How Much Does CPU Affect FPS?

If you love gaming, smoother gameplay is what you wish for every time you load your favorite game. The only things that would ruin your gaming experience are low FPS numbers. The amount of lag caused by lower FPS is undesirable, eventually ruining the user’s engagement level. To prevent low FPS from ruining your gaming sessions, you can upgrade the hardware components of your system, including the CPU.

Before you get confused with questions like how the CPU affects FPS, we must understand the CPU. The processor performs calculations on complex tasks as the most integral component of a computer. Every system process has to go through the CPU for the sole reason. Therefore, it is natural for FPS-governing factors to depend on the processor. This article will help you understand the relationship between CPU and FPS in detail.

Understanding the Relation Between CPU And FPS

To understand the relation between CPU and FPS, we must talk about the common link between these components: GPU. The GPU is an important component of the CPU since it helps in processing graphical input from the processor. This process has a major impact on the FPS output. On the other hand, the CPU offers processing power to improve the FPS output.

When the processor is not powerful, the data files related to the game will not process quickly. As a result, a bottleneck is created at the CPU, eventually affecting other components’ performance. As a result, the rendering of media files per second slows down, and you experience a low FPS output. Now that we have understood the relationship between FPS and processors, we must shift our focus to the role of the CPU in gaming.

1. CPU’s Role in Gaming

We have already learned how the GPU works as a bridge between CPU and FPS. The processor as a single unit plays a major role while running games. It has to control the performance-related resources to ensure a smoother gaming experience. The CPU also governs important processes like overlocking, which are equally essential for producing optimum gaming performance.

The CPU has full control over every logical process of the game. Besides this, the processor also handles commands given by the user with a faster response time. The GPU relieves graphical input only after the processing of game logic by the CPU. As a result, the GPU gets an idea about how certain parameters in the game would be defined, like 3D models, textures, etc.

2. Effect of CPU on FPS

Does the CPU affect FPS? The simple answer to this question would be yes. To understand the answer we will go through some important details. While running games, the processor sends import graphic files to the GPU for processing. The CPU’s input governs the in-game environment and physics. Besides the graphical processing part, the CPU also has to handle other parameters like the processing of audio, game-related commands, and other functions.

When all the above-mentioned functions work in synchronization, the FPS improves. The CPU closely affects the FPS output, and a slight bottleneck can negatively lower FPS. A slower CPU will run at 100% capacity while other components will not max out. Hence, upgrading the CPU according to the game’s requirements is always a good decision.

3. Improving FPS

We have learned about the factors which lower the output of FPS. Having some preventative steps at your disposal to improve FPS whenever needed becomes important. Users can buy new components or upgrade the existing units to improve the FPS in games. Users can upgrade hardware components that fail to match the game’s requirements. It helps in removing the components which cannot deliver performance.

Apart from hardware upgradation, users can also perform software-level upgrades like overclocking. Updating the BIOS setting, drivers, and other system-related settings is equally important. When the system needs new components, the user can select advanced components. It may include buying an upgraded CPU with multiple cores and threads, multi-channel RAM, a better GPU with VRAM, and many more. Even cooling components are considered to improve FPS output.

4. Ideal FPS Output

To decide how much FPS is needed, users have to consider certain parameters. Users cannot go beyond the set limit of FPS for individual games. Besides this, the display must support higher FPS to deliver visible changes. Higher FPS is a crucial factor in the shooting, racing, etc genres of games. However, a higher FPS output is not always crucial for a good gaming experience.

30fps is common for almost every type of game. The rendering feels smooth, sharp, and alive, near 60fps marks. Going beyond this limit is a gamble for users if they don’t know what they want from the system. Some games look beautiful at higher FPS levels while others show negligible performance improvement. The end product will not be good if the display is incompatible with a higher refresh rate.

Factors Affecting The Relationship Between CPU and FPS

We will now discuss some factors which directly or indirectly affect the relationship between CPU and FPS. By considering these factors, users can work out a solution for improving FPS output. Similarly, the factors also help plan preventative measures to avoid FPS drop.

1. GPU Bottleneck

Bottlenecks occur at the component that cannot match other components’ performance. In the case of a GPU bottleneck, the GPU fails to match the processing power of other components. This happens when the older generation of GPU is used with the latest generation of CPU. Due to the slow processing speed of the GPU, the processor has to wait longer to send data. In this case, upgrading the GPU will solve all the bottleneck problems.

