A Performance Guide for CSGO. Potential FPS boost / more stable FPS / decrease of FPS drop/ decrease of microstuttering in game (mostly for Windows 7)
Install CSGO on SSD if possible
Overall SSD does not significantly improve performance in terms of FPS (some people get as little as +5-10 fps bonus) but the game, maps, and map textures will load much faster, which improves overall experience in the game. That being said, SSD does still positively impact performance.
Install the latest audio drivers for your motherboard
It’s highly recommended to do a clean installation i.e. complete uninstalling of the older audio drivers followed by installing the new ones. Otherwise the old and new files don’t necessarily replace each other, which can cause performance issues. Historically audio has been one of the most important reasons that caused CSGO to stutter and drop fps.
Check your PC on viruses
It’s pretty self-explanatory – before doing anything else you need to make sure your PC is not infected by malware, spyware, etc. that can significantly slow down you PC performance, not just CSGO.
Disable all sound effects in Widows audio settings
• Go to the Playback Devices by right clicking on the sound icon in the system tray.
• There, select your audio device (speakers by default), click properties, and then do the following things:
• In the “enhancements” disable all sound effects
• In the “advanced” tab, set audio quality to 48000 Hz (DVD Quality)
Updating and rebuilding audio cache
This is important, especially after every Valve patch that touches sound. Those commands are done in CSGO console – one downloads necessary audio cache files and the other
rebuilds (cleans up) the audio cache:
snd_updateaudiocache (first command)
snd_rebuildaudiocache (should be entered second)
Getting rid of junk files
A. Clearing PC from temporary files
Those files don’t do anything, but they can take up a considerable amount of space and can slow down your PC even if you still have a lot of space on your storage device(s).
It’s especially helpful for those who have installed Windows for a few months and never really cleared junk from PC properly. You can alternatively use some utility programs such as CCleaner, but you still need to double-check whether all of those junk files are removed from your PC. How to do that:
• Press Win + R to open the run box -> type “prefetch” -> remove all junk (some files may not be deleted but it’s OK)
• Press Win + R -> type “%temp%” -> remove all junk (some files may not be deleted but it’s OK)
B. Run disk cleanup
Yet again there might be some programs that can do that for you, but if you don’t have one or you are not sure it actually removes the junk files – do the following
• Go to windows search and type “disk cleanup”
• Open the program
• Checkmark every file category that’s available and press OK
CSGO launch options
Those are quite debatable as some people claim certain commands add to performance, others have no effect, and the rest even decrease it.
Here are launch options that have been tested on 5 different PCs (AMD + Intel processors) and all resulted in higher fps in game:
+mat_queue_mode 2 -nod3d9ex +cl_forcepreload 1 -nojoy
Short justification of the commands:
+mat_queue_mode 2: enables multi threading mode – if you have 4 or more threads it should improve performance for PC powered by those CPUs.
-nod3d9ex: makes alt-tab in and out of CSGO faster and also decouples d3d9ex applications and DWM (Desktop Windows Manager). It does not really improve FPS in CSGO but it makes alt-tab much much faster, which is why I can count it as a command that improves performance.
+cl_forcepreload 1: preloads all map textures before the you can get into the game. It takes longer to load a map in CSGO but later your CPU will not need to process newly encountered textures on the fly, which improves performance in game.
-nojoy: disables joystick support – it can mess with your FPS if you play other games with a joystick, and when it’s still hooked up to your PC it actually might decrease FPS in CSGO even if you don’t use it. If you don’t use a joystick at all, then you might ignore this command although its presence will not harm your FPS regardless.
Others useful commands that don’t improve FPS but are highly recommended:
-console -novid -freq X -refresh X -tickrate 128 (if you play on 3rd party servers like ESEA) +fps_max Y
Where X = your monitor’s refresh rate, and Y = maximum amount of frames per second you want to have in CSGO.
