Graphic settings

In a fast-paced game like CS:GO, graphics settings can make a crucial difference. On the one hand you should have as many FPS as possible, but on the other hand you should sacrifice as little visual quality as possible. After all, you need to be able to recognize the opponents well in all situations. This guide will help you to find your personal settings that suit your needs and are optimally adjusted to your system.

Basic information about settings and FPS

Frames per seconds ("FPS" for short) vary constantly, depending on how powerful your system is and how elaborate the scene to be displayed is. In an online shooter like CS:GO, the more FPS, the better. However, your monitor must also be up to snuff so that you can "use" the FPS. It is recommended to use a monitor with at least 120 Hz. The frames per second should be above the monitor frequency (Hz).

To see if you are reaching this goal, you can easily view the FPS in CS:GO. It is also possible to limit the FPS by console command. However, it is generally better to refrain from limiting and if at all with a buffer of at least 50 FPS above the monitor frequency.

If you have problems to reach enough FPS, then you can get some performance out of the graphics settings. What you should best change and how you lose as little graphics quality as possible, you will learn in this guide.

In order to determine differences between the settings, it is recommended to use a constant test environment – a so-called benchmark. Unfortunately, compared to other games, CS:GO does not offer its own benchmark. But fortunately there is a clever community and the workshop. A bit older, but still recommendable is the FPS benchmark by uLLeticaL and Sopherian. It should also be mentioned that a benchmark can differ from reality and is only intended to show a tendency.

Graphics settings in CS:GO

Under the individual sub-items, which you find so in the options of CS:GO and can set there, you find alternatively also the variables for the console and/or. Config file. Some variables are in the video.txt, but it is located in the same folder.

Color Mode

mat_monitorgamma_tv_enabled 0 | 0 = LCD 1 = TV

Here you have the choice between "Computer Monitor" and "TV. With the TV setting you will get more color or more detail. other color settings. The recommendation would be to use computer monitor.

Brightness

mat_monitorgamma 2.2 | min. 1.600000 max. 2.600000

Here you can adjust the overall brightness. If you have problems to see opposing players in dark corners, this attitude might help you to get ahead.

Aspect Ratio

video.txt (setting.aspectratiomode "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

Here the opinions differ. On the one hand 4:3 has been stretched by the many players with CS 1.6-Past established. The background is that the generated image has a smaller resolution and thus relieves CPU and GPU, resulting in more FPS. The second reason for this is that the player models are also stretched and therefore displayed a little bit wider.

At 16:9 the advantage is that the visible area is larger. Where the picture stops at 4:3, it continues here. This way some enemies are still visible in wide viewing angles with 16:9 players, while they simply can’t be seen with 4:3 players.

There is also 16:10, the same principle applies as with 16:9.

Resolution

mat_setvideomode 2560 1440 0 | X Y Z

Basically you should choose the highest possible resolution that your monitor can display. But the bigger the pictures are, the more performance of the PC is needed. Actually it should be no problem for a PC with current hardware to display a native resolution in Full HD (1920×1080) or WQHD (2560×1440).

By lowering the resolution you can get the most performance, if necessary. This is the case when your FPS is lower than the refresh rate of your monitor. Then it is recommended to reduce the resolution and to accept a blurrier picture.

You should do it step by step, for example:

16:9 aspect ratio: 2560×1440> 1920×1080> 1280×720

4:3 aspect ratio: 1600×1200> 1280×1024> 1024×768

But there are still more countless intermediate sizes in the menu. If this is not enough you can even set your own resolution using the console command above. However, the sense of this is questionable.

Display mode | Display Mode

video.txt (setting.fullscreen "1" ; setting.nowindowborder "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

Here it is recommended to give preference to fullscreen, because the windowed mode costs more FPS.

Power saving mode (laptop) | Laptop Power Savings

mat_powersavingsmode 0 | 0 = Off 1 = On

If you play on a laptop, you should have a power supply connected and do without this feature!

Advanced graphics settings

Global Shadow Quality | Global Shadow Quality

video.txt (setting.csm_quality_level "0") | 0 = VERY LOW, 1 = LOW, 2 = MID, 3 = HIGH

On low settings the shadows are more angular and the higher the setting, the earlier shadows can be seen and more shadows of the environment are shown, but they don’t offer any gameplay advantage. Use what you like and doesn’t drag down your FPS too much.

