Framerate drops hurt your performance as a player and directly affect your aiming. A lower rate in frame per second (FPS) could have many causes, are not necessarily directly visible, and should be avoided in any case. This post will show you how FPS drops affect your aiming and how to avoid them.
Depending on the FPS drop size, a delay of up to 200ms can occur, in which an opponent is not seen or only seen delayed. Drops in Framerate have a negative influence on aiming. The rapid reduction of frames causes a visual delay, which disturbs hand-eye coordination.
With every new game, we try to get the maximum FPS out of our system. But do you know this feeling? In duels, it seems to you as if the opponents always have an advantage. Someone comes around the corner, headshot, dead.
Is it because of your slow speed of a reaction?
We’ll take a closer look at some of the reasons right away, but before we do, let’s talk in more detail about the effects of FPS drops.
Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.
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FPS Drops Destroy Your Aiming when it Counts
Think of an FPS drop as a short still image. You move your crosshair consciously towards the target (e.g., to a corner at head height). Your eyes coordinate continuously and, with a few milliseconds, delay your crosshair moves according to your target.
Your brain automatically sends correction orders to the appropriate muscles to achieve the goal precisely and quickly.
Your muscle memory takes effect and performs an automatic movement that has been rehearsed hundreds of times.
The jerk or short freeze-frame suddenly massively disrupts this process.
Your eyes register the image jump. The brain immediately calculates a wrong correction because it assumes that the target has stopped.
But the next delivered frame shows that the target is now much further at a completely unexpected position and what happens then? Exactly, again a correction.
As a result, you will not land on the target due to overdrive but miss it.
You will not necessarily notice the effect immediately because you have set the graphic settings to have enough FPS in the game’s ordinary course.
Even while playing, you will not notice any jerking or other effects related to FPS. Everything seems to run smoothly.
Sometimes you don’t even consciously notice the jerking because you are entirely focused on Aiming at that moment.
But: Opponents are constantly coming around the corner, and even before you can react or see the head of your opponent, your character falls to the ground.
It is also possible that you only have this effect sometimes. Sometimes you hit all the headshots in the first shot, and sometimes the exact opposite – 4 shots full on the body, but none of them caused any damage.
How does that work? What’s going wrong?
If you can rule out that it’s due to your daily form, then you should go on the search for unnoticed frame drops. There are numerous reasons for the loss of FPS.
Several FPS drops in a row are called “stutter” or “FPS stutter.” Stuttering is, of course, much easier to recognize. Ultimately, it is the same causes that lead to FPS drops and stuttering.
What Are the Causes of FPS Drops in Video Games?
The causes can be hidden in any of the following layers:
Applications – “eat” Resources and Create Bottlenecks
You close your game and see the browser with several tabs running in the background. Discord is also running, and the antivirus scanner is doing its rounds on your hard drive.
Windows Update reports that the download has been completed, and an installation can now be performed. Probably even Steam has downloaded the updates for your games in the background. An excellent service, right?
Unfortunately, not for your FPS.
Resource bottlenecks in RAM, disk i/o (read and write speed of the hard disk), bandwidth, and especially CPU are the most common causes for FPS drops.
For example, if a download in the background eats up bandwidth and puts a strain on the hard disk, simultaneous intensive access of your game to the hard disk can delay the delivery of textures to the graphics card or CPU. The result is an imperceptibly short still image.
Peripherals – Quality Usually Pays Off
What does your monitor have to do with FPS drops? Under certain circumstances, a lot.
Many monitors in higher price ranges offer a higher Hz number (144 Hz, 240 Hz) and such tempting functions as G-Sync. Depending on your system configuration, activating such features can negatively affect frame processing that frame drops occur.
Suppose you use functions like “sharpening” (sharpness); check if this function can hurt the frame rate. Any modification or refinement of the originally rendered frame can lead to system load or input lag.
In general, many external USB devices can put a strain on your system. A solution would be an external USB hub with a power supply.
If you are streaming with a capture card, this peripheral can also strain your CPU at the wrong moment. Suppose you consider this when you buy peripherals. In that case, you can hopefully save yourself the trouble of looking for FPS drops later.
For many devices, it is about the quality of the material and the supplied drivers’ quality. A no-name product can look great, but if the poorly programmed driver gives you an FPS drop at the wrong moment, you better use devices that are also used by pro gamers or the masses.
Operating System & Drivers – Better be Up-to-Date
Whether graphics card drivers or other device drivers, old versions perform worse than newer versions or cause problems due to further development of the operating system or the game.
Good examples are the Visual C++ libraries in Windows 10 (download at Microsoft), which are used by graphic-intensive games (CSGO, Valorant, PUBG, etc.). If these libraries get modernizations, the game developers would like to further optimize the game and net code.
But you can only benefit from this if your operating system has the latest libraries installed. Problems with the FPS can occur if you are on a version no longer supported by the game.
If you have (rightly!) disabled the automatic Windows updates, you must be very careful to pull the updates manually.
System Hardware – the Balance Matters
Causes that are in the system hardware are usually not fair. More money usually results in better hardware, but who has that much money? For consoles, this factor is not important, but on the PC, the components’ interaction is incredibly critical.
A mega fast graphics card becomes a snail if the CPU, RAM, and hard disk cannot keep up the pace at the same time. For example, a slow CPU can cause the graphics card to wait for frames to be delivered actively. The result can be a frame drop.
For some games (e.g., PUBG), it is good to have as much RAM as possible. Do you agree?
