GUIDE: Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch (PC)

Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch PC
by WyomingMyst

Welcome to the Maximize Overwatch Performance guide! Here you will find various tips and tricks that help users get every possible frame per second, the lowest possible simulation rate, and minimize spikes of system lag during matches of Overwatch. This guide will go over recommended settings in Overwatch, settings outside of Overwatch, and other tricks you can use to improve performance. Please note, this guide is intended to improve performance, assuming you have no technical issues. If you are encountering severe FPS drops, freezes, or other noticeable issues, please check out these official Blizzard posts containing various troubleshooting tips:

By following these tips, you can find increased frames-per-second, a more stable connection, and increased response in your controls. By increasing your system’s performance, you could help improve your actual gameplay, but this is only a small factor, and only continuing to practice and play Overwatch will ultimately improve your skill as a player.

DISCLAIMER: While I am an MVP Tech Support forum member, I am NOT a representative of Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment or I cannot be held responsible for any malfunction, damage, or undesired effects by implementing the steps this guide has.

Meeting the Recommended System Requirements

While Overwatch is very capable of playing on many modern-day computers, you are going to have a better time playing by meeting, if not exceeding, their recommended system requirements. Let us review them here:

  • Operating System: Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5 or AMD Phenom™ II X3 or better
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 or AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 or better
  • RAM: 6 GB RAM
  • Storage: 30 GB available hard drive space
  • Internet: Broadband Internet connection
    • Based on my own tests on various connections, a minimum 5 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload is recommended.
  • Display: 1024 x 768 minimum display resolution at 60 Hz

Please note that the better hardware you can get, the more likely you will find improved performance in the game. As a comparison, here is the computer I use to play Overwatch with:

  • Operating System: Windows® 10 64-bit (latest service pack)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00 GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1070
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 Terabyte Solid State Drive
  • Display: 1920x1080 resolution at 144 Hz

Building an optimal Computer for Overwatch

Now that we know what the system requirements are, let’s go over detailed tips that can prove to give an edge in performance if you are upgrading or building your own PC.

Type of Storage

It is strongly recommended making sure that Overwatch and Blizzard App Launcher is installed in the same storage drive and partition as your Windows® Operating System. Many players often reported performance issues, if not crashes, when Overwatch and the Blizzard App Launcher are installed on a secondary storage drive. Furthermore, if you want to get an edge in speed performance during key events such as when a match first loads, consider using a solid-state drive as your primary storage drive. A solid-state drive (SSD) is a storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently and uses no mechanical components, unlike a traditional magnetic disc hard disk drive. Data on an SSD will transfer to your RAM quickly and fluently, so loading screens run faster.

Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch PC
On left, the circuitry of a Solid State Drive (SSD). On right, the spinning disc assembly of a magnetic hard disk drive (HDD).

Monitor and Cable Hookup

When connecting to a monitor, it is recommended to use a DVI cable, Display Port cable, or an HDMI 1.4 cable over older HDMI or VGA. With a DVI cable, you can get refresh rates of up to 144 Hz. With an HDMI 1.4 cable or Display Port cable, you can get up to 244 Hz. Older HDMI cables do not do this, and even a 1.3 HDMI can only output video data at 120 Hz. When shopping for a monitor, make sure it is capable of 144 Hz or higher refresh rate and preferably be a 16:9 scale monitor.

Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch PC
On left, an HDMI cable. On the middle, a DVI cable. On right, a display port cable.

If Overwatch is intended to be your only game to play, you will not need an ultra-wide 21:9 scale resolution or wider monitor. Overwatch does not support a field-of-view greater than 103 to ensure an even competitive platform for all monitor setups (meaning portions of the top and bottom of a screen on a 21:9 monitor will be cropped off in comparison to that of 16:9).

Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch PC
On left, a screenshot of the game in 16:9 scale at a maximum field of view of 103. On right, a screenshot of the game in 21:9 scale at a maximum field of view of 103.

Other Hardware Tips (for the tech-savvy)

Aside from getting the best possible components for your computer, it can be a good idea to get a liquid cooler for your CPU. You can also find easy-to-install liquid cooler assemblies for your graphics card as well. Liquid coolers work to more efficiently keep your processing components at far lower temperatures when playing games that require a lot of processing to render the graphics. This helps boost your FPS performance. It is also important to remember that the beefier the hardware you have for your PC, the higher wattage it will require, so make sure your power supply unit (PSU) covers the wattage necessary to power up everything. A cheap 300-Watt Power Supply can overload and destroy the other components of your computer. So it is a good idea to invest in a 750-Watt or higher power supply.

