This article discusses how to fix lag, stuttering, low FPS and increase the performance of your gaming experience. The system requirements for modern PC games are increasing more and more. Society and gaming communities demand more immersive experiences. This is causing many games to be developed that surpass the abilities of gaming PCs built 3-4 years ago. These resource-demanding games are causing older PCs to now be considered low-end. These older PCs now have issues with lag, stuttering, and lower frames per second, or FPS. You can read our guide to fixing laptop performance-specific issues here.
What is lag and how do I fix it for gaming?
Lag means that the internet connection you have between the connection of your game and the host server is slow. A slow connection can cause a very choppy gaming experience. At one moment, you could be on the lookout for an opponent coming around the corner. The next moment, it’s game over for you before you even saw anything. Lag is a source of frustration and causes a bad gaming experience.
Step 1: Check your LAN speeds. If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi access point or an older router/modem, it may cause problems. Ping your default gateway (usually either 10.0.0.1 or 192.168.0.1). You can do this by opening a command prompt (Windows Key + cmd).
If you have greater than 100ms here or you see 25% or more packet loss, then it’s a LAN problem. It may be your network card or modem. Start by calling your ISP to make sure it’s not a problem with their modem. Then consider replacing your network card.
Checking your internet
Step 2: Check your internet. The second step is to make sure your internet connection is actually the source of your problems. Head over to https://www.speedtest.net to check that your internet is at the performance you expect it to be. The download and upload bandwidth are not as important as the latency numbers. Most households in the city or suburbs are getting at least 100mbps download and 5-20mbps upload. The latency should be less than 100ms or milliseconds for a smooth gaming experience. If it is your internet, then you need to increase the performance of your internet connection.
Step 3: You can also try pinging the host server to see if there is a connection specific error to the host. Open up your in-game console in CS:GO and type in status. You should see some lines that show the server you’re connected to. Copy that server and open up your command prompt and ping it like you did on the LAN. Again, connection speeds should be below 100ms and you should not have any dropped packets. If you do, try switching to a different CS:GO server.
Step 4: Close out internet demanding applications. The speed of your internet connection may be hampered by other internet demanding applications, like streaming services. Close out other applications using the internet and then test again.
Step 5: If you have terrible internet, you will need to call your ISP to upgrade services.
What is stuttering in PC games and how do I fix it?
Stuttering lag, or low FPS really refers to having a choppy gaming experience because your PC can’t keep up with the game. Likely, this is a result of not having a bottleneck somewhere in your system’s resources. For most gamers, this is their graphics card. Graphics cards have become really expensive due to the shortage in 2021 and 2022 and have come at a premium, causing many to opt for less-performance grade GPUs.
Step 1: Double-check system requirements. Most people check that their system meets the minimum system requirements of a video game before they buy it. Double-check to make sure you didn’t misread the system requirements and that your PC has the hardware to exceed minimum system requirements.
Step 2: Look for spikes in CPU, memory, disk, network, and GPU. Open up your task manager (ctrl + alt + del) and click over to the Performance tab as illustrated below.
Look at Resource Monitor
Go through each component: CPU, Memory, Disk, Ethernet, WiFi, and GPU to check for spikes. If you see any spikes, you can click down into “Open Resource Monitor” and sort by resource utilization to find out if there are any applications causing spikes that shouldn’t be there.
Step 3: Update your graphics driver. Open your NVIDIA or Radeon graphics console and make sure you have the latest drivers. NVIDIA and Radeon both have driver packages designed to optimize gaming experiences.
Review Recommended System Requirements
It also is not a bad idea to double check your graphics card to make sure it meets the minimum requirements of the game. There are a lot of graphics cards out there and it’s not always easy to tell if your graphics card will make the cut. If you do need a graphics card, read How to Select a Graphics Card (GPU) for a Gaming PC in 2022. It provides an overview of all the graphics card models and a list of common games in 2021-2022 that they align to.
Step 5: Optimize your in-game settings. Changing your in-game graphics settings will have a significant impact on your gameplay performance. If you turn your graphics settings to low, your performance will increase. If you turn your graphics settings to high, the performance and frames per second (FPS) will decrease.
Conclusion on How to Fix Lag and Stuttering in PC Games
Some games, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have in-game commands you can run that further enhance your performance and increase your FPS. For example, there are commands you can run to automatically remove blood and shot decals after they go out of view.
Every game will impact your PC differently, and your PC will be able to play games differently depending on its resources and the game’s system requirements. Click here if you want more information on What to look for in a new gaming PC in 2022. This will change in the next 3-4 years again, when a new wave of technological advances emerge and games become even more immersive than they are today. PC’s made 3-4 years ago, and internet connections from that time will no longer make the cut and will need to be upgraded.