That is only half the truth. Just as important – if not more important – is the speed of the RAM. But again, fast RAM is great, but if the hard disk can’t deliver the game elements at the same speed, then you’ll certainly “feel” it.
If you do not have the fastest computer, you have only three options:
Optimize hardware (e.g., overclocking the CPU or GPU)
Reduce in-game graphic settings
Option 1 is not always the best solution. We will discuss this in another article.
Network – The Smallest Unit of Communication Between Client and Server
The worst cause is always the network because few have the know-how for a clean analysis. At the same time, your PC can be the cause and cables, routers, internet providers, game servers, and so on. This means that sometimes you don’t have the power to find and fix the cause yourself.
At least you can find out with appropriate measures whether one of the layers above is the cause or not.
How Can I Detect FPS Drops and Stutter?
In another article, we will detail the steps you can take to make FPS drops visible.
However, we will give you a quick & dirty method here.
In most games, you can activate certain statistics under the settings. Activate here the FPS display, whether as text or as a diagram, is not important at first.
While you play, you can keep an eye on it. As mentioned above, you usually don’t notice an FPS drop at all. The delay is simply too short. You are busy with aiming and pulling and don’t “see” the jerking consciously.
If you have activated the FPS diagram, you can look at it relaxed after the situation. An FPS drop is more or less clearly visible.
Alternatively, you can also use a lightweight screen recorder. If you deactivate the preview window in OBS, the first recording in this streamer tool will also work.
Go into the game and play a regular game, i.e., at best with enemies, many effects like smoke, explosions, and other visual action. Try to act as usual.
After the game, you watch the video in a player (e.g., VLC) at a significantly reduced speed. Jump to the firefights or to scenes where a lot was going on at once. Can you see FPS drops?
Even a sudden reduction of a few FPS will cost you, depending on your monitor’s Hz value, 20ms. That’s only the blink of an eye, but for your eyes, it’s half an eternity. And if the drops are higher or stop for a few frames, you’ll quickly reach 200ms.
The basic rule is: If you are currently playing at a high frame rate, e.g., 300 FPS, then an FPS drop of, e.g., 5 frames have much less effect than the same frame drop at 60 FPS.
If you want to know more about the effect of high or low FPS rates, we recommend our article “Why is FPS important in shooter games?”.
In games like Valorant, where several enemies are in view for a moment, and several abilities (wall of flame, glare effects, smoke, etc.) are activated simultaneously, your system will inevitably run at maximum capacity. Does your system have enough buffer at that moment, or is the FPS drop coming?
This procedure is useful first of all to make the problem visible.
How Can FPS Drops and Stutter Be Fixed?
This question is also answered in more detail in another article.
So much in advance: The fastest way to avoid FPS drops is FPS capping, i.e., limiting the maximum FPS to a value that will not fall below in the game.
This does not eliminate the cause, but the “disturbance” of your hand-eye coordination is gone for now. The disadvantage is an input lag of about 20ms-40ms, which you activate on purpose. Nevertheless, this can have a very positive effect on your performance. Motto: Better to hit late than not at all.
For gamers with weak PCs, this is, of course, not a piece of good advice because with, e.g., 40 FPS plus input lag, there are no points to win. But if I have 300 FPS with dips up to 240 FPS, then the capping is worth it. Something will change slightly for your eyes, but you will get used to it in a short time.
Suppose you have to cap active and still enough FPS left regarding your monitor’s Hz number. In that case, you will immediately feel a difference.
In the best case, you will notice how you suddenly succeed in flicks that would otherwise never have been possible.
Or you notice it after several games: Somehow, the opponents don’t have a particular advantage anymore.
Wonderful. Quick fix successful. Now you can find and fix the root cause, but as I said, more about that another time.
Further Thoughts and Questions:
Does more FPS improve aiming? Or the other way around: Does low FPS affect aim?
A higher FPS number has a generally positive effect on the imaging up to 300 FPS. Hand-eye coordination can capture, analyze, and react to visual image sequences more precisely. Each person has an individual maximum limit for capturing frames per second. At a certain point, an increase will not have a positive effect.
Does an FPS drop affect the recoil?
The streamer Wackyjacky101 has proven with tests in the game PUBG that less FPS leads to a worse recoil pattern. An FPS drop can therefore have an immediate negative effect on the recoil. Meanwhile, this behavior is fixed in PUBG. That a similar error exists in other shooters can not be excluded.
Does low FPS affect gameplay?
The NVIDIA company has proven with tests in the game CSGO that low FPS can lead to visual disadvantages. Here is a video on Youtube. You can find a more in-depth article about this here on the official NVIDIA site: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/news/what-is-fps-and-how-it-helps-you-win-games/.
On the other hand, higher FPS leads to a smoother image sequence and supports hand-eye coordination and imaging.
In the following video on Youtube, the gamer notices that the FPS number has a noticeable effect on his Aiming and the mouse’s micro-movement.
How many FPS can people perceive?
In the article “Human Eye Frames Per Second – How many frames per second can our wonderful eyes see?” by Dustin D. Brand, the author reports about image changes that fighter pilots still perceive at 220 FPS.
A scientific article from 2015 proves that light changes on LCD monitors can still be perceived at over 500Hz.
In reality and not under laboratory conditions, it can be assumed that humans can still perceive changes at 300 FPS.
Click here for the scientific source: https://rdcu.be/b9Nrj.
If you want to know how much FPS a gamer can even consciously perceive, then please read on here.
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GL & HF! Flashback out.