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Glossary:Frame rate (FPS)

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(Redirected from Glossary:Frame rate limit)
Difference of framerates shown in tenth of a second.
Difference of framerates shown in tenth of a second.

For a list of games with support, see high frame rate support (120+ FPS) or 60 FPS support. For a list of games without support, see games that do not support 60 FPS.

Frame rate or frame frequency, often measured in frames per second (FPS), is the frequency (rate) of which frames (images) are rendered at. It is a general concept not unique to computer video games, although it is an important aspect for video games as it can affect the quality of the game experience.

High frame rates look good - smooth and fluid; low frame rates look bad - uneven and laggy.

This perception of the game experience is because games are interactively controlled and frames are generated as still points in time with no natural motion blur. This makes it easier to notice jerky movement, while in other media motion blurring occurs naturally. Many games do offer simulated motion blur as a graphical option but this can distract even more as the player might be unable to clearly see what happens on-screen in fast-paced sequences.

The achieved frame rate is different for every game and setup and depends on both software and hardware as rendering is quite complex with multiple factors involved. The newer the game and the higher the graphical settings, the harder the computer will have to work to render the frames, which results in a lower overall FPS. Although generally more powerful and expensive hardware will have a higher frame rate, and vice versa. A side effect of the complicated nature of rendering and the factors involved is that problems with the frame rate of a game or multiple games might not always be easy to solve, and may at times not even have a solution.

To better perceive and understand the difference between various frame rates, some form of comparison media can be used. There are several different ones, including websites (listed below), GIFs, and 60 FPS videos on YouTube. Content on YouTube and GIFs are usually bad to compare as the overall quality might be lowered as a result of the compression applied,[1] or only showing FPS to a certain degree; GIFs have a maximum of 50 FPS, YouTube might default to 30 FPS for playback, and most movies are filmed at 24 FPS. Also, keep in mind that games are interactive media so a higher frame rate might not only look different but also feel different when interacting with the game.

Key points

High frame rates make gameplay feel and look smoother, reduces input latency, and may make screen tearing and stuttering less noticeable. When used in conjunction with a higher refresh rate, motion blur is also reduced significantly (especially combined with low motion blur technologies).
High frame rates require the GPU and CPU to work much harder, causing higher temperatures and power draw. This is more significant if there is no frame cap set.[2][3]
Some games may not be optimized for higher frame rates and may cause noticeable glitches (particularly with simulated physics) the more the frame rate increases. Many games therefore employ a frame rate cap, but others have one (usually at 30 or 60 FPS) for no discernible reason; this is particularly common in ports.

General information

Frame rate on Wikipedia
Blur Busters

FPS comparisons

Measuring frame rate

May be inaccurate if game outputs duplicate frames, in which case you can record gameplay and analyze frames manually.

FPS counters are a simple way of measuring the frame rate of a game, and showing average FPS over a short period of time. Most games with built-in FPS counters will use a key combination or console command to toggle the FPS counter, see game-specific articles for details. Alternatively, many third-party injectors drawing an overlay above the game supports measuring and showing a frame rate counter as well. As this is quite a common feature to see, practically all mainstream overlays support the feature, including Origin, Steam, Ubisoft Connect, Fraps, MSI Afterburner, RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS), Special K, and more. Some FPS counters, such as RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS) and Special K, supports more in-depth frame statistics and can show the frame pacing as a graph over time as well.

Increasing frame rate

The easiest and most effective way to increase the frame rate of a game is to simply lower the graphical settings available. This is also one of the greatest advantages of PC gaming as some users may prefer a higher frame rate and smoother gaming experience at the acceptable cost of visual fidelity, a choice not always available on other platforms. It is also possible a game-specific bug or issue is causing a lowered frame rate if a surprisingly low FPS is experienced; check the game-specific articles to see if this is the case and whether a possible fix exist.

If the frame rate is really low even with minimum settings, the best solution is to try to upgrade the hardware. Although some games allow going even lower with settings by editing configuration files, this typically requires time-consuming manual tweaking and testing and the results may not be satisfactory.

Refresh rate

High refresh rate allows for much smoother gameplay.
Refresh rate determines maximum FPS when Vertical sync (Vsync) is enabled.

