Glossary:Frame rate (FPS)

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Visualization about frames shown in tenth of a second.
Visualization about frames shown in tenth of a second.

For a list of games, see games with high frame rate support. For a list of games, see games with 60 FPS support. See also List of Games Without Native 60 FPS Support.

Key points

Higher frame rates makes gameplay feel and look smoother, with reduced input lag
Screen tearing and stuttering are less visible when more frames are shown.
Higher frame rates reduce blurring significantly (especially combined with technologies such as ULMB).
Higher frame rates give you ability to play in stereoscopic 3D with active shutter glasses on certain monitors (e.g. NVidia 3D Vision)
High frame rates will make the GPU / CPU work much harder, resulting in high temperatures. This is more significant if there is no frame cap set.[1][2]
Many games cap the frame rate at 60 FPS or below for no reason.
Others instead simply don't work correctly when the cap is tempered.

General information

Frame Rate at Wikipedia
120hz.NET - Source for 120hz 1440p Monitors
The Blur Busters

Frame rate or frame frequency, often measured in frames per second (FPS), is the frequency (rate) that images (frames) render. It is a general concept not unique to computer video games.

Frame rate affects the quality of a game experience, very low fps can hinder or distract from gameplay. High FPS looks good - smooth and fluid and low FPS looks bad - choppy and laggy. This is because in games frames are generated perfectly and interactively controlled so it's easier to notice jerky movement where in other media motion blurring is occurring naturally. Many games do offer motion blurring as graphical option but it's simulated and can distract even more as you can't clearly see what's happening in fast paced points.

There are several different frame rate comparison sites including 30vs60, Bo Allens comparison and UFO test. Content on YouTube and GIFs are usually bad to compare as they usually lower overall quality significally[3] as well as show only FPS to certain degree; Gifs are 50 FPS max and most content on YouTube is 30 FPS as 60 FPS support was only announced June 2014[4]. Also keep in mind that games are interactive media so smoothness doesn't only show but it also feels when you are actually playing.

FPS is different for every game and setup, it depends on both software and hardware. Rendering is very complicated. Generally, more powerful and expensive hardware has higher FPS. However, problems with FPS are not always easy to solve, and there may be no solution.

Measuring FPS[edit]

An FPS counter is a simple way to show frame rate, and averages FPS over a short period of time.

Most games will have a key combination or console command to show or toggle a counter. See game-specific articles.

Alternatively, many overlays can show counters, including Fraps, MSI Afterburner, EVGA Precision, RivaTuner, and others. Steam and Uplay clients also have an option to display an FPS counter in their respective overlays.

Increasing FPS[edit]

Generally easiest and most effective way to increase games FPS is to simply lower graphical fidelity. This is also one of the greatest advantages of PC gaming overall as some users may want to have smoother experience at the cost of overall eye candy. Generally speaking newer the game is and with higher settings your computer has to work harder to make frames which results lower overall FPS.

However, if you are experiencing surprisingly low FPS there may be issues in the game itself; see games article to see if there are fixes for the issue.

If you have really low FPS even with minimum settings best solution is to try upgrade the hardware. Some games allow going even lower settings with configuration files but usually this is manual work and results may not be satisfactory.

High frame rate[edit]

Regular 60Hz monitor refreshes 60 times per second so it can only show 60 FPS and it's usually useless to go beyond that. With higher refresh rate monitors it's possible to show more frames which result even smoother and even more responsive gameplay, but just like with resolution differences with higher values are smaller, but still make gameplay more enjoyable and reduce need for features like motion blurring and vsyncing but also require more powerful machine.

Without Vsync you see less tearing and stuttering as time those are shown is much lower. However, there are technologies that can adjust screen's refresh rate according to game's frame rate, these include Nvidia Gsync[5] and Dynamic Refresh Rate aka FreeSync which is part of DisplayPort standard[6]. Gsync is available in selected models and can be installed in some older models where FreeSync should be available in models supporting 1.2a Display port standard.

Stereoscopic 3D[edit]

Stereoscopic 3D in Nvidia Control Panel. For example Batman games have native support.
Stereoscopic 3D in Nvidia Control Panel. For example Batman games have native support.

One of less used features of high frame rate display is ability to play and view content in stereoscopic 3D. There are few reasons for this; it usually requires buying separate 3D glasses kit with transmitter, some displays only support certain GPU e.g. "Nvidia 3D Vision Ready" monitors usually only work with Nvidia GPU and if game haven't been done this in mind there may be problems with crosshair, shadows, object depth, etc.

Also virtual reality devices use stereoscopic 3D.

Using 3D HDTVs[edit]

Most 3D HDTVs do not accept a 120Hz input but this can be forced; see True 120Hz from PC to TV for testing results.

LightBoost[edit]

With some monitors it's possible to turn on LightBoost which almost completely eliminates motion blurring. As of Spring 2014, a few Asus, Samsung and BenQ monitors support it. It's normally used when viewing 3D image so it's not usable with regular use by default. There is few ways to enable this with Asus and BenQ monitors and easiest way is ToastyX Strobelight program. With Samsung monitors simply set refresh rate to 120 Hz from PC, then from monitor change “Response Time” to “Normal” and then turn 3D on.

