Capping FPS = Cooler graphics card?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Kristenn, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Kristenn macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2009
    I never thought about this before and I want to make sure my friend isn't imagining things!

    She has a october 08 MBP (same model as mine) with the 512MB Nvidia 9600M GT and she decided to cap her FPS in World of Warcraft to 40.

    She rang me all weirded out yelling in my ear about how I should cap my FPS in WoW (I already told her multiple times I don't play it anymore atm) but when I asked her why she says she can't hear her fans as much and when she checked iStat Pro her GPU was only 71c instead of 81/82c. Is this possible? It kind of makes sense but my friend IS crazy! Her FPS (like mine when I played) would go for 35 all the way to 80 to 130s.

    I guess maybe capping it makes the GPU work less? Assuming its not using all of its power to put your fps to numbers that don't really help. Anything more than 60 in most games is rather pointless unless you have a huge monitor or really REALLY good eyes.

    I always find anything below 30 fps is when I notice a choppy screen and 40 sounds good because it gives you room drop a little bit without noticing.

    I also read somewhere that the Mac version of WoW has capped FPS to 60 automatically. I don't know if this was only true with PPC based Macs or not because mine went way over 60 fps quite a lot.

    What do you guys think? Is it possible? Or is she imagining things?
  2. StopSign24 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    I cap the FPS on all of my games to either 30/40 depending on the game. I can confirm that it does help temperature a lot.

    World of Warcraft gives the biggest temperature difference that I've seen, reduced from 80-85c to 70-75c.
  3. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    of course.. the GPU will get hot when its used... if you use it less, it won't get as hot.

    Capping your FPS is usually a good thing. Some games even have a option somewhere to lower GPU usage even more than just capping... it lowers FPS, but can be much cooler as well.
  4. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Most games limit their fps to the refresh rate of the monitor (which is usually 60Hz so 60 fps). This is known as vsync (vertical synchronisation). It helps prevent tearing, but maybe more importantly to gamers, keep things fair.

    I used to play a racing game a while back online (there were various clans/teams, quite a popular game), and it was made a rule that everyone should have vsync on. This is because when vsync is off, you are actually faster (if only a bit) than everyone else, because you have more frames per second than they do - even if your monitor can't display them all. Someone with 20 fps will be slower in terms of speed in a racing game against someone who has 120fps. Unfortunately, the whole vsync issue kind of tore that game apart and the best racers were the ones with the best computers because they took vsync off.

    Not that that might be an issue in WoW though..

    But to answer your original question: less fps means the GPU has less work to do, as it doesn't have to render as many frames each cycle.
  5. Kristenn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2009
    Thanks for the replies!

    I had no idea thats what vsync did :eek:

    But yeah it does make sense. I will be enabling vsync in all the games I play just because. A cooler GPU can't be a bad thing ... obviously! xD

    That also explains why my fps skyrocketed in WoW... I never enabled vsync >.>

  6. JackAxe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2004
    In a cup of orange juice.
    Enabling Vsync actually requires more GPU power to keep the framerate in sync with the monitor's Hz, which introduces more heat.

    Lowering your settings and resolution would put less strain the GPU, which will help to reduce heat -- but not by much.

    But it's a game, so heat comes hand and hand.

    If you haven't already done so, install "Fan Control" and bump up the base speed RPM of your fans. I keep base my at 2500 rpm, the lower threshold at 40c, and the upper threshold at 80c, which keeps my MPBro fairly cool even under heavy rendering. Prior to installing this utility, my Mac would get burning to the touch. It's also a good idea to invest in a notebook cooler to set your comp on. I use an Antec 200 for my 17", which is quiet and does make a difference.

    Anyways, I really don't game on my MBPro though. That's why I have a PC. :)
  7. Kristenn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2009
    Yeah now that you mention it I think that's why I always avoided vsync.

    I personally never liked SMC fan control. I like to know that the computer can decide the best time to run the fans (and if it isn't, then something is wrong with the thermal detectors and I should get it checked out)

    As for gaming on the MBP I don't do much gaming but when I do its the only computer I have.

    Thanks for the replies though. If I do get WoW again I will be capping the FPS.
  8. JackAxe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2004
    In a cup of orange juice.
    Vsync is left off on most console games as an example, because it introduces a performance hit.

    I don't like SMC either, as it's obtrusive. This is why I recommend Fan Control -- which I know works on your model of MBPro.

    I agree the computer should be able to manage itself, but were' talking about Apple here.

    Anyways, your equipment and at least you're recognizing heat can be an issue.
  9. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Only reason I mentioned having vsync on in the game I spoke about was because it didn't have an option to limit the fps. I guess the best way is to limit the fps to something around or under the refresh rate of your monitor.

    I'm not the most educated in the vsync performance hit though. Why does vsync have such a performance hit? It isn't like the monitor refresh rate is constantly changing.
  10. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Aug 11, 2010
    I would agree on the cooler video card, my friends Alienware laptop spanks out approx. 130FPS on high detail on World of Warcraft, but gets very hot, if he limited it to 40, it'd be dealing with less work.
  11. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    This is actually exactly the issue Blizzard had with StarCraft II. On nVIDIA cards they didn't include a frame limiter, which in the menus resulted in the cards going mental trying to push as many frames as possible, and resulting in overheating and dead GPUs. Blizzard patched it.

    But yes, FPS limiting will keep the card cooler as long as the card is capable of a higher FPS than your cap. It'll work less, hence heat up less.

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