How to check your PC’s frame rate when playing video games

PC gaming is all about pushing frames per second (fps) as high as possible. The problem is that it’s really difficult to tell the difference between two frame rates without some point of reference. That’s why we put together a guide on how to check your PC’s frame rate while playing video games.

There are a lot of PC frame rate counters, including options from AMD and Nvidia, a counter built directly into Steam, and a few third-party tools. If you have a gaming PC, you have access to an fps counter. You just need to get it turned on and set up.

Further reading

How to check your PC’s frame rate when playing video games

These are the best frame rate counters on PC, and although you only need one, it’s worth trying out a few of them. The Steam overlay, for example, is great for getting frame numbers quickly right inside a tool you probably already have installed. A tool like MSI Afterburner, however, can give you more information on your frame rates, as well as the components in your system.

AMD Relive

Image of ReLive Homescreen
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Given that AMD’s Radeon GPUs come already installed in many PCs, you might have a built-in frame rate tracker and not even know it. Fortunately, it’s very easy to make use of AMD Relive. It requires an AMD HD 7700 or newer and the latest drivers installed.

To find your frame rate, right-click on the desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings from the pop-up menu.

From there, follow this path: Relive > Toolbar Hotkey (toggle) > Performance > Metric Options > Show Metrics

Image of ReLive Settings Menu
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Next, minimize Metric Options, maximize Select Metrics, and turn on FPS.

 Nvidia GeForce Experience

Image of GeForce Experience FPS Menu
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

If you have a GeForce GT 600, GTX 600, or newer, getting info on your machine’s frame rate is very simple. Simply download the latest drivers and open the GeForce Experience app. You can do that on your desktop or in-game by using the Alt + Z shortcut.

With the overlay open, select the Settings icon, then choose HUD Layout. You have a few options here. Select FPS Counter, then choose the corner of the screen where you want the counter to live.

The app isn’t perfect, so you may need to relaunch a game or switch between windowed and full screen mode (Alt + Enter, if you want to do that). The frame rate counter may show up in some other applications, but you can also disable it through the GeForce Experience overlay.

Steam

Image of Steam FPS Counter
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Given Steam’s popularity as a PC gaming platform, the inclusion of a frame rate counter should come as no surprise. To make use of it, click Steam located in the top-left corner followed by Settings in the drop-down menu.

From there, select In-Game listed on the left and then click the Down Arrow located under In-Game FPS Counter shown on the right. Select one of four locations from the drop-down menu.

Fraps

Image of FRAPS Client
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Serving up frame rate counts since 1999, Fraps is a free, easy-to-use frame-counting tool that quietly sits in your task bar. The program is fairly tiny, with the download weighing in at a measly 2.2MB.

Once installed, Fraps will automatically sneak into your task bar. If you want to change its settings, right-click on the Icon and select Settings on the pop-up menu — the Fraps icon resembles a monitor with a yellow “99.” Otherwise, just game on!

Any game you play from here on out will have a yellow number displayed in the corner of your screen. That number represents your game’s current frame rate.

Once you exit the game, however, the Fraps counter can behave erratically. Although the issue usually doesn’t appear in Windows, at times it will pop up. If you want to close it while not playing games, right-click on the Icon and select Exit Fraps on the pop-up menu. You can start it again by locating it on the Start Menu or by typing Fraps in the task bar search field.

MSI Afterburner

MSI Afterburner

MSI is one of the more popular gaming brands on the market. The company manufactures motherboards, peripherals, desktops, laptops, and add-in graphics cards. MSI Afterburner is a free tool that essentially complements its graphics cards, allowing customers to overclock them for better performance. But it also includes an on-screen display that can show your minimum and maximum frame rates.

To enable the frame rate counter, click the gear icon located under Fan Speed to open the app’s settings. Next, with the MSI Afterburner properties window now on your screen, select the Monitoring tab.

From there, select up to seven related settings found under Active Hardware Monitoring Graphs. These include Framerate, Framerate Min, Framerate Avg, and more. Click to the left of each setting to enable (green check mark).

Finally, be sure to enable Show in On-Screen Display located just under Graph Columns. Click Apply followed by OK to complete.

Windows/Xbox 10 Game Bar

Image of Microsoft Game Bar
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Since late 2019, Windows 10 users have enjoyed the addition of a frame rate counter via Xbox Game Bar and Microsoft Store. All that’s required is downloading the app from either source, going through the installation wizard, and rebooting your PC.

Boot up your game and press the Windows + G keys to open the Windows 10 counter. Go to the Performance section to see the new frame rate counter — you’ll see a small box on your display that will show your PC’s performance data.

Games with a frame rate counter built in

A lot of PC games have frame rate counters built in. It depends on the developer, of course, and including the swath of indie titles on PC, it’s impossible to compile a full list of games that include one. If you’re wondering if your favorite game has a frame rate counter, check the settings menu (usually under Display or something similar). Here’s a short list of popular games that have a counter built in:

Opening the console and entering “showfps” will allow you to check the counter in Sniper Elite 3 and a few other games. This command also works with many other games that run on Unreal Engine 4. 

To open the console with a U.S. keyboard, use the Tilde key right above Tab, and put in “Stat FPS” to see your frame rate. You can also display the frame times by entering “stat UnitGraph.” You will lose a visual of the counter unless you open the options from the game’s startup menu to add an argument. 

Steam utilizes these arguments, even if not all launchers will. If you use Steam, right-click your preferred game and pick Properties. Choose Set Launch Options and then enter in -ExecCmds=” stat UnitGraph” or -ExecCmds=” stat FPS”. You have to make sure to input this code using the exact symbols we’ve just typed out for you, including the mix of capital and lower-case letters, quotation marks, and dash or equal symbols. If you don’t, you won’t pull it off.

We can’t guarantee that this stunt will work for every game, but you’ll never know until you try.

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