The Story Behind Steam’s ‘Framerate Police’

The Story Behind Steam’s ‘Framerate Police’

Not all PC games run at 60 frames per second, and for some people, that’s a big problem.

The Framerate Police group is, with nearly 100,000 followers, the tenth most popular curator on all of Steam. Their aim? To list the top possible framerate of any game that’s locked at 30 FPS or less. As they put it:

“We catalogue games that are locked at 30fps so you can see them at a glance and mention if it is possible to unlock the framerate by other means.”

A game’s framerate is the frequency at which consecutive frames are displayed, typically measured in per-second intervals (60 FPS, 30 FPS, etc). In short, the higher the framerate, the smoother the game tends to look in motion. By and large, 60 is considered to be the gold standard — the point at which a video game becomes, as the cliche goes, as smooth as butter. 30 FPS is plenty functional, but, in many cases, not nearly as nice-looking nor responsive. That responsiveness is a big deal for many hardcore gamers, especially on the PC, where games can ship with a variety of technical settings that users can minimise or maximise based on their own system specs. (On the PS4 and Xbox One, which cannot be customised by users, 60 FPS is rarer but still appreciated.) For some gamers, anything less 60 FPS can feel clunky or even uncomfortable.

Comparison video courtesy of ScatterVolt.

Because The Framerate Police group is such a big curator, their listing often appears on Steam games’ store pages, like so:

Simple enough, right? However, since the group’s establishment in July of this year, it’s been a source of a surprising amount of controversy. Critics say that evaluating a game based solely on its framerate doesn’t paint a complete picture or, worse, offers an inaccurate reflection — it presents framerate as a binary arbiter of games’ quality. Moreover, some developers of smaller games contend that their genres and designs never needed to run at 60 FPS, or that they simply couldn’t get there with limited resources. They fear that the Framerate Police are taking them downtown for a crime they didn’t commit.

A history of disappointment

Sometimes, a lower framerate is just that: a little lower. A first-person shooter doesn’t feel quite as deliciously smooth; an action game doesn’t feel quite as intoxicatingly tactile. It’s less comfortable — or, to some, more comfortable — but not game-breaking. On some occasions, however, things get ugly.

PC versions of big-budget games — especially those developed primarily with consoles in mind — have something of a checkered past. While plenty have turned out perfectly functional, there has been a distinct trend of half-assed PC ports over the past few years. One telltale sign of a bad PC port is a locked framerate — one that cannot exceed 30 FPS (or an even lower number) despite the fact that top-tier PCs run circles around consoles with their muscular calves/hardware. PC gamers love getting the best possible performance out of their machines, but locked framerates can rain all over their parades.

Arkham Knight performance video courtesy of RPS.

One particularly infamous recent example is the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, which — in addition to a litany of bugs and glitches — came with a framerate arbitrarily locked at 30 FPS. When Arkham Knight first launched, its PC version was hardly even functional, let alone serviceable. It was clear that Warner didn’t give it the time or resources it needed, nor did they focus on making it the best game it could be on PC. PC gamers took it pretty personally, as they often do with this sort of thing. They have been getting the second fiddle treatment from bigger game-makers for years, after all.

Arkham Knight was a worst case scenario, but it demonstrates why framerate issues strike such a resonant chord with PC gamers and — in turn — why a locked framerate might cause some to see red. Locked framerates have been associated with many sore points in PC gaming history, and people are fed up. PC gamers care about these issues. They care a lot, which is part of why The Framerate Police Steam curator has so many followers.

Cracking down

The Framerate Police Steam curator group was originally established by popular YouTuber John “Totalbiscuit” Bain. His goal was one of simple practicality: he wanted to objectively inform prospective buyers of games’ framerates and, in turn, give them an indication of how they’d play.

“Over the past few years I feel many PC gamers have become very aware of how powerful the PC can be in comparison to the current generation of consoles and their expectations have risen in accordance with that,” Bain told me via email. “PC gamers are perhaps more educated in matters of performance than they used to be, and with that comes a desire for games that run better and can take full advantage of the hardware they own. One of the biggest frustrations for people like that is when a game prevents them from getting the performance their hardware is capable of due to arbitrary limitations within the software itself and one of the most obvious and jarring that has such a big impact on how a game plays, is a 30 frames per second (or lower) lock.”

