HomeLaptopsWhy is My FPS Capped at 30 When Unplugged?

Why is My FPS Capped at 30 When Unplugged?

Have you fired up your favorite game, ready to dominate the competition, only to be met with a sluggish, laggy experience? If you’re a laptop gamer, this might sound all too familiar. But why does your frame rate (FPS) suddenly plummet when you unplug your charger? We’re going to give reasons behind this frustrating phenomenon and, more importantly, how to get your game back on track.

Understanding FPS

Before we delve into the fix, let’s establish the importance of FPS. Imagine a flipbook – the faster you flip the pages, the smoother the animation appears. In games, FPS refers to the number of frames (images) your graphics card renders per second. A higher FPS translates to a smoother, more responsive experience, while a low FPS results in choppy visuals and lag.

So, Why is My FPS Capped at 30 When Unplugged?

Why is My FPS Capped at 30 When Unplugged
Laptops prioritize extending battery life when you’re not plugged in

Now, the reason your FPS tanks when unplugged boils down to a simple trade-off: battery life vs. performance. Laptops prioritize extending battery life when you’re not plugged in. This translates to throttling down components, including the graphics card, to conserve precious battery juice.

The Two Main Reasons Behind the FPS Cap

There are two primary culprits behind this automatic performance reduction.

  • Power Management: Your operating system (OS) has built-in power plans. When unplugged, the default plan often switches to “Battery Saver” mode, which downclocks your CPU and GPU, significantly impacting performance.
  • Graphics Card Power Saving Features: Manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD implement features specifically designed to limit graphics card usage on battery.

Solutions to Boost Your FPS

Don’t fret, fellow gamer! Here are some solutions to get your FPS back up and running smoothly.

  • Adjust Power Settings: Head over to your power options and switch the plan to “High Performance” when unplugged. This prioritizes performance over battery life, allowing your hardware to run at full capacity.
  • Disable Graphics Card Power Saving:
    • For Nvidia GPUs: Open the Nvidia Control Panel. Navigate to “Manage 3D Settings” and then “Program Settings.” Select your desired game and under “Preferred graphics processor,” choose “High-performance Nvidia processor.” You can also disable “Power Saving Mode” globally under “Global Settings.”
    • For AMD GPUs: Open AMD Radeon Software and explore the settings for similar power-saving options.

Does a Second Monitor Affect FPS?

Optimizing Your Gameplay Experience

Why is My FPS Capped at 30 When Unplugged
Close any programs you aren’t actively using before launching your game

While the above solutions should address the FPS cap, here are some additional tips to squeeze out every bit of performance:

  • Update Graphics Drivers: Outdated drivers can hinder performance. Ensure you have the latest drivers installed for your graphics card from the manufacturer’s websites: Nvidia and AMD 
  • Close Background Applications: Unnecessary programs running in the background can consume valuable resources. Close any programs you aren’t actively using before launching your game.
  • Consider Undervolting (Advanced): This involves slightly reducing the voltage supplied to your CPU and GPU. While it can improve battery life and potentially boost performance, undervolting requires research and carries the risk of instability if not done correctly. Proceed with caution!

Does Having More Monitors Lower FPS?

Final Thoughts

We’ve established that the FPS cap when unplugged is a consequence of prioritizing battery life. By adjusting power settings and disabling graphics card power-saving features, you can regain control and restore your smooth gameplay experience. Remember, prioritizing battery life comes at the expense of raw performance.

Disclaimer: It’s important to note that some laptops, particularly those with less powerful hardware, might have limitations that prevent them from reaching their full performance potential even when plugged in.

FAQs

Q. Will switching to “High Performance” mode significantly drain my battery?
A. Yes, using the “High Performance” plan will consume battery life faster compared to “Battery Saver” mode.

Q. Are there any risks involved in disabling graphics card power saving features?
A. Disabling these features shouldn’t pose any inherent risks. However, it will reduce battery life as your graphics card will operate at a higher power state.

Q. What if I don’t see the option to disable “Power Saving Mode” in my Nvidia Control Panel?
A. Your graphics card model might not support this feature. Consult your laptop’s manual or manufacturer’s website for specific information.

Q. Is undervolting safe?
A. Undervolting can be safe if done correctly, but it’s crucial to emphasize the inherent risks. Instructing users to undervolt without proper knowledge can lead to system instability and potential damage.

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