Finally, while Overwatch only needs 6 Gigabytes of RAM, try to install a ram that has a higher speed rating for faster responses and load times. Usually, RAM sticks that are marketed for gaming PCs are often a great way to go. If you intend to do other tasks such as streaming or have other applications running simultaneously as Overwatch, you will need more RAM beyond the 6 Gigabytes needed. The more RAM you have installed on your system, the less likely you are to encounter freezes. If you upgrade your ram, make sure to replace your RAM sticks entirely or absolutely make sure any additional sticks are the same model as the ones installed on your system. Mixing different models of RAM can result in crashes with both Overwatch and your overall operating system.

Evaluating your System Performance in Overwatch

Now, not accounting for system resources available, there are two ways to play Overwatch. The first is accounting for graphical appeal and looks and the other is accounting for speed and performance. Some streamers and casuals players rather enjoy every element of the game, so they often like to run with Ultra or Epic performance settings. However, most professional players and those who enjoy Overwatch competitively will crank down most video settings to get as fast a frame rate as possible and as low a SIM rate as possible. SIM rate is the simulation or the amount of time your game client took to process a tick. Like connection ping, this is measured in milliseconds. A system that is running with high-graphic settings will often find its SIM rate to run in the tens of milliseconds, whereas a high-performing system with the lowest graphics quality settings can often crank out speeds of 3 to 4 milliseconds. This may not seem like much, but visual lag and input lag can affect how fast your inputs respond, much like the connection latency in your game.

So how can you measure your SIM rate? Using the Network Graph in Overwatch, start a custom game or go to the Training range, and after selecting a hero, tap the following key combination:

Ctrl + Shift+ N

You will see a shaded area with several graph lines scrolling from right to left. The faster these lines are moving, the more ticks you are processing. Look for the upper white line and value to read your SIM rate. Remember, the lower your SIM rate is, the faster your game will perform. If you can, try to play around the training area, especially in the area with the multiple Training Bots moving in and out of the left side building and output as much primary fire as you can and move around as fast as you can. Doing this will test how fast your system is processing commands and rendering graphics to your screen.

If by any chance, you see any white shaded bars appear as you do this, then this means your system had a delay in processing data from the game server. These white bars often point to your computer lagging (and not your connection). On the other hand, if you see orange bars, this often points to a problem with your connection, and if they appear frequently, you should troubleshoot your connection. If several large white bars are appearing, then that is a possible sign of system performance issues that need troubleshooting. Now that you know how to measure your system performance let’s work to maximize your system’s performance.

Overwatch In-Game Video Settings

Let’s go over each of these handy settings and see what and where we can change to improve performance.

Also note when you view the Video options on Overwatch, it will list your GPU. So, if by rare chance it displays the wrong GPU (such as the motherboard’s integrated graphics) you will know that needs to be changed (outside of Overwatch).

