Computing machines (PCs and laptops) were initially designed to help businesses and government agencies to perform tasks that would take too much time if done by humans. However, it wasn’t long before people found other uses for these machines. One of the main avenues of having entertainment on computers is gaming. In this article, we will discuss what pc parts affect FPS the most in your gaming system
While gaming exists in many shapes and forms, such as on dedicated hardware known as gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) and handheld devices (3DS, Gameboy, Smartphones), computer gaming provides some unique advantages that devices mentioned above cannot.
PC Gaming vs. Console Gaming
For one, there is the incredible gaming library and the devout gaming community of coding enthusiasts who keep developing applications (known as emulators) to make it possible to play games released as far back as the 1970s. Then there is the killer control scheme combo: keyboard & mouse. If you do not know what that means, ask any console gamer about the struggles of playing first-person shooter games (by far the most popular gaming genre in history) with a console-based controller, which cannot match the point-and-click accuracy of the mouse & keyboard setup.
Cue in the hardware limitations associated with console gaming, resulting from the fact that a console’s rendering hardware remains the same over a fixed ‘generation’ lasting anywhere from 5-8 years, which cannot be upgraded and forces developers to create games with sub-standard graphics to comply with the hardware’s limited capabilities.
Then there is the complex (or over-complex, if not annoying) concept of ‘exclusivity,’ wherein the top games developed by first-party developers (game devs owned by the company making the console) and even some third-party developers would ONLY be released on ONE particular console, which forces people who have invested in a different console to either buy a new one or be deprived of playing some of their favorite games.
As if someone needed more proof as to PC gaming’s accessibility, the PC gaming community has created emulators for virtually every console ever made, which allows PC owners with decent hardware to play most of the games anyway, which console developers had tried so painstakingly to keep under lock-and-key.
Now, we know you are already exhausted by us stressing the greatness of computer gaming. Still, we cannot help but tell you that the ‘war on PC gaming’ launched by console makers and some gaming studios in the early 2010s is over, and PC gaming has not just prevailed but won. Need proof? Sony has released many beloved first-party titles (such as God of War III) over to PC and plans to bring other first-party games to PC in the future too. Microsoft has already introduced its excellent Game Pass service to PC users and has announced support for PC gaming alongside the Xbox consoles.
All game devs have committed to making PC games and to making them playable on PCs at high FPS. But….
What is FPS?
Frames per Second (FPS, not to be confused with First-Person Shooters, the gaming genre) is the frequency – or speed – at which the images appear on a display screen such as a computer monitor. In gaming, FPS determines how fast a game is rendered by the hardware for the user; the higher the FPS, the better.
Throughout gaming history, 24 FPS has been considered the bare minimum at which decent gaming is possible. For an everyday gaming experience, 30 FPS is a must-have, whereas an optimum gaming experience requires 60 FPS or higher.
What PC parts affect FPS the most?
Which components inside your PC regulate how fast of an FPS you should expect while gaming? Let us have a rundown of essential PC hardware and find out which members play a part in determining FPS.
Motherboards are the central Printed Circuit Board (PCB) to which all the other components and devices are connected in some way. Without a motherboard, there would be no way for those devices to coordinate with each other and provide the output to the user. The most advanced CPUs and GPUs are only helpful if you have a motherboard with appropriate slots and technology to support them. Having ten different RAM sticks is pointless if your motherboard has a DIMM slot for only one of them.
Another critical factor during gaming is cooling. Rendering video games is a heavy-handed task that pushes hardware components such as CPUs and GPUs to their limits, causing them to pull in more energy to perform their functions, which results in a computer system heating up very quickly. Although most modern GPUs come with in-built fans for cooling purposes, it is also essential to have a motherboard that, among other things, boasts excellent heatsinks and cooling mechanisms to ensure the smooth functioning of a PC during periods of extreme load.
Therefore, while a motherboard does not directly affect the speed at which you play your games, it is an essential component as it supports the members who do that.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the main processing component inside a PC, responsible for receiving instructions from the user right up to the point when you boot the system and then determining the best-available way to execute those instructions.
A CPU works exactly like how a brain works for a human being. Just imagine you want to pick up a glass of water, so what do you do? You tell your brain that you need to pick up a glass of water, your brain relays those instructions to your hands (the body ‘components’ deemed most suitable for that task), and your hands execute that task.
Similarly, a CPU takes the instructions from the user, processes those instructions to figure out the ideal way to perform those tasks with available resources, delegates the task to a component that is best suited for that job, and then executes the task.
