How to Show FPS in CSGO, And Framerate’s Purpose in Esports

by in CS:GO | Apr, 28th 2021

In a high octane game like CSGO, reflexes are important, and the one thing that keeps a player from doing their best can boil down to one or two problems besides skill; lag, and a low framerate. Some players like to keep tabs on their framerate in-game to see if their game starts dropping frames during events and fights. Here is how to show the FPS counter in CSGO and some information as to why framerate is so important in Esports.

How to Show FPS in CSGO

As most Valve games, including CSGO, run on some form of the Source engine, this guide on how to show the in-game FPS is going to be useful in more than just CSGO. Games like Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Garry’s Mod, and Counter-Strike Source all run on the same engine.

Before you learn how to show the FPS in CSGO, make sure you have console commands on. This can be done by going into the settings of CSGO, and underneath the “Game” tab, make sure the “Enable Developer Console” option is turned to yes. Doing so will allow you to access your console commands by pressing the “tilde” key or the little squiggly key to the left of “1” on a keyboard; it looks like this [~].

Steam Community :: Guide :: How to: Display Damage directly in game  (without having to open console) - WORKS IN COMPETITIVE MATCHMAKING!
CSGO’s developer console (image credit to Steam user 3st)

To show your FPSin- game, go into the console commands with ~ and type in this code.

“cl_showfps 1”

This will make text appear in the top left corner of the screen, showing your current FPS as well as the map you’re playing on. The numbers are color-coded as well, with green being any FPS above 60, Yellow being any FPS under 60, and Red being any FPS under 30

, which is helpful to players who want to know where they stand in terms of FPS. However, there’s one other way to show your FPS in-game, which is a little more intrusive.

To show not only your FPS but your ping as well, enter this code.

“net_graph 1”

This will place a box of text on top of where your character’s gun is. It shows you your FPS, ping, and the server’s tick rate, which helps determine whether or not you’re lagging.

Both can be turned off by entering the same codes, but replacing the one with a zero, making these commands.

“cl_showfps 0”

“net_graph 0”

The Importance of FPS in Esports

While showing FPS in gameplay is something that not a lot of casual gamers do, it is important to the overall scope of esports as a whole. The frame rate is the number of times a computer will render a frame per second for those who don’t know, with 30 being considered the lowest playable frame rate.

When a game is being played back, you perceive it as moving images on a screen. While it looks like it’s just a single instance of an image, the physical reality is that your computer monitor, and in turn your computer, is rendering the image anywhere from 30-60 times a second. This why a 60 FPS video looks a lot smoother in comparison to a 30 FPS video. For someone playing a game like CSGO, reaction time is key; if the player cannot act fast enough, they’ll get shot and die. If a player can react in enough time, but their game is not powerful enough, and they’re running CSGO at 30 frames a second, they could miss their target, as their visuals are not updating as fast as the other players. It functions similar to lag but without an internet connection.

Steam Community :: Screenshot :: Bout time the Victory/Defeat screens were  updated.
High FPS can be the difference between victory and defeat (image credit to Steam user Neoprimal)

A game that runs slow will render it at a slower rate. This means that a player who’s playing at 60 FPS will see their computer showing data received from a server at lower speeds than someone who’s on a more powerful computer.

In the realm of esports, all players must play their best, and the battlefield must be equal for every player in the match, hence why LAN matches are so common across the industry. This is to reduce lag, as well the time it takes for the computer to receive information show information on the screen.

For instance, someone running at 240 seconds and someone running at 60-30 seconds would have a completely different experience trying to shoot a moving target, as the animation of a player running past them is smoother than if they were playing at a lower frame rate.

Another massive example of why FPS matters in esports is screen tearing. Many esports players will turn off what is known as V-sync, which is a setting in games that locks the display and the GPU to update at the same time. This, however, causes latency between the time a player clicks the mouse and the action of firing a weapon in CSGO on screen. Turning off V-Sync can make the latency of games decrease, but it can also cause what is known as screen tearing, in which the display will pull unfinished frames from the GPU and display them. This causes images to look choppy and can become extremely distracting for players on lower-end hardware.

The Power of a High Refresh Rate Monitor

A huge example of the benefits of FPS in games, and why you should learn how to show it in CSGO, is system latency, as the amount of time it takes for a computer to update the visuals of a game for a player can vary on how fast the game is being rendered. For example, a player playing on a high latency server doesn’t actually see what is going on in the server, but what happened a few seconds ago. What the player sees is a mirror of the current state of the sever. With a lower system latency and a higher frame rate, the game not only becomes more responsive but becomes easier for the player to get shots off.

That’s why many esports players and teams play on LAN and have high frame rates because that low latency and response time make it easier for them to play at their best. With LAN matches and standardized computers, the goal of an esports match is to not only have a fair game but a playing field in which players are not going to be put at a disadvantage.

This is also where high refresh rate monitors come in. A computer monitor has a set refresh rate, usually calculated in hertz or Hz for short. Most current monitors have a refresh rate of 60hz, while some can go to 75hz, 120hz, 144hz, or even 240hz. The importance of high refresh rates on monitors is that just because a player has a high framerate doesn’t mean they see a high framerate. Just like the GPU, your monitor is drawing a new image tens of times a second. For 60hz monitors, any image on your screen running at over 60 FPS is only going to be presented to you at 60 FPS. For 144hz monitors, any framerate over 144 is still going to look like a 144 FPS game. Even outside of online gaming, the difference is striking. I own two monitors, one was a 60hz monitor I bought so I could stop using my 720p tv from college as a monitor, and the other was a 144hz monitor so I could ditch the tv in its entirety. When I moved the mouse from my 60hz monitor to my 144hz monitor for the first time, I was blown away by how smooth just moving the mouse looked on my screen. The difference is striking.

Why a Higher Refresh Rate Gaming Monitor? | BenQ Singapore
A high refresh rate monitor, like this BenQ, can make all the difference (image credit BenQ)

Nvidia also put out a study showcasing the benefits of online gaming and high framerates. Throughout their research into the RTX 2080, they’ve uncovered that anyone who has played with a high framerate and a high refresh rate has been a consistently better player than before, regardless of skill, so knowing how to show and check your FPS in a game like CSGO can really put you at an advantage. Their data reaches from many games at the time, including Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG, and the Call of Duty battle royale mode.

According to the study from Nvidia, “This data doesn’t mean that simply upgrading your GPU will make you a better player. However you cut it, though, it is easy to see a relationship between the hardware used and a player’s kill/death ratio: having the right hardware enables the highest FPS and lowest latency, and that can help you reach your full potential on the battlefield.”

Any way you spin it, framerate isn’t the only thing that’s key to winning games; it takes a combination of decreasing system latency, better hardware, a high refresh rate monitor, a stable internet connection, and plenty of skill to bring yourself to the top of the game. While some players may not be the best, they could be getting held back by running systems that are just making it past 60 frames a second, or they could be getting held back by playing a game at 144 FPS while also viewing the game on a 60hz monitor. However you spin it, it’s certain that esports has come a long way, and the focus on fair play and pure skill has taken center stage for players and viewers alike. So maybe the people who have their framerates constantly running on their screen are onto something, or maybe they want to make sure that their game isn’t dropping frames when they’re in the middle of a match.


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