  • DISPLAY MODE: Most likely you will want this in a full-screen view, however, this can be at your preference based on your setup and use of Overwatch.
  • TARGET DISPLAY: Again, this is your preference if you have multiple Monitors to use.
  • RESOLUTION: Try to get this to at least 1920 by 1080 and at the highest refresh rate you can get, for many, this is at 1920x1080 (144)(), but if you have a 4K resolution monitor, this can go as high at 3840x2160 (144)(). Just remember that going higher than 1920x1080 pixel resolution may affect FPS performance.
  • FIELD OF VIEW: This should be increased to a maximum of 103, this allows you to have the maximum view of the playfield in the game.
  • ASPECT RATIO: Chances are this will be at 16:9. There is support for 16:10 and 21:9 however the field of view is negatively affected with these aspect ratios.
  • VSYNC: It is recommended this is turned off. Short for Vertical Sync, Vsync allows you to synchronize the frame rate of the game with the monitor refresh rate for better stability, however, you will limit your frames per second with this setting on.
  • TRIPLE BUFFERING: It is recommended this turned off. Triple buffering simply buffers one extra frame to the CPU instead of two. This extra frame gives enough time to correct more issues such as frame tearing and Vsync. However, an extra frame being buffered by the GPU means it must use more onboard GPU memory to store and buffer that frame and that can affect the overall FPS performance.
  • REDUCE BUFFERING: It is recommended this turned on if you prefer a competitive setup. This allows the game to buffer fewer frames but at the cost of visual appearance.
  • DISPLAY PERFORMANCE STATS: These handy stats will appear in the upper left corner of your screen that you can quickly glance at to ensure your game running properly at any time. You can choose specific stats by selecting the Advanced tab. For many players simply showing show the Framerate and the Network Latency is often enough. The other options are more helpful when experimenting with settings or doing connection troubleshooting.
  • DISPLAY SYSTEM CLOCK: Many players like to keep this turned on. Just because you don’t realize that it’s 4 AM and you should have been at work 20 hours ago… Forget it! Play one more game!
  • LIMIT FPS: Set this to Custom and based on what your system can handle go as high as you can on the Frame Rate Cap (maximum is 400).
  • FRAME RATE CAP: (this option is only available when LIMIT FPS is set to CUSTOM): Really go as high as you can until you start to notice adverse effects from your GPU (such as increased GPU temperature) or the game, the maximum is 300.
  • GRAPHICS QUALITY: The general Graphics Quality setting will adjust many of the following settings listed below to defined presets to reach a certain graphics quality while playing.
    • If you want to have a competitive experience playing Overwatch, set this to Low, changing this will change certain settings in the Advanced section automatically, so remember to open the ADVANCED section to further customize the settings.
    • If you rather have a more visually enhanced experience, try setting it to High, Ultra, or Epic, but make sure you thoroughly test the game output in several non-Competitive games to ensure your system does not crash.
  • RENDER SCALE: This is recommended at 100% for most competitive experiences, however, some professional players like to reduce this further. Reducing the render scale will make the game appear more pixelated and some like it that way to better distinguish other player’s heroes or map objects better.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: 100% or lower
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: Automatic (the amount will be based on other settings). It will likely be ineffective to go any higher than the automatic setting.
  • TEXTURE QUALITY: Texture Quality determines how detailed surface textures on heroes and map objects appear.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High
  • TEXTURE FILTERING QUALITY: Texture Filtering identifies the point on the texture at which a particular pixel is drawn from, samples nearby texels, and renders out the correct color.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low - 1x
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High - 4x, Ultra- 8x, Epic- 16x
  • LOCAL FOG DETAIL: This setting controls how well fog, haze, and smoke elements are rendered in Overwatch.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low - 1x
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High - 4x, Ultra- 8x, Epic- 16x
  • DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS: This determines how well reflective surfaces in Overwatch reflect sources of light including from gameplay elements like weapons fire.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Off
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High
  • SHADOW DETAIL: Gives a more realistic appearance to how shadows are rendered in the game.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Off
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High or Ultra
  • MODEL DETAIL: Controls the complexity and detail of heroes and other dynamic objects in the game.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High or Ultra
  • EFFECTS DETAIL: This setting determines how much and how detailed visual effects, especially those from ability and weapon fire, are rendered in the game.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High or Ultra
  • LIGHTING QUALITY: This setting determines the quality of light sources and how they cast shadows.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High or Ultra
  • ANTIALIAS QUALITY: Antialias determines how well the edges of objects render versus elements in the background.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Off
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High - SMAA Medium or Ultra - SMAA High
  • REFRACTION QUALITY: This controls how well lighting bending effects on semi-transparent surfaces, such as barriers, render.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Low
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: High
  • SCREENSHOT QUALITY: This determines how well a screenshot will render when you press the PRT SC button to take a screenshot. Please note, this will not be affected if use you use a third-party software like NVidia Shadowplay to capture screenshots.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: 1x Resolution
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: Up to 9x Resolution (Be sure to test by capturing several screenshots to see if they momentary impact your performance.)
  • LOCAL REFLECTIONS: This renders how reflections appear in mirror-like surfaces in the game.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Off
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: On
  • AMBIENT OCCLUSION: This creates and enhances shadows to small objects in close proximity to each other.
    • Competitive Recommended Setting: Off
    • Visually Enhanced Recommended Setting: On

For GAMMA CORRECTION, CONTRAST, BRIGHTNESS, consider leaving them alone unless you need to adjust based on the needs of your monitor or your own personal needs.

Colorblind settings are also available to assist those who cannot see the entire color spectrum. Since the Colorblind Settings rework, which now introduces the ability to change the Friendly and Enemy Team color highlights and effects, some players tend to use this competitively to adjust colors that have better contrast to other elements including map terrain (yellow for enemies, purple for allies is a very popular setting for competitive players). Other players, especially streamers, like to adjust the settings for personal preference and style.

Overwatch In-Game Sound Settings

Most of these options will be based on your specific computer setup and equipment. If you want to have more awareness in your matches, consider muting out music volume as it is more important to hear weapons fire, voice lines, and enemy footsteps. However, be aware this mutes critical music cues like the payload approaching and overtime cues. When it comes to your microphone, carefully experiment with both your Windows® microphone settings and any third-party software that controls your microphone (if you are using a USB headset or microphone). Finally, if you can disable any surround sound features with your headphones, turn on Dolby® ATMOS™. This amazing feature really works to provide realistic surround sound to pinpoint the sound from enemy movements and weapons fire. Click here to learn more about using Dolby® ATMOS™ for Overwatch.


Make sure to turn off any surround sound options on your headset (switch to 2.0 stereo), then turn on Dolby ATMOS for the best possible in-game sound experience.

Overwatch Controls Settings

In most cases, how you adjust your control settings will be based on your own personal preferences. For a competitive experience, the general strategy most professional players use to improve their aim is by slowly adjusting and dropping your mouse sensitivity and practice aiming with it. Doing this will take several days to master and develop, but if you can learn to aim with your arm and not your hand, you will find you can accurately pinpoint targets easily.

