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Why and how to limit the FPS in Battlefield 4

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In this guide you will learn how to limit the frame rate in Battlefield 4. Check out my other guide if you want to learn how to limit the frame rate in Battlefield Hardline. If you came here because of Battlefield 4 FPS limitation, you might want to read on…

There is a command in Battlefield 4 which is useful to save computing power. Some would now ask why they should limit the frame rate in Battlefield 4 as they think the more the better. But that is wrong. If you have 60Hz screen and a high-end rig that can run Battlefield 4 most of the time above 60 FPS, then everything is just fine and you don´t need a higher FPS. Many people consider 60 FPS as absolutely fluent, others disagree, but the whole discussion really depends on the Hz screen and subjective feelings of people. Going back to our example with 60Hz again, the fact why more FPS won´t make a difference in this example, is that a 60Hz screen can only display 60 frames per second. That means it is not possible that our eyes will notice the difference between 60 FPS or higher on that kind of screen, because technically the screen doesn´t deliver more frame for our eyes. So, there is absolutely no reason to let this system run above…

Quite the contrary, the only effect you will notice with a FPS above 60 is that your system temperature will be higher. Your graphics card will have a stronger heat dissipation and that means that the fans of your card will rotate faster too. The blown out warm air will be in your system which means that all your other case fans need to transport the air to the outside, your system works and sweats more than needed. Result is also a louder computer. Apart from that we should also think about the energy we would waste for nothing.

This should explain why it is meaningful to reduce or limit the FPS in Battlefield 4. The solution is simple…

How to limit the FPS in Battlefield 4

We can type a command into the game console. The console can be opened in Battlefield 4 with the tilde key (~). Once you opened the console, you need to type in:

gametime.maxvariablefps 61

After that you need to hit the return key to confirm your input. Then you just need to close the console with the tilde key again. The frames per second in Battlefield 4 will now be limited to 60 FPS.

But if you restart the game, then you have to put the command into the console again but it is also possible to activate Battlefield 4 commands and functions permanently with a config file.

You might want to learn about some other useful BF4 console commands. I did put a list together with some useful commands. It might be that I will add some more console commands to the list in the future, if I did write an article about the other commands. Check the list out, it might be that there are other commands, you didn´t know.

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42 Comments »

    • No problem. Critism always allowed here. But can you please explain what is wrong? I am using exactly the mentioned command in my bf 4 config file and it does really limit the fps to the amount I defined.

      • Plus when you have more FPS your you can move your mouse more accurately. This works because per distance moved on the mouse there are more frames to control how far you move. For some games the frame limiting is needed to make all the parts work together. One example is Dead Space. I have nothing against frame limiting. I just have figured out I get better precision with more frames.

      • No sorry but I think this is wrong. I guess you are talking about frame drops or engines with heavy input lag. It might be true if you have drops below 30 fps or what not but if you have that kind of heavy frame drops, or if the game engine produces input lag, drivers or what not, it´s not related to frame limiting. Limiting the frame rate is just suggested if your system never goes below the set frame rate limit.

        My experience is that there is basically absolutely no imput lag if BF4 runs with constan 60 fps and if the system is strong enough to constantly hold the fps at the value 60. I don´t want to contradict your experience but I guess it must be related to another issue.

        My own experience is that there is no input lag at 60 fps and I also never heard from friends that they feel better input precision with 80 or 90 fps. If I disable the frame limiting, then the fps is way above 60 fps but I didn´t experience that the input is smoother then.

        • No, it’s not wrong. He is right. You can clearly see a difference in input lag and the overall responsivness when playing a game with 60 or 150 fps. Even if it’s the exact same monitor with 60Hz. At least that’s my experience (4590, 1060).

        • Look, the problem here is that I don’t have any issues while playing a game limited at 61 fps, and this guide here is exactly written for those who don’t have a problem with it either. Since this guide was read a couple of hundred thousand times, there are clearly quite some people who don’t care about any more FPS above that rate.

          Can you see how your impressions doesn’t matter for those who find this guide to limit the FPS anyway? I mentioned anywhere in my Battlefield FPS article series that the FPS topic has always been a controversy. At the end all this discussion about if it’s worth to have more FPS or not doesn’t matter, simply because there are enough people happy with a capped FPS. Anyone else can skip it, it’s your choice. I respect if you want to run it unlimited, but I won’t.