LightBoost successors[edit]

LightBoost hack has shown that there is demand for such feature among PC gamers. Soon after some monitor manufacturers started to integrate it into official feature list of their monitors. Examples:

  • Eizo FG2421 (Turbo240)
  • BENQ XL2420Z (BENQ Blur Reduction)
  • Asus ROG Swift PG278Q (ULMB)

Main difference from LightBoost hack method is that they produce much better colors and gamma.

Frame rate capping[edit]

Skyrim's physics become buggy at above 100 FPS
Skyrim's physics become buggy at above 100 FPS
Some games can behave undesirably above their intended frame rate, such as the engine's clock running at over double the normal speed.
It may be useful to cap a game's frame rate at 30 FPS if the frame rate is jumping between 30 and 60.
 Capping fps introduces frame latency.
Method
Advantages
Disadvantages
NVIDIA Profile Inspector
[Cap], instructions below
  • Stored in Nvidia game profile, automatic when game is opened
  • Nvidia only
  • Game must be restarted to apply new values
Radeon Profile Tool
[Cap], instructions below
  • AMD only
Dxtory
[Cap], "limit video FPS" under "Advanced"
  • Game profiles, automatic when game is opened
  • Can be changed while game is running
  • Works with games from the Windows Store
  • Program must be running in the background
RivaTuner Statistics Server
[Cap], instructions below
  • Can be changed while game is running
  • Program must be running in the background
GeDoSaTo
[Cap], modify fpsLimit value
  • Can be used to other things as well, including downsampling and forcing borderless windowed mode
  • Predictive capping, which can reduce input lag introduced with traditional capping[7]
  • Program must be running in the background
  • Does not work for games from the Windows Store
  • Currently only supports DirectX 9 games
Change monitors refresh rate to 60Hz and enable Vsync
[Vsync]
  • No need for external programs
  • Some monitors don't natively support 60Hz so it has to be manually added or enabled
  • May cause visual side effects e.g. flickering effect and washed out colors
  • No quick automatic way of doing this, so every time game is launched and closed, refresh rate has to be manually switched
Adaptive/Dynamic vsync with half refresh rate setting
[Vsync]
  • Offered natively for both Nvidia and AMD in their control panels
  • Automatic when game is opened
  • Only works right with 120 Hz monitors if game has to be running at 60 FPS.
  • May not work as intended with all games
Universal solution - RivaTuner Statistics Server[citation needed]
  1. Download and install RivaTuner Statistics Server
  2. Run the program.
  3. Select desired profile or add custom profile.
  4. Set Framerate limit to desired value.

Notes

RTSS comes with EVGA Precision and MSI Afterburner, but may be outdated.
AMD specific solution - RadeonPro[citation needed]
  1. Download and install RadeonPro
  2. Run the program and Add new profile.
  3. Select the corresponding game executable.
  4. Locate the Tweaks tab to the right and enable Dynamic Framerate Control.
  5. Set it as you desire.
  6. Right click on the just created profile on the left and press Apply now.
Nvidia Inspector
Nvidia Inspector
Nvidia specific solution - NVIDIA Profile Inspector[8]
  1. Download NVIDIA Profile Inspector
  2. Run NVIDIA Profile Inspector.
  3. Select desired profile or add custom profile.
  4. Set Frame Rate Limiter to desired value.
  5. Apply the changes.

Notes

 The v2 FPS cap locks better.[9]
Introduces as much input lag as v-sync does.[10]

External links[edit]

Techquickie - Monitor & TV Refresh Rates as Fast As Possible - YouTube
Reality Check - Do we need 60 FPS on PS4 and Xbox One? - GameSpot - 60 FPS video
The case for 30fps PC gaming - Why frame-rate control is just as important as display resolution and quality presets.

References

  1. Patch 1.1 - Why 60FPS Cap? 120hz+ Experience Killed :: Gauntlet™ General Discussions - "The cap was made to try and stop the problem of people's gpu overheating"
  2. Patch Notes :: Shattered Planet General Discussions - "Frame rate capped at 60 FPS to prevent overusage of system resources."
  3. https://i.imgur.com/PnQNhbo.jpg
  4. Battlefield Hardline ushers in era of smooth YouTube trailers | Technology | theguardian.com
  5. G-SYNC Technology Overview | GeForce | GeForce
  6. VESA® Adds ‘Adaptive-Sync’ to Popular DisplayPort™ Video Standard | VESA
  7. GeDoSaTo FPS capping, modding controversies | metaclassofnilblog
  8. Verified by User:Hawaii_Beach on 2017-01-09
  9. Guru3D.com Forums - View Single Post - NVidia Inspector 1.9.7.6 + FPS limit 59.7 = microstutter
  10. FPS Limiter Lag Analysis For G-Sync & V-Sync - YouTube