You may also want to experiment with different keybindings if you find yourself mistyping something during gameplay. One common problem is that players accidentally disable their HUD elements by pressing Alt+Z. Both of those keys are relevantly near each other, so it may be more helpful to bind a key combination not so easy to trigger. Some players like to swap the default healing communication key X with the melee key V as it is often easy to accidentally tap X when you are actually looking to press S to move backward.

For individual heroes, you may also find the need to swap your Ability 1 Shift, Ability 2 E, and Alternate Fire (Right Mouse Click) to play more comfortably. As an example, some players still use D.Va in her old control configuration. Before patch 1.1, D.Va used to have her Defense Matrix ability bound to Ability 2 by default and not Alternate Fire. This was because the ability worked very differently than what it does today. So to keep the controls familiar, some players like assign Defense Matrix to Ability 2, and the Rocket Boosters are assigned to the Alternate Fire. Since the introduction of Micro Missiles in patch 1.15, Micro Missles are assigned to Ability 1. This is just one example, and you should experiment with each hero to figure out what makes more sense for you to get the maximum output for each hero.

Using gaming mouse keybindings

Getting a high-quality gaming mouse can be a great investment. Many provide additional buttons on the sides to which you can assign single keypresses to. One good example is the Razer® Deathadder v2 mouse which features two thumb buttons on the right side and two quick action buttons just below the scroll wheel. There are many ways to customize your unique mouse control experience. However, many players often like to keep their spray T and melee V commands often on their mouse’s secondary buttons for quick access.


Razer® Deathadder Elite Overwatch Edition Mouse (This model is no longer produced).

IMPORTANT! Just remember that macros (programmable scripts to automate multiple key presses) are NOT permitted in Blizzard games. So, avoid using any macro features for any gaming mouse that you use.

Overwatch Gameplay Settings

In this section, three key settings can have a major impact on your game. First, the Network Quality Notifications setting should be turned to ON. These will show two orange icons towards the upper left corner of your screen when you encounter connection issues. Most likely, this will blink maybe every now and then. However, if they flash rapidly or appear lit constantly, you could have connection issues that need to be addressed. Next, if you encounter some minor latency issues, try turning on either the Limit Client Send Rate or the Limit Server Send Rate to on. This will help prevent any overloading of your router with data (which can cause a disconnection from the game server), but it can possibly impact your input and output (especially sound effects and voice lines) response as you play. Finally, there are not Subtitle settings

Computer Settings Outside of Overwatch

There are a wide variety of settings for Windows that can improve performance for Overwatch. First, going back to improving input lag, you should disable “Enhanced Pointer Precision” for your mouse settings in Windows. This setting works to make minor corrections based on erratic hand moments to smooth the appearance of how the mouse moves in Windows. However, this setting can make it more difficult to aim accurately.

  • Open Windows® Control Panel (Start > Windows System > Control Panel) and find the Mouse option.
  • Click the Pointer Options tab.
  • Uncheck the “Enhance Pointer Precision” checkbox
  • Click “Apply” then “OK” to close.

Disable Enchanced Pointer Precision in Windows

Another factor in controlling your mouse movement is to manage your mouse driver’s DPI sensitivity (usually adjustable with many gaming mice driver software). Unlike the in-game sensitivity setting, Don’t try to crank down the DPI to bare minimums (as it has a similar effect). Instead, be at a balanced amount to ensure accuracy with control. I have seen pro players use a range of around 4.00 in-game sensitivity with 1600 DPI to 8.00 in-game sensitivity with 800 DPI. Note that adjusting your DPI will affect how fast your cursor on menu screens (including the Hero Select Screen) moves.

If you are using a gaming keyboard, check to see if its driver software contains features that help disable the Windows® Key while the game runs. It can be very easy to tap the Windows® key and open the start menu (which can be annoying to get back into the game). If you have customizable lighting features with your keyboard, consider alternating the colors of your A, S, D, and W keys and a different color for your Q, E, and SHIFT keys. If you have a Razer® branded USB Keyboard with built-in Razer® Chroma™ effects, Overwatch will automatically output color effects based on gameplay. (This can be disabled in Razer Synapse.)

Razer® Deathadder Elite Overwatch Edition Mouse

Graphic Card Video Settings

Please note, the screenshots and steps will primarily reflect settings for Nvidia® GTX Graphic Cards and Control Panel. However, there are similar settings in the AMD® Radeon Control Panel for AMD® Graphic Cards.

There are several settings in your graphics card control panel that are not available in your graphics card experience suite that can be changed to positively impact your game. To reach your graphics card control panel, go to your Windows desktop (minimize or close all programs), right-click any empty space, and select the graphics card control panel shortcut that appears in the pop-up menu. For the most part, keep most of these settings at default unless you are experiencing performance issues overall. However, it is recommended to change four specific settings for both Overwatch Launcher.exe and Overwatch.exe. If you do not see one or both of these, click the Add button and locate the executables in your Program Files (x86) folder. In the Nvidia control panel, you can specify which 3D settings are running for each program.

