How to see your frames per second (fps) in games

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Competitive gamers and esports pros aim for the highest FPS possible lớn give them every competitive advantage. They need the smoothest animations, lowest latency, và the least amount of distracting effects lớn achieve the best results. High frame rates powered by the latest GPUs give these players the competitive edge.

We recently released a video showing how 60, 144, và 240 FPS/Hz affect chơi game inside CS:GO:


Now, let’s dive one level deeper và take a look at how this all works on your PC và why FPS offers gamers a competitive advantage by improving animation smoothness, reducing the effect of ghosting & tearing, and lowering system latency.

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FPS và Hz are often interchanged & misused in the gaming world. Hz is defined as cycles per second, and is most commonly associated with your display. They both describe a completion rate, but by different components in your PC’s rendering system. Simply put, FPS is the rate at which your system, & in particular, your GPU completes frames & Hz is the rate at which your display shows those completed frames.

In the animation below you can see how the grey ticks on vị trí cao nhất represent frames being displayed by the monitor và the green ticks represent frames being completed by the GPU.


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Before we break down this concept, let’s lock the FPS lớn the Hz. Although this doesn’t really happen in the real world, it will make explaining these concepts easier if the GPU and display are operating at the same rate.

Looking at the below animation of a bouncing ball, we can visualize why the animations are smoother.


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Breaking this down with our bouncing ball animation below, we can now see the ghost trailing the ball, as well.


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Building on the animation smoothness steps, the ghost appears in the previous “step” of the animation. At 60 FPS/Hz, the change in distance between animation steps is much larger, so the ghost is much more visible. At 240 FPS/Hz, the change in distance between the animation steps is much smaller, so the ghost is less visible.

This is why at higher FPS/Hz, rotating your character or viewing an object in motion is much clearer. Similar to lớn the benefits of animation smoothness, reduced ghosting provides clearer target tracking - helping your eye focus on the target and not the ghost.


Tearing is when the display is showing different frames from the GPU at the same time that causes a horizontal tear or image shift across the screen. In the example below, we can see the tear straight through the player model.


Tearing occurs when the đầu ra rate of the GPU (FPS) does not match the display’s Hz. In order lớn avoid tearing, we can turn on V-SYNC. V-SYNC effectively locks the output rate of the GPU to the Hz of the display. When V-SYNC is on, the GPU is only allowed to render one frame per display refresh cycle.

Although this removes tearing, it can địa chỉ input delay, and make the trò chơi feel less responsive as the GPU often has khổng lồ wait lớn show you the results of your actions. Because of the added delay, many gamers decide to play with V-SYNC off và put up with the tearing.

In the below example, the FPS is higher than the Hz of the display và V-SYNC is off.


As we can see, the tears appear smaller at 240 FPS/Hz, but why? Let’s break it down.

In the below animation, there is a man running from left lớn right across the screen. Eventually, there is a tear.


As we can see, when the tear occurs, we see the bottom half of the object looking as if it moved forward, while leaving the original part behind. Because the GPU rate is not fixed khổng lồ the display rate, the GPU will effectively swap the next frame that has finished rendering mid-refresh. Once the frame has been swapped, the remaining portion of the frame is rendered with the newer image - creating the offset known as a tear.

Similar to lớn the animation steps, the distance the object travels between frames is greater at 60 FPS/Hz, so the displacement of the object between the two frames is greater - creating a larger tearing effect. At 240 FPS/Hz, the object"s displacement between the two frames is smaller because the difference in time between the two frames is smaller - creating a smaller tearing effect. Smaller tearing effects help remove distracting effects, helping players maintain focused on winning the game.

As mentioned above, there are displays that use variable refresh rate technology, like G-SYNC, khổng lồ give gamers the benefits of VSYNC OFF while removing tearing. G-SYNC displays wait for the next frame khổng lồ be completed by the GPU before refreshing the display - allowing the GPU to lớn complete frames as fast as it can. We will be diving into this topic more in a later article.


Looking at the video clip below, we can see how the opposing player at 240 FPS/Hz appears to be positioned ahead of the player at 60 FPS/Hz.

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This is caused by system latency.

When talking about latency in games, many gamers think of ping or network lag. This source of latency describes the time it takes for the information on your PC to reach the trò chơi server and back lớn your PC.

System latency, on the other hand, describes the time it takes your actions (mouse clicks, mouse movements, keyboard input) to lớn reach your display. This is often called motion lớn photon, or click to lớn muzzle flash latency.


But what causes system latency? Let’s dive in and take a look at the rendering pipeline.

In the below example, we have simplified the pipeline down to three stages for easy explanation. Starting on the left, we have the CPU (denoted by the blue bar) that interprets input, updates the game state, prepares the frames for the GPU lớn be rendered, and places them in the GPU render queue. The GPU (denoted by the green bar), then takes those prepared frames from the queue và renders them. Once the GPU is finished, the Display (denoted by the grey bar) presents the final image on the next refresh cycle.


All of these actions take time và the sum of that time is the system latency.

In the real world, these actions are pipelined, meaning that each stage will start on the next frame once it’s done. Pipelining affects the rate of completion (FPS), but does not necessarily change the system latency as your actions still pass through each stage regardless.

Let’s look at a 60 FPS/Hz pipeline next a 240 FPS/Hz pipeline.


We can see how the 60 FPS/Hz system displays the frames much later. Breaking this down lớn a single frame on each system, we can see the difference in system latencies.


Starting at the beginning of time, each system’s CPU receives the player’s position at the same time. In this example, the CPU và the GPU take approximately the same time to prepare and render the frame. The CPU portion of the pipeline on the 60 FPS system is 4 times longer than the 240 FPS system. Similarly, the GPU render time is also four times longer on the 60 FPS system. Finally, the display section is also 4 times longer on the 60 FPS system as the refresh cycle is 4 times slower than a 240 Hz display.

On a 60 FPS/Hz system it simply takes longer lớn process và is therefore further behind the actual state of the game. At 240 FPS/Hz, the rendering is much closer to lớn the actual state of the game, but there is still some difference.

We can see the difference between the two system’s latencies in this example below. The positional difference between the two is the difference in system latency. Using a vertical rule, like a black bar, makes it easy to compare these offsets caused by system latency.


Lower system latency allows you to see player earlier. Additionally, reducing system latency makes the trò chơi feel more responsive as the time between your mouse movements và the results on screen is shorter. With these benefits together, lower system latency gives you a competitive edge on the battlefield.


In conclusion, having a higher frame rate has definitive, measurable benefits: smoother animations improves target tracking, smaller ghosts và tears help reduce distracting effects, & lower System Latency helps you see targets sooner with a more responsive feel. Combining these benefits together, high FPS will give you an edge compared to your competition.

How much of an edge you ask? Using data gathered from a study we conducted earlier in the year, we were able to plot player’s average FPS vs. Their Kill/Death (K/D) ratios -- a common metric for player skill in competitive games lượt thích Fortnite or PUBG.


Inspecting the chart, we can see there is a correlation between gamer’s average FPS & K/D ratios in PUBG & Fortnite. At 180 FPS, player’s K/D ratios are 90% better than players at 60 FPS!

On its own, correlation doesn’t mean causation of course. But put in the context of FPS benefits such as animation smoothness, reduced ghosting and tearing, & lower system latency outlined in the article, the positive relationship shown in the chart makes a bit of sense.

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Check out the latest #FramesWinsGames page lớn see how our GeForce GPUs can provide the FPS needed khổng lồ maximize your competitiveness in Battle Royales and First Person Shooters. And watch our new Tony Tech Talk video, below, for more on the subject.