I highly recommend setting your max_fps to a multiple of your monitor’s refresh rate, e.g. for a 120 Hz monitor you should set fps_max to 120, 240, 360 etc. to minimize screen tearing – it’s especially applicable to those whose monitor does not support G-sync or FreeSync technology)
Important: DONT add -high and -threads as have mostly shown to be quite outdated and, in many cases, might even decrease overall performance. Feel free to try them out but I personally obtain more fps without those two as well as all the other PCs tested. Interestingly, another old and debatable command mat_queue_mode 2 seems to still have a positive effect on performance.
Unpark CPU cores
Manufactured CPUs can have parked (“locked” or partially inactive) cores, which basically limits your PC to operate to full potential.
You can use CPU Core Parking Manager V3 (or any analogous utility) to unpark some of your affected cores to completely unlock them. Be careful – some people are confused and instead PARK already unlocked cores instead of unparking parked cores – the latter is what you want to do!
Use a good CPU utility program
There are many good ones. I would recommend Process Lasso – it’s free and extremely simple to use.
• Download and install the program
• Go to Main -> Active Power Profile -> Bitsum Highest Performance
• Minimize or close the program (but if you do the latter – make sure you say “no” when it asks if you want to keep “ProBalance” settings active)
• Go to Power Options in Windows and make sure Bitsum Performance Mode is selected in the “Preferred plans”
For a short description, Bitsum Performance Mode invokes the ‘Bitsum Highest Performance’ (BHP). In short, BHP keeps your cores in an “awake state” by providing them with maximum amount of power. Otherwise, the time it takes to ramp up CPU frequencies (latency) leads to more bursty up-and-down performance spikes, which is not as good as smooth and continuous CPU usage. This is a very (very!) rough explanation, but most people don’t need more. All you need to know is that it should improve performance in any CPU-intensive game. Many CPU utilities have BHP, so it’s up to you which one you want to choose. When applies to CSGO, it will be prioritized over other background programs, which is what we want.
Maximization of power usage
• If you for some reason don’t want to use BHP, go to Power Option in Windows Control Panel and set it to High Performance. This will allow your CPU to use as much as power as possible.
• Turn off C-states in BIOS*
- This one is highly optional and I don’t recommend anyone doing that unless you know what you are doing! For example, for some motherboards not all C-states need to be turned off. C-states are the mechanisms that your motherboard uses to save energy. When C-states are turned off, CPU cannot be bottlenecked by the lack of power input from your motherboard. Disabling of C-states works very well with the High Performance power mode described above.
Install ONLY Nvidia video driver and HD audio driver – nothing else!
It’s simple as it sounds! When you install your Nvidia (or AMD) drivers – all you need is the basal graphics card driver, which you cannot unselect, and the Nvidia HD audio driver. There are many other drivers such as 3D Vision Driver, 3D Vision Controller Driver, etc. – you don’t need those for CSGO. This guide is exclusively for CSGO and if you play other games then I cannot tell anything about Nvidia drivers they require. The point here is to minimize the amount of active drivers on your PC that can possibly conflict or interfere with audio and video in CSGO. So make sure you do Custom Installation as opposed to Expressed Installation, and PLEASE checkmark the option for CLEAN INSTALLATION because you never want the remained from the old drivers to interfere with the new ones (the same principle applies to Realtek Audio Drivers, etc.)
DON’T USE AUTO DRIVER UPDATE UTILITIES – they more often than not mess up your drivers more than actually help you. I highly recommend Display Driver Uninstialler (DDU) for completely removing all old drivers from your computer.
Uninstall (if installed) Gefore Experience
In the past it certainly caused stutters and fps drops in CSGO. Simply installing and then disabling it is insufficient as many people I know still claim that the mere presence of this utility leads to some fps drops and microstutters. The truth is that you don’t need Gefore Experience for CSGO whatsoever. Maybe with the introduction of FreeStyle we can argue that the program might be useful, but this guide is not about visual competitive advantage.
Disable aero in windows
This is pretty self-explanatory – smooth and glassy appearance of tabs and system tray has been known to cause lags and fps drops for as long as it exists. You should disable this feature for better performance. Individually they don’t consume significant CPU power, except for maybe svhost.exe that sometimes goes crazy, but their effects add up, so we ideally want to shut them all down.