3D Settings > CUDA – GPUs: Here you can specify which graphics card or chipset (if you have multiple) are running on your system. Most likely you will want to choose your most powerful one.

3D Settings > Power Management Mode: Here you can specify the power performance of your graphics card. This setting is especially important for laptops. Please note, whenever you play Overwatch on a laptop, make sure to always be plugged into electrical power and not run off the battery. For this setting, manually set to Prefer maximum performance.

Configure Surround, PhysX > PhysX Setting: This is a global setting to make sure your primary graphics card is being used over the CPU to ensure proper graphical rendering. Make sure it is set to your preferred graphics card.

Adjust Display Size and Position > Refresh Rate: Finally, check this setting to ensure you have the highest possible refresh rate being sent to the monitor.

Updating/Reinstalling your Graphics Card Driver

Updating your graphics card driver will, in most cases, ensure Overwatch will be able to run with the latest patches. You can often update your driver through support programs like Nvidia® GeForce Experience or AMD® Radeon ReLive.

In the unlikely event, however, if you are finding that after simply updating you are experiencing low FPS, you may need to consider doing a full reinstall of the graphics card driver. Download the most recent Nvidia® or AMD® for your system. Then use Display Driver Uninstaller to completely clean out your old driver. Locate your downloaded driver and install it.

Overclocking

You may find that overclocking either your CPU or your graphics card may help get boosted performance. Overclocking is configuring your processors to run faster than their factory limits are configured to do so. The risks to overclocking include reducing your CPU or graphics card’s overall shelf life or overheating your computer entirely. Overwatch also tends to be more prone to graphical artifacts (distorted graphics rendered on screen) with some overclock configurations.

Refer to your motherboard manufacturer’s support site for instructions on implementing any overclocking. Approach this with caution, as overclocking can cause game crashes in specific setups. It is recommended only implementing overclocking features that are built into your motherboard. Thoroughly test your changes in non-competitive game modes for any changes you have made and take careful notes to what you have changed from in case you need to switch back.

Conflicting programs that can hinder performance in Overwatch

There can be various programs both on the overlay and in the background that can hinder your performance in Overwatch. If you notice freezes in-game, this can often be pointed to a program that is taking up system resources. This includes:

  • Web browsers such as Microsoft® Edge, Mozilla® Firefox, and Google® Chrome
  • Third-party communication applications such as Discord®, Skype®, and Teamspeak®
  • Cloud storage management programs such as OneDrive®, Evernote®, and Dropbox®
  • Streaming software such as NVidia® ShadowPlay, Open Broadcasting Software, and AMD® ReLive
  • Anti-virus and malware protection applications

Depending on your connection and computer setup, not every program will pose an issue. However, if you encounter troubles, try disabling each and see if you can improve performance. You may have to forcefully shut down programs in the Windows® Task Manager to close them down entirely. Then check that program’s setting to see if you can prevent it from conflicting with Overwatch. Furthermore, there can be background programs that can cause conflicts with Overwatch, and if you feel this is the case, check out the Closing Background Applications Blizzard Support article to learn how to disable and carefully test each one to isolate any conflicting background programs.

Updating your BIOS

The BIOS is a special chipset on your computer that is a set of computer instructions in the firmware that control input and output operations. Sometimes, in rare cases, updating your BIOS can improve performance to all your other components, improving FPS and input performance. Updating the BIOS varies across each motherboard, so you will need to reach out to your motherboard manufacturer (or overall computer manufacturer if you have a pre-built computer) to find out how you can check and update your BIOS. It is recommended to check your BIOS firmware at least once a year. Use extreme caution when updating your BIOS, as doing so incorrectly can completely brick your motherboard. Read all the steps from your manufacturer first before starting. If you are uncomfortable with any step, seek out help from a knowledgeable computer technician.

Optimizing your Internet Connection

There are several options you can do to decrease latency and stabilize your connection to Overwatch. One of the biggest misconceptions about connecting to online games is that you don’t necessarily need to have the widest bandwidth to connect to Overwatch. Overwatch can run without problems on connections as small as 3 Mbps Download/0.5 Mbps Upload. Bandwidth is how big your “pipe” to the Internet is. The bigger the pipe, the more things can fit through at once. Online games like Overwatch send very small amounts of data (but just constantly sends a lot over time). Applications like video streaming from Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch or file syncing from cloud storage applications are often the biggest consumers in bandwidth. So, running those applications can possibly cause an undesirable increase in latency if the bandwidth is not big enough. Furthermore, the more devices on the same local network that uses the Internet at the same time will decrease the overall available bandwidth.

