Choppy Gameplay but High FPS – What to Do?
Your frame rate can be high, graphics good, and computer fast, but for some reason, your games seem to stutter and are choppy for no apparent reason. In some cases, it might not matter what game you play, the stutter appears every time.
Video games’ choppy/stutter behavior can be influenced by defective hardware, improperly set settings, and missing driver updates. This guide will help you troubleshoot choppy and stuttering graphics for Windows 10.
Gaming PCs are often upgraded, and incompatible hardware can cause strange issues (such as our famous choppiness and game stuttering issues). Make sure your hardware is correct first. No amount of software troubleshooting is going to fix a hardware problem.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is used to temporarily load files on to the memory. Insufficient RAM may hang up your hardware resources and cause choppiness or stuttering. Most systems contain at least one stick of 8GB RAM. RAM tends to be the easiest hardware component to upgrade.
Ideally, two sticks of RAM, which would total 16GB, should be enough to run most games and reduce the choppiness and screen stutter. Two sticks double your memory bandwidth and increase the transmission rate of files. Be sure to buy the same version of memory RAM for maximum compatibility.
The PSU (Power Supply Unit) is used to power your computer components, such as your graphics card and CPU, and improper voltage may cause gameplay stutter and choppiness.
Power supply units are sold with maximum and sustained voltage levels. The power supply maximum power rating (in watts) does not always correspond to the power supply’s ability to deliver it as continuous power. Make sure your card is getting enough power by purchasing a compatible power supply.
In any game, you should be meeting the minimum hardware requirements for both the graphics card and CPU. A graphics card GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) can sometimes fail, creating frame time glitches and tearing. As for the CPU, an underpowered computer might not have enough processing power to run the background and game.
Make sure your graphics card meets the minimum system requirements or consider upgrading. Also, keep in mind, graphics cards with multiple GPU’s may inherently create choppiness, as the GPUs must also sync together. It’s always best to run games with a single, stronger GPU.
VSYNC (Vertical Sync) synchronizes the graphics card with the monitor, and improperly set VSYNC settings can wreak havoc on the smoothness of your gameplay. Modern monitors refresh at 60HZ frequencies (or higher) and your graphics card must draw graphics at that same rate or choppiness and stuttering will run abound.
If your video card has a refresh rate far beyond the monitor’s, you might consider upgrading your monitor so its frame rate can match your video card. Otherwise, go to your graphics card settings and turn your VSYNC on which may be called Fast Sync, Enhanced Sync, or Adaptive Sync.
If VSYNC did not solve the stutter issue, you might consider reinstalling your drivers. Your graphics card driver includes a set of instructions used by the operating system to help it communicate with the card. The instructions essentially “drive” it.
Drivers may get corrupted when a program erases or writes onto the driver or if a program alters the driver registry files. Regardless of the cause, a total uninstall will completely wipe the driver off your system, so a fresh copy can be installed.
Windows contains basic drivers, so your driver should automatically install your graphics drivers after a reboot. If not, no worries, we will cover driver updates/installs in the next section. First, uninstall drivers this way:
- At the Start menu, search for Device Manager
- Expand the Display adapters driver tab
- Right-click your video card and select Uninstall
- Go to Start and Restart your system
If reinstalling drivers did not work, you might consider updating your drivers. System updates may render your current driver unusable, so It’s important to check for driver updates.
Windows has a utility that can upgrade your drivers, but it is not always reliable. Find the most recent drivers with a driver update tool. Use Windows as a second option:
- From the Start search bar search for Device Manager
- Scroll through the menu items, select Display adapters
- Right-Click your video card and select Update Driver.
- Search automatically for updated driver software and follow the directions.
If updated drivers did not work, it might be best to rollback windows. Unknown programs may be interfering with your hardware configuration, and Windows creates easy to use restore points. Here is how to rollback Windows:
- From the Start menu, type Control Panel
- Select System and Security
- Select Security and Maintenance
- Click Recovery
- Open System Restore
- Click Next
- Choose a System Restore point, click Next, and follow the instruction
The BIOS is the basic input/output system that controls the flow of information between your computer and devices. BIOS updates can occasionally fix computer issues but better do it as the last resort. Improperly updating your BIOS can permanently damage the boot process and your computer may never turn on. For determining if it’s a BIOS issue, it’s best to go through your computer manufacturer site to see if any tools can check and update your BIOS for you.
Choppy gameplay at high FPS can be confusing to most. If your hardware is working correctly, your graphics settings might need tweaking. It never hurts to upgrade your system and software, which may become outdated with time.
Driver updates are time-consuming and problematic. Windows does not always update correctly, which may force you to spend hours tracking down the right fix. Trust Driver Support for Automatic Driver Updates. Play your game smoothly with peace of mind and use your video card the way it was meant to be.