Quick FPS Lesson - Let's quickly recap
What exactly is FPS?
I think it is important we all recap on FPS no matter if you are a new gamer this week with the launch of Doom 3 or a gamer from way back who shoot baddies back on the Commodore 64. FPS (or Frames per Second) refers to the amount of times a frame is rendered (drawn or displayed) on the screen during game play. Generally, the higher the FPS or frame rate, the better. We will be referring to the term "FPS" and "frame rate" a lot in this guide so it is important you have a clear understanding of the terminology.
High frame rates are a good thing since the higher the frame rate, the more smooth the game play will feel (and the bigger man you will be, kidding!) - Though over a certain amount of FPS, the human eye can technically not notice any difference. Although, if you have a game which has extreme varying high and low frame rates, the game will not feel as smooth flowing since the frame rates are not consistent - for some people this creates a sort of motion sickness type effect in the most extreme of cases. The solution is to enable a feature called vertical synchronization or v-sync as it is commonly known.
When you enable v-sync (you can enable it for specific games in the game options or you can force enable it globally in your driver control panel for all games) the maximum frame rate the game will render at is whatever your monitor refreshes at. So, I have a Sony 21" G520 CRT monitor and if I had my resolution set at 1024 x 768 with a refresh Hz rates of 100Hz, the game will not exceed 100 FPS. Many people are either for or against using v-sync - you will need to decide what is best for you with your specific computer system and gaming requirements, trial and error basically.
Most websites who review hardware will disable v-sync globally as a rule of thumb so frame rate performance is not limited to the monitors refresh rate. In all of our benchmarks in this guide, v-sync will be turned off so we can get an accurate guide on pure performance numbers. In Doom 3 you can either disable v-sync in your driver control panel in Windows or disable it in the advanced graphics options in the game (as you can see in the screenshot above), however, by default v-sync is turned off in Doom 3.
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