FPS limiters have been steadily growing in popularity for a long time, and for good reason. They objectively improve your gaming experience, and allow you to get the absolute most out of your PC. These days, there are a few different softwares which allow you to limit FPS. With seemingly small variations between them, it can be hard to pick. However, this article will lay out three of the most popular options, highlighting which is the best to help you decide.
FPS Limiters VS Vsync/FreeSync/Gsync
FPS limiters differ from Vsync, FreeSync, and Gsync because they do not sync your FPS to the refresh rate of your monitor. Rather, they allow the user to specify any FPS limit, which will then be universal. Due to the nature of Vsync, Freesync, and Gsync, they completely eliminate screen tearing, but this comes at the cost of input lag. As any competitive gamer will know, any amount of input lag can be devastating. FPS limiters, on the other hand, usually produce very little or no input lag, but don’t always get rid of screen tearing. There are also quite a few other reasons why you might want to use an FPS Limiter.
Why Use An FPS Limiter?
Unfortunately, a lot of in-game FPS limiters and V-sync are still highly flawed. From terrible input lag to stability issues, they almost always pale in comparison to the FPS limiters of external software, and are rarely a good option. Some games, especially older titles, don’t have an in game option to limit FPS. An external limiter solves this problem, and can also be completely universal, meaning less time wasted in settings menus.
Aside from this, there are a couple of other good reasons to use an FPS limiter. Firstly, they can be a fantastic way to reduce the load on your hardware, which reduces the chance of overheating and increases longevity. A bonus of this is less power consumption, which is particularly good for laptop users, as it will greatly extend battery life.
Best FPS Limiter – Rivatuner
Rivatuner is the most popular FPS limiting software, and is generally respected by enthusiasts. This respect is certainly earned, as it has been around since 1997, gaining features and proving itself along the way.
The standard which Rivatuner has set is undoubtedly high. Most importantly, it efficiently limits your FPS to whatever you choose, and with almost no side effects. Unlike in-game V-sync, it causes less than 1 frame of input delay (which is undetectable), and doesn’t cause any stuttering, or negatively impact performance either. This leads to an incredibly smooth experience across all of your games.
After searching through many articles and forums regarding Rivatuner, I can say that it’s hard to find a bad word about it anywhere (my extensive personal usage of the app conforms to this). In regards to software, this sort of reputation is not to be ignored, especially as it’s been around so long and had so much time to be scrutinised.
Rivatuner has a wide range of features aside from FPS limiting; it can be used to overclock your GPU, create custom fan curves, monitor your hardware temperatures, and more. While this functionality is seemingly a good thing, for newer users who want a simpler interface, it could perhaps be overwhelming.
Alternative Option – EVGA Precision XOC
EVGA Precision XOC offers a simpler and more compact solution to limit your FPS. In this app, limiting your fps really is as simple as checking a box, and dragging a slider to where you want. This is the most tangible benefit it provides over Rivatuner; however, it is a slight one, since Rivatuner is easy to use once you become familiar with it.
Much like Rivatuner, it provides a more dynamic option to universally limit your FPS than V-sync or other in-game options. It causes minimal input lag while still giving the same benefits through FPS limitation: less stress on your hardware, no screen tearing, less power usage, and increased stability. This results in consistent and effortlessly gaming.
Another smaller benefit it has is the function to overclock your GPU. Most notably, it has an ‘auto overclock’ feature, which automatically finds the highest clock speed your GPU can run stably (however, you should closely monitor your temperatures if used). This, paired with its straightforward interface, makes EVGA Precision XOC the easiest to use.
When compared to Rivatuner, it is relatively untested and unknown. While Rivatuner’s <1 frame input lag is well documented, it’s hard to find any concrete tests of EVGA Precision XOC anywhere. What makes this even more alarming is that, with a quick google search, you can find lots of people complaining of keyboard input lag with this app. Because of this, it’s hard to recommend with confidence.
Fast Sync / Enhanced Sync – Important Difference
Fast Sync and Enhanced Sync offer an alternative to V-sync that limit FPS universally, meaning you won’t have to set up each of your games individually. It does however tie your FPS to the monitor’s refresh rate, meaning you can’t set a custom limit. The main benefit with these is that they are built into your GPU drivers (Fast Sync is for Nvidia, and Enhanced Sync for AMD), eliminating any time wasted on downloading and figuring out third party apps.
Because they come with your drivers, both Fast Sync and Enhanced sync are super easy to set up; it’ll take just a matter of minutes in your already existing driver control panel. While this simplicity may appeal to some, it does mean that you won’t be getting any of the extra functionalities of the other two applications, some of which you might not want to miss out on.
Both of these options are far better than V-sync, avoiding the performance issues and variables between games. This is true in terms of input lag too ,as they cause around half the amount. While this is great, it is still not as optimal as Rivatuner or EVGA Precision XOC, and will still be noticeable in games where reaction times are paramount. As Input lag is the most crucial issue in regards to FPS limiters, this makes Fast Sync and Enhanced Sync sub-optimal choices.
All three discussed methods to limit FPS offer things which in-game V-sync cannot. Rivatuner boasts the most impressive reduction in input lag over V-Sync, and it’s hard to ignore the reputation it has built. Rivatuner also has the best feature set, so although it’s perhaps the most complicated to use, it’s definitely worth figuring out if you require a universal frame rate limiter.