Refresh rate, most commonly the vertical refresh or scan rate, refers to the number of times per second a display refreshes (updates) its buffer, measured in hertz (Hz). While the frame rate measures how many frames of the game the system is capable of rendering per second, the refresh rate basically measures the maximum number of individual frames the display is capable of showing per second. Regular computer monitors use a fixed refresh rate, and typically supports 24, 30, 50 as well as 60 Hz refresh rates. This means using a frame rate above the configured refresh rate results in rendered frames that the monitor will be unable to show, while a frame rate below the configured refresh rate will result in the repeated drawing of identical frames.

Some games might default to using the lowest refresh rate supported by the monitor, resulting in reduced smoothness and possible screen tearing on high refresh rate monitors even if displayed FPS shows a high value. This happens most prominently for games using Crytek's CryEngine or Rebellion's Asura engine.

When the frame rate and refresh rate of a monitor are not synchronized, a phenomenon known as screen tearing occurs when the graphics card outputs a new frame to the monitor while a refresh is ongoing. This is solved by using vertical sync (Vsync), which forces the graphics card to limit and synchronize the rendering of new frames to the vertical refresh rate of the monitor, or by using a monitor with support for variable refresh rates (VRR) to allow the refresh rate of the monitor to dynamically be synchronized to the output of the graphics card.


Vertical sync (Vsync)
Variable refresh rates (VRR)

Force games to use a custom refresh rate

See Special K > Refresh rate (Hz) for instructions that works with DirectX 9 and 11 games.
Forcing refresh rate via DirectX registry entries:[citation needed]
This tweak will force DirectX games to run in your monitor's refresh rate.
Use this tweak if some games default to a 24 Hz refresh rate on your HDTV.
  1. Open the Registry Editor:
    • Vista and later: open the Start screen/Start menu, type regedit, press Enter.
    • Windows XP: press Win+R, type regedit, press Enter.
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DirectDraw.
  3. Create DWORD entry ForceRefreshRate and change its DECIMAL value to the refresh rate of your monitor.
  4. 64-bit users will need to do this at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\DirectDraw as well.

High frame/refresh rates

Using a higher frame rate in conjunction with a higher refresh rate monitor, it is possible to show more frames which can result in an even smoother and more responsive gameplay. But just like with higher resolutions, perceived differences at higher levels are much smaller although it can still make gameplay more enjoyable and reduce the need for features like motion blurring and vertical sync (Vsync).

Stereoscopic 3D

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.
Virtual reality devices use stereoscopic 3D.

One of the less used features of high refresh rate displays is the ability to play and view content in stereoscopic 3D. There are a few reasons for this; it usually requires buying separate 3D glasses kit with transmitter, some displays only support certain graphics cards (e.g. "Nvidia 3D Vision Ready" monitors usually only work with Nvidia GPU) and games not designed with it in mind can experience depth related issues with crosshair, shadows, object depth, and more.


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


With some monitors, it is possible to turn on LightBoost which almost completely eliminates motion blurring. Lightboost is normally used when displaying 3D modes and content so it is not available for regular use by default. There are a few ways to enable this with Asus and BenQ monitors and the easiest way is by using the ToastyX Strobelight program. With Samsung monitors simply configure the refresh rate of the PC to 120 Hz and on the monitor configure Response Time to Normal and enable 3D.

LightBoost successors

The original LightBoost hack showed that there was a demand for a low motion blur mode among users, and soon after the initial reveal of the hack manufacturers started to incorporate it as an official feature of their monitors as a blur reduction mode. The main difference from the original hack is that its successors produce much better colors and gamma.