The group got off to something of an inauspicious start when, shortly after launching in July, some of its members flooded one game, Guild of Dungeoneering, after its developer hid a Framerate Police curator listing from the game’s Steam store page. Furious, they went after the developer on forums and via email, complaining of censorship.

“The issue to me is that when a curator with a large following ‘recommends’ your game, that text is what comes up on your store page,” Guild of Dungeoneering lead developer Colm Larkin explained to me in an email. “It’s meant to be an excerpt of a review.”

“So we removed the 30 FPS lock one from our store page,” he said. “What happened next was suddenly we were getting a whole load of emails, tweets, posts on Reddit, threads on our Steam forums, etc, asking us to stop ‘censoring’ the Framerate Police curator. They ranged from polite to threatening in tone but it was their sheer amount that broke us. It was like a DDOS attack. This was at a time when we were overwhelmed with just trying to keep up with our launch. This was I think two days after launch and we were super busy trying to respond to legitimate requests and patch in mac support and achievements and other fixes. I soon found out what had happened: there was a discussion about us not showing the group on our store page, which led to the ‘witch hunt’ as TotalBiscuit labelled it later.”

Bain told me that this kind of qualitative judgement (coupled with the ensuing mob of irate Steam users) was never his intention. He’s since tried to make that clearer to followers of the Framerate Police curator. “After an incident in which a vocal minority of the group posted angry messages on the forum of a developer who had chosen to block the curator from their store page (they later reversed this decision), we made a group-wide announcement that we would not tolerate members of the group engaging in aggressive behaviour and harassment. We have actively banned those we have seen engaging in this behaviour,” said Bain.

Still, the mere existence of a big, authoritative group like the Framerate Police serves, for some, as a rallying cry, proof that they should take some form of action. For his part, Bain worries that the group’s name might encourage a certain aggressive streak. “I guess if I could change one thing in hindsight it would have been the name,” he said. “It was intended as a light-hearted joke, along the lines of the grammar police, however some people interpreted it differently. Unfortunately it’s not possible to change Steam group names after their creation, so we’re stuck with it now.”

Time and place

Guild of Dungeoneering is not a PC port of a console game. It’s been on PC since day one. A handful of other PC indie games dot the Framerate Police’s ever-expanding curator page because, like Guild of Dungeoneering, they also run at 30 FPS. Most of them do not, however, run poorly and, for some of them, 60 FPS would be a negligible change. Problem is, if a game’s been dinged by a curator called The Framerate Police, it’s easy to interpret that as a knock against its overall quality.

“60 FPS for Guild of Dungeoneering isn’t necessary,” explained Colm. “The game runs super smoothly, and it’s a 2D turn-based game. Remember, particularly for us small indies, anything we want to include in the game takes time, everything is a trade-off. We picked 30 FPS to keep things simple with our engine and then focused on more important things like finishing the game itself, or making it work on Macs.”

However, some still see 30 FPS as a badge worn by negligent developers, people who don’t care about PC gamers. Others view it as inherently worse than a higher framerate alternative, even in games where a framerate above functional levels isn’t a huge factor.

In striving for total objectivity — a complete list of games with framerates locked at 30 FPS or below, regardless of context — The Framerate Police allows people to make up their own minds about what any of it means, for better or worse. Bain pointed out that in recent times The Framerate Police added a genre listing to each curation, in hopes that people wouldn’t make knee-jerk judgement calls over a number. However, given that genres can be interpreted in all sorts of different ways, there’s still a grey area.

Rami Ismail of Vlambeer, the studio behind games like Super Crate Box, Luftrausers, and currently, Nuclear Throne, recently tweeted that he’s received refund requests as a result of his game’s 30 FPS lock (albeit only 53 out of 1500 total returns). He told me that he understands where all the hubbub about framerate is coming from, but he doesn’t think The Framerate Police’s Steam curation is an ideal way to handle it.