          Anyway, I repeat myself…. I don’t see a difference on a 60Hz screen with a maxed out FPS, I stick with the FPS cap because I see no reason to waste performance. I probably could see it if I would fall for the marketing apartment of hardware manufacturer, but I am glad that I didn’t. You know, in real life I could also see dust in the air, I just have to look into a light source, but why should I do that? Let’s be honest, we are talking about a cross-platform game here anyway….these games run perfectly on average hardware (if we don’t talk about a multi-screen setup), why should I waste performance on a console optimized engine? This game runs fluent capped, that is my impression.

    • Extensive testing proved to me that this is easily one of the best things to do in BF4. FPS charts, 12 video cards (all nvidia in this case, but the core concept is very solid)

      Why this isn’t an easy option in the control panel, I have no idea. The effect is awesome, period.

    • The insinuation that your eyes can’t tell the difference when your FPS is above 60 is just plain wrong.. Perhaps your eyes can’t see more, but you can tell when you’re only getting 60fps. Play a competitive FPS (Quake/CS), and you will find that there is a huge difference between 60 and 100fps. If your monitor is only displaying 60fps, the game is still smoother if your computer is rendering 100/120/200fps which isn’t subjective, it’s fact.

      It is horrifying that there are people that believe there is no difference, and it’s worse that there are people telling others that it doesn’t matter.

      • No this is in fact your own subjective opinion and as you mentioned correctly, there are people who have a different opinion and I am one of the people who talk and write about it, even if you find it “horrifying”.. I play games since decades and at some point I made my own opinion about the issue as you probably did too.

        In times of cross platform games, I do absolutely disagree wtih you. A friend of mine plays most modern games with a 270x fluently (16:10). There is no need for these super flagships of graphic cards because most game engines are just poor related to what computers could whoop otherwise. There would be much more possible if developers would create PC only titles.

        The only reason I see to pay more for a graphics card is the one if you want to use more than one display or multisampling. So at the end there is this difference that I respect and you should do it too… you believe that you need more FPS, that’s fine. I don’t believe it, I sorry if that is not fine for you. But it won’t make me change my opinion. I enjoy my game at 60 FPS.

        I played BF4 on 90 FPS and couldn’t tell a real difference. For me 60 FPS is way enough. That’s my own decision and you can play with more FPS if you like. I am pretty much sure that hardware manufacturer want you to believe that high FPS would be cool. I mean look at all the cards that are unchallenged with games. But well, that’s just my personal opinion. Apart from the fact that I mentioned it several times here in the comments that when it comes to FPS, there are different opinions, I still see a reason why I wrote this article…

        This article here is not mainly to convince any people about my opinion, it’s mainly written for those who think the same and who want to know how to cap their frames per second. I wanted to deliver the answer to this question 🙂

        Of course, I still publish comments like yours because for me it is very important to see different opinions. It’s ok and I respect that if people made a different experience.

        Anyway, there are things that are worse than a few frames per seconds more or less. The biggest issue today is latency in multiplayer games or “netcode” issues. You don’t need a degree in science to notice that a lot of games perform very horrible over the internet.

    • If you have a 60Hz screen, then it means that your screen can refresh 60 times a second and that means by implication that your screen can show you by the graphics card sent 60 FPS of the game or software (the screen displays one frame per refresh).If there is more than 60 FPS sent, your screen will skip frames. So, basically you are right.. limit of 60 fps could just do it on 60Hz screen but…

      There are also many screen with technically 60.01 Hz or any other minor values over it. That means the screen might display one frame more per second. In other games of the past I often experienced a problem when I limited to 60 FPS. I got tearing and jitter. In these cases a limit of 61 FPS worked pretty well without problems then. I guess I have a screen with an unaccurate Hz value.

      So, it depends if your screen really has true 60Hz or 60Hz with a float value, like mentioned. In the first case a limit of 60fps should be fine and in the other case a limit of 61 fps might eliminate any jitter problems, if you experienced them. It’s been adopted… many people with a 60Hz screen use this 61 value, if their games let them limit the fps.

