Fallout 4 came out a long time ago, but many players are still experiencing random lag spikes and/or constant stuttering-including me. For many people, this problem is probably due to the fact that Bethesda “tied” Fallout 4 to 60fps by enabling vsync and not giving us an easy way to turn it off. For others, it may be due to poor hardware.
I don’t have the most powerful computer, but it can usually run most games in Ultra/High mode at about 50-60fps without vsync turned on. While I achieved those 50-60fps in FO4, I also had very annoying lag spikes from time to time that prevented me from playing. In addition, the jerking effect with Vsync enabled without the ability to maintain 60fps quickly became annoying.
So I started looking for a way to solve these horribly annoying problems, and what I found was really quick and easy to do. There is another option – change the settings yourself, either in the .ini files (if you have the know-how) or by using one of the various FO4 customization tools people have created.
Either way, you’ll play Fallout 4 smoother than before.
What Causes Fallout 4 Lag Problems on the PC?
After receiving several reports from users and doing our own research, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are several reasons for the lag in Fallout 4. Some of them are listed below:
Note: Not all causes may be applicable in your case. If you haven’t found a single solution that fits your scenario, don’t worry; just keep following the solutions and the game will run smoothly again in no time.
FPS limit: By default, Fallout has an FPS limit that automatically reduces the maximum number of frames per second you can get on your computer. In this case, changing the settings will work.
Third-party apps: If other apps are running in the background and consuming your resources, Fallout won’t get the processing power it needs, causing delays in your game. Here you can try to diagnose any third-party apps running in the background and close them.
High settings in the game: There are times when the game settings are very high and there are not enough resources to meet the requirements. In this case, it is useful to reduce the settings or enable windowed mode.
Conflicting GPU settings: We have also come across several cases where the GPU is clogging up the game due to power saving and other settings. In this case, setting the GPU to maximum performance can help.
Outdated graphics drivers: Graphics drivers are the main components providing the link between the game and the hardware. If they are not properly updated or have problems working, you won’t get the results you want.
Low priority in Task Manager: If the Fallout process is not prioritized in Task Manager, your computer will not see it as a real-time game and will be reluctant to give it high resources. Changing the priority level in Task Manager will help in this case.
Low computer specs: This is the most common reason for the slowness in Fallout 4. If you have a low-powered computer, the game won’t get the processing power it needs (obviously!) and will cause delays when events occur or when navigating a graphically complex scene.
Incorrect BIOS settings: We don’t usually recommend users to update the BIOS because of the risks involved, but we have encountered many cases where resetting the BIOS settings has completely solved the problem. This could be due to the configurations stored in it.
Bad mods: If you use third-party mods in your game, there is a good chance that they will conflict with the game and cause display or loading screen problems.
Before you start troubleshooting, make sure that your computer has an active Internet connection and that you are logged in as an administrator.
How to Solve Fallout 4 Lag Problems on your PC
Stop applications that are overloading the processor and memory
If you have too many CPU/memory-intensive applications running in the background, this can slow down your computer’s processing speed and cause your FPS in Fallout 4 to drop. Therefore, you should close these applications before starting the game.
- Press the Windows logo and R keys on your keyboard simultaneously to bring up the Run dialog box. Enter taskmgr and press Enter.
- Select the Process tab. Right-click on a process that is consuming CPU/memory, such as Google Chrome, to bring up its context menu. Then click the End Task button.
- Temporarily disable the antivirus software. This is optional, but you can try it and see if it alleviates the problem.
Update your video card drivers
Don’t forget to update your video card drivers regularly. Otherwise, an outdated or corrupted driver can cause a drop in FPS and even prevent your game from working properly.
In addition, if it turns out that updating the graphics drivers does not solve your problem, try updating the drivers of all possible devices (e.g. CPU and audio) and see if that helps you.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the time, patience, or computer skills to update drivers manually – a third-party driver update program can help you. A third-party driver update program automatically detects your system and finds the right drivers for it.
You don’t need to know exactly what system is installed on your computer, you don’t need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry that you’ll make a mistake during installation. A third-party driver updater will take care of everything.
Unlocking FPS limitation
You can try unlocking the FPS limit in Fallout 4 by using Notepad to change certain values. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to the following folder (essentially, this is where the game file is located):
- Find the file called Fallout4Prefs.ini. Right-click to open the context menu, then choose Open with -> Notepad.
- When the file is open, press Ctrl + F on your keyboard to bring up the Find dialog box. Then type iPresentInterval and press Enter.
- When you find the line, change iPresentInterval=1 to iPresentInterval=0.
- Save the file and exit Notepad.
Tip: According to some players, removing the FPS limit can lead to unsightly side effects, such as “the UI loads” (thanks to Russian Lyokha’s comment). If you encounter such problems, please cancel the modification. Just reset iPresentInterval to 1, quit the game, and restart it.
Change the video card settings
- Right-click on an empty area of the desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel from the pop-up menu.
- In the pop-up window, select Manage 3D settings on the left pane.
- Then click Add to find and select the Fallout 4 executable.
- You can now change the settings of this program.
- Note the list under Specify settings for this program:
- Scroll down the page to find these items and make changes accordingly:
- Set the power management mode to Prefer Maximum Performance.
- Set Triple Buffering to On.
- Set the maximum number of pre-rendered images to 1
- Set vertical synchronization to On.
After adjusting the video card settings, it’s time to see if these settings have solved the problem of lag in Fallout 4.
Adjusting the game settings
This is also a quick solution to the Fallout 4 lag problem: adjust the game settings.
- Start Fallout 4, then click Options on the Start menu.
- Set the resolution to the same value that your monitor uses.
- After that, don’t forget to check the checkboxes: Windowed and Borderless Mode.
- Click OK to save your changes.
- Run the game and see if it works this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Start Fallout 4 on your computer and run the launcher.
- Then click Options on the main screen.
- You can then either select the Low Detail option or click Advanced and manually change the settings.
- Try changing the Ultra setting to Medium or Low.
The real reason is the absurd amount of character calls caused by poorly implemented shadows and all the dynamic objects. That's why your FPS drops in cities and GPU usage is low. The CPU just doesn't have time to generate these character calls and pass them to the GPU.
For many people, this problem is likely due to the fact that Bethesda "froze" Fallout 4 at 60fps by enabling vsync and not giving us an easy way to turn it off. For others, it may be due to poor hardware. Also, the hash effect with vsync enabled without the ability to maintain 60fps quickly became annoying.
- Make sure you have the correct system requirements for Fallout 4.
- Change your computer resolution to the recommended size.
- Change the game mode and resolutions by editing the game file.
- Close unnecessary background processes.
- Run Fallout 4 in compatibility mode.
- Adjust the frame rate in Fallout 4.