“I think it’s a way more nuanced issue than a lot of people make it seem,” said Ismail. “Shoddy ports are always indefensible, and should be called out. But that seems separate to the issue at hand. For some people, games being less than 60 FPS is uncomfortable, and that’s also a serious issue that should be considered. That being said, I think the curation group is not the right way of dealing with it. On Nuclear Throne, we have the curator group blocked, and added the framerate to our technical specs. We feel that the curator spot is meant for curator recommendation, and our game being 30 FPS is a technical specification. We made sure the store page for the game reflects that.”

For his part, Bain agrees with the last part of Ismail’s sentiment. He’d prefer for framerate locks to be listed as part of all games’ technical specifications. “Personally I think something like 30 FPS lock should be required information in the Steam store description, alongside system requirements, DRM information, etc,” he said. “If developers simply revealed this information to begin with or if Steam hadn’t banned the 30 FPS tag, there would be no need for this curator to exist.”

Framerate absolutely can affect the way a game plays — sometimes to the point of making it unplayable, other times just leading to a sub-optimal or slightly uncomfortable experience. It’s definitely not bad information to have. But it’s also not everything. It’s only part of the murky moat of data surrounding any given game, one made both simpler and more complex by the existence of an authority like The Framerate Police.

Still, Bain thinks The Framerate Police Steam curation is solving more problems than it’s causing.

“People did not suddenly decide to dislike 30 FPS locks just because we started a curator on the subject,” he said, “and the kind of people that would follow our curator are those who, logically, do find the issue of framerate important. If we didn’t exist they’d still think that way and may have purchased games that weren’t to their needs, resulting in negative reviews of the product on Steam or angry messages on the forums. By helping users avoid these titles in the first place we can also avoid much of this conflict.”

Here’s hoping. However, it’s also worth noting that the Framerate Police is an instance in which a flawed approach (the name, putting a single tech spec in an otherwise holistic evaluative space) emerged from a flawed system: Steam. What all this seems to say is that Steam needs to include framerate in games’ store page system requirements/tech specs. That would be a much better fit for all involved. Valve did not respond to my request for comment, but we all know how they work at this point: they’re not talking, but that doesn’t (necessarily) mean they’re turning a blind eye. I hope they’re paying extra close attention right now.

Top illustration by Sam Woolley.


  • To be perfectly honest, that framerate discussion has kind of annoyed me recently. I mean, I get that 60 > 30, and anyone who tries to say otherwise (ahem, Ubisoft) is flat out wrong. I understand that people who have put thousands of dollars into top tier rigs want to get the most out of their money. I also understand that there are certain times hardware conflicts with the 30 FPS lock (eg. Totalbiscuit’s review of Toukiden Kiwami using a G-sync monitor) so this information can be necessary and invaluable. I get all that.

    But at the same time, I just can’t understand the people who claim that 30 FPS is completely unacceptable under any circumstances, like that Zefar guy in the article. It really puts me in mind of some sort of indoctrinated cult.

  • What developers don’t understand is, 30fps for game made exclusive to PC is unacceptable anymore. If you are using an engine that runs on 30fps, it is time to move away from the ancient engine to something else.

    • Actually, what you don’t seem to understand is that 30 fps is completely fine for some games and if they were run at 60 fps the difference would be marginal. If you’re talking about a first person shooter then by all means 60 fps should be a bare minimum requirement as with any game that requires tight controls and reflex actions.

      If you’re talking about a turn based card game, digital board game, visual novel, and even many top down 2D shooters then you simply don’t need 60 fps. It makes no difference.

      This attitude of “60 fps or I don’t buy” as the first qualifying criteria for a game is just stupid and pretty immature.

      • Now let me ask you this, if you use a engine capable of 60fps, does it matter whether it is a turn based card game, digital board game, vsual novel or top down 2D shooters? 60fps will give smoother gameplay regardless of what game it is whether it is needed or not and it does not impact the developers if their engine of choice can do it easily. It should only be limited by the user’s hardware.

        60fps is not for tight controls and reflex actions only. It can be for everything, why force a limitation when you could have no limitations at all? We are no longer limited by hardware limitations, memory limitations etc in terms of technology when we had no choice for 30fps ages ago. 30fps should be a choice by users, not a forced option.