      If there is no problem with a 60fps limit on your side, then don´t worry and just use 60. Otherwise try out 61.

      I just wrote 61 in the guide as this is the value I had good experience with in other games and as I do think that it always worked without problems. Other than that 60 or 61 will not make much of a difference you could notice, if there is no jitter or so.

      Hope this helped.

    • I would set it to 61 in the config file. But basically you can set the amount to any value, yes. Limiting it on 30 or 40 will work if it is what you want. But I do not think that it makes much sense.

  1. I have read that some people are noticing 59.94 works better! I’m not sure why they use this value, but i’m giving it a try. Also you mention floating value of 60hz. how would I find out my monitor uses a float value. Dell u2412m. what monitor do you use?
    thanks

    • Yes many people use different values. I also have read about people using 59.94. I think people use different values as they experience tearing on different max values.

      About your screens real Hz value… with luck you find it anywhere in a technical manual of your screen. But this is sadly often not the case. That is why I usually rather experiment with FPS limits until I think my settings work out well for me. I use a Samsung SyncMaster 2233. It´s an older flat screen with 1680×1050 native resolution but still ok anyhow.

      As long as you don´t have any tearing, it´s anyway not rocket science… I guess a difference between a 59.94 or 60 and a 61 fps limit is not really noticeable as long as you don´t see any tearing problems. If a 60 fps limit does not produce screen jitter, then I would just set the limit to exact 60 fps. Otherwise trying out different things.. I think this is how some came to limits of 59.94 and comparable values.

    • What’s interesting as I wanted to share my experience is that I have 60hz monitor. Running Radeon HD 7950 (2gb) and AMD FX-8320 at 4.32 Ghz. At 60-61-62 fps limit and 59.94 and I see tearing and weird artifacts. Like sky tearing when moving mouse up or down, same with ground. Now if I have it unlimited it will have a lesser effect. I had it set at 120 (not that I run at 120 fps stable, as it will drop up and down if there are many people on the server). I have 60hz monitor. I have set my GPU limit using the config file command in BF4 at 80 FPS limit, and I noticed that the excessive tears are gone. Now if I was to set at close to 60, I would see the same thing. For some reason since Win 8.1 update, mine is locked at 59.94hz in BF4, but setting it at 80 got rid of the tearing. So I do not understand why it’s better there, but this is my visual experience through tedious testing of running around in Test Range, c4ing, using targets, and just noticing how ADS looks, flying in the chopper, etc. It seems more fluid at 80 FPS. So it all depends on your GPU and CPU imo. Results may vary. For the author this has to be the best option I believe, but may not be for you as every set up has some mystery behind it. Optimization is best up to you. I know if I was to buy different GPU, my experience would change as well.

      • Yes this is very true and I mentioned it here a few times… people must find out which limit works best, in case they want to cap the frame rate. But it´s anyway still interesting why it works much better for you at 80 fps than with values around 60.

        It´s some time ago when I found a thread where people did discuss exactly the same stuff. It was three pages in the forum and then the creator of the thread found out that he had EVGA Precision X or Afterburner installed and he found out that he had the FPS limited in this tool too but with another value. He disabled it there and from now on the BF4 cap worked well.

        I don´t assume that your problem is the same but it shows how complex our hobby is 😉 It´s not easy to find out or to explain why things 😀 It was a great example. Different systems, different software set up´s and different conditions, that´s what makes it hard to find out why it´s works there and with another system not.

        Anyway, if fps cap at 80 works well for you, I guess you don´t need to change anything unless you are very nosy to find out why.

        Screen tearing is always there when not using vsync or gsync but less visible with higher frame rates. Not sure why 80 fps works better in your case. You gave the best answer, different set up´s, different mysteries 🙂

  2. I tried in both bf3 and bf4,, I’m using a GTX 560 Ti, and the most important factor for me was the heat. Previously the gpu would reach 72-73 degrees,, now it won’t go higher than 61-62, than it is smooth. Easier on the hardware and I’m happy with it. Fantastic article and a good guide.

