Frames per second, or FPS, is the clearest measure of how well your computer can run a video game. It’s not difficult to tell if your PC is having trouble with or breezing through whatever game you’re playing, but even if you develop a good instinct and have an ability to make a rough estimate on how many FPS your rig is churning out, you probably won’t be able to nail the exact number. Those chances are diminished significantly when you consider that frame rates fluctuate constantly depending on what you’re doing in-game.
Why would you want to know how many fps your system can kick out when you’re playing World of Warcraft, Counterstrike, or Fortnite? Frankly, many gamers just like to brag — attaining triple digits in a game as demanding as a new Call of Duty title is something to boast about. However, the more pragmatic gamer might want to know what his or her PC is capable in terms of FPS because that can help determine whether the system is up to snuff or whether an upgrade is in order. We’re here to show you how to pull it off.
How to check your PC’s FPS when playing video games
Given that AMD’s Radeon GPUs come already installed in many PCs, you might have a built-in FPS tracker and not even know it. Fortunately, it’s very easy to make use of AMD Relive. It requires an AMD HD 7700 or newer and the latest drivers installed.
To find your FPS, right-click on the desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings from the pop-up menu.
From there, follow this path:
Relive tab > Toggle Toolbar Hotkey > Performance tab > Metric Options > Show Metrics
Next, minimize Metric Options, maximize Select Metrics, and turn on FPS.
NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience
If you have a GeForce GT 600, GTX 600, or newer, getting info on your machine’s frame rate is very simple. Simply download the latest drivers and open the GeForce Experience app.
With the app open, click the gear icon located next to your Nvidia account name. Under About, check the box next to Enable experimental features. This lets you access and turn on the option for In-Game Overlay. Click the associated Settings button.
A window appears on your screen. Click HUD layout followed by FPS counter. Under Position, select a location within the box where you want the counter to reside on your screen. Click Back to finalize your settings.
Once you’re done, the FPS counter icon will appear, resembling two sticky notes held by a paperclip.
Given Steam’s popularity as a PC gaming platform, the inclusion of a frame rate counter should come as no surprise. To make use of it, click Steam located in the top left corner followed by Settings in the drop-down menu.
The Settings window appears on your screen. Select In-Game listed on the left and then click the down arrow located under In-game FPS counter shown on the right. Select one of four locations from the drop-down menu.
It’s worth noting that you can also choose to toggle on or off a High contrast color setting.
Serving up frame rate counts since 1999, Fraps is a free, easy-to-use frame-counting tool that quietly sits in your taskbar. The program is fairly tiny, with the download weighing in at a measly 2.2MB, smaller than most MP3 files.
Once installed, Fraps will automatically sneak into your taskbar. If you want to change its settings, right-click on the icon and select Settings on the pop-up menu — the Fraps icon resembles a monitor with a yellow 99. Otherwise, just game on!
Any game you play from here on out will have a yellow number displayed in the corner of your screen. That number represents your game’s current frame rate.
Once you exit the game, however, the Fraps FPS counter can behave erratically. Although the issue usually doesn’t appear in Windows, at times it will pop up. If you want to close it while not playing games, right-click on the icon and select Exit Fraps on the pop-up menu. You can start it again by locating it on the Start Menu, or by typing Fraps in the taskbar search field.
MSI is one of the more popular gaming brands on the market. The company manufactures motherboards, peripherals, desktops, laptops, and add-in graphics cards. MSI Afterburner is a free tool that essentially complements its graphics cards, allowing customers to overclock them for better performance. But it also includes an on-screen display that can show your minimum and maximum frame rates.
To enable the frame rate counter, click the gear icon located under Fan Speed to open the app’s settings. Next, with the MSI Afterburner properties window now on your screen, select the Monitoring tab.
From there, select up to seven related settings found under Active hardware monitoring graphs. These include Framerate, Framerate Min, Framerate Avg, and more. Click to the left of each setting to enable (green checkmark).
Finally, be sure to enable Show in On-Screen Display located just under Graph Columns. Click Apply followed by OK to complete.
Windows/Xbox 10 Game Bar
Since late 2019, Windows 10 users have enjoyed the addition of an FPS counter via Xbox Game Bar and Microsoft Store. All that’s required is downloading the app from either source, going through the installation wizard, and rebooting your PC.
Boot up your game and press the Windows + G keys to open the Windows 10 FPS counter. Go to the Performance section to see the new framerate counter — you’ll see a small box on your display that will show your PC’s performance data.
Games with FPS counters built-in
Many popular PC games include frame rate trackers, including Counterstrike, several Call of Duty releases, Fortnite, and many others. In order to enable them, just check out Reddit or player forums to start tracking your frames. This lets you keep cool under fire and enjoy your favorite games while ensuring peak performance.
Alternatively, before jumping into a campaign or multiplayer battle, you can use integrated benchmarks to view your PC’s frame rates using various detail levels, as seen in Borderlands 3, Far Cry 5, and Gears 5. This way, you can see how your PC performs to adjust the settings accordingly and generate better in-game performance. You’ll typically see high, minimum, and average frame rate numbers.