        I am not refusing to buy because it is not 60fps, I am refusing to support developers who does not give options to users. Regardless if I choose to ramp up the settings to have 30fps or lower the settings for 60fps, it should be my choice, not forced by the developer. We are PC gamers here, not console gamers. That is the main difference between the platform.

        The attitude of “30fps is fine” is the cancer of the future of gaming.

        • From the article, emphasis mine:
          “60 FPS for Guild of Dungeoneering isn’t necessary,” explained Colm. “The game runs super smoothly, and it’s a 2D turn-based game. Remember, particularly for us small indies, anything we want to include in the game takes time, everything is a trade-off. We picked 30 FPS to keep things simple with our engine and then focused on more important things like finishing the game itself, or making it work on Macs.”

          • The game runs super smoothly, and it’s a 2D turn-based game

            30fps will never be as smooth as 60fps. Claiming 30fps is smooth is like Ubisoft claiming AC games are perfect.

            Your emphasis is precisely what I meant by cancer of the future of gaming. What would happen if every single developers start making their games 30fps because it keeps thing simple and easy to develop?

            Regardless indie or AAA. Just like how they focused on more important things, I’ll focus on supporting developers that actually cares 🙂

          • You’re right. 60fps is smoother than 30fps.

            That doesn’t mean that 30fps can’t be smooth.

            Have you played Guild of Dungeoneering or even watched gameplay footage? It’s a stylised turn based game. Spending time and resources working on the frame rate would have marginal, if any, impact on people’s enjoyment of the game. Spending time and resources on finishing the game and having it available on more platforms, that would definitely impact people’s enjoyment of the game.

            Saying that 30fps is fine in some cases is not saying that every developer should settle for 30fps. There are times when frame rate matters and I’ll happily complain alongside you when that’s the case. Knowing when it matters, that’s the important bit.

          • Yes I did, but I still do not understand why the need to lock at 30fps. Just don’t restrict it. It can only end up to be 30fps/60fps/120fps/144fps in the end with the monitor refresh rate we have.

            I doubt they even considered about 60fps until this issue happened and they are asked to provide a statement. Starting a development with 60fps and 30fps is the same amount of development time, unless you started with one and decided to change halfway into development.

            It is all just an excuse that the majority got away with and they are using it against people that do not get what is the difference between 30fps and 60fps.

            As I said before, they will have my support if they deserve it. If they don’t put in the effort to develop the game, why should I spend money on a product to support that half assed effort?

          • It’s really not as simple as you think.

            Where do the extra frames come from? If you’re making a 2D sprite based game then you need to double the amount of frames that you draw. Either that or do some terrible looking interpolation.

            Even for 3D or vector graphics you can’t just leave it uncapped. You have to at least lock down your simulation step, particularly in multiplayer games. If you don’t then the simulation will get out of sync.

            Physics engines become very unstable with variable time steps, and 60fps can be too much data if you’re targeting slower network connections.

            So the only thing left is to put a whole lot of work into a system that interpolates from the fixed simulation to the current frame if you want to render faster.

            In summary, it’s not the arbitrary, easy, lazy choice that you seem to think it is, and it’s not always the best choice for a game.

      • If it was to run at 60 the difference would be marginal???Please shut the hell up if you dont know wtf you are talking about.

        • Go look up 2d sprite animation and you’ll understand WHY the developers did it.

          Each asset is hand-animated. 60fps means DOUBLE THE FRAMES. Meaning more time needed for each asset. Do you ever wonder why some games take 5 years to come out? It’s because the art demand and quality is high as hell. THESE ARE USUALLY FOR HUGE AAA COMPANIES WITH 60+ staff. This is a small indie team of like 2-4 people.

          Now what is it you said?
          “Please shut the hell up if you don’t know wtf you are talking about”

          • Each asset is hand animated, double the frame rate, ra ra ra. Here i am running mad max at 144fps i guess they spent hundreds of thousands making it work then. Wtf

          • That honestly isn’t how getting arbitary framerate support in a game works.

