When it comes to PC gaming you will inevitably encounter an army of online “experts” who lecture about the importance of FPS. Or frames per second. This refers to the number of frames that are drawn per second on your monitor. In a nutshell, the more frames drawn, the smoother the visual experience.
But the obvious question is just how important are frames per second, really? The short answer is FPS is fairly important. The slightly longer answer is FPS is important, but only up to a certain extent. Let’s take a closer look.
What Are You Using The PC For?
When it comes to gaming there is no question that 60 FPS is a better experience than 30 FPS. This is especially true when it comes to games that have a focus on split second decision making. Simply put, the smoother the visual output, the better chance you have to make quick, microscopic mouse movements. More so if the on-screen activity is intense and fast paced.
On the other hand, all the additional frames in the world aren’t going to make much difference if you’re visiting a site to get the latest tips for horse racing. This probably need not be said, but if your intention is to use your PC for browsing the web, the most powerful graphics card on the market certainly isn’t necessary.
The Games That Need FPS
Likewise, many would even say that more frames are not required for certain types of games. For example, a simple puzzle game isn’t, technically speaking, going to benefit much from upwards of 100 frames per second. The game will feel smoother, but that really is the only benefit. Many would agree that 30 FPS is perfectly acceptable in this case.
On the other hand, intense first person shooter games, such as Call of Duty, or the ever-popular Counter Strike: Global Offensive, are where those additional frames are going to show their worth. Highly competitive games such as these, based around following small, fast moving targets, are where those frames start to mean the difference between winning and losing.
Getting Those Extra Frames
So perhaps you’ve now decided you’d like a higher frame rate. How, exactly, do you go about achieving that higher frame rate?
The easy answer is upgrade your PC. A faster graphics card will always bump up your frame rate, and depending how big the upgrade is, you may well see frame rates soaring into the stratosphere. Problem solved.
But now let’s assume you don’t have a few extra thousand knocking around in the bank. In this case, you may simply consider adjusting the graphical fidelity of the game. Knocking down less necessary settings, such as anti-aliasing, can make a massive difference. Anti-aliasing dropped down from 16X to 4X can easily add a 10% performance boost or more, which ultimately means more frames.
If you’re unsure about what settings to adjust, online guides are widely available. If adjusting settings doesn’t get you the frame rate you want, sadly it means it’s time to upgrade.