down to frame rate cap adjustment.

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We’d highly suggest changing the ‘Max Frame Rate’ setting to your goal, whether it be 30, 60, or even 120fps. Regardless of whether you’ve opted for a certain max. fps setting in-game, the Control Panel can overrule this and ensure your rig isn’t pushing for more than it can handle.

AMD Adrenaline settings

Image of the AMD Adrenaline window in black featuring red details and white text.
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Although AMD Adrenaline offers similar options for maximising fps and customising graphics settings, you may want to disable certain bloated settings found in the "Preferences" tab to further improve performance. We recommend turning off the following preferences:

  • Web Browser
  • System Tray Menu
  • Advertisements
  • Toast Notifications
  • Always On Top
  • Animations & Effects

With these off, it will free up some frivolously occupied space on your RAM, allowing for that to be diverted to your visuals.

Overclock your RAM

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Credit: ASUS

If closing background processes hasn’t freed up enough memory capacity, then you should check your RAM speed. The simple rule is the bigger the megahertz (MHz), the faster the memory runs, but it’s important not to jump the gun and stick some brand new DDR4 memory sticks in before checking you can’t overclock your current RAM.

RAM, CPU, and GPU can all be overclocked by booting up ASUS’ Armoury Crate or MSI’s own software suite, or by entering your computer’s BIOS Utility to directly adjust the MHz your RAM is currently operating at. If your motherboard allows it, then you’re certain to see an increase in performance, which can stave off the next physical upgrade.

Upgrade your GPU

Image of a silver and black RTX 4090 on a green and black background.
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Credit: NVIDIA

If your current PC is struggling to keep up with the latest games despite software adjustments, it might be time to consider upgrading your graphics card. Upgrading to one of the top-performing GPUs will ensure that your fps remains high and will allow you to enjoy all the latest graphical features at the highest possible settings.

You don't necessarily have to invest in a brand new NVIDIA 4090 card either; there are plenty of budget-friendly graphics card options available. Sometimes, even a slight and affordable upgrade can make a significant improvement in performance without requiring cutting-edge features like ray tracing.

In summary, there are various ways to improve your fps through both software and hardware adjustments, demonstrating that whether you have a budget gaming laptop or a high-end overclocked desktop rig, there is always room for optimising visual performance.

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