2. CPU Bottleneck

Similar to GPU bottleneck, CPU bottleneck is concerned with an outdated processor. When the processor operates slowly compared to other components, bottlenecks arise. During CPU bottleneck, usage of GPU does not remain constant (rising and lowering inconsistently). CPU usage, on the other hand, remains at 100%. To solve this problem, users must upgrade the processor that can handle GPU data even at higher loads.

3. Multicore Performance

CPU cores are a crucial part of a processor since they act individually. Processors can consist of multiple cores ranging between 2 to 32. These mini-processors play a major role in handling multiple tasks. Whenever the system needs to execute multiple calculations, it assigns the task to multiple cores. As a result, the overall load on the CPU lowers during multitasking. Cores help in improving FPS while playing online games since the system revives a huge number of tasks.

4. Clock Speed

In the case of a CPU, the clock speed refers to the total number of cycles performed by the unit. A higher clock speed means the CPU can process large chunks of data in a given time. It improves the system’s processing power, which is essential for enhancing the FPS. To achieve higher clock speed, processes like overclocking can be performed. It helps the processor run more commands and tasks within a set time. Since clock speeds are related to the CPU, users must upgrade to a powerful processor.

5. CPU Utilization

Utilization of the CPU also affects the FPS delivered by the system. While running a game, the processor has to prioritize the game’s resources to deliver better performance. When the CPU is not utilizing these resources properly, a significant drop in FPS is experienced. The allocation of CPU power must be focused on the game to solve this problem. Users can check CPU utilization with the help of a task manager. It helps in identifying and disabling programs with higher usage.

6. Resolution

Resolution is an important aspect of any game since it governs the overall rendering quality on the screen. When the games are set at higher resolution settings, both CPU and GPU work harder to produce the specified level of graphics. The number of pixels increases at higher resolutions, and hence the rendering data increase. Powerful CPU and GPU will easily handle high resolutions without creating any lag. Users must check the maximum resolution supported by the game to achieve better performance from the CPU and GPU.

7. Graphic Setting

The graphic settings of the CPU are crucial to churn out the maximum performance. These settings can limit the overall processing of graphical data via the CPU. Users can access the graphics settings of the processor via dedicated software. Depending on the game’s requirements, users can tweak certain parameters of CPU graphics to achieve smooth rendering. Settings include resolution, texture quality, brightness, contrast, and many more parameters.

8. RAM

The CPU handles a lot of data at a given time, but RAM maintains the data traffic flow to the processor. Therefore, the system’s performance is dependent on the RAM. RAM temporarily stores files that the CPU frequently accesses. The files include import data files of the game run by the user. While playing games, RAM closely monitors the traffic of data and efficiently sends it to the processor. A high-capacity RAM allows the flow of larger chunks of data, which helps improve the FPS.

Does CPU Affect FPS – FAQs

1. Will 100% CPU usage affect FPS?

Ans: Utilizing 100% of the CPU directly affects the FPS in several ways. When a CPU is being used at higher levels, it might fail to keep up with other components. As a result, the bottleneck is at the CPU’s end, which lowers the FPS. Users can reduce the in-game graphical settings if the processor is weak or upgrade to a better processor.

2. How to check if the CPU is causing low FPS?

Ans: Several easy ways exist to check if the CPU is lowering the FPS output. For Windows operating systems, users can check the CPU usage with the help of the Task Manager application. For MacOS, a similar application called Activity Monitor can be used to check CPU usage. If the CPU reaches 100% consistently, it affects the FPS.

3. How is FPS affected by the CPU’s clock speed?

Ans: CPU’s clock speed has a major impact on the FPS while playing games. With a higher clock speed, the CPU will process more data and instructions within a given time. This helps in increasing the performance and FPS delivery of the system. Hence, a CPU with a high clock speed is desirable for gaming.

4. Is FPS affected by the number of CPU cores?

Ans: The total number of CPU cores affects the FPS while playing games. The cores help in optimizing the CPU performance by distributing multiple tasks. A higher number of cores will ease the load on the CPU and provide better multitasking. This eventually increases the CPU’s performance and helps achieve higher FPS numbers.


When building a gaming setup, performance is given the topmost priority. By selecting a powerful processor, users can enjoy enhanced FPS output. The relationship between CPU and FPS depends on several factors which are mentioned in this article. The article also explained how a CPU affects FPS to improve the gaming experience. With the help of a powerful CPU and other components, users can easily boost the FPS delivered by their system.