If you're new to gaming, whether it's console or PC, you've probably heard or seen the acronym "FPS” used in games and hardware discussions.
Even if you've heard of framerate or FPS, it can be hard to be sure what it really is. After all, there are a number of factors to take into account when choosing a frame rate.
Not clear what exactly FPS is about? Want to know what that means in the game? Then read on, as we will answer almost every FPS-related question in this article!
What is FPS?
Let's tackle the most elementary question in gaming – what really is FPS?
The acronym stands for “frames-per-second” (translated into our language to frames or frames per second) and denotes how many frames your graphics card can render every second and/or how many frames your monitor can display every second. The former depends on the processing power of your graphics card, while the latter depends entirely on your monitor's refresh rate.
FPS can also refer to the First-Person Shooter game genre.
A good example: Remember those cool little flipbooks where a pad of paper had a picture on each page, and when you flipped through the pages quickly, the picture looked animated and moved?
That's how video works. Whether digital or traditional film, video is a series of still images that, when viewed in order at a certain speed, give the appearance of movement. Each of these images is called a “frame”.
The frame rate, then, is the speed at which these images are displayed or the speed at which you “flip through” the book. So if a video is captured and played back at 24 fps, that means that every second of video shows 24 distinct still images.
The speed at which they are shown tricks your brain into perceiving smooth movements.
What FPS should you have in a game?
FPS ratings are usually rounded up to the following:
- 30 FPS – The most common frame rate seen in most console games and some low-end PCs. It's also considered the minimum for a game to be playable, although most people don't notice any stuttering until the FPS drops to or below 20 FPS.
- 60 FPS – Generally considered the ideal frame rate, 60 FPS is only achievable on consoles by a few well-optimized games. By comparison, a decent gaming PC will be able to get 60 FPS on most games, although AAA games may require a certain degree of tweaking to the settings. This is also the maximum frame rate that can be displayed by regular monitors and TVs.
- 120 FPS – only achievable on high-end gaming PCs, which are connected to 144 Hz refresh rate monitors, 120 FPS is noticeably smoother than 60 FPS. However, due to high hardware requirements and inevitably high prices, it remains popular only among enthusiast gamers.
- 240 FPS – The peak frame rate you can expect to achieve today, 240 FPS, can only be displayed on 240 Hz refresh rate monitors, much like 120 FPS is only visible at 144 Hz. However, the difference between 120 FPS and 240 FPS is almost indistinguishable. This, combined with the even higher hardware costs, makes it obvious why 240 FPS is only targeted by a small number of gaming enthusiasts.
“In the game, the FPS determines how many frames (images) your monitor is displaying each second. The higher the FPS, the smoother and more responsive the game will feel.
In contrast, low FPS will make it feel like the game is crashing and by extension will make it more difficult and less enjoyable to play.”
Keep in mind that it is physically impossible to maintain a completely stable framerate and that it will fluctuate regardless of the power of the system you are playing on or the level of optimization in the game. Also, the higher the frame rate, the less noticeable these fluctuations will be.
What is the difference between the frame rates?
As we already explained, FPS constitutes how many frames are displayed on your screen every second. In essence, the more there are, the smoother and more responsive the image will appear.
Imagine, for example, if you were watching something running at 1 FPS. That would mean you would only see one image every second, which would result in what felt more like a slideshow than an interactive experience.
But not only will the high frame rate affect the responsiveness, it will also affect the visual experience, especially the animations. As long as a game has natural looking animations, they will appear to flow perfectly at high framerates, although more outdated games with cruder animations can actually look worse.
Do you get a high FPS advantage?
the answer is definitely Yes, but it may be more or less than you expected, and some people may not get any benefit.
So how does high FPS help?
By seeing more frames on the screen, you will be able to react more quickly to any changes that occur. In addition, a more responsive gaming environment allows you to better observe and analyze in real time.
Is higher FPS better?
Most would unanimously agree that the higher the better. However, the truth is that sometimes a lower FPS is better in some cases.
- smoothness – if your PC or console is struggling to maintain a steady frame rate and therefore has frequent FPS drops, it might be nicer to limit it to 30. That way, you'd have a smoother experience.
- immersion – The vast majority of movies are shot at 24 FPS, so 30 FPS can give the game a much more cinematic feel. Also, in some games that are older or don't use motion capture technology, animation can look very clunky at high frame rates, as we've already mentioned.
When your graphics card's frame output is out of sync with your monitor's refresh rate, you will see the screen falling apart . When this happens, you'll want to enable V-sync in the graphics card's control panel or in the game's own settings menu.