What is FPS (Frames Per Second)? (Explained)

What is FPS (Frames Per Second)?

Frames per second (FPS) refers to the number of individual frames or images displayed or captured in one second of a video or animation. It is a measure of the smoothness and fluidity of the motion in the video, with higher FPS values indicating more fluid and natural movement.

The human eye typically perceives a minimum of around 24 FPS as smooth motion, although higher FPS values are often used in video games and fast-paced action scenes to reduce motion blur and improve visual clarity.


  • The fps does not only improve the image quality and make it look seamless but it also indirectly enhances the response time while playing an action game.
  • The fps can be increased at a cost by upgrading the graphics card or by reducing the resolution as a no-cost alternative.
  • The working process of the fps is based on the principle of persistence of vision by the human eyes as well as phi function which involves moving of light back and forth.

Understanding FPS (Frames Per Second) in Gaming

Frames Per Second

Though fps is the short form of Frames Per Second, it does not only measure the number of images displayed on the monitor. It also denotes the volume of information used by the processors to store and exhibit any motion video.

The term fps is also used with the same meaning and implication to digital as well as film video. This is because in all cases each image is considered as a frame.

In both the cases these images are displayed at a rapid speed and quick succession. This rapid movement of the still images create an illusion in the eyes and the images seem to be moving. Higher the fps rate, smoother this motion will appear to the eyes.

Ideally, the human eye, on an average, cannot process more than 12 images in one second.

This means that if it is more than that, the images will blur and will appear to be less discrete, creating an illusion of continual motion. Therefore, if the fps is 12 then the moving images will seem like stuttering and choppy.

Based on these scientific and biological facts, the films use a frame rate of 24 fps normally. It is enough to create a smooth appearance.

Games, on the other hand, use 30 or 60 fps which ensure even smoother movement of the characters and no lag time to reduce the gaming pleasure. Some powerful GPUs can even generate a fps as high as 100!

According to the NSTC standard, the minimum fps required to eliminate jerky motion of the images is 39 interlaced fps or 60 fields per second.

However, there can be lower fps as well in a few computer games setups such as that of AVI which displays images at 15 frames per second only.

This is all about fps when it is written in lower case. However, in the gaming genre, the term may also be written as FPS. This capitalized term is the short for First Person Shooter.

In fact, most of the FPS games are designed from the perspective of the first person.

This is a technology which allows the gamer to see only the hands of the shooter or the character portrayed by the gamer on the screen. This is why you only see your character holding the gun.

Considering the two forms, fps or FPS measures the frame rate as well as playback of the images on the display along with the performance level of the video game.

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Why is FPS so Important in Gaming?

Frame rate is very important because it makes a set of images or frames appear to be moving. Higher fps will ensure better display quality and smoother movement of the images.

Though this may not matter much to a low-key gamer, this is an absolute necessity for any serious gamer to have the best gaming experience while playing it on a high-end computer and monitor of optimized fps.

  • This will not allow the opponent to see you quickly and know what you are about to do.
  • It will also remove the chances of any screen tears and glitches that may change your guaranteed victory to defeat.

Low frame rate will have higher lag time while streaming a game or video live. It will not be able to keep up with the performance of the graphics card and may therefore double or even triple the time of a particular video feed.

This will create disruptions in the image display and slow down the visual effect. This may shatter your dreams to make it big in the league and send you or your team to the bottom of the league table.

The importance of a higher frame rate in gaming is over and above the effect on gameplay and image display. This will also provide the gamers with a competitive edge with their reaction time being high. Therefore, the target frame rate is, ideally, 60 fps.

It will not be exaggerating even an iota if it is said that the importance of fps is much more than the resolution, whether it is 720p or 1080p.

This is because it is not enough to render a huge number of pixels. The most important thing is to be consistent in delivering it at that level.

Moreover, though difficult, it is not entirely impossible to enhance a 720p resolution to 1080p with the help of an expert and professional programmer, but it is next to impossible to redesign a game right from the scratch to run at 60 fps.

Therefore, it is important for the competitive gamers to have higher fps because it gives them:

  • A competitive advantage
  • A smoother animation
  • Reduced ghosting
  • Lowered tearing
  • Low system latency and
  • Improved target tracking.

With all these benefits combined together, a higher fps is extremely important for high-end gamers.

The Performance Factor

The frame rate or fps will typically depend on the performance of the graphics card in your computer.

The faster it can render, the more will be displayed on the monitor every second.

However, both the graphics card as well as the monitor needs to have some distinctive attributes to support faster fps.

As for the graphics card, it will need to have more processing power, and as for the monitor, it will need a better refresh rate.

There are different fps rates and each will affect your gaming performance in a diverse way. The different variants of fps are:

  • 30 – This is the most common fps rate you will find in the gaming consoles, and even some low-end computers come with this frame rate. It is good for normal gameplay, provided that the frame rate does not fall to or below 20.
  • 60 – This is the ideal framerate for gaming and optimizes the performance of the gaming consoles, TVs and regular monitors.
  • 120 – This is suitable for high-end gaming computers that come with high-end monitors that have a 144 Hz refresh rate. It is smoother in performance but requires high-end hardware as well. Coming with a higher price tag, this is preferred only by the gaming enthusiasts.
  • 240 – This is the highest frame rate available today and can be used only with a monitor with 240 Hz refresh rate. There is no significant difference in performance, price and hardware requirements between 120 and 240 fps.

One important thing that you should keep in mind in this regard is that no matter whichever fps type you choose, it is nearly impossible to physically maintain an entirely constant frame rate.

