Let’s talk about frame rates when streaming and gaming at the same time. Unless you’re running a very good PC or setting up a two-PC stream, you’re likely to have some issues trying to run the latest games on your stream.
We’ll tackle this with a few techniques, and you can also follow each step on your own streaming setup. Please understand that in some cases the only solution will be to buy better hardware, but I will try to teach you how to give your PC more performance no matter what.
For this tutorial, I’ll be using OBS to record, arguably the best live streaming software out there. It’s free to download, and there are tons of tutorials on the internet to get you started.
Find the problem
To get started, please upload your game and start your stream in bandwidth test mode. We’ll need to know some details about your computer to determine why you’re running at a lower frame rate. After you open the game and your stream has started, follow the steps below.
- Alt + Tab from your game and go to desktop.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
- Take a look at yours CPU and GPU Usage and record it.
If you are not reaching 100% usage, please update your driver, update OBS and follow this guide to optimize your settings.
If your CPU or GPU is getting close to or 100% usage, that’s why your frame rate is suffering. You may notice dropped frames in your game, or perhaps your viewers will notice a drop in frame rates in the stream.
There are several methods to reduce your usage, and once you do, that can solve any frame rate issues you have. Please refer to the methods below.
How to reduce CPU and GPU usage while streaming
The most important thing you can do to get started is to close any programs that are using the CPU in the background. Open Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc and click CPU tab
will show you which apps are using the most processing power.
In my case we can see that about 50% of my CPU is being used by apps 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, like if you use Chrome to listen to music while streaming, you can switch to a less CPU-intensive option. For example, you can use the Spotify desktop app or switch to a low profile browser with fewer tabs open.
Once you have closed unnecessary applications, the next thing you can do is to go through the game settings and reduce the graphics. Look for options that can increase CPU usage like display distance. With these settings lower, your PC will unleash more processing power.
One very important tip I can give you is to limit the frame rate of your game. Different games will have different options for this. Some will require specific commands in the game launch option, others may have an in-game FPS limit.
If you don’t have a frame rate cap, the game will try to push as many frames as possible, which means the PC will use all the CPU and GPU power trying to maintain the higher frame rates. . In many cases, this is not necessary. It’s best to limit your frame rate to a reasonable level so your PC doesn’t overwork. This will free up some processing power for your stream, and it will help you maintain smooth, consistent frame rates.
It sounds like a weird fix, but it actually works. In my experience, it was the biggest solution to my problem when viewers complained about stuttering performance.
To find the right frame rate, run the game while streaming and see what frames you get. You can use a program like FRAPS to capture your frame rate. Pay attention to the average, then choose a slightly lower frame rate limit. If you only have a 60Hz monitor, you should just limit your frame rate to around 60fps because you won’t be able to see any higher frames.
I hope that this guide has helped you out with any frame rate issues you may face while streaming. For a quick reminder, I’ve covered three tips in this guide.
- Close unnecessary background apps
- Lower the graphics settings in the game
- Limit your frame rate
If your CPU or GPU is still at 100% utilization, the only solution is to upgrade your system. If you have any questions about this guide, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help.