When you play Path of Exile, you probably know that, from time to time, your FPS is going to slow down to a crawl. Regardless of your rig or your settings, it's going to happen eventually, and depending on your build, it may even happen regularly. Even if you're not some kind of powergamer, you're going to want to take some steps toward improving performance. So, in this article, we'll tell you what you can (easily) do to increase FPS in Path of Exile.
Check Your Windows Power Settings
Windows has a frustrating tendency to reset its power settings. What are power settings? Well, you can choose between a few different 'power plans' all of which are designed around throttling components like your CPU to reduce your power usage. This is great for a laptop, useless for a desktop, and something you'll always want to make sure is set to 'High Performance' when playing Path of Exile.
If your CPU isn't working at 100%, that's a surefire way to massively decrease your FPS. By keeping your CPU running at full-power, you'll always see higher FPS than if you did without. Make sure to check this one, even if you know it's normally on the correct setting, because Windows does have that tendency to keep resetting this particular setting.
Quit Background Programs
Unsurprisingly, you'll want to use as much of your computer's resources for Path of Exile as you possibly can. Running too many Chrome tabs, keeping too many programs open, or anything of the kind can quickly (and without you noticing, much of the time) seriously degrade your performance in-game.
It's an easy fix, though, because you can have a look at your start menu and taskbar, exit anything you need to, and you'll be all set, rather quickly. Make sure you do this when playing, because otherwise you'll just be leaving free performance on the table, which nobody likes.
Be Careful With Overlays and Third-Party Tools
If you play Path of Exile with Steam, ReShade, NVIDIA FreeStyle, or any of the third-party trade tools that work via an overlay, you have to be careful. Overlays can be finicky sometimes, and they can cause performance problems. Sometimes, overlays won't work if you don't exit Fullscreen mode, which can be a problem, because Fullscreen mode will always give you the best performance.
Stacking overlays on top of each other can also cause issues, particularly with stuttering. If you're noticing issues and you use a number of overlays, try out alternative overlays and tweaking your settings (as well as turning them off to see how that goes) to make sure you aren't losing too many FPS.
Related: The Top 5 Path of Exile YouTubers
GPU Overclocking, If You Can
This might sound a bit extreme, but really, it's not. These days, your graphics card is only overclockable through software, and this software is extremely limited in terms of what it can do. Frustrating for powerusers, sure, but this also makes it impossible to fry your card or do anything dangerous.
So, in the modern-day, simply download a program like MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision, to name a few, and you'll be able to press a button and increase your GPU speeds. Don't be too agressive, of course, but if you've got a desktop computer with halfway decent cooling, by bumping your GPU speeds up a bit, you can see meaningful FPS increases in Path of Exile.
Turn Off Useless Windows Features
Features like Game Mode or the Game Bar on Windows are well-intentioned, and they would seem to imply a performance benefit to enabling them, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. You're more likely to see a performance decrease than you are an improvement, sadly. These features just generally aren't the most efficient, and you're better served by turning them off.
Generally, the kinds of problems these things can cause in-game when on surround stability issues, that kind of thing, so you're likely to have a smoother experience with the game with these kinds of features turned off.
Make Path of Exile High Priority
Opening up the Task Manager in Windows and setting the Path of Exile application to High Priority is another solid performance tweak. Across many games, setting that particular application to High Priority in the Task Manager will see your PC focus on powering that particular application first, before anything else, so it's a good way to prioritize the game you're playing.
Running Path of Exile as an Administrator can have a similar effect, but it sometimes can cause issues, especially if you run the game through Steam, so your mileage there may vary more than your mileage with the High Priority tweaking.
Play Around With Your Renderer Settings
Unfortunately, while a renderer like Vulkan or DX12 should have better performance than, say, DX11, exactly what renderer will work best for you on your particular rig is something you'll have to discover for yourself. A particular renderer might give you higher FPS but worse stability, while an older renderer that's less advanced might actually perform better than a more modern one on your rig.
Really, the best way to find the renderer that works best for you is to just try out the different options provided for you in the Path of Exile settings. Once you find the one that sees your game run the best, just stick with that, until there's any kind of graphical or engine update, then you can try again.