We all want higher framerates in our games, and sometimes it’s not super easy getting them. While some games are just poorly made and don’t perform well no matter what, most games respond really well to certain tweaks and techniques you can use to get some more frames. Here are the best methods for getting more gaming performance out of your PC.
1 Shut down programs running in the background
This one is a classic for anyone who’s ever used a low-end PC. Cheaper, slower PCs (especially those with less CPU cores) tend to get bogged down if they’re trying to run too many tasks at once, and this can be a significant obstacle towards achieving a good framerate. If you’re struggling to run games, part of the problem could be that you’re trying to run too many applications at the same time.
Streams and videos tend to be the biggest culprits here, and they’ll either run directly off of your CPU or your GPU, both of which are key gaming components. For lower-end PCs with weaker or older hardware, it can be quite taxing to run this kind of stuff when you’re gaming, and while it’s okay for streams and videos to drop a few frames every now and then, it’s definitely not the same for games.
You might also want to turn off or even uninstall software that’s known to cause performance problems on some PCs, known as bloatware. Apps like Corsair’s iCUE, NZXT’s CAM, and software that’s installed by default on prebuilt desktops and laptops can suck up valuable resources that would ordinarily help your games run normally. While you can get rid of them entirely to solve performance issues, if you’d rather keep them installed you can merely close them down or prevent them from running at startup.
2 Enable XMP, AMP, or EXPO
One thing that is often overlooked in PC building is enabling RAM profiles via XMP, AMP, and EXPO. Even OEMs might forget to enable this in prebuilt PCs (though thankfully the best prebuilts usually avoid this error). If your PC doesn’t have a RAM profile enabled or if you just want to check, here’s a simple guide on how to do it. Keep in mind though that each motherboard has a list of supported RAM, and using a RAM kit on a board that doesn’t have explicit support for it might result in an unstable PC when enabling XMP, AMP, or EXPO.
You’ll need to access your PC’s BIOS, which you can do through Windows. Search for
change startup options
In the new window, click the
button next to
Your PC will reboot, and when it comes back on, select
UEFI Firmware Settings
When your PC turns back on, you’ll be in the BIOS. Each motherboard maker puts the XMP, AMP, and EXPO options in different places, but usually you can find them under a tab that’s usually named something like
- Once you find the option to enable XMP, AMP, or EXPO, enable it. If you have multiple profiles to choose from, pick the first option.
XMP, AMP, and EXPO increase RAM performance by boosting its clock speed and tightening its timings, and the CPU’s main source of memory is RAM, so faster RAM means better performance. However, you shouldn’t expect that much more performance with XMP, AMP, or EXPO enabled. A 10% boost to your framerate would be a relatively high gain in most games, and this is simply because RAM isn’t all that important most of the time. There are other ways of getting even more performance.
3 Overclock your GPU
Overclocking your GPU is one of the best ways to get additional performance, since most games stress the graphics card the most. The best way to overclock your GPU is through MSI Afterburner, which we have a guide for, but here’s the short version:
First, increase your
as much as you can.
Try to increase the
core clock speed
by about 5%.
- Run an intensive benchmark like 3DMark Time Spy.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you crash or see visual glitches known as artifacts.
Once you crash or see artifacts, you can increase the
(if possible) to improve stability. Do this in 25mV steps, and don’t add more than 100mV total unless you know what you’re doing.
- If things are stable, you can try and increase the clock speed more.
- Eventually, you’ll find the limit of what your GPU is capable of and you’ll need to settle for a clock speed and voltage combination that makes you happy.
Overclocking a GPU’s memory follows the same basic process, but many recent cards don’t permit you to increase memory voltage, which means you’re just increasing the memory’s clock speed until you find the highest, stable value. But like with enabling XMP, AMP, and EXPO, a GPU overclock isn’t going to get you all that much more performance, maybe around 10% to 15% more frames in the best-case scenario.