For those who know what they are for – feel free to leave some of them on, but for 99% of people those are absolutely not needed services.
Right click on “My computer” -> Advanced system settings -> Performance -> Advanced -> Performance and remove as many visual effects as you want. Each of them would slightly increase performance.
Disable unimportant CPU/RAM consuming services
• Go to the windows run box again (Win + R) and type Services.msc
• Disable the following services:
Background Intelligent Transfer Service (svhost.exe)
Human Interface Device Access
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Nvidia telemetry (this service collects data for Nvidia at the cost of your PC resources – you don’t need this one).
Also, turn off every Nvidia service that is not Nvidia Display Container LE since we need Nvidia Control Panel accessible later on, which is activated by this service.
To disable those services, you first need to “STOP” them (if it’s running now) and then click “DISABLE” and then restart your PC when you are done with all those services.
Those services are using CPU and RAM but they don’t do anything useful for a typical gamer, so we want them to be off.
It’s also pretty self-explanatory that you should not play CSGO with your firewall / defender / antivirus on as it will hinder your in-game performance.
Attach csgo.exe through Nvidia Inspector
It’s lengthy to explain how to do that, but there are other guides and vides on how to do that. It’s very easy though. All you need to do is to select CSGO in Nvidia Inspector and click “Apply” The basic idea is that by showing the graphics card where your CSGO.exe is located, the GPU will cooperate with the game better.
Your csgo.exe is typically located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Counter-Strike Global Offensive
MSISupported feature – improves interactions between CPU and GPU
MSI stands for Message Signaled Interrupts – the feature that allows your CPU and GPU to work more efficiently with each other.
This is the hardest thing to do in this guide time-wise!
• PLEASE CREATE A COPY OF YOUR REGISTRY FIRST OR A WINDOWS CHECK POINT so that if something goes wrong you can fall back on the functional registry. It causes BSODs for some older GPUs.
• Win + R to summon the run box and type “Regedit”
• Go to device`s registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI\
• Now you need to find the one and only one correct folder. This folder can be found by knowing your driver code found in “Hardware Ids.” To do so go to Device Manager and select “Properties” of your GPU. Now go to “Details” tab and choose “Hardware Ids.” You will see something like PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1C02&SUBSYS_37241458&REV_A1 in the first string of Hardware Ids – that’s what you need. Find the folder inside the PCI folder that has the same core name as this hardware id.
• Go into this folder and locate down the subkey Device Parameters\Interrupt Management
• In Interrupt Management folder create a key named “MessageSignaledInterruptProperties”
• Go to that folder and create a DWORD value “MSISupported” then click on it and change 0 to 1 and restart your PC.
KEEP IN MIND THAT THE CAPITALIZATION IS CRITICAL: wrongly capitalized and non-capitalized letters will not work! We are particularly talking about not mistyping MessageSignaledInterruptProperties and MSISupported.
The end result should look something like that:
Change 3D settings for csgo
There are two assumptions I have made: you want the best performance (1) and you want the smallest input lag for the best competitive advantage (2), and the 3D setting are based on those assumptions. Those settings reflect those assumptions. Those are 3D settings in NVDIA control panel that I recommend (not mentioned setting could be left on default values):
Max pre-rendered frames: 1
Power management: Prefer maximum performance
Preferred refresh rate: highest available
Shader cache: On (if csgo is on SSD) or Off (if csgo is on HDD)
Texture filtering – ASO: On
Texture filtering – Quality: High Performance
Texture Filtering – Trilinear Optimization: On
Threaded optimization: On
Triple Buffering: Off (otherwise you get higher input lag)
VSync: Off (otherwise you get higher input lag)
I want to pay attention to the option Maximum pre-rendered frames. If set to 1, the GPU only renders one frame at a time, which is the real time rendering. If the value is set to 2,3,4 etc., then it allows the GPU to put respectively 2 or more frames in queue which will increase your FPS. However, I strongly suggest you to keep the option at value = 1because it would otherwise introduce significant input lag in the game as the frames that should be processed right now (i.e. when someone jiggle peaks you) will be rendered with a delay, which will result in obvious competitive disadvantage.