            Unless you are coding a fighting game (Or a game that needs to have absolute perfect frame-accuracy), there really isn’t much of a reason not to use delta-timing (Which is based off actual time and the elapsed time that the game since updated, and not by frames, which could cause slowdown on hardware that cant handle a fixed framerate), as that has been the standard for AAA games since last-gen. As for 2D games, you can still have animations run at a lower framerate, while still having everything else run at full speed. That’s literally how it’s been since the 8-bit and 16-bit days, when most games did run at 60hz. In example, fighting games run at a locked 60FPS, but the sprites usually are animated at a rate much lower than that.

            Point is, you don’t need to spend more time working on assets, and your claims are pretty much baseless. People who haven’t worked in game development (or at least dabbled into how game engines work) really shouldn’t be saying nonsense about topics that they don’t understand.

      • I game at 144fps on a 144hz monitor and the difference is mind blowing comparing to 60fps. And then they tell us we are over reacting when they lock the games at 30fps. Wake up people.

    • Please don’t tell people what developers don’t understand when you don’t even understand it yourself.

      That’s not at all how game engines work.

      There are PLENTY of games that have been locked at 30 fps that can run 60fps and beyond on exactly the same engine. The developers don’t start by going “Hey we’ll use the 30 fps engine instead of the 60 fps one!”

      • Actually, thats exactly what they do a lot of the time. You think any dev making a 2d game can justify potentially DOUBLING the production time/cost of making art assets just so it can play smoother? Not all animation or video game production is just tweaking bits of code. This is an issue completely independent of engine. Perhaps its you who needs to gain an understanding?

  • If the FR police designate a game as ’30 fps’ when it’s (e.g.) a board game, then surely the user can look at that and go, “that’s okay, it’s only a board game”.

    • Yes they do, if you look up the game you can see recommendations. Either letting you know if and how to manually surpass the 30 fps lock (and if it will cause strange issues) or if it is applicable to the game. Its really quite informative and super useful. Seems the article missed out this feature

  • There are few games, and even fewer gamers, for which this is really a problem.

    The average human reaction time is somewhere around 200ms. A frame in a 30fps game is 33ms. By and large it’s really not ruining your experience. It’s a nice-to-have.

    • Saying it doesn’t ruin the experience sounds like bollocks to me. Its massively easier to track a target in battlefield at 144hz vs 30hz.

  • I’m not a fan of 60fps locks either. I bought a 144hz monitor and the hardware to get framerates in the 100’s even on demanding games, and I want to take advantage of that, damnit. A lot of time locked framerates introduce a small amount of input lag or other nastiness that’s noticeable with a mouse, as well as looking less smooth.

    However, I also do often buy games that I know have locked framerates because although it really annoys me, it’s far from the be-all-and-end-all, and I basically agree with the conclusion of this article – The Framerate Police is not a good solution, if there is a locked framerate (even if it’s locked at 60!) it should be listed on the store page for the game with the other technical details.

    It’s not that I definitely won’t buy your game if it has an FPS lock (even though I will find that choice frustrating and stupid), but it is something that I think I should know before purchasing.

    • You seem to be confusing input lag with frame rate. Frame rate is how many times per second the game looks at what is going on and updates based on that. Input lag is the time between you signalling something with your mouse/keyboard etc and when that actually happens on screen.

      At 30 fps it’s being updated 30 times per second, that’s once every 33 milliseconds, 60 fps is once every 16.7 milliseconds. The average reaction time for a human to even register something has happened and react to it is 200 milliseconds.

      If you think a frame rate of 30 or 60 fps is causing you input lag then you need to go do some research. The frame rate just makes things look more smooth to our eyes, makes actions feel a bit more natural…it doesn’t make those actions initiate any faster.

      • I know what input lag is, thanks.

        The key point in what you said there is “when that actually happens on the screen.” Reaction time is irrelevant here since I’m the one initiating the motion. It takes around 300ms for most people to react to something changing at take an action in response. It does not take 300ms for “I would like to move my hand to the left” to get from my brain to my hand once I’ve decided to do that. In framerate cap situations, especially at 30 FPS, there is a noticeable delay between when the mouse is moved and when your crosshair moves on the screen. It is very slight, but if you’re used to playing fast-paced shooters you can feel a real difference. If you don’t believe me, I’m guessing you don’t play Quake or CS. At least not very well.

