How can I improve the frames per second (FPS) display rate for my games and reduce choppiness and lag while playing?
This article is part of a series of articles regarding system and game performance. When troubleshooting performance, please also complete all possible steps in our Troubleshooting Game Performance Issues - Hardware article.
The instructions presented in this guide are intended for users who are not encountering critical errors - please see the Troubleshooting Game Crashes topic if you are encountering crashes or error messages.
The System Requirements for all games are listed on the Store page of each game. If your system does not meet the minimum requirements for a game or your system meets the minimum requirements but not the recommended configuration, you may need to upgrade the appropriate hardware, especially if your computer uses an integrated video controller. Upgrading your video card and memory can have an immediate effect on gameplay performance.
The amount of memory available for model loading and graphics rendering has a direct effect on the rate at which frames are displayed in games, and whether or not lag is apparent while playing.
Please observe the instructions below to reduce the hard drive read times for loading game levels and content, prevent video display conflicts, and increase the available processor time and memory for games on your system:
Increasing resolution, or any video option beyond your recommended settings will have a negative impact on your FPS.
If you have changed or 'tweaked' your settings and do not remember the original settings you can reset them with the instructions provided in the Reset Video Settings and Force a Video Mode topic.
Outdated video drivers may fail to make full use of your video card's capabilities. Please review the Updating Drivers topic for instructions.
You may also wish to check your video card manufacturer's site for more information on fine-tuning your video card for better performance - in some cases the default settings will not provide the best performance on your machine.
Tweaking your games video options can increase your FPS, however, it is not supported. We cannot assist with video tweaking, or driver tweaking for better performance.
It is recommended that you use the factory default settings for your video card if you encounter random freezes (but not crashes) while playing or while loading maps.
Please see the Reset Video Settings and Force a Video Mode topic for instructions if you are experiencing inadequate performance and would like to lower your video resolution and DirectX level (this may help with older video cards and integrated video cards) to improve game performance.
Microsoft has identified issues with Windows 7 that may result in reduced performance for the following CPUs:
If you have one of these CPUs and are encountering performance problems, please download and install the following patches:
When playing older games, dual-core processor systems may need patches in order to improve performance. Please see the Dual-core Troubleshooting article.
To use launch options in Valve Source and Goldsrc games to adjust detail levels and graphic rendering, please see the Setting Game Launch Options article.
This is normally a symptom of the Nvidia Network Access Manager software. If you are running this software, please follow these directions:
It is always strongly recommended that you disable all background applications for the best performance. For instructions on how to do so, please follow the Disabling Background Applications guide.