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Why does FPS decrease the more you play

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Why does FPS decrease the more you play

More often than not, FPS in games is kept steady throughout the game. However, there are times when your computer starts to lag the more you play. This leads to a decrease in performance, and an overall bad gaming experience. There are a few reasons why FPS decrease the more you play. Let’s go through some of the most important ones.

Usually, FPS drops over time as you are playing a game because of a memory leak(bottleneck). The more you play, the bigger the virtual memory(RAM) gets. After a while, it becomes large enough to cause performance problems on your PC. Think of it this way: when you start playing, your game uses just 3GB of RAM. After a while, as data increases, RAM usage goes up to 5GB. A bit later, it goes up again to 8GB. Even with 16GB of ram installed, it’s enough to see a drop in frames per second.

If, however, your FPS decrease the more you play STEAM games, sadly this is a common problem, and as of date, there is no one-fits-all solution. However, disabling STEAM overlay might be a good option to start.

GPU thermal throttling maybe be a problem as well

After a couple of hours of gaming, all your system will get hotter. This means your graphics card as well. Modern GPU drivers will adjust the clock speed according to its temperature. Usually, this is performed by the graphics card driver. As you play, temperatures can rise up to 80 degrees Celsius, leading to bad gaming performance and a drop in fps.

You can limit this setting from your GPU control panel, however, this is not recommended. The best approach would be to check what is causing the high temperature while gaming is to look for a solution. Often, it is fixed by installing a better cooling source for your computer.

Another trick(or more like a bandaid) is to adjust the resolution when you experience sudden FPS drops after your play your games, is to use a lower resolution. While a gaming experience with 800×600 resolution might not be perfect, it’s a starting point to debug what’s going on.

When you are playing games in 4K or 1440p, you might run out of virtual ram. Play with your resolution settings until you get into a comfort zone.

FPS Decrease in games after playing for a while

Some users reported solving this issue after they underclocked their graphics video card. While this option is not for everyone, it is worth trying.

Battery management might lower performance

If you are gaming from a laptop, your system might limit your performance due to a bad battery policy. Although Power Management defaults to normal settings, you could check and see if you can allow more resources to be used. A low battery will implement power savings mode and will cause your games to lag while playing.

When your system limits resources, FPS decrease the more you play your favorite game.

CPU thermal throttling

In some cases, the CPU can get hotter the more you play. As with the video card, the CPU can also limit its performance to make sure it won’t go over a certain temperature limit. Even though gamers don’t reply too much on CPU, and weigh everything on their graphics video unit, there might be other apps in the background while are using the CPU.

After a while, (e.g. two hours) gaming performance drops, fps decrease, and you are left with a bad gaming experience.

As with GPU thermal throttling, the solution is to look for the cause and fix it. As the cooling policy is often to blame, upgrading your cooling capacity, or editing your drivers to force fans to run all the time will be a good place to start. Consider upgrading your fan size as well, as it may not perform like it used to.

A good measure would include a thorough cleaning of your CPU, and heatsink pipes. As time goes by, and dust accumulates, temperature finds it easy to increase. Keeping your CPU and heatsink clean will help with temperature control. This is, in a lot of cases, the main culprit to why fps drops after a few hours of playing games.

You might also be interested in reading how to fix lag spikes on your pc.

Background programs overusing resources

It is a good idea to always check what background programs are running while you play games. If you have your browser open with 8 forums, 3 youtube videos, and another 10 information articles, it will impact gaming performance. It takes a while for the temperature to rise, that’s why fps will decrease after a while, and not instantly.

It is a good idea to close any unnecessary software that is running. This will ensure a much better gaming experience while keeping your computer cool.

Consider a Hardware upgrade

Not all games are the same. While a game might start off with lower graphics and videos, it might get more intensive during gaming. Your CPU or your system altogether might not be enough to provide you with a nice gaming experience. Consider an upgrade, keeping in mind especially the CPU, and the video card.

Another good upgrade that will increase fps during gameplay is to replace your HDD with an SSD. Most people who updated their hard drives claimed a massive increase in FPS. RAM could use an increase as well, as it will increase the virtual memory size. It should be a top priority for gamers. Your old HDD is usually not fit for a lot of read/write requests like an SSD is.

The PSU is also often forgotten. If not enough voltage is available to supply the GPU sudden demand, performance will drop significantly.


As you can see, there are multiple reasons why FPS decrease the more you play. Sometimes it can be instant, sometimes fps can drop just 2 hours after playing. I hope the solutions above will help you tackle the problem. Sudden FPS drop in games is a common problem, and the solution is not always the same.