4 Overclock your CPU
The process of overclocking a CPU is pretty similar to a GPU, but these days you might not even want to do traditional, manual overclocking. Overclocking on AMD Ryzen CPUs in particular is difficult, often results in more problems than it’s worth, and can even reduce performance in some situations. You can follow our guide on manual CPU overclocking, but most people will be better off with automatic overclocking. Proceed with caution, however, as any sort of overclocking can result in hardware damage if done carelessly.
For AMD Ryzen CPUs, you can use Ryzen Master’s Auto OC instead of a classic, manual overclock. However, you will need to make sure your CPU has very good cooling in order to get the most out of Auto OC, especially on Ryzen 7000 series CPUs. Just follow these simple steps:
Download Ryzen Master
and install it.
- Open it once it’s installed.
Intel CPUs don’t have access to automatic overclocking tools like AMD CPUs do, but you can try Intel XTU and do something similar. But like with Ryzen Master’s Auto OC, you will need good cooling in order for your tweaks in XTU to work.
Download Intel XTU
and install it.
- Open it once it’s installed.
Drag these sliders fully to the right:
Processor Core IccMax
Turbo Boost Short Power Max
Turbo Boost Power Max
Turbo Boost Power Time Window
You might also want to enable Multicore Enhancement in your motherboard’s BIOS settings. This process is different for every board, and some might not even have it, so consult your motherboard’s manual or look around in the overclocking section of your motherboard’s BIOS to find the multicore enhancement option.
Overclocking your CPU will only help in situations where you’re CPU bottlenecked, and usually you’re only CPU bottlenecked if you’re trying to hit a pretty high framerate (higher than 90 FPS generally) or your CPU is really low-end and slow in general. Plus, overclocking on the latest CPUs really doesn’t net you a ton of extra performance since they already come with a pretty high clock speed out of the box.
5 Change or reduce graphics settings
This is probably not a piece of advice you really want to hear, but one of the best ways to get more performance that works almost every time is to change your graphics settings, usually by lowering some or all of them. You can’t expect to overclock or tweak your way out of hardware that isn’t performing to your expectations, and in order to get a good framerate, you might just have to change some graphics settings.
While reducing the resolution and certain quality settings depending on the game can really help here, you can also try enabling upscalers like DLSS, FSR, and XeSS to boost performance without sacrificing visual quality. Not all of these solutions work on all GPUs, but they work on most cards that have come out in the past five years. However, not all games have support for these upscalers, so whether you can use them depends on the games you play.
If you’re more CPU limited than GPU limited, you’re going to have a hard time finding settings you can reduce that’ll increase the framerate. They’re called graphics settings for a reason, and it’s notoriously difficult to actually solve a CPU bottleneck, unless you resort to one last trick that will work for everyone and has a pretty much guaranteed chance of success.
6 Upgrade your PC with new components
If you didn’t want to hear that you should probably reduce graphics settings, then you’ll really not want to hear about the best method of getting better performance: upgrading your PC. Unfortunately, there’s no magic or secret techniques that will really boost your performance like an upgrade will. Upgrading your PC is easily the best and most reliable way to increase your framerate.
You’ll particularly want to upgrade to one of the best gaming GPUs, though a great gaming CPU will also help if you want a really, really high framerate in the 100s. While upgrading will cost you money, there are some decent budget GPUs and CPUs out there that won’t financially ruin you, and you can also buy used hardware for additional savings. In a good gaming PC that’s fit for the 2020s, I’d recommend getting a GPU with at least 8GB of VRAM and a CPU with at least six cores.
How to get higher FPS in your games: Final thoughts
While it’s not fun being told to get new components to get better performance, that’s essentially the reality of the situation. Boosting the performance of your existing RAM, GPU, and CPU will realistically only give you 30% extra performance at best, which isn’t nothing but also isn’t a game-changing amount of frames. To truly make a difference, you’ll have to either accept lower graphics settings, or get new hardware.