When it comes to gaming, a CPU is primarily responsible for translating gaming environments for a GPU, which then renders those environments on the screen for the user. The CPU also handles logical aspects of a gaming algorithm, such as the physics inside a gaming environment, NPC (Non-Playable Character) behavior, NPC and enemy AI, and the interactions between the player and the gaming environment. This information is also provided to the GPU, which handles the more complicated gaming tasks.
Modern CPUs consist of multiple ‘cores,’ with each core being a full-fledged CPU on its own. This construction allows a multi-core CPU to delegate different tasks to different substances, leading to the overall improvement in performance and efficiency.
Although having CPUs with multiple cores is beneficial to gaming from an FPS standpoint, CPUs are not the most crucial factor in determining gaming performance on a PC, and it is generally considered unwise to invest too much money in a top-of-the-line CPU if gaming is all one is interested in.
Every gamer worth their salt knows about Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which also goes by many other names such as VGA, Graphics, Card, Video Card, 3D Card, and 3D Accelerator. GPUs are the holy grail of video gaming. A GPU receives instructions from a CPU, which informs about the images, animations, videos, gaming environment, AI, and interactions between the player and the gaming environment, and the GPU uses its dedicated and influential hardware to render all of that data on the screen.
Since all of that data is presented in the form of algorithms and mathematical calculations to a computer, once GPU takes over those calculations, it frees the CPU of those duties, which leads the CPU to focus on other computing aspects of the game and leads to an overall improvement in FPS.
The vast majority of modern games are rendered in a 3D environment, and generating even the simplest of 3D images (let alone a moving one) on-screen requires millions of mathematical calculations. This process is known as Pixel Shading, and GPUs have several dedicated circuits known as pixel shaders and vertex shaders (modern GPUs have combined both types of shaders into unified architectures), which allow them to expertly perform all shading functions expertly, further reducing the load from a CPU. Thanks to powerful GPUs, it is now possible to game at very high resolutions, such as 4K and even 8K, above 60 frames per second.
Due to all these aspects, a GPU is the most critical component in deciding the FPS. The more powerful the GPU is inside the PC, the more FPS the system will likely have during gaming sessions.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is the volatile memory an operating system uses to store important information. How does RAM differ from storage media, you ask? Storage media such as HDDs and SSDs might offer high storage space, but they are very slow to access. If an operating system were to refer to those devices all the time, it would lead to long and painful processing times until a task is finally concluded.
During gaming sessions, the CPU will store important game-related information inside RAM, from where it can be accessed quickly, which significantly helps improve overall gaming performance and FPS. High amounts of RAM allow more and more information to be stored in RAM, which can be referred to at a moment’s notice, leading to an overall improvement in gaming performance. Low amounts of RAM will mean less information could be stored, leading to a game performance with a lot of lag, choppiness, and stuttering.
Therefore, RAM is an essential part of the gaming process and significantly impacts overall FPS.
Gaming is one of the most popular activities conducted on computer systems around the world—every gamer desire to play video games at high FPS. While many factors decide the overall frames per second at which a video game can be played over a PC, GPUs are by far the most critical component inside a computer in deciding the final FPS output, followed closely by the CPU and RAM. Motherboards also play an important, albeit indirect, role in determining FPS output during gaming sessions.
What parts of a PC affect FPS?
The computer parts most responsible for determining how much FPS a video game will be played are the GPU, RAM, and CPU.
Will a better GPU increase FPS?
An improved, more powerful GPU is guaranteed to provide an FPS boost during gaming sessions. However, relying entirely on the laurels of a GPU may create some problems, too. It is generally a better idea to pair a good GPU with a good CPU as well, as these two critical components will divide essential gaming tasks between them, leading to improved FPS for gamers.
Will more RAM increase FPS?
RAMs are where the computers store important game data during gaming sessions, which can be accessed quickly, leading to improved performance. More RAM means more game data can be stored, significantly improving overall FPS.
Will a new CPU increase FPS?
While there will undoubtedly be an improvement in FPS with a better CPU, CPUs are generally meant for processing tasks and do not render video games as well as GPUs, so the FPS improvement will not be too much.
Does having 2 GPUs increase FPS?
Having multiple GPUs in the SLI setup (for Nvidia GPUs) and Crossfire setup (for AMD GPUs) should lead to a considerable boost in gaming FPS. However, such an improvement will also depend upon many other factors, such as the CPU and RAM installed inside the PC, the effectiveness of the GPU drivers, and whether the game designers optimize the video games to take advantage of a multi-GPU setup.