    • This has always been a controversial question. Some argue that you wouldn´t notice more than 60 fps even on a 120 Hz screen while others say that you would indeed get a smoother impression on a 120 Hz screen if you limit at 120 or 121 fps. I can´t speak of own experience here since I own a 60 Hz monitor. But I guess people might be right if they say that you will notice more than 60 fps. I would say try it out. I have read that many people with 120 Hz set the limit indeed on 120 or 121 fps depending if they get screen tearing. I have seen many controversial discussions about this question in the internet.

  3. I think people are confused by monitor refresh rates and frame rates, they are different measures of different things. Monitor refresh rate measures how many times in a second the monitor can refresh the screen, many people find that playing a video at 1080p and 30fps through a 240hz monitor will look smoother than the same video being played through a 60hz display. The higher refresh rate decreases blur, not all people will see this but in blind tests people often ‘feel’ that the 240hz display looked better.

    With frame rates it’s not as important to increase the number of frames as it is to reduce the time it takes to draw each frame. At 60fps it takes approximately 16.67ms to draw each frame, if you increase the frame rate the time to draw each frame will drop by an inversely proportionate amount, so when the frame rate is doubled the draw time is reduced by half.

    Input speed, refresh rate and frame draw times are linked, reducing refresh rates or increasing draw times increases input lag, variable frame rates can have an impact on responsiveness, which is why consoles tend to have games released with a fixed frame rate as it gives a consistent level of input response. Hardcore and Pro PC gamers on the other hand want the highest possible frame rate, to do this they often get crazy builds featuring SLI/Crossfire using high end cards and then they reduce all of the quality settings, disable AA, AF, tessellation and anything else that might reduce their frame rates or increase the frame draw times as every millisecond gained in response time counts towards getting that extra head-shot in their kill-streak or being the next victim in someone elses kill-streak.

  4. Reading this thread right now and wondering what if i have a 144Hz refresh rate monitor.
    I obviously can’t run the game at 144fps, bur for sure i’m over 100 fps. What should i do in this case? Cap at 90fps? 91 fps? what?

    • The article is more related to 60Hz screens. I made some changes to make this more clear. But that doesn´t mean that your question isn´t good. It´s just that you hear quite a lot opinions on that.

      Technically your screen with 144Hz is capable of showing you 144 frames a second as you said right. The rest depends on your own experience. Do you notice that 100 FPS give you a more fluent gaming experience than any cap below or less “input lag” as 60 FPS? This is the problem about the question. I saw hot discussions in forums about this question.

      Some people say yes you will notice the difference, others say no you won´t. It´s an endless discussion. I think that is one of the most discussed questions related to that subject. I know people who wouldn´t cap the FPS in that case and others who did it because they didn´t see a difference above 60 FPS. Many people usually cap round about the FPS that your screen is capable to show you. Rest really depends on your opinion and experience or feelings. Try out and see what you mean.

      As a 60Hz screen owner I can just assure that my eyes won´t notice anything above 60 FPS due to the fact that my screen doesn´t even deliver more frames than that.

      Thank for stopping by. Hope you find your opinion on that matter.

    • You might test values as 61 or even 59.94. I know people who had it working better with slightly different caps. Some mentioned it also in the comments here. But maybe you tested it already, if not then check it out.

  5. Just recently picked up a second GTX 670 on ebay to SLI my current one and max Battlefield 4. I was having terrible micro stutter, but limiting the framerate completely fixed the problem! There are all kinds of crazy fixes out there for micro stuttering but this is simple and does the trick! Now the game runs perfectly smooth. Thank you sir!

    • Is this a problem with the latest Nvidia driver or something? I use a ATI card recently so that I don’t know the problem. However, I’m happy you were able to fix the problem with the FPS limitation. It’s good to see that there is also another sense for the limitation and that it helped in your case to fix an issue.

  6. Hi!
    To avoid fps drops below 60, it’s better cap at 60 or 62 (I see some games capped at 62, so I think it’s the ideal frame)?
    I think having a little bit more than 60, with a explosion or more effects on the screen, fps won’t drop below 60, so the smothness will remains 😀
    I said this for all games, not only BF4.

    *sorry my broke english by the way 😀

    • People use different values because of the refresh rates of their screens. Some 60 Hz screens have a slightly higher Hz value, so that 61 FPS or 62 FPS works better and without problems as FPS cap in these cases. Then there are cases where a 60 FPS cap works just fine, so, it depends and you are right. 🙂

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