Examples includes:

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

HDMI signal overclock on 60 Hz displays that also have VGA ports

Many PC monitors that are officially listed as 60 Hz, but which have both HDMI and VGA input ports, have their hardware designed to support both ports' official resolutions: Namely 1920x1080 at 60 Hz for HDMI, and 1024x768 at 75 Hz for VGA. Such monitors can often be overclocked to 1920x1080 at either 75 Hz or 72 Hz with tools like Custom Resolution Utility, in an attempt to combine both of the resolution specifications; although it is highly recommended to try out such resolutions through e.g. Nvidia Control Panel first.[4]

Frame rate capping

Skyrim's physics become buggy at above 100 FPS
Skyrim's physics become buggy at above 100 FPS

Capping (limiting) the frame rate of a game can provide benefits to various use cases, whether that is to lower the temperature and noise levels to more manageable levels, lower the power draw of the system, solve high frame rate related issues of a game, provide an overall more stable frame pacing, or just in general decrease the FPS to a desired level and not allow it to go higher. Although the use cases varies, not all methods of capping the FPS of a game might be applicable as the methods differ and so do their (dis)advantages. See the table below for an overview of some of the common ways of capping frame rate. There are also driver-provided solutions described further below.

Can fix games that breaks on the wrong frame rate (such as the engine's clock running at over double the intended speed).
On fixed refresh rate monitors, may solve the micro-stuttering that happens when frames time is far from being a multiple of refresh period in (i.e. stable 45 FPS on a 60 Hz screen would have every odd frame delivered after 33 ms, and every even after 16).[5]
Might disrupt frame time analysis algorithms that govern VRR[6], if the limit is placed just over the (dis)engaging threshold.
Method OS APIs
RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS)
[Cap], instructions below.



Game profiles, automatic when game is opened.
Can be changed while game is running.
Supports Microsoft Store games.

Program must be running in the background.
Requires administrator permissions to run.

[Cap], FPS -> Set FPS Limit to (Uncheck "only when capturing").



Can be changed while game is running.

Trial. (Never expires, FPS limiting always works.)
Program must be running in the background.
Requires administrator permissions to run.

[Cap], Advanced -> Limit Video FPS.



Game profiles, automatic when game is opened.
Can be changed while game is running.
Supports Microsoft Store games.

Not freeware; requires a purchase after the trial has ended.
Program must be running in the background.
Requires administrator permissions to run.

[Cap], modify fpsLimit value.


Direct3D 9

Predictive capping, which can reduce input lag introduced with traditional capping.[8]

Program must be running in the background.

Special K
[Cap] [Vsync], modify Framerate Limiter value via in-game OSD.
Ctrl+ Shift+← Backspace


Direct3D 9, 11, 12
Vulkan (partially)[9]

Game profiles, automatic when game is opened.
Can be changed on the fly while playing.
Frame rate smoothness control for more consistent frame rates. Controls both Vsync and frame rate.

May run into compatibility issues with some games and external software.

[Cap], GeneralExt -> FPS limit


Direct3D 2-9

Wrapper to Direct3D 11 or 12.

Requires Windows 7 and up.

ThirteenAG's D3D8 and D3D9 wrappers
[Cap], modify FPSLimit variable in the ini.


Direct3D 8, 9

Can also be used to force windowed mode.
Easy to use and very elegant solution.

[Cap] [Vsync], instructions here.



Controls both Vsync and frame rate.

[Cap] [Vsync]



Controls both Vsync and frame rate, can toggle between different caps.


Linux, Windows

Direct3D 9-11

Wrapper to Vulkan.

Not included in versions older than 1.9.

In-game FPS limiter



Can provide the lowest added input latency if implemented correctly by the developers.
No need for external tools.

Not available in all games.
Disadvantages depends on how the limiter is implemented by the developers. Some games might have a worse FPS limiter than the ones provided by external tools.

Change monitor refresh rate to the desired frame rate number and enable Vsync.



No need for external tools.
Should only be used based on the premise you already wanted to get rid of tearing to begin with.

Even slightly missing the vblank window will cause stuttering otherwise (input lag instead, if multiple buffering is used).
If the target refresh rate is not your usual one, and if the game doesn't support arbitrary ones, every time it is launched and closed they must be manually switched.

Universal solution

Universal solution - RivaTuner Statistics Server (recommended)[10]
  1. Download and install RivaTuner Statistics Server.
  2. Run the program.
  3. Add the game's profile manually, or select the global profile.
  4. Set Framerate limit to desired value. Set it to zero to disable the limit.


