How to improve your wow by setting fps limits

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Recently, I stumbled upon something that was new to me regarding my wowing and to be honest, if it’s new to me with my level of addiction, chances are it will be new to a few more people as well!

There are two awesome slash commands available in your interface, maxfps and maxfpsbk. The first sets a hard limit on how many frames per second your game engine will every try to get going, the second sets the same hard limit on your game while it is not the application on top (i.e.: when your WoW is in the background).

My super technical understanding of computers means I have no idea how this helps, but I do know it does based on the following 2 things:

1. Since getting the expansion, my login screen, Storm Peaks, and a few random areas have strained my graphics card. It starts working overtime, makes a constant loud keening noise like it is trying to lift off, and even if I minimize my WoW it keeps going at it. When I checked the temperature it was hot enough to melt faces, clocking in around 90-100F. Since applying the commands properly, it never goes WRRRRREREEEEEEEEEEEEE anymore.

2. The Blizzard developers state they use this and set their limits around 30-40 fps. If it’s good for them, it must be good for everyone.

The commands in question are simply typed into your chat, and they are:

/console maxfps #
/console maxfpsbk #

where # is replaced by the actual number indicating how many frames per second you would like.

Anything above 30 FPS isn’t really noticeable as a difference to the naked eye in your gaming, so don’t think you’re going to get better performance because you say “MAXFPS 5000!!!”. Assuming you have one of NASA’s supercomputers and you are able to rig your computer to go to 5000 fps, you really won’t see much difference than someone going at 30 fps. But I know most people don’t hit 30 fps on their machines, so you should do the following first:

1. Go to Dalaran.
2. CTRL-R (this will display your fps at the bottom of your screen)
3. Move around a bit, jump around, mount, do laps around the city, go into crowds.
4. Make a mental note of how high and low your fps jumps.

*** USING THE MAXFPS COMMAND WON’T INCREASE YOUR FPS, IF YOURS IS LOW, IT WILL REMAIN LOW ***

Let’s assume you have an awesome computer like mine and running around Dalaran keeps you in the 30-60 fps range easily. I suggest, as the Blizzard devs, 30-40 fps as a max set. I put mine on 30. What this means, effectively, is that my graphics card and my computer won’t be straining to work any higher than 30 fps. I’m not wasting any of my computer’s resources processing things that my eyes won’t detect but that will strain the equipment.

Let’s assume you don’t have an awesome computer like mine and running around Dalaran puts you in the 10 fps range, whereas in general you hang out around 20-25 fps. Set your limit at 25. Or be bold and set it at 23, 22. Play around with it. Your computer is already strained running wow if it can’t achieve 30+ fps, give it a little bit of a break.

/console maxfps 30
/console maxfps 22

Whichever works for you.

The second command is the real computer saver. I recommend, without further delay,

/console maxfpsbk 5

When your WoW window is not the active one, it will cap fps at 5. Imagine the break your computer will feel. Wow is minimized? OOOOOOOFFFFF! It’s practically like telling your graphics card to take a quick nap while you browse the web, chat on msn, or do whatever. My WRRRRRRRR sound would not cease even when I minimized WoW, I’d have to put my computer to sleep to really shut that down. Now it runs nice and smooth.

The one drawback to this background performance throttling is that if you open a small window on top of your game so that you still see the game behind it, your fps will come to a crawl and you’ll be watching a very rough, choppy background movie. Set it at 10 or 15 if your computer can handle it and you want to see slightly better, but honestly, if you alt-tabbed, it means whatever is going on is not so crucial that you need to see it in perfect smooth motion.

So there you have it, I don’t know how it helps, what it really does… I just know that my computer has been running quietly since I used this command, my gfx card has stayed cooler and hasn’t made any loud noises, and in general my wow seems to have fewer “hiccups” of choppiness – I would get them now and then when loading cache information or coming into a new area. You know the type; a couple skips and frames here and there while everything loads. No more!

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7 Responses to “How to improve your wow by setting fps limits”


  1. 1 Leon Photography February 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks! This is a real life saver! I love to edit photos while AFK’ing in WoW, and the maxfpsbk helps TONS!

  2. 2 KikiobiUndermineUS February 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Will this help keep your framerate steady in heavy AoE during 25 man raids?

  3. 4 Qizill (Sylvanas) August 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you so much!

    My problem wasn’t a heavy loading graphics card tho. No. But I’m using two monitors and when I moved my cursor to the other window my WoW-fps dropped to 30 thanks to “/console maxfpsbk”. And sometimes it didnt change back.

    /console maxfpsbk 60 solved it all. Thanks. 😉

  4. 5 FatalStrikeX December 31, 2011 at 3:33 am

    i have around 20-35 fps and sometimes it laggs to 5 fps will this help me?


  1. 1 How to improve your wow by setting fps limits « The Undercity « Improvers Trackback on August 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm
  2. 2 How to improve your wow by setting fps limits | Console Gaming Trackback on August 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm

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