Remember the meme that says, "X doesn't make gamers angry, but lag does it"? We all know that is actually true. Lag is the ultimate enemy of PC gamers who want to enjoy their games. Even more in multiplayer games, as it is really frustrating to lose a match due to lag ruining your match. Unless you are playing on servers far away from your region (that's all on you), there are several ways to fix lag in games. Some might require an additional investment, while others require checking your PC, internet speed, and game's graphics settings. And some people playing on a gaming console might also find these tips useful. In this article, you will know the many reasons that might cause you to experience lag while playing games or even doing regular stuff on your PC. We will tell you how you can fix this issue.
How does Lag work?Lag won't only affect your online gaming. Lag could appear while streaming, browsing, or doing anything on your PC. So, it is quite frustrating when your connection isn't working properly. But for gamers, it is a dealbreaker, as it is more noticeable, and lag easily ruins anyone's gaming experience. The games most affected by lag are the ones whose multiplayer component is the key aspect of their selling point. In first-person shooters or fighting games your input needs to be impeccable, though just a bit of lag will make you drop your combo or miss that precise headshot. MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) usually also suffer from lag due to the number of assets and people that need to load up every time (and few have a stable server connection). Lag, essentially, affects the responsiveness of your controls. So, any game that requires quick reflexes and precise inputs will be heavily affected. At the same time, others, such as Trading Card Games, are quite playable even when it becomes laggy.
The Two Types of LagLag is a delay produced between your inputs and the server’s connection. There are two types of lag:
Latency Lag:It happens whenever your network is congested due to high traffic of online data.
Graphics Lag or FPS LagThe main cause of this type of lag is your computer doesn't have enough processing power. Usually, you must modify some graphic settings that might overload your graphics card and your hardware.
The Difference Between Ping and Latency
High-end PC gaming will still suffer from lag due to high latency and ping rate. Although these terms mean different things. Ping is the signal a player sends when they press an input, which will travel through the servers. The lower the ping, the faster your character responds to your inputs. But, if you have a high ping rate, you will suffer from lag. The best ping rate goes below 50 milliseconds (ms), while something between 50 and 100 is considered acceptable for certain games or actions. Anything above those numbers will produce lag and a noticeable delay from your button-pressing to your character doing your command. Latency is the time that expires between an action and the reaction of such signal. That latency number should be as low as possible. Otherwise, high latency will result in lag. The best way to reduce lag and latency is to play on servers located in the nearest regions.
Reasons Why Your Game Might Be LaggyThere are several reasons why your game suffers from lag. We already discussed latency and ping, which are bound to a network connection. But there are other factors, from having game settings too high for your hardware to the operating system not working properly due to being outdated.
Low Internet Speed
Sometimes the problem of high ping or latency is quite obvious: your internet connection is insufficient. A low internet speed or a bad connection is the main cause of awful gaming experiences for many. To check how well your internet connection is doing, you can use online tools such as SpeedTest. It will test your download and upload speed and also tell you about services and games that might suffer from server issues (so, perhaps it isn't your problem, it is just the game malfunctioning). Although, if your internet speed doesn't match how much your ISP (Internet Service Provider) should provide, it could be a signal or hardware issue. If that happens, call your ISP tech support to solve this issue. Also, if you are connected through a Wi-Fi network, you should try using an ethernet cable. It ensures a solid connection and better performance on your online PC games.
Thermal throttling happens when your PC components are operating at high temperatures. Then, these components will drop their performance to address the increasing temperature and help to reduce it before it can be ramped up. This will cause not only lag in your games but in your PC performance as well. You can use tools like HWinfo to check your equipment temperature. Anything above 80°C is quite problematic, while if your PC is above 90°C, you risk overheating your computer and damaging your components. You can clean the fans and dust filters, check they are working properly and even make them run faster, ensure appropriate ventilation in your room, or replace your thermal paste (although this one should be your last option).
Background Apps Consuming Processing Power
Sometimes your PC has other programs running in the background that could be using processing power, making your game laggy. You can check this by opening up the task manager (pressing the keys "Ctrl + Alt + Del"). You will see which processes are being run and which use most of your CPU, RAM, CPU, and GPU power, among other things. If you see a process and program you aren't using, right-click it and select "End Task." Also, if you find a program that usually uses power in the background, you can use the Windows key, write "add or remove programs," find that program and uninstall it. Or, if it is a program you use but not regularly, you can right-click it to disable it.
Outdated DriversSometimes, it is as simple as updating your component drivers, especially with graphic cards. You can check your hardware provider's websites for their latest drivers. Most have automated software to check your current version and give you their best deal. Also, you need to keep your operating system up to date.
System BottlenecksIf your PC already has several years of working, it might be time for an upgrade. Most people tend to replace their graphic cards with newer ones. But doing so without considering the rest of your components could surface new issues. System bottlenecks can happen when a particular component (for example, your new GPU) is way better than the rest. This will lead to your new and better component performing below what it should be. So, you need to keep upgrading the rest of your system, such as more RAM memory or upgrading your CPU.
Game SettingsOkay, you have a good PC, generally working well with other tasks, and your internet connection is fast and strong. You are even using an ethernet cable. And servers are working well. Then, why is my game laggy? Perhaps your in-game settings are causing problems. You should consider lowering your graphic settings. It might look a bit worse, but it will boost your gaming experience massively. Some games can lock the amount of maximum FPS, and you should consider increasing it to 60 FPS, 144 FPS, or setting it to "unlimited." For some games on high-end PCs, unlimited FPS might also cause issues, and you need to set a limit. Other graphic options you should look for are:
- Games perform better in the monitor's native resolution. When you choose something above, most of them will look awful or out of frame. But lowering the resolution might help boost your game's performance.
- This option smooths the object's edges. There are many options, but they all come with a big performance boost. First, try playing with the "AA" off. If it performs very smoothly, you could try to amp it up with FXAA, 2X, or 4X (in that order).
V-Sync:It locks your monitor's refresh rate. You can disable it to boost your game's speed, although you may suffer from screen tearing.
- Detailed shadows will require high processing power. You should drop the quality to get a better performance.
- Perhaps you aren't suffering from a low frame rate, but you might suffer from stuttering in your game. Try lowering the texture quality. This usually happens with older graphics cards running newer games.