        33 milliseconds delay is insubstantial on an input like a keypress, but on something like a mouse that you’re essentially trying to use as a 1-1 extension of your hand movements (something that has extremely fine and fast control), it becomes noticeable enough to be annoying to a lot of people.

  • I think the biggest issue here is people not actually understanding what frame rate is and what it means to games. You see comments like “I want 60 fps so the game runs faster, there’s too much lag!!11oneoneone”. That comment just shows the author has absolutely no idea what the difference between 30 and 60 fps means.

    Frame rate is how many times per second the game looks at what is going on and updates based on that. At 30 fps it’s being updated 30 times per second, that’s once every 33 milliseconds, 60 fps is once every 16.7 milliseconds.

    All this means is that the pictures you see on the screen are updated faster and appear more smooth to the human eye. It makes no difference to the time delay between you seeing something, reacting to it, initiating an action and that action taking place. The largest determining factor there is the human reaction time and any input lag/latency issues in the game. All the difference between 30 and 60 fps will show is how smooth those actions are once they’re initiated.

    Granted some games are very dodgy and tie gameplay to frame rate so that if its 30 and you run it at 60 every action will run twice as fast, usually making games unplayable. Frame rate making these games run faster only occurs because of the specific way updates to the game’s logic are being used. If the speed of the actions weren’t linked to frame rate it would simply make them smoother.

    So 30 vs 60 fps itself isn’t a determining factor in a lot of misguided complaints.

    • The smoother framerate allows you better judgement once you have reacted, try centering your crosshair on a target comparing 30fps vs 144fps,

      Sure it might not affect you reacting to an enemy in a way such as pulling the trigger but it certainly affects following a target and the general blurriness of movement in a game,

      There is also the issue of games like Call of Duty that think its a good idea to tie mouse acceleration to your framerate.

    • Frame rate does affect reaction time. Your wording is careful that it causes no difference between you seeing something and reacting to it, but you didn’t take into account that higher frame rates allow you to typically see the event sooner. An event in the game logic occurring at 1ms will not be rendered to the screen for 32ms at 30fps, or 15ms at 60fps for a difference of 17ms. The average gamer’s reaction time is around 200ms which means there’s as much as an 8.5% difference in reaction time solely caused by frame rate. This is a significant margin in any high reaction game, and it’s why you’ll find almost every competitive gamer in high reaction games tend to play with all graphics settings on minimum to maximise frame rate, and run 144hz monitors.

  • Does this group indicate what frame rate a game will run at on publisher provided minimum and recommended specs?
    How about whether a game is prone to frame dips even on high-end setups?
    Does the group relay announcements from developers regarding patches or updates that may impact frame rates?

    The kinds of questions provided above, coupled with reasoned conversation bereft of technological elitism and animosity, would form the foundation for an interesting group: one that is not predicated on the imputation that a lower than “gold standard” frame lock is a negative quality.
    Heterogeneity of the community will ensure that something is always perceived as a negative quality, regardless of its overall impact on the player’s experience. It would be pleasant if the magnitude of that impact could be reported with consideration of the circumstances that brought it into being.

  • As someone using a Samsung series 5 smart TV as my primary monitor, I am automatically gimped, since 60fps works for my playstation 3,4,blu ray player but as soon as I connect HDMI from my TV to my graphics card, it’s 50Hz refresh rate or “input not supported”. I can either risk screen tearing or have V sync on my games so I can never play 60fps and have the “superior” experience.

    I do this because my computer is wired into my home theatre system and everything in my room is controlled from that. It makes the other things on life less complicated and I’d I want to have tasks running on my pc while I do other things say with my PS3 or 4,i have a 19 inch monitor as backup that my computer switches to, and I could technically switch audio devices too.

