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CSGO Optimization

Last modified on Jun 24, 2022 in csgo

mc head By Nathan Young

CSGO Server Optimization

Overview

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a competitive experience, so when your game starts to have decreased frames, bad ping, or other performance issues, it can be frustrating. In an intense combat situation where every shot counts, freezing and stuttering will impact your aim, thereby causing you to lose the fight. The causes of your lag widely vary because of CS:GO’s design, which can make finding fixes challenging. This is especially true for client-specific issues such as Steam encountering bugs or game settings limiting your hardware’s potential to run Counter-Strike efficiently. There are many possible solutions to fixing your performance issues, so our Apex Hosting guide will walk you through all of them to find the best fix for lag on your CG:GO server.
 

Performance Issues

Steam updates Counter-Strike frequently and that can trigger problems in your game if an unforeseen bug snuck its way into the patch. On the other hand, issues can appear because of your computer’s resource usage or the game’s unoptimized setting. In rare cases, lag can randomly happen without a notable cause and sometimes result in unrelated fixes that work. We’ll do our best to cover all of them, then go through several methods for resolving the problems in the later sections.
 

FPS Lag

One of the most common issues is when your CS:GO game starts to lose frames. While playing with this active problem, you’ll notice everything being rougher on the eyes. You can confirm that with the cl_showfps 1 command in the Developer Console, which should display a lower number. The lower your frames are, the worse your gameplay experience will be. A good range to be in is one that matches your monitor’s refresh rate (hz), such as 144hz with 144 FPS. As a side note, it’s always better to have higher frames but if the rate isn’t good enough then it’ll still feel poor in-game.
 

Ping Lag

The second common issue is ping or latency when connecting to game servers. You can confirm that in the scoreboard of the match, which displays your ping. That typically happens when you join an international server that isn’t near your location or when you have router troubles. This can be extremely frustrating when playing because you may teleport around the map when actively moving in-game. That same logic can be applied to other enemies when you try to fight them, thereby decreasing your accuracy and disrupting gameplay.
 

Choke Increases

An uncommon, yet problematic issue, can be experienced in-game even with perfect FPS and ping. It’s called “choking” and if your game has the issue then it’ll be difficult to troubleshoot. You would have a good amount of frames and ping when playing, but you will notice subtle or apparent lag when shooting, scoping, and spectating players. The only way to confirm you have choke issues is by using the net_graph 1 command from the in-game console, which will display your choke percentage. An example of the line from the command is down below that you want to check.

choke: 37%

A normal, healthy game has the percentage at 0% and shouldn’t rise above 5% to 10% as lag would happen past those numbers.
 

SteamNetworkingSockets

Similarly to choke percentage problems, your game can have great FPS and ping but still suffer from lag. This can happen because of general problems on your hardware or software, which makes it even more difficult to resolve. However, before attempting to fix the issue you’d want to confirm that you are experiencing SteamNetworkingSocket errors in the developer console.

CSGO SteamNetworkingSockets Performance Warning Console

The errors will spam your entire console and cause noticeable lag and decreased performance while you play your CSGO match. It’s an uncommon problem, but one that is annoying to resolve.
 

VAR Spikes

VAR is closely related to FPS, because it’s how the server registers your frames. It’s defined as the ratio difference between frame rates on the client and server. When the VAR values increase or spike, then it’s likely your hardware or settings causing the problem. You can have perfect frames with no ping issues, but if your computer is having issues then it may cause VAR spikes. Some of the hardware-related causes are not directly associated with CSGO, so it can be frustrating troubleshooting the situation. You may confirm that using the net_graph 1 command in the developer console. An example is down below that shows the line you want to check from the command.

var: 4.2 ms

The normal millisecond values range from 0.0 and 0.8 and anything higher would indicate VAR issues for your game.
 

CS:GO Optimization

There are countless options to increase performance on Counter-Strike, with most being combined to be even stronger. The range of settings is vast because of the current design of the game and Steam. Many of them are widely known, but some go overlooked since they aren’t directly associated with CSGO. In this section, we’ll walk you through common methods for fixing lag or other issues and define them accordingly.
 

Video Settings

CSGO Video Settings Main Page

By far the most known example of increasing performance for almost any game are the video settings. This is used to change how the game looks and acts on your computer. If some options are set too high, meaning they are not suitable on your device, then you’ll experience issues.

Optimizing the options is an important first step towards fixing your in-game problems. For example, using Fullscreen for the Display Mode maximizes the number of FPS your game runs at. Thereby it grants you a smoother and efficient gameplay experience.
 

Aspect Ratio

If you’re using a modern monitor, then the Widescreen Aspect Ratio settings is what your innately computer uses. The average screen will likely use the 16:9 ratio, with the 16:10 version being a minor difference.

CSGO Video Settings Aspect Ratio

However, if you are on an older monitor then the Normal 4:3 option is what your unit uses by default. It essentially condenses every visual output from the computer to your monitor with noticeable black bars to the right and left on screen. In the sense of fixing lag issues, this doesn’t necessarily matter but using the compact aspect ratio results in the best performance.
 

Resolution

CSGO Video Settings Resolution

Similarly to the Aspect Ratio, resolutions change how the game looks like in-game while also dictating the level of performance. Most machines run at 1920x1080 and are perfectly acceptable in-game. If you have an amazing gaming computer with a high-end monitor, then you can technically run the game at 4K (3620x2036).

Although, just because your device may run it does not always mean that you should use it. If you want to output the best performance then use the 1280x720 option. However, it’s important to note that resolutions are subjective and in some cases barely make a performing difference. You can start playing around with them to find out what suits your needs the most.
 