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There will be fluctuations in the image display irrespective of the power of the system you are using or the optimized level of the game itself.

However, the good news is, if you use a higher frame rate, these fluctuations will be far too less noticeable.

How to Increase FPS?

Every computer consists of several hardware components inside the CPU.

This gives you an opportunity to enhance the fps, much unlike those gaming consoles where the developers use a specific configuration to optimize their games, and this is hardly customizable.

If you want to have a better gaming experience then the first and right thing to do is upgrade your graphics card to upgrade your PC.

  • Replace the graphics card and use one that is recommended. You may also check the logical increment factors to see how each graphics card will perform in your computer.
  • Next, you should consider upgrading your RAM and the CPU. This will ideally have a huge impact in the overall gaming experience, performance and pleasure.

However, these are all costly affairs. If you do not want to spend any money but still want to increase the fps, there are some no-cost yet most effective ways to do it.

Reduce the resolution of your display because fps may drop when the screen has a higher resolution. This drop is linear and proportional to the number of pixels driven by the hardware of the computer. For example:

  • When the resolution is reduced from 2560 × 1440 pixels to 1920 × 1080 pixels, the pixel count is reduced by 44%. This will enhance the performance and frame rate by 40%.
  • When you reduce the resolution from 1920 x 1080 pixels to 1600×900 pixels, there is a 30% decrease in pixel count which will result in a 20% increase in the performance of the game by boosting the frame rate equally.

However, when you lower the resolution, the images may look a bit more pixelated, but that is a worthy sacrifice if you want to run a game at a higher frame rate.

You will also be able to increase the fps significantly if you change the video settings of the game. Lower the settings of a few important things that may affect the performance such as:

  • The draw distances and
  • The shadow quality.

Anti-aliasing is also very helpful to improve the performance of the game. This is because it will smooth out the lines along the borders of the images or objects. It will make these images look less pixelated and save a lot of power of the computer hardware.

You can even overclock the hardware, provided you know exactly what you are doing and the consequences of overclocking to your CPU, video card, RAM, and, in short, your whole computer.

Also, you can use any reliable software to optimize your computer to enhance the fps. There are lots of unnecessary processes and programs that runs in a computer in the background.

These programs use a lot of CPU power and memory. The computer optimization software will clear these processes out so that these do not ruin the performance of the game and lower your gaming pleasure.

There are also some simple tweaks and adjustments that can increase the performance of the computer and even enhance the fps. These are:

  • Adjusting your computer for best performance
  • Turning the game mode on
  • Configuring FreeSync or G-Sync to enhance the refresh rate of the monitor
  • Fixing or removing errors in your computer and
  • Installing a game booster.

Lastly, scan your computer for malware and run some tests. This will also increase the fps and image display, and, in turn, the performance of the game by a significant margin.

How Does FPS Work?

Technically speaking, fps is a technology that works on the principle of perception by the human eyes. Ideally, a human eye can perceive images at 12 fps. The technology used in the video games use 30 to 60 fps. This creates a moving effect of the images.

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That is in simple terms. Looking deeper into it, it creates an impact on the brain of the viewers. With rapidly moving images or frames, the human eyes miss out a lot of things and the brain fills those missing spots and adds more information.

  • This is done in accordance with the principle that is known as persistence of vision, according to science. This is the concept where the brain continues to receive visual stimulus and registers it for a very short period even after it ends.
  • It also uses the phi function. This is the concept of seeing a single light moving back and forth when two or more adjacent lights are flashed on and off alternately.

This happens due to human psychology and functioning of the brain which tends to fill those gaps between two objects that are placed closely within the range of vision. It is this phenomenon based on which the fps in gaming or films work on.

The working process also involves interlacing two fields. This involves alternating and merging these fields into one single frame to make it look like one image.

Different images projected on different displays and for different purposes use different fps such as:

  • In gaming videos, the fps is usually between 30 to 60 fps
  • In movies, it is usually 24 fps and
  • In TVs, it is 29.97 fps according to the National Television Standards Committee.

According to PAL or Phase Alternating Line standard, the TV standards in Europe is 25 fps.

Questions & Answers:

What is a good FPS for gaming? 

Though this is very difficult to answer, a good gaming PC will come with a video card that may produce output at 30 fps. Gaming consoles may have higher fps of 60.

Ideally, a 30 fps is good for a single-player game, 60 fps is good for additional fluidity to make the game more responsive, 120 fps is good for multiplayer games and 240 fps is good to play high-end games at the highest competitive level. However, the most suitable fps for your computer will depend on the monitor refresh rate and hardware.

Is FPS better high or low?

As said earlier, higher fps will provide smoother transition of images from one frame to another to make it look more responsive but your computer must support it for the best results.

A higher fps rate will reduce lag times, stutters and tearing, if you have the right hardware. If you do not have it, be satisfied with a low fps.

Can RAM affect FPS?

Yes, to some extent, because it will store the image files that will be easier and faster to retrieve. If images are stored in the hard drive, fps will eventually take a hit because it is much slower than the RAM.

Increasing your RAM will surely increase the fps while playing a game. However, fps is mostly affected by the CPU and the graphics card.

Final Thoughts

Frames per second (FPS) refers to the number of individual frames or images displayed or captured in one second of a video or animation.

It is a measure of the smoothness and fluidity of the motion in the video, with higher FPS values indicating more fluid and natural movement.

FPS is important in gaming as it affects the display quality and smoother movement of images, and provides competitive advantages like improved reaction time, lowered tearing, and improved target tracking.

A higher FPS is important for high-end gamers, and it depends on the performance of the graphics card in the computer.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.