How to Reduce CPU Usage While Gaming – Avoid Lags and Stutters in 2021!

Are you looking for ways to reduce your CPU usage while gaming on your PC or laptop?

This guide will talk about some tips on reducing CPU usage in your favorite games like Fortnite, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and many more.

We all know that when your CPU Usage gets too high, you will face major performance issues in the games you are playing.

The most obvious ones will be lags and stutters when you play the game and also low FPS number.

This is why you should fix high CPU usage while gaming. 

So, if you love playing games lag-free and stutter-free, you will love this post.

Let’s dive right in!

How To Fix High CPU Usage When Playing Games?

There are 6 ways that you can use to fix high CPU usage when playing games.

These methods are proven to be effective in lowering your CPU usage.

Keep reading…

Limit Apps Running on Background

This is the first thing you should do if your CPU usage is high when you play games.

Without knowing, a lot of apps are running on your PC without your permission.

You can open your task manager and check which apps are currently using your CPU resources.

If you want to get the most out of your CPU, you should read our post about 16 different ways to make your laptop faster for gaming.

In that post, we share the tricks to check the apps running on your background and go more in-depth and find out how to disable services, animation, and more stuff that use your CPU without you knowing.

Make Sure to Run Your Games with GPU, not CPU

I know this is not something you would expect here.

But I am not going to lie to you.

Many people do not know that you can manually set your games to run using CPU or GPU.

This happens mostly if you are on a gaming laptop.

Due to some unknown reasons, sometimes the game will try to run using its integrated graphics card, not using your dedicated GPU.

To ensure this does not happen, go to your graphics settings and manually set your games to run using the GPU.

I once had a similar issue myself when I tried to run Overwatch.

I have a pretty powerful gaming laptop at that time, but somehow the game utilizes my CPU to the 100% mark.

It turns out that the game does not use my laptop’s dedicated graphics card but instead use the Intel integrated graphics card.

To fix this, I have to manually set the game to run using my dedicated graphics card, the RTX 2070, instead of using an Intel Integrated graphics card.

Adjust Your In-Game Settings to Lower CPU Usage

Some settings in your game will have effects not only on your GPU or your graphics card but also on your CPU.

Many people assume that all in-game settings will only affect your GPU since everything is related to the image you see on a gaming monitor.

I am not going to lie. I also fell for this trap when I first started gaming.

However, after playing around with in-game settings, I have found that several settings inside the game actually affect your CPU.

Different games will have a different names for the said settings.

Take Grand Theft Auto V, for example.

Inside the game’s graphics settings, there are settings called Population Density, Population Variety, and Distance Scaling.

By lowering the amount of these settings, I managed to reduce my CPU usage from almost 100% to around 70 – 80%.

Simultaneously, I managed to get better FPS in the game just because I lower these settings to half.

So the Bottom line?

You want to tinker a bit into your In-game settings to find which settings you can lower slightly to reduce your CPU usage while gaming.

Create a Custom Power Plan to Limit Your CPU Usage [GAME MODE]

The next trick is the trick I found from the latest update of Windows 10.

If you have the latest version of Windows 10, you can create a custom power plan for your computer or gaming laptop.

What is the Power Plan? Well, the Power Plan in Windows 10 is essentially a set of configurations that manages how your hardware and system use power.

With this custom Power Plan, you can limit your entire system to how much it should use its CPU and, in the end, lower your CPU usage while gaming.

Let’s get to the settings!

To create a custom Power Plan, you may follow this step, as shown in the video below:

Following the guide shown in the video above, you are limiting your system not to use 100% of your CPU.

By putting a limit to your system, your CPU usage will not get to 100%, and your CPU will not run very hot and let you avoid CPU throttling when you play for a more extended time.

Check the Newest Patch for Your Games 

Another reason why your CPU usage is so high when playing certain games may be how the game is designed to focus on using the CPU.

Famous games like Path of Exile are well – known within the gaming community to be poorly optimized.

To fix this issue, game developers will release patches for their game from time to time to add more content or fix bugs inside the game.

You want to make sure that your games are up to date to avoid bugs like high CPU utilization from happening when you are playing the game.

However, if you are still experiencing high CPU usage even though you already have the latest patch, I recommend you to do a clean reinstall of your games.

I found that reinstalling your games; will replace all the corrupted data or bad updates from your games file and allow the game to run problem-free as the way it is designed in the first place.

Add More RAM to Your Gaming System

This will be the last recommendation since you have to add or replace your hardware. 

In this case, the problem might come from insufficient or old CPUs. 

If you want to get the best gaming performance, then get a better CPU. 

I suggest for 2021, and beyond, you should opt for a 6-cores, 12-threads CPU.

I found that a 6-cores, 12-threads, will be enough for almost AAA titles in 2021.

Along with it, consider adding more high-speed RAM to your system.

I have said it so many times to people that 8GB is the bare minimum for 2021. 

If you have the budget, opt for 16GB of RAM to futureproof your gaming system.

Having more RAM will allow your CPU to work easier and will reduce your CPU usage while gaming.

Plus, more RAM will give you more FPS and a more enjoyable experience while gaming.

Is 100% CPU Usage Bad For Gaming?

High CPU usage, while gaming will affect your gaming PC or gaming laptop performance. 

Lagging, stuttering, or some crazy things will happen in your game. 

The 100% CPU is not harmful to your computer, but it has a tremendous effect on your PC or gaming laptop performance. 

The program will slow down, making it work slower than usual and limit performance. 

With the high CPU usage, the FPS will fall drastically and eventually crashes. 

Some even come with overheating problems because the CPU is working very hard to deliver performance for a long time.

So I believe that 100% CPU usage while gaming is a bad thing to have.

Does Lowering Graphics Reduce CPU Usage?  

The answer to does lowering graphics reduces CPU usage is quite complicated.

Like I have mentioned in the tips and tricks above on reducing CPU usage while gaming, different graphics settings will have a different impact on your CPU and GPU.

Specific settings will affect your CPU, and other settings will affect your GPU.

If you lower the graphic setting that uses the CPU, it will reduce your CPU usages, such as the Vsync and the antialiasing setting. 

But if you lower settings that use the GPU, it will not reduce your CPU usage.

That is why I always suggest gamers with a limited budget to tinker around their in-game settings to maximize their gaming performance.

Different games will have other names for their in-game settings, so you want to try all those settings one by one.

Final Words

There you have it!

All of the tips and tricks that I usually do to reduce CPU usage while gaming.

These tips and tricks help me to avoid lags and stutters when playing games in 2021, even with an old gaming system.

If you have other tips or tricks that I might miss or not know, please leave the tips using the comment box below.

Thank you very much, and have a good day!

About the Author
Hi, I'm Steve. I'm a proud gamer. I have been active within the gaming sphere for 30+ years. As gaming is something I enjoy very much, I want other people to enjoy it also. That is exactly why I started this blog.

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