Many computer setups connect to their router using their local wireless (WiFi) connection and not directly connect by an ethernet cable. This is typically not a good idea is because WiFi is sending your data over a digital radio signal, and this signal deteriorates until it reaches the router or your computer. Furthermore, factors such as electric appliances such as a vacuum cleaner or a microwave oven, other radio signals, and line-of-sight obstacles such as walls will increase that deterioration in your signal. Ethernet communicates by a closed-circuit connection and is far less prone to interference. “Powerline” adapters, which sends a signal through the high-voltage electrical wiring of your home, are not recommended as they are subjected to a lot of interference. The same applies to how your Internet Service Provider works. A DSL, Cable, or Fiber-Optic connection is preferred over connection services that work wirelessly, such as a cellular or satellite provider (and is more likely to be faster).

Aside from setting up a proper local area network and choosing a good internet service provider, you may find that you are still subjected to the problems of the World Wide Web. When you start up Overwatch each time, the game client takes time to ping all possible servers in the region you have booted up into. This way, the game client knows which servers it should try to send you to when you queue into any game. When there is a problem in your connection route to what would normally be your geographically closest game server, the game will instead send you to the next best possible one. However, this may result in increased latency. There are some options to try and resolve this:

  • Run a WinMTR test to see if there is an issue between you and the game server. If you are not certain how to read the results of a test, post them here in the technical support forum, where a Blizzard Support Agent or forum MVPs can lend a hand. The test results can be used to see if there is a problem with your own router, your ISP’s, hubs or if there is a major problem affecting the internet overall.
  • Subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. This option costs a monthly fee for most services, and Blizzard does not support connection troubleshooting to these services if you have any technical problems. A VPN will have you connect to a dedicated routing server which then directly routes you to a game server on a connection path that is more optimized than a normal internet connection. Using a VPN may not necessarily work better for you, so be sure to test and take advantage of free trial periods before you buy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many possibilities to maximize system performance to get the fastest possible performance out of your system. Remember to carefully adjust and test each setting to make sure you like it and see how it affects your experience with the game. Making changes can take a lot of time, but you are likely to enjoy Overwatch even more as you explore and maximize your system performance. Thank you for reading.


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Last updated: February 24th, 2020

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Something that should also be paid a bit more attention to is your RAM frequency and configuration.

Overwatch is notably dependant on RAM bandwidth[1], so making sure you have at least 2666Mhz RAM in a dual channel configuration, I would think, would be more important than having more than 8GB of system RAM.

Another thing of note is how many CPU cores Overwatch can effectively make use of, Overwatch scales best around 6 cores[Citation Needed], so going for a 6+Core CPU would be advantageous, and fortunately they’re fairly common with the recent line of CPUs from both AMD with Ryzen and Intel with Coffeelake.

3 Likes

Hi Wyomingmyst,

Thanks for your help with my Xbox query. The forum won’t let me reply to the specific post cus I deleted my message and it still thinks I have posted.

Anyway I solved the Xbox game blinking problem by uninstalling the game and putting it on the internal hard drive. This has made the game run smoother and it no longer jumps around. I couldn’t get the graph latency thing to work, it only gave me numbers rather than a graph but it is fine since I reinstalled it.

This is a really well-done guide. Thank you for doing it.

The one that got me hung-up on the random frame crash was forgetting to switch my GPU settings to

  • PhysX as GPU only and not “auto select”.
  • Adjust desktop size and position with the setting as “aspect ratio” instead of no-scaling.

Because of YOUR guide. My game is NOT getting frame drops now. Much appreciated!

1 Like

More people should be able to see this.

Post on Russian

Very well written.
I would just like to add something in the third-party software section.

  1. Razer Synapse
    This program is known to cause issues and crashes in overwatch. I would recommend not using it. Luckily for me I’m not a fan of Razer products so I don’t use any Razer hardware so I have no need for it. But if it is working for you with Overwatch without any kind of issues there’s no need to remove it.

  2. Rivatuner Statistics
    I use this software to track all my GPU/CPU temperatures and usage in games and other programs.
    EXCEPT in overwatch. I’ve never almost had any crashes. But when I used this in overwatch I got my first crashes. “Rendering Device lost” among with other errors. When I turned it off all the crashes stopped.
    Do NOT use this in overwatch. Use the built in “Display Performance Stats” in the Overwatch video options instead. Unfortunately there’s still no option to see any of the CPU’s usage or temperatures yet. But you can still see your framerate, GPU temperature, network performance and VRAM usage.