If your PC is relatively weak, you can set Maximum pre-rendered frames to 2,3, or 4 to squeeze out some extra FPS, but be aware of the downside of this FPS boost.
CSGO audio settings – disable 3D audio
The 3D audio is what was used be called HRTF. HRTF was known to cause lags and stuttering on many PCs, so I highly recommend turning this off (or set it to “Disabled.” Some people feel that this algorithm for calculating audio output is competitively better, but again – this is the guide that focuses on performance and removal of stuttering in the game.
CSGO video settings
• Shadows: very low
• Texture detail: low
• Effects detail: low
• Shader detail: low
• Multicore rendering: Enabled
• MAAM : 2x (or none for more fps but worse aesthetics, i.e. jagged edges)
• Anisotropic filtering 2x (or bilinear for more fps but worse aesthetics, i.e. muddy appearance of surfaces)
• FXAA: Disabled
• VSync: Disabled
• Motion Blur: Disabled
Have a sufficiently high polling rate for your mouse
Make sure polling rate is high (500-1000+) for 120-144 Hz monitors as there have been cases where low polling rate could not keep up with high refresh rates and caused microstuttering (but not fps drop.) I know people who played on 8-years old mice and whose stuttering in game literally ended by changing the mouse with modern polling rates.
Remove as many csgo maps you subscribed to as possible
Leave the most important ones – aim maps, etc. It’s OK to have, say, around 10 subscribed maps, but if you have over 30 maps then you should definitely unsubscribe from most of them. Otherwise they do cause some fps drop!
Find optimal resolution in CSGO
It sounds obvious, but one of the strongest FPS boosts can be achieved by decreasing your resolution. Thus, finding a resolution that is not too high and not too low is one of those things that everyone should consider to get better performance. A 4:3 resolution, in general, gives more FPS than its respective 16:9 resolution.
Another thing I want to point out is that if you play on a 4:3 resolution, the stretched 4:3 gives on average about 1% more fps than 4:3 black bars, especially on computers that have less than 200 FPS in the game already. However, this difference is based on all 7 competitive maps, and on some of them there is practically no difference in FPS.
Disable steam overlay
If you have a lot of friends – you would definitely have a lot of pop-up messages about someone opening a game, messaged you, or sent a friend request while you are in the actual game. Every time this happens – your FPS will plunge down considerably.
If steam overlay is off, you would not get this issue, but you also cannot open steam windows in the game as well as check steam profiles and popping private steam messages while playing, etc. I personally keep it on because it sucks to not being able to check someone’s steam profile while playing the game. I would probably say it’s not worth disabling this feature as it would not give you some miraculous fps boost anyways (but it would give you a little bit of it!).
Disable auxiliary/unnecessary background programs
- Win + R to summon the run box -> type “msconfig”
- Go to “services” and check “hide all Microsoft services” and then uncheck as many programs as you can – leave only those that are absolutely essential for you to be run on the background. Remember you don’t disable them completely – you just don’t allow them to auto-start as Windows starts. You can turn them on manually when needed.
When done, uncheck unnecessary programs in the “startup” tab and click “Apply.” Restart your PC.
Defragment / Optimize your HDD / SSD for better performance
Use defragmentation feature of your storage devices and optimize them with third party utilities if you have them.
This will scan for errors on your storage device(s) and Windows will try to fix them. This is highly recommended only when your OS is relatively old i.e. it has been installed 2-3 month ago or earlier because a lot of errors can accumulate over time and slow down your PC. CHKDSK stands for “check disk” and to access this feature simply type “chkdsk” in the windows search bar or the run box (Win + R).
Restart your PC and see how steps 1-26 changed your performance in CSGO. An average increase is between 50 and 150(!) fps and a significant decrease (or elimination) of microstuttering in the game.