Advanced Video Settings

If the normal video settings aren’t enough, then you can really start controlling how the game looks with advanced options. They tell your game what types of textures to apply or the effect details to make the game look prettier. Other ones can be annoying to some people such as Motion Blur, which you can luckily disable. Instead of going through every single setting, you can copy our already optimized list in the screenshot. Although, it’s important to keep in-mind that making everything on Low or Disabled will make your game appear distasteful since it renders everything with low polygons (textures) and effects.

CSGO Advanced Video Settings

 

Verifying the Game Files

By far the most used method for resolving almost any issues facing your CSGO game is to verify all the files for it in Steam. This way you can be sure the game is installed correctly with no missing or corrupted files. However, this does not completely guarantee a resolution to your lag issues. If anything, this can help with connections to servers or crashes in the game.

  1. Open your Steam client and locate Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the Library section.
  2. Right-click the game and press Properties, then click on Local Files.
  3. After that, select the Verify Integrity of Game Files button.
    CSGO Verify Game Files Steam
  4. Wait for that to complete and reach 100%, then see if that helped the situation.

 

Performance Commands

There are a lot of potential problems that arise causing odd situations of lag while playing Counter-Strike. For example, your game can choke up and cause intervals of abrupt lag even with perfect FPS or ping. The following commands need to be entered in the Developer Console, which should help with performance.

fps_max 0 - Forces your game to maximize the frames according to your computer.
func_break_max_pieces 0 - Disables small objects in-game that aren’t noticeable, which will increase performance.
r_drawtracers_firstperson 0 - Turns off light traces from weapons when shooting to boost frames.
mat_disable_bloom 1 - Removes bloom effects in-game to make it appear simpler and thereby getting more FPS.
mat_queue_mode 2 - Used to help with CPU issues and resource usage to optimize the game.


Note: Visit our Best CSGO Commands guide to have more control in your game.
 

Launch Options

In rare performance issues, it may be necessary to implement settings that start with your game from Steam. CSGO allows you to use a wide variety of launch options that can improve lag, ping, or other problems. Startup or launch options will automatically run commands and other functions once loading the game. This can save you time and effort because this doesn’t require inputting commands every time you start to play or experience issues.

Here’s our recommended launch options for Counter-Strike:

+cl_forcepreload 1 - This is used to preload the map and sounds in-game, thereby granting increased performance.
-high - Sets memory for the game to be the highest or most prioritized.
-softparticlesdefaultoff - Boosts your frames by changing the rendering of particles.
+mat_disable_fancy_blending 1 - Changes the textures to be less detailed, but may improve frames.
+r_dynamic 0 - Disables some light features in-game to boost your performance.


 

How to Use Launch Options

  1. Launch Steam and navigate to your Library section on the client.
  2. Right-click Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and press Properties.
  3. In the General category, locate the Launch Options field and paste your values in the text box.
    CSGO Launch Options Steam

 

Honorable Mentions

If you’ve been through all the methods before and nothing seems to be working, then perhaps using unconventional ways will succeed. It’s advised to be cautious as you use these methods, but most of them will be perfectly safe. Always better to be on the safe side and use the preferred methods, but some performance issues are too specific or troublesome that require other means to fix. We’ll go through a brief list of other possibilities to fix your CSGO lag and problems.
 

Updating the OS

In cases with abnormal and rare lag, ensuring your operating system (OS) is up to date can be crucial to the fix. Most gamers don’t realize that their OS can contribute to performance problems. It should be noted that updating does not mean upgrading, so no need to change from Windows 10 to 11. Essentially, all you would want to do is make sure your system is updated and with all the latest patches.
 

Allocating Resources

Having too many applications running or opened in the background on your computer as you play CSGO may result in lag. That’s because there would be too many processes and programs running all at once while your game is taking a lot of resources. Make sure to close out non-essential windows and software so your machine can allocate the appropriate amount of memory to the game. You will see a difference in gameplay and your FPS, but sometimes it can be barely detectable.
 

Restarting the Connection

Latency, otherwise known as ping, can be troublesome at times and requires to be reset. The most effective way to do this is to restart your router for 30 seconds. You can do that by unplugging it for that duration and plugging it back in. Hopefully, that will refresh your connection(s) and give you a strong signal in-game to play without issues. If that doesn’t help the overall performance situation, then the lag’s causation is likely elsewhere.
 

Nvidia Optimization

If you have a Nvidia graphics card (GPU) installed in your computer, then you can download the GeForce Experience program. This will give you a lot of control and information about the system. One of them being an operation to optimize your games it detects, which can come in handy if you don’t know what’s best for your machine.

CSGO Nvidia GeForce Experience Optimization
CSGO Nvidia GeForce Experience

It’s an easy click of a button with no skill or experience needed. When you open the software, you will see your Games & Apps section and should display Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Hover over that and click Details, then press Optimize and you’re done! You may now start up the game and enjoy a smooth experience as you win the match. However, you can still tweak the Video Settings in-game or through GeForce Experience if you want.

 

Conclusion

Increasing the performance of CSGO involves many methods, both conventional and unconventional. Unfortunately, you may encounter issues that require a lot of troubleshooting to resolve. For instance, encountering a “SteamNetworkingSockets” error will greatly decrease performance without a drop in FPS or latency. These kinds of situations rarely happen, but when they do it can be truly difficult to fix. You can optimize the video settings and control how textures appear in-game to boost your frames, or you may update the computer’s operating system to ensure no lag issues arise. Most solutions to gameplay problems can be combined, which gives you the best possible outcome. For example, using launch options with optimized resolution settings is a popular combination to increase performance. There is never a right answer to fixing lag, because it can be resolved by one or more methods. You’ll need to explore what works for you and what doesn’t, which we hope this resource helped you do!
 

Useful Links

How to Open Console on CSGO
The Best CSGO Commands
All CSGO Guides
Nvidia GeForce Experience

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