Does limiting FPS reduce CPU/GPU Usage & Heat? Answered!

Yes, limiting FPS does reduce GPU usage and heat. FPS is more of a CPU-intensive task than a GPU-intensive task. The reason why the CPU takes up more load can be explained in the following ways:

  • The lower the graphics and higher the frames, the more CPU is used, and less GPU is used.
  • The higher the graphics and lower the frames, the more GPU is used, and less of the CPU is used.

Hence, this implies that more CPU is used with higher frames, whereas, with higher graphic quality, more GPU is used. Hence, bottlenecks usually occur because the CPU cannot keep up to date with the GPU and vice versa.

Therefore, it is often a good idea to turn and adjust the graphics to reduce the usage.

In order to deal with this particular issue, a lot of users opt to cap their CPUs.

From the user’s perspective, capping the CPU can have the following advantages:

  • A decrease in the energy consumption
  • A decrease in the heat generation
  • A decrease in the noise (cooling fans operating at a slower rate)

Capping the framerate is beneficial to laptops or any other sort of mobile computer since it provides an excellent way to conserve the laptop’s battery.

However, users must be aware that capping the system is not always similar to using v-sync. Framerate, v-sync, and capping are all different because using a framerate cap is likely to reduce screen tearing. In addition, framerate caps often throttle the number of frames produced by the video card.

Is it the GPU or the CPU which is responsible for Game FPS?

Yes. The role of the CPU in this regard is to ensure that it can process game logic, game boundary, and collisions present in the game if any. Furthermore, it also includes AI decisions and animation for objects displayed on the screen, as well as the sound.

On the other hand, the GPU is responsible for calculating geometry, texturing, lighting, shading, and everything else that goes into the image for every pixel. It is important to gauge which finishes first when the game is ongoing. Well, it depends on the game and the graphic settings instilled.

In the case where the graphics settings are turned down, the frame rates can improve. However, this only happens till a certain point, after which it stays constant. When resolutions, v texturing, lighting, etc., reduce GPU usage. Furthermore, when they find a point where reductions don’t contribute to increasing frame rates, at that point, the CPU is unable to maintain its higher speed.

To understand the concept of CPU and GPU contribution towards the frame, let’s assume that there is a game where the CPU is operating at a 100% usage rate. Furthermore, let’s assume that regardless of tweaking the graphics (or getting a new GPU altogether), the frame doesn’t improve – unless there is an improvement in the CPU.

Therefore, users can see that when there is a bottleneck associated with a CPU, reducing or adjusting graphics might not even help because it would not be helpful. However, users can see that GPU is the main bottleneck in most cases where people play games. In other words, the CPU does have plenty of room to increase its capacity and operations. However, the GPU is pinned chiefly at 100%.

Does Limiting FPS save power?

Yes, limiting FPS does help save power. Operating the GPU at settings within the acceptable threshold of GPU helps to save power. Therefore, if the FPS limit set requires around 60% GPU to reach, the system will utilize lesser power since it would no longer push it to 100% usage.

However, users must also note that the power saving might not be that substantial because the rest of the system still draws power. Therefore, power-saving doesn’t imply that savings occur, but they might not be that significant.

The more significant impact of limited FPS usage can be most prominently seen in reducing noise and heat. Factually, the GPU runs hotter at higher power levels. Similarly, the cooling system also needs to be more effective.

The conventional method of setting an FPS limit is to get a maximum stable frame rate that does not exceed the monitor refresh rate with adaptive sync while optimizing for image quality. Power saving isn’t the primary goal in most circumstances. It should also be noted that the optimal and the fastest frame rate tends to be around 95% GPU use, or slightly higher than that.

It does mitigate the GPU from being pushed pointlessly fast when uncapped frames are exceptionally high and not displayed on the monitor.

However, cut-scene, menu screens, and map displays are pretty simplistic, and therefore, GPU can only manage to do that in hundreds or even a thousand FPS. The limit stops this from happening.

Adding limits helps in saving power, primarily because 1000 FPS on the game menu isn’t very appealing. The GPU could use a break to cool.

That part does save power because 1000 FPS on the game menu doesn’t make it look better. So the GPU can get a break to cool.

Does limiting FPS prevent screen tearing?

FPS does not limit screen tearing. Let’s assume the FPS is set at precisely 60. The refresh rate is also precisely 60. In this case, there is no guarantee that the screen refresh rate and the frame buffer swap will take place exactly when the user wants them to.

There is the only certainty that the exact number is occurring on a per-second basis.  Therefore, there is a possibility that there is an unwarranted tear on the screen, right in the middle. It stays there throughout.

However, games are well aware of this issue occurring. Therefore, games automatically try to push the tear somewhere in the lower or upper portions of the screen whenever the screen is refreshing. Furthermore, this ensures that the tear occurs where it is not as distracting as it would have been if the tear had been precisely in the middle. When the FPS is set to limits, games can execute this in a better way. In other words, games can displace tears and ensure that they are not positioned in a place where they would be a source of distraction for the user.

However, there are apps present that can solve this issue even more smoother. These apps are referred to as G-Sync and FreeSync.

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