  3. MSI Afterburner
    Reaching high temperatures on your GPU?
    In this program you can set a custom fan curve in order for it to stay cooler.
    There’s a lot of guides out there which you can google.
    Most of the modern graphic card fans today doesnt even start spinning until 40-60 celsius.
    This is also (in my opinion) the best software you can use to overclock your GPU, but it’s something I would not recommend for beginners to do. But if you’re planning to overclock your GPU you need to start reading a lot information and guides about your GPU. And every card is unique. Some users who has the same GPU as you can overclock it a lot higher with lower temperatures, it’s just a matter of luck(or cooling method).
    I’m running the game with an overclocked MSI GeForce GTX 1080 ti Gaming X and working well for me but I have seen a lot of Overwatch players having issues with overclocked GPUs and the game. So I would not recommend doing this if you’re not already familiar with overclocking.
    This software is downloadable from
    msi. com/page/afterburner

  4. HWiNFO
    This is a great program to monitor all of your temperatures and usage.
    If you’re experiencing crashes or an unstable game this is a way to see if a component in your computer are reaching too high temperatures or if you’re having any types of hardware issues. It’s downloadable from hwinfo . com

1 Like

Thank you for the awesome guide. Changed a few settings in overwatch jumped from 60fps to 160. Heck of a different experience.

i am having fps issues in overwatch. i just recently bought a new pc with a nvidia geforce 2080 turbo graphics card and a intel core i7-8700 cpu. when i run the game on max setting i get 150 ish fps, when i run the game on all low settings including render scale i only get 170 ish fps.

i am playing on a 144hz monitor and i have overwatch set to a high priority in task manager. i play on fullscreen mode at 1920x1080 (144) any tips from anyone would be appreciated thank you.

1 Like

Wait, so if I were to exit the program and only keep it on when I want to adjust lighting settings would that help? I didn’t realize it was ever a problem and have been playing for quite a while (a year or two) with it running. I’ve not really had crashes, but if there’s issues it’s causing that I’m not aware of I’d love to know what they are.

Intel ® Core™ i5-7400 CPU @ 3.00GHz 3.00 GHz
Installed RAM 24.0 GB
64-bit operating system

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

https://www.google.com/search?q=xf270h&ie=&oe=

Acer xf270h

I cannot get 144fps. I will dip down to 90fps in heavy team fights.

I’ve tried everything in this guide. Do I just not have a powerful enough computer?

Thank you.

Your 1060 would be my bet to be the bottleneck.

4 Likes

How do I fix my low fps. When I’m in custom games and arcade my fps goes to 200-300fps. When I’m playing real matches like competitive and quickplay it’s 80-90fps and it’s really laggy. During Skirmish it’s also 200-300 fps. help! I use gtx 1060 on all low settings no shadow no nothing 50% render scale etc…

is overwatch an gpu or cpu heavy game?
will i get alot better fps if i upgrade i39100f to i5 9600k ?

What happens when a massive yellow bar appears? How can I troubleshoot this?

I have a problem bux my game I can play . ween I pres play . the game close the windo , fix tha plase

Nice guide but I think turning most settings to low is a bit overkill.

Overwatch has smart renderscale that is applied only to the 3D scene, the HUD and menus are unaffected. This is very clever because scaling results in blurring that is much less noticeable on 3D scenes (that are expensive to render) than on vector graphics (text, menus, crosshair, health bars - things that are cheap to render even at higher resolution). This means that it’s better to use the native resolution of the monitor with a lower renderscale than lowering the resolution.

E.g.: In case of an 1440p monitor it’s better to set the resolution to a native 2560x1440 and then use a renderscale of 75% to render the most expensive part (the 3D objects) in 1440p x 75% = 1080p. However, the scaling sensitive cheap-to-draw 2D vector graphics (menus, text, crosshair) will still be rendered in sharp native 1440p without blurring/scaling and without having much impact on performance.

Even in case of scaled 3D: some software scaling algorithms have better quality than the scaling built into the hardware.

In overwatch the renderscale seems to be a multiplier on the resolution (e.g.: 1440 * 75% = 1080p) while in some other games its a multiplier on the number of pixels. These aren’t the same scales because doubling the resolution both in X and Y direction results in 4 times more pixels to render. I think scaling the resolution (the approach used by overwatch) is more intuitive.

I’d also recommend using G-Sync or FreeSync if the monitor+gpu pair supports it. Adds minimal input lag but completely eliminates tearing. In some scenarios where rendering a frame takes only a little bit longer than 1 hardware refresh cycle for the monitor G-Sync/FreeSync can reduce the lag significantly compared to software v-sync (if someone uses software v-sync due to an allergy to tearing).

Last year I had only an i5 8600k with a GTX 1060 but I cloud play at stable 144Hz with 60-80% GPU load at 1080p with high settings and the most fancy features (reflections, high quality shadows, very high AA) turned off. Turning off some other settings (texture/model quality) have much less effect on performance so they aren’t worth lowering in my opinion.

I was actually using an 1440p monitor with native 2560x1440 resolution with 75% renderscale that has approximately the same impact on GPU load as 1080p with 100% renderscale but without scaling/blurring the text/menus/crosshair/hud/etc.

I’d recommend people to aim for a stable fix FPS (helps with aiming) and then tweak the video settings until this FPS can be maintained with an average gpu load of 60-80% while walking and looking around a map outside of a huge battle. (That fluctuation comes from rendering different number of objects between frames and the amount of fluctuation might be different for games other than Overwatch because it depends on how the game and its content are optimised.) With 60-80% GPU load there is still headroom for extreme situations (huge fights with lots of effects) with GPU load peaks while still maintaining a stable/fix FPS. Besides this, not running the GPU at max has other benefits: lower GPU temperatures, less noisy GPU fans, etc…

If someone aims for a fix FPS and less than 100% GPU load (based on my recommendation) then the renderscale must be set to a fix percentage instead of Auto.