Model / Texture Detail | Model / Texture Detail

video.txt (setting.gpu_mem_level "0") | 0 = LOW, 1 = MID, 2 = HIGH

Setting the model and texture details to "High" is not necessarily worth it, because for example with the weapon skins there is no significant difference to "Medium". The latter setting is enough to see the different skins in full glory. But you can also choose "Low" if you prefer a few FPS more.

Effect Detail

video.txt (setting.cpu_level "2") | 0 = LOW, 1 = MID, 2 = HIGH

In the past you could still save performance here, but nowadays the motto is to set the effects together with the shader details as high as possible. But for the setting "High" there can be up to 10% FPS loss.

Shader Details | Shader Detail

video.txt (setting.gpu_level "2") | 0 = LOW, 1 = MID, 2 = HIGH, 3 = VERY HIGH

If you want to see your skins with all details, turn up this setting. This is also the right choice for gaming, because you will have a clearer view in certain situations. However, it should be said that shader details are set to "High" resp. "Very High" will have no effect unless the effect details are set to "High" at the same time!

Here is a small comparison between effect and shader details on "Low" and "High.

On the pictures you can see a completely spread Molotov. Also in time before and after, with the two settings on "Low", there is a black wall of smoke above the Molotov. This is not remotely as pronounced when the settings are set to "High". Visibility is much better on "High", which allows you to see enemies behind the cloud of smoke.

However, if you have performance problems, you will have to turn this setting back as well. In this case "Low" would be recommended, since the effect is almost the same compared to "Medium.

On the other hand, you can also set this setting to "Very high" if you want to see small bushes, small stones or similar objects. But this has no advantage in terms of visibility and might be more distracting than helpful.

Texture streaming

video.txt (setting.mat_texturestreaming "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

Introduced with an update in May 2020 to help systems without a separate graphics card get up to speed. However, the advantage in CS:GO is quite small. On a PC with a graphics card with its own RAM, the difference is practically non-existent.

Boost Player Contrast | Boost Player Contrast

r_player_visibility_mode 1 | 0 = Off 1 = On

You should definitely activate this setting. It ensures that the player models get an "aura" and are thus better recognizable in front of dark backgrounds.

Source: counter-strike.net

This feature was introduced with an update in June 2020.

Multicore Rendering | Multicore Rendering

video.txt (setting.mat_queue_mode"-1" ) | -1 = Auto 0 = Off

If you have more than one CPU core available, which should be true for every PC nowadays, you will benefit from enabling this setting. So there is no obvious reason not to use this option. On the contrary, it could rather lead to the graphics card being limited in its potential by the bottleneck effect.

Multisampling Antialiasing Mode | Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode

video.txt (setting.mat_antialias "0" and setting.mat_aaquality "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

If you like edge smoothing (so-called anti-aliasing), you can experiment a bit with the settings here. However, depending on the graphics card, this will cost a bit.

FXAA Antialiasing | FXAA Anti-aliasing

video.txt (setting.mat_software_aa_strength "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

DISABLED! A blur filter is applied to the calculated image afterwards. Costs less power than MSAA, but definitely comes at the expense of image sharpness, which I’m sure you don’t want to have. To make matters worse, this setting is currently not working and would need to be fixed by Valve.

Texture Filtering Mode

video.txt (setting.mat_forceaniso "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

The options Bilienear, Trilinear, as well as Anisotropic 2x, 4x, 8x and 16x are available for selection. However, today’s graphics cards usually have little or no performance degradation with texture filtering.

Wait for Vertical Sync | Wait for Vertical Sync

video.txt (setting.mat_vsync "0" and setting.mat_triplebuffered "0")

DISABLE! Since you don’t want to have input lags. Using Vsync causes a delay in mouse and keyboard input, meaning it takes a few miliseconds longer for the action to be displayed on the screen.

Motion Blur

video.txt (setting.mat_motion_blur_enabled "0") | 0 = Off 1 = On

DISABLED! You want a clear image and no disturbing blurs. As with FXAA, the setting is currently non-functional and would also need to be fixed by Valve.

