If you are experiencing video lags and stutters, it may be time to learn how to increase FPS and optimize your PC. Frames per second or FPS determine the look and feel of a game, and they have a large impact on your overall gaming experience. However, a variety of factors can easily lead to less-than-optimal frame rates, which translates into choppy or poor video quality.
But just as there are many potential causes for the problem, so too are the number of potential solutions. In this article, we’ll teach you how to increase your FPS while optimizing your PC at the same time.
What Are Frames per Second (FPS) and Why Does It Matter?
If you have ever encountered a flipbook before, then you probably know you’re meant to flip the pages to see the individual drawings come to life. This is very similar to the concept of frame rates. After all, videos are still a compilation of images tied together and flashed spontaneously to create the illusion of motion.
Just as you can count the number of pages that appear on a flipbook, so too can you count the number of images or frames that appear on a video or game. The only difference is that frames flutter by at a much faster rate in videos than in flipbooks, so you barely notice the transition between images. Having said this, the speed of transition between frames in a video or game is indicated as the number of frames per second (FPS).
Frame rates are important because they determine the visual flow of a video or game, which in turn has a large impact on your overall experience of a game. Frame rate requirements also vary depending on the type of content being played. For example, most Hollywood-style movies are usually presented at a frame rate of 24 FPS, while games require frame rates of at least 60fps. But in general, you would want your frame rates to be as high as possible for a seamless video and gaming experience.
How to Increase FPS and Optimize Your PC for Gaming?
Optimizing your PC can get you better frame rates, but more than that, it can also improve your PC’s performance across every other metric. It can ensure that all other settings are up to date, so you will have a smooth and problem-free gaming experience overall. There are various methods that you can use to accomplish this objective. Here is how you can increase your FPS and optimize your PC for gaming:
1. Overclock Your CPU
When it comes to learning how to increase FPS, overclocking your central processing unit (CPU) is one of the best methods. Overclocking is just the process of tweaking the clock rate of a processor to push the system to perform better. Processors like CPUs and GPUs can be overclocked.
The setting that we overlock with the CPU is the base clock. The base clock is a measure of your system’s speed as well as your motherboard. Not all CPUs can be overclocked, so it’s important to check whether your current CPU allows for it before you make any attempt to overclock it.
Luckily, some manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to leave their processors unlocked for this purpose. For example, Intel marks all of their processors with overclocking capability with a “K,” such as the Intel Core i7 9700K. On the AMD side, they have unlocked all of their processors for the purpose of overclocking.
Tweaking your CPU is a bit complicated, as you need access to BIOS or UEFI. BIOS is a type of firmware that helps your operating system run. Several manufacturers have developed programs for overlocking their own products. Take, for example, Intel’s Windows-based Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU).
Be warned that overclocking may lead to an increase in the power consumption as well as the heat production of your PC. This is because the process forces both the system and the CPU to work double time. It’s very important that you follow overclocking procedures precisely so as to avoid damaging the hardware, which can lead to instability and loss of data.
2. Tweak Your GPU Settings
Another great way to prepare your PC for high-intensity gaming tasks is for you to optimize your graphics processing unit (GPU). Luckily, some of the more popular manufacturers have released their own software for this purpose. AMD offers the Radeon Performance Tuning app, while NVIDIA has the GeForce Experience app.
These apps are free and specifically designed to work with the respective products of the brands concerned. The apps also offer a variety of options for improving your system’s performance. Even graphics cards nowadays come with their own software to let you tweak the internal GPU.
There is also third-party software for tweaking GPU settings. MSI Afterburner is an example of a well-designed and easy-to-use overclocking software that presents a variety of options for customizing GPU settings. The software is a one-stop shop for tweaking clock frequency, voltage, fan speed, and other settings. The software also monitors GPU performance indicators to watch for any problems.
Different sources offer different advice for the actual levels of adjustment for GPU settings. But if we had to crunch the numbers, you should aim to increase the core clock speed anywhere between 5 to 50 MHz. You should also aim to increase the heat capacity to the maximum to prevent the system from overheating and the power limit by about ten percent to draw as much power as necessary.
If you want to know the step-by-step process for improving your GPU settings, check out this guide on how to overclock your GPU for superior performance.
3. Update Platforms and Drivers
Making sure that your drivers are updated is another potential answer to the question of how to increase FPS. While we strongly advise against obsessively updating your system, a regular monthly update wouldn’t hurt. Not only will this boost the performance of your computer, but it can also potentially save you from very expensive problems down the line. There are a few drivers on your PC that require regular updates. These include your desktop driver, GPU, and BIOS.