I usually tweak video settings by starting up a custom game with 11 easy bots by playing DVA. This way it’s easy to check GPU load in various situations including a heavy fight with 11 heros and lots of effects in front of you because easy bots can rarely kill each other (or you because of your high HP as DVA).

You can also use the Practice range for tweaking because that might be quicker to start up but that has a bit lower CPU and GPU requirements than a normal map.

Ignore the GPU usage of the hero selection screen at the beginning of the maps because that has much higher GPU load than any other part of the game but without affecting gameplay. That screen might not be optimised: it might draw lots of things to the background perhaps with overdraw or redraw…

I can confirm that my hexa core i5 8600k is utilised quite well. Overwatch seems to spread the work across cores quite evenly and I’m never CPU bound with a 144Hz setup. (In contrast some games like StarCraft 2 seem to put most of the load on 1-2 cores.)

I always played with “auto select” without any issues or frame drops with steady 143-144FPS.

Last year I played OW with i5 8600k and a GTX 1060.

The GTX 1060 can easily output 144Hz with high settings (1080p, 100% renderscale and fancy features like reflection and high quality shadows and very high AA turned off) by using only 60-80% GPU.

Your i5 is an older generation with 4 cores and 3.0GHz base clock. My i5 is a 6 core with 3.6GHz base clock (and could be overclocked close to 5GHz because its an unlocked “k” variant). Your CPU is likely to be a limiting factor but your memory clock speed (and potentially a lack of dual channel setup) can also be serious issues.

There is often a linear correlation between FPS and CPU usage (given that a game can utilise all cores like Overwatch does). Measure you CPU load with a lower but stable FPS (e.g.: 60Hz) that your system can output and then you can estimate the CPU requirements for your desired FPS with this formula: CPU usage at low FPS * desired FPS / low FPS. However CPU and GPU aren’t the only possible bottlenecks.

3 Likes

90 fps is laggy what the hell lol , poor guy, his eyes can’t keep up with 90fps! don’t get a console, most are locked at 30 fps or 60fps you will go blind man! your poor mlg eyes

Any chance this guide could get updated? I can help if need be. There are just too many things in here that are not quite clarified correctly and very essential tweaks for performance that may not be common sense. I tried to get in contact with you, Wyoming, but I had trouble figuring out any way to.

Things such as this

SIM rate is the simulation or the amount of time your game client took to process a tick.

Is simply incorrect. SIM is solely your frametime, which is tied directly to your FPS. While the tickrate is indeed tied to framerate, this is only a concern under 64fps. All the SIM value tells you is your current frametime (how long it takes to draw a frame), 300fps being 3.3ms, 250fps being 4ms, etc. The goal of optimization is not to have the lowest frametime (though this is an auxiliary goal) but rather to make spikes and stutter in this frametime disappear. I have run entire QP benchmark matches at 4.0ms frametime with no variance when I was fully completely optimized. Truly heaven.

There are a lot of people recently trying to shill tweaks for cash (moreso in fortnite, but OW is victim to it as well), and I think having a good succinct guide with all the basic tweaks that are proven, at this point beyond a doubt (WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS BUT VERY FEW), available easily on this forum would probably curb some of that bs happening. A big update to this would draw attention to it too and maybe help some people who still haven’t gotten the memo on HPET or GFE or razer software that it might be causing your stutter more than it’s helping you.

However, I can understand the hesitation in recommending timer resolution changes or things like going further into RAM. You didn’t even mention XMPing your RAM. That’s really important, and a new user won’t know to do that by default. They might buy their gaming tier 4400mhz RAM and then end up running it at 3000 or 2400 or 2133 or whatever it defaults to, and you just paid for nothing if you play like that without realizing it. I was a victim of this so I know how amazing it was to go from default RAM settings to xmp 3200mhz (and then, I OC’d further manually). It basically made my OW experience go from stuttery and laggy to smooth and clean in a night.

If you are willing to chat about this and maybe a revision to this guide for current year, hmu on discord at Felicity#0001, or you can message me on twitter at @felicityful, but I will respond much faster on Discord. I respect the effort and time you put into your work, but we (myself and other intent optimizers) have gone further and deeper and found exactly what makes OW run poorly or not. I am very happy to share this information or at the very least talk over things that could be improved here.

Hopefully you’ll take me more seriously than the guy a few posts up that thinks being CPU bound is bad ^^^

6 Likes

What a fascinating post!

I’m sure many people here would love to see you make a more up-to-date guide about optimizing specifically for Overwatch.

God knows, many can benefit from it.

Cheers!