RTSS is also bundled with MSI Afterburner but may be outdated.
If you're using RTSS as a standalone frame rate monitoring solution, enable the Show own statistics option to allow RTSS to show its own frame rate statistics without running any additional client applications.
As of v7.3.0, you can set a hotkey to toggle the frame rate limiter while in game, by going to Setup, Plugins, and editing the HotkeyHandler.dll properties once its enabled.

Driver-provided solutions

Driver-provided solutions have historically had a higher cost of added input latency than built-in or external FPS limiters,[11] although as of 2020 this is not always the case.[12][13]
Nonfunctional for games that use Direct3D 8 on Windows 10 and later. Can be worked around by using a wrapper, e.g. dgVoodoo 2, d3d8to9.

AMD-specific solutions

AMD Radeon Software - FRTC or Chill[14]
AMD provides two options to limit the frame rate of a game, FRTC (frame rate target control) and Chill. The intended goal of both are slightly different.[15]
  • FRTC ensures a steady output of frames from the GPU to the display, at the cost of input lag. Changes to the FRTC must be done prior to launching the game.[16]
  • Chill ensures a steady stream of frames is sent from the CPU to the GPU, at the cost of fluctuation in the output stream from the GPU to the display. This is intended for use with variable frame rate and refresh rate monitors and lowers input latency.
  1. Download and install the latest version of Radeon Software.
  2. While the game is not running, use Alt+R to open the Radeon Overlay.
  3. Enable either Radeon FRTC or Radeon Chill by clicking on the desired feature and tweak the settings as desired.
  4. Close the overlay and run the game.
RadeonPro (older AMD cards)[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-specific solutions

NVIDIA Control Panel[17]
  1. Open Nvidia Control Panel
  2. Navigate to Manage 3D settings and click on the Program Settings tab.
  3. Select desired Max Frame Rate to desired value.
  4. Apply the changes.


This makes use of what is usually referred to as "V3" of Nvidia's FPS limiter and was introduced in January of 2020.[18]
Nvidia Inspector
Nvidia Inspector
NVIDIA Profile Inspector[19]
  1. Download and run Nvidia Profile Inspector.
  2. Select desired profile or add custom profile.
  3. Set Frame Rate Limiter to desired value.
  4. Apply the changes.


 Set Frame Rate Limiter Mode to Limiter V1 for less input lag.[20]
Adds about the same input lag as v-sync does.[21]

External links

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.


  2. 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"
  3. Patch Notes :: Shattered Planet General Discussions - "Frame rate capped at 60 FPS to prevent overuse of system resources."
  4. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-05-29
  5. Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide -
  6. MechanizedConstruct's mtrai's Freesync FAQ on the comments of AMD's Robert Hallock : Amd - Reddit
  7. Dxtory - Specification - last accessed on 2024-04-11
  8. GeDoSaTo FPS capping, modding controversies | metaclassofnilblog
  9. Compatibility List - last accessed on 2024-04-11
  10. Verified by User:Keith on 2020-04-20
  11. Battle(non)sense - FreeSync vs. G-Sync Delay Analysis - last accessed on 2020-10-25
  12. Battle(non)sense - NVIDIA's NEW FPS Limiter vs. RTSS & In-Engine Limiters / Input Lag Results - last accessed on 2020-10-25
  13. SpecialK's Frame Rate Limiter Review (DX11 based): Comparing Frame Time Consistency And Approximate Latency. : allbenchmarks - Reddit
  14. AnandTech - AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition: Overlay, App & More for 2017 - last accessed on 2018-09-23
  15. YouTube - Battle(non)sense - FreeSync vs. G-Sync Delay Analysis - Highlighted reply by Eugene Fainstain (AMD employee/creator of Radeon Chill) - last accessed on 2018-09-23
  16. AMD - Using Radeon Overlay to Adjust Gaming and Visual Settings - last accessed on 2018-09-23
  17. Verified by User:Aemony on 2020-09-10
  18. Destructoid - Nvidia added a frame rate limiter with the new GeForce driver - last accessed on 2020-09-10
  19. Verified by User:Hawaii_Beach on 2017-01-09
  20. nvidiaProfileInspector/CustomSettingNames.xml at master · Orbmu2k/nvidiaProfileInspector
  21. FPS Limiter Lag Analysis For G-Sync & V-Sync - YouTube