Update Your Desktop Driver:
Before you update any other driver, you need to start with the driver of the device that you are using. If you are a Windows user, you can type “updates” under the search bar and then select the “Check for Updates” option.
If you are a Mac user, you can check for updates by going to the Software Update option under System Preferences from the Apple menu.
Update Your GPU:
If you want to get the best quality graphics, you’re also going to have to update your GPU, specifically the graphics driver. A graphics driver is software that controls your computer’s graphics hardware so it can deliver the demands of your system. Graphics drivers need regular updates to be able to address potential issues as well as to boost the overall performance of the hardware.
These updates ensure that you get the latest features, which in turn increases performance in PC games. Not to mention, they can fix vulnerability issues as well as compatibility issues between your game and your PC. Nvidia and AMD regularly release new graphics drivers, and they usually time the release along with the release of new games. Even Intel has started to release new graphics drivers at a more regular pace.
There are some instances when GPU drivers cause more problems than they solve. Problems may arise when the features on the driver happen to be incompatible with the game you are playing. If this happens, you can uninstall the new driver and either reinstall the previous driver or the original driver.
Update Your BIOS:
Other than your device driver and GPU, you would also need to check for new BIOS versions for your motherboard. While this component may seem unrelated to gaming, a BIOS update could mean all the difference in terms of performance. BIOS updates can help your system fix bugs as well as accommodate and recognize newer models of CPU. Take note, though, that a BIOS update should only be done once every six months or once every year, and updating your system unnecessarily may lead to serious operational issues.
4. Optimize Your Game’s Settings
Let’s say you have already updated your drivers, as well as overclocked both your GPU and CPU. But you still find yourself suffering from poor frame rates. Another way to go about how to increase FPS is by tweaking your in-game settings, or the settings that come with your game. Doing so might help to increase your frame rates and resolution, not to mention give you more control over the visual quality of your game.
There are a number of in-game settings that you can tweak, but the main priority is the resolution. Resolution is simply the number of pixels within the video file. While it’s often possible to increase the resolution without affecting the frame rate, the frame rate is occasionally affected by problems related to rendering. In that case, you may need to sacrifice some clarity on your graphics in exchange for a smoother flow.
You will also want to keep an eye on minor settings such as texture quality, motion blur, and anti-aliasing. Keep in mind that these settings contribute to your game’s overall look and feel. As such you do not want to turn them off completely. The key is to be conservative with your resource consumption by toning down these settings to just the right level without compromising video quality.
Even non-priority settings can take up more power than is actually needed, and you will need to turn them down to get a boost on the performance front. For example, you can turn down shadow and reflection quality as well as view distance or draw distance. You can also turn down on post-processing and special effects to increase your frame rates.
5. Use DLSS or Other Image Reconstruction Tools
Nvidia introduced a new feature in their RTX-30 series graphics cards called DLSS. DLSS is an acronym for deep learning super sampling. The feature ramps up frame rates by rendering games at lower resolution. It also makes use of machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI), to adapt the game to your display’s native resolution. Using DLSS is another potential answer to the question of how to increase your FPS.
Some games come with their own image reconstruction tools. These tools are the same ones that allow multiple games to be stored and run on consoles. If you are playing a console-based game, you will want to search through the game’s settings for an image reconstruction or dynamic resolution setting.
Unfortunately, most PC games have yet to include image reconstruction as a feature. So the only way that you can get access to the feature at present is by getting yourself an Nvidia GPU. But if that’s not an option for you, then you can wait out a few years to see more PC games incorporate it.
6. Enable Windows Game Mode
Game Mode is a special feature on Windows 10 and 11. The feature prioritizes the flow of system resources towards essential gaming components like the CPU and graphics card. It also suspends non-essential programs from running in the background so your CPU and CPU can focus on gaming tasks. In other words, your system is entirely focused on gaming to deliver a high resolution and stable frame rate.
If you want to know how to increase FPS using Game Mode—well, you just have to activate the feature. To activate it, you will first need to turn to the search bar on the desktop and type game mode. Select the “Game Mode Settings” listed under “Best Match” and then toggle the Game Mode to the right to activate it. The system may ask you to restart your computer if you are enabling the feature for the first time.
On a similar note, you should also keep your PC plugged in while gaming. The battery alone not be able to keep up with the power requirements of a game. You will also want to keep your PC well-ventilated and clean to prevent it from overheating.
7. Use the Game’s Recommended API
An Application Programming Interface (API) is software that serves as a middleman between your game engine and GPU’s driver. There are many types of APIs, but those that work closely with GPUs are called graphics APIs.