    Sadly this means I’ll never notice a tangible difference between 50 and 60fps but can’t boast about smooth frame rates either

  • Films run at 24 frames per second. A camera inherently puts motion blur between frames. If you want something to look like film, it should be at 24 frames per second. A lot of animation can run as low as 15 frames per second. If you want your game to look like a lot of anime it should run similarly. Artistic choices should be able to be made. Funny how a lot of people hated the high speed 48fps versions of the hobbits as it looked too real to suspend disbelief. It is a taste thing, and the artist creating is the one who chooses. Bad ports aren’t acceptable, but artistic choice is. This is the surmation and reality of the discussion. ‘Nuff said.

  • A very old thread I know but thought I’d give my thoughts, as I was a victim of FPS snobbery. I have a 4k Samsung TV with a 2.0 HDMI port with Deep Color. Whilst games looked amazing in 4k I was unable to maintain a smooth 60fps in most modern games and reverted back to 1080p on my 980ti.

    I recently purchased a PS4 Pro and began playing games at 4k (checker board) and yes the FPS did seem a bit sluggish but also very smooth with amazingly beautiful graphics. I have a huge PC game collection and was considering forking out £700 for a new 1080ti but my partner would not be impressed (I have a child to support). So I thought to myself “how come my lesser powered PS4 Pro can handle 4k and my PC can’t?”

    The obvious answer is 30 fps gaming. There are few ways to get 30 fps in games. Either by locking the frame rate to 30 fps using Riva Tuner or Nvidia Inspector. Or you can use adaptive half refresh vsync in the Nvidia Control Panel (either globally or for each individual game that can’t sustain a smooth 60 fps frame rate at 4k). I also set Maximum pre-rendered frames to 1 (in 3d settings of the nvidia control panel) to help reduce lag. A lot of games also have a 30 fps lock or allow you to choose a 30hz refresh rate built in.

    You can only use the 30hz refresh rate option if your TV/Monitor supports it, otherwise text will look blurred. If your TV/Monitor doesn’t support 30hz you won’t get the option to select in the game or in the Nvidia Control Panel (don’t try and force it using a custom resolution as it will look awful).
    I recently went back to Assassins Creed Syndicate and put the graphics options to Ultra, chose 2160p resolution and set the refresh rate to 30hz, with Vsync On. And the results…… Amazing. Even at 1080p and 60fps the game occasionally displayed some micro-stutter. But at 4k and 30fps, absolutely buttery smooth with no sign of any micro-stutter. The game engine was designed for consoles and 30 fps and modified for PC’s and 60 fps, probably to appease the FPS police and the PC master race. But as I have the choice of 4k at 30hz or 1080p at 60hz I can honestly say that 4k/30 fps (if the game and/or your display supports it) is better than 1080p/60 fps. This will not hold true to First Person shooters or games that require lightning fast movement to give you the edge in competitive multiplayer for instance.
    For games that don’t give you an option for a 30 fps lock or a 30hz refresh rate, the Adaptive Vsync (half refresh rate) I mentioned earlier has worked very well for Dirt Showdown and Lego City Undercover for example. I created customised profiles for these games in the NCP (manage 3d settings/program settings). Both games play buttery smooth at 4k and 30fps. The handling in Dirt Showdown is better (again maybe the game was designed for 30 fps in development?). And for Lego City Undercover all the jaggies are gone and the graphics are obviously a lot sharper than at 1080p.

    I’ll be holding off upgrading my GPU as the 1080ti is £100 more expensive than the 980ti was (so they can stuff it). If you have the money for the upgrade then I guess 4k/60fps is the best option. And to the above poster fair point if your happy gaming at 30fps having a console makes sense. But I do use my PC like a console. I work in an office so using a keyboard and mouse for gaming is not my idea of relaxation. I have my PC hooked up to a monitor and a UHD TV and use wireless Xbox 360 controllers. I get a console experience but with PC enhanced graphics and I’m not about to re-purchase all my games to play them on the PS4 Pro. And PC games are often cheaper and can give you the better gaming experience if your prepared to tweak games to match your hardware setup.

    I find there are a lot of bad reviews these days for games that can’t maintain a solid 60 fps and the developers get accused of making bad ports, but often the reviewers don’t have the PC specs to make 60 fps anymore and either need to upgrade or make compromises in the graphics options, like I have 🙂

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