Best fps games 2021: the most essential first

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Want to see your FPS counter while gaming? Here's how to turn on in-game settings and enable monitoring programs to help track frame rates, as well as CPU and GPU usage.

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Your frame rate, measured in frames per second (fps), describes how smoothly a given game runs on your PC. The more frames you can pack into one second, the more smooth motion will be on-screen. Lower frame rates—that is, frame rates lower than 30fps or so—will appear choppy or slow.It"s a useful metric for evaluating your hardware"s gaming performance, and often touted by PC enthusiasts looking to boast about their system.

It isn"t just about bragging rights, though—knowing your frame rate can also help you ensure you"re getting the best performance possible. For example, if your game is running slowly, displaying the frame rate can help you figure outwhich graphics settings to turn downfor the most meaningful boost.

Knowing your frame rate can help you decidewhichmonitorto buy—after all, there"s no reason to spring for a 144Hz monitor if your graphics card is only powerful enough to produce 60fps in the games you play. Monitoring the frame rate alongside other hardware stats—like CPU, GPU, and VRAM usage—can even tell you which component is the bottleneck in your system, and where you"d benefit most from an upgrade. Convinced? Here are a few ways to measure your frame rate, depending on how much info you need.

Quick and Dirty: Use Steam"s Built-In FPS Counter

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If you"re launching a game on Steam, even if it"s a game you didn"tbuyon Steam, you can use the launcher"s in-game frame rate counter to measure performance. On Steam, openSettings > In-Game > In-Game FPS Counter. Select a location in the drop-down to turn it on.

The next time you launch a game, you"ll see your frame rate displayed in the corner using dark gray text (though you can check the High Contrast Color box to display it in more readable text).

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This option is easy to enable, but it"s pretty basic—there"s no hotkey to turn it on and off in-game, and you don"t have the option to show any other stats like third-party tools may offer. But for something quick and unobtrusive, it"s a perfect solution.

Ubisoft Connect has an FPS counter switch under Settings > General. Other game launchers, such as Epic Games, GOG Galaxy, and EA Play may have a similar feature.

For More Detailed Info: Install MSI Afterburner

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Sometimes, monitoring your frame rate isn"t quite enough. Other hardware stats can show you if a component is being maxed out. If your CPU is always at 100% in-game while your GPU chugs along at 40%, for example, you"re better off putting your upgrade money toward a new CPU. Or maybe your CPU and GPU usage are fine while VRAM usage is maxed out, which would indicate that texture resolution is set too high for smooth performance.

For seeing these other stats, I like using a tool calledMSI Afterburner. Technically, its main purpose isoverclocking your graphics card, but it also provides an incredibly detailed, customizable overlay with more stats than you can shake a stick at. And it works with any graphics card, not just those manufactured by MSI.

Install MSI Afterburner, making sure you include the bundled RivaTuner Statistics Server application (which is required for displaying performance information). Open Afterburner"s settings and head to the Monitoring tab. You"ll see a huge list of metrics you can display, including frame rate, GPU Usage, Memory Usage, CPU Usage, Fan Speed, and more.

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Go through the list and click the checkmark next to any stat you want to monitor—then select it and check the Show in On-Screen Display box below the list. After doing this for each stat you want to monitor, click the On-Screen Display tab and assign a shortcut to toggle the on-screen display.