Let’s talk about frame rates when streaming and playing games at the same time. Unless you have a very good PC or dual PC streaming setup, you might run into some issues when running the latest games on your stream.
We’ll be addressing this issue through a number of methods, and you can follow each step in your streaming setup as well. Please understand that in some cases the only solution is to buy better hardware, but I will try to help you improve your PC’s performance no matter what.
For this tutorial, I’ll be using OBS for recording, which is arguably the best streaming software out there at the moment. It is free to download and there are many guides online to help you get started.
Find the problem
To get started, load the game and start the broadcast in the bandwidth check mode. We’ll need to get some information about your computer to determine why you are using a lower frame rate. After opening the game and starting the broadcast, follow these steps.
- Alt + Tab in game and go to your desktop.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
- Look at your CPU and GPU usage and write that down.
If you haven’t reached 100% usage, please update your drivers, update OBS, and follow this guide to optimize your settings.
If your CPU or GPU is almost or completely loaded, this is why your frame rate suffers. You may notice a drop in frame rate in your game, or perhaps your viewers will notice a drop in frame rate in a stream.
There are several ways to reduce your usage rate, and once you do, it could potentially fix any of your frame rate issues. Let’s take a look at these methods below.
How to reduce CPU and GPU usage while broadcasting
The most important thing you can do to get started is to close all programs that are using the CPU in the background. By opening Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc and clicking on the CPU tab, you can see which applications are using the most processing power.
In my case, we can see that about 50% of my CPU is being used by applications that are not needed for streaming. We can close these applications to free up CPU power for our thread. If some apps need to be open, for example if you’re using Chrome to play music while streaming, you can switch to a lower CPU usage option. You can, for example, use the Spotify desktop app, or switch to a low-profile browser with fewer open tabs.
After you have closed unnecessary applications, the next thing you can do is go through the game settings and reduce the graphics. Look for options that can increase CPU usage, such as draw distance. If these settings are lower, your computer will free up more processing power.
One very important tip I can give you is to limit the frame rate in the game. Different games have different options for this. Some will require specific commands in the launch parameters of the game, others may have an FPS limit in the game.
Unless you have a frame rate cap, the game will try to deliver as many frames as possible, which means the computer will use all the CPU and GPU power to try and maintain a higher frame rate. In many cases this is not necessary. Better to limit your frame rate to a reasonable level so that your computer doesn’t overload. This will free up some processing power for your stream and help maintain a stable and stable frame rate.
Sounds strange, but it really works. In my experience, this has been the biggest solution to my problem when my viewers complained of stuttering.
To find a suitable frame rate, start the game while streaming and see what frames you get. You can use a program like FRAPS to freeze the frame rate. Pay attention to the average and then choose a frame rate limit just below that. If you only have a 60Hz display, you should simply limit the frame rate to around 60fps, because you won’t be able to see frames at a higher rate.
I hope this guide has helped you solve any frame rate issues you may encounter while streaming. As a reminder, I’ve mentioned three tips in this guide.
- Close unnecessary background applications.
- Decrease the graphics settings in the game.
- Limit the frame rate
If your CPU or GPU is still running at 100%, the only solution is to update your system. If you have questions about this tutorial, please contact me and I will be happy to help.