3-Monitor Mode | Triple-Monitor Mode

triple_monitor_mode 0 | 0 = Off 1 = On

A clear DISABLE unless you have three monitors and want to test how stupid you can play CS:GO. Optionally you can then connect steering wheel or controller&

Use Uber Shaders | Use Uber Shaders

mat_enable_uber_shaders 1 | 0 = Off 1 = On

As of the October 2020 update, the "Uber Shader" feature has been hardcoded into CS:GO. Uber shaders combine several individual shaders into one package. This can prevent judder, because in the best case all needed shaders are available at the same time. However, on some weak systems it can negatively impact performance at the same time.

Basically this option should be disabled by default, but sometimes it is set to Auto. If you use an integrated graphics card ("onboard graphics"), you can give this option a chance. After all, the function is supposed to prevent annoying jerks. You do not gain performance by doing this.

Special settings through console commands

For the sake of completeness we come to the settings that you can’t find in the menu, but that can be changed via the console or Config.

r_drawtracers_firstperson 1 | 0 = Off 1
muzzleflash_light 1 | 0 = Off 1 = On

With these commands you can turn on and off the fire trail of the bullets as well as the muzzle flash.

r_eyegloss 0 | 0 = Off 1 = On
r_eyemove 0 | 0 = Off 1 = On

With this you can disable the shining effect of the eyes and determine whether the eyes should move or not.

But honestly you should not bother much with these commands. These effects are irreleveant for the performance and are rather a game part. Furthermore, they are also partially changed by the model/texture details, shader details and effect details..

Recommended graphics settings

The optimal graphics settings look a bit different for each player. Basically, set everything as high as possible unless you need more FPS. Your FPS should be consistently higher than the Hz of the monitor.

If you need to tweak your graphics settings, we have the following recommendations in terms of performance and visibility:

  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 to not have a restricted field of view. Unless you are convinced you can play better with 4:3 stretched.
  • Resolution: As a rule, choose the highest resolution your monitor can display. If you have serious performance problems, here is the key to get much more FPS out of the game.
  • Display Mode: Fullscreen mode, because windowed mode costs more FPS.
  • Global Shadow Quality: "High" is sufficient, "Very high" is not absolutely necessary. If you can handle edgier shadows, you can save some resources with lower settings. The visibility of the important things, like.B. the shadows of the opponents, will not be limited.
  • Model/Texture Detail: "Medium" is generally recommended, since there is hardly any difference to "High. For a few more FPS you can go to "Low".
  • Effect details& Shader details: Set to "High" if possible, because this will give you a better performance in certain situations (e.g. when using the graphics card).B. Fire from Molotov) provides a much clearer view. "Very high" will give you additional bushes, stones and other small things, which of course require power. If your FPS really isn’t enough and other options have already been exhausted, you should set both to "Low" – "Medium" won’t give you any advantage for the view.
  • Enhance player contrast: You should definitely activate it!
  • multisammpling antialising mode: Can be turned off to save some performance.
  • Vertical Sync: Turning it off, as it causes input lag.
  • Use Uber Shaders: Can prevent small jerks with certain PC configurations.

In summary, you should set the effect and shader details to "High" if possible, so that the smoke from Molotovs, for example, doesn’t block your vision. All other graphics settings can be lowered without hesitation if you need more FPS. The graphical differences are often small. You gain the most performance when you reduce the resolution.

FPS boost by start parameters and console commands?

When it comes to increasing the FPS in CS:GO, so-called "Config Tweaks" are always talked about. In many guides console commands and start parameters are thrown around, promising you the blue of the sky. As nice as they sound, start parameters like "-high", "-threads", "-processheap" or "-no3d9ex", for example, do not generally improve the performance of the game! In the case of "-threads" even a Valve developer confirmed this. Also "cl_forcepreload 1" was a favorite among the "miracle commands" for a long time, although the developer also advised against it years ago. Meanwhile the command was even removed from the game because it caused problems too often.

All these settings are in fact no guarantors for a better performance, otherwise they would always be activated or accessible via the game options. In individual cases with certain hardware configurations they can help. That’s what some of these commands are for: special cases! But most of the time they don’t bring any advantage or even cause problems like z.B. Jerks or crashes. The general recommendation is therefore not to use startup options or console commands for supposed performance improvement. The best launch options are no launch options, a Valve employee once said.

The only recommended start parameter is "-novid", as this disables the intro sequences (logos). This makes the game start faster. If you need more FPS, then keep your system clean, use current drivers and work with the graphics settings in the game.

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