GUIDE: Maximizing System Performance for Overwatch (PC)

Technical Support
Highly Rated
The following guide is composed of various tips and tricks that I have been compiling to help users get every possible frame per second, the lowest possible simulation rate, and minimize spikes of system lag during matches of Overwatch. This guide will go over recommended settings in Overwatch, settings outside of Overwatch, and other tricks you can use to improve performance. Please note this article does not include maximizing your internet connection performance, and I recommend checking out the article located here:

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20757255749

By following these tips, you will find not only increased FPS, but increased response in your controls. So this could help improve your actual gameplay, but of course this is only a small factor and only continuing to practice and play Overwatch will ultimately improve your skill as a player.

DISCLAIMER: While I am a MVP-Tech Support forum member, I am NOT a representative of Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment (nor myself) cannot be held responsible for any malfunction, damage, or undesired effects by implementing the steps this guide has.

Meeting the Recommended System Requirements
While Overwatch is very capable of playing on many modern-day computers, you are going to have a better time playing by meeting, if not exceeding, their recommended system requirements, in case you do not know what those are let us review them:
  • Operating System: Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5 or AMD Phenom™ II X3 or better
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 or AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 or better
  • RAM: 6 GB RAM
  • Storage: 30 GB available hard drive space
  • Internet: Broadband internet connection
  • Display: 1024 x 768 minimum display resolution

Now, I will note the better you can get, the more likely you will find to improve your performance in the game. As a comparison, here is my primary computer’s setup basic stats:
  • Operating System: Windows® 10 64-bit (Creator’s Update)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00 GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1070
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 Terabyte Solid State Drive


Installation Tips & Type of Storage
To minimize issues with Overwatch running properly on your system, I strongly recommend making sure that Overwatch and Blizzard App Launcher is installed in the same storage drive as your Windows® Operating System. I have found many players often have performance issues, if not crashes, when Overwatch and the Blizzard App Launcher is installed on a secondary storage drive. Furthermore, if you really want to get an edge in speed performance during key events such as the Hero Selection Screen, consider using a solid-state drive as your primary storage drive. A solid-state drive (SSD) is a storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently, and uses no mechanical components unlike a traditional magnetic disc Hard Disk Drive. Data transfers quickly and fluently this way so loading screens run faster.

Monitor and Cable Hookup
When connecting to a monitor, I recommend the use of a DVI cable over HDMI or VGA. This is because with a DVI cable you can get refresh rates of up to 144 Hz. HDMI does not do this, however a Display Port does (but that is still a relatively new video output and your computer or graphics card may not have it available).

Other Hardware Tips (for the tech savvy)
Aside from getting the best possible components for your computer, I recommend the use of liquid cooler for your CPU. There are also liquid coolers for GPU’s but those can be a little complicated to install unless you buy an all in one (and that can be a little expensive). Also remember the beefier the hardware, the higher wattage it will require, so make sure your power supply unit (PSU) covers the wattage necessary to power up everything. I could go on forever with building or buying the best possible PC to play Overwatch, but I think you will have more fun doing the research and making the best possible choices on your own.

Evaluating your System Performance in Overwatch
Now, not accounting for system resources available, there are two ways to play Overwatch, which is accounting for speed and performance or accounting for graphical appeal and looks. Most professional players will crank down most video settings to get as fast a frame rate as possible and as low a SIM rate as possible. SIM rate is the simulation, or the amount of time your game client took to process a tick. Like connection ping, this is measured in milliseconds. A system that is running with high-graphic settings will often find their SIM rate to run in the tens of milliseconds, whereas a high performing system with the lowest graphic quality settings can often crank out speeds of 3 to