Examples of more popular graphics APIs include OpenGL, DirectX, and Vulcan. Just like with operating systems or software, graphics APIs have versions that you can download to upgrade your system. Updating to the latest version of the API required by the game will help to improve system performance and reduce the amount of power used up by your system.
Some APIs work better with specific brands of graphics cards than others. In which case, it will do you well to switch to another API. When it comes to finding the right API for your graphics card, it’s really not that difficult. Most manufacturers reveal their preferences right out of the box, and there are plenty of online forums that discuss the subject. For example, AMD prefers Vulkan, while Nvidia prefers OpenGL or OpenGL ES.
8. Get a Game Booster
Game boosters are special software that allows you to tweak your PC settings for gaming, much like Game Mode on Windows 10. They have the special ability to automatically adjust your settings to match the requirements of any game that you’re playing. They also prevent unnecessary programs from running tasks in the background.
Game boosters have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, and some are capable of overclocking your GPU. Others are capable of deleting junk files from your computer to free up RAM space. Still, others can disable CPU sleep modes, so your system stays awake and ready for another run.
Another very impressive feature in a game booster is the ability to create a Gamers Private Network (GPN). This routes your gaming traffic through a safe channel where you cannot be tracked by third parties. Game boosters also keep track of the data exchange between the game server and your device. The data is presented to you in real-time through the application.
There are a number of game booster applications in the market. But most of them require monthly or annual payments in order to maintain their servers. More popular options include WTFast, GameBoost, and Mz Game Accelerator. Other options include Razer Cortex and Advanced System Optimizer.
9. Stream Your Games
One of the easiest and most convenient ways on how to increase your FPS is to stream your games online. Cloud gaming is a new method of playing video games where remote servers render and process everything. The offloading means you don’t have to download or install the game on your PC or console. Additionally, there will be no need to upgrade your PC components with this method of gameplay.
Cloud gaming is a two-way process that involves sending player input to the server, with the server rendering the game and sending back the video result. The service offloads all computing tasks from your PC or gaming console into the server, so your PC or console barely has to process anything. In essence, you are borrowing hardware power from a supercomputer.
Cloud gaming normally requires a monthly or annual subscription. Some cloud gaming services may ask you to purchase games on top of the streaming subscription. As you can imagine, your expenses can pile up with a system like this. So you will have to carefully review the terms of your subscription. Nonetheless, most services also offer free games along with your subscription.
Examples of the more popular cloud gaming services include Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, Shadow, and Vortex. Each of these streaming services supports a different set of games and different models for rendering games.
Cloud gaming as a technology is still in its infancy stages, and the infrastructure is a bit complicated. Needless to say, there is always a risk that you may experience input lags or latency. But as the cloud infrastructure improves and more gaming companies join in on the hype, we are bound to see a massive improvement in the quality of streaming services.
10. Upgrade Your PC
Another potential answer to the question of how to increase your FPS is to upgrade your PC. Upgrading your PC doesn’t automatically mean having to buy a brand new PC. It could also mean building your own, in which case you will need to know all of the essential parts needed to build a PC. But even that can be expensive, and so we recommend simply replacing the parts that matter most. In this case, those parts would be your GPU, CPU, and RAM.
Most PCs are outfitted with integrated GPUs that work perfectly fine for ordinary PC tasks. But because they share system resources with the CPU, these processors are often too weak to handle very demanding PC games. A better solution would be for you to get a dedicated GPU, also known as a graphics card. A graphics card also contains a GPU, but it also comes with everything else needed to support the functions of the GPU.
You might also need to upgrade your CPU. Keep in mind that the best CPUs are often the latest. A newly released processor will be much faster and more powerful than its predecessor. This, in turn, should translate to faster processing speeds and less power consumption. If you’ve been using the same processor for years, then upgrading it may lead to a significant improvement in your frame rates.
Upgrading your random access memory storage (RAM), which is the temporary storage for your computer’s file, is also a good idea. Most games recommend at least 16 GB of RAM. At this level, the game is bound to deliver clear graphics and smoother transitions. It would be better not to exceed the recommended level, as anything in excess will not have an impact.
Final Thoughts on How to Increase FPS and Optimize Your PC
This concludes our compilation of tips on how to increase FPS as well as optimize your PC. It’s important to note that neither one of these methods will single-handedly solve your performance issues. Granted, some of our recommendations are specific to improving your graphics quality. But most have a larger scope than just fixing your frame rates.
In the end, the larger objective is to tweak your PC to have it perform well across every metric, not just the metrics that matter for gaming. To achieve that, you will need to apply multiple strategies or even all of the strategies simultaneously. Be clear on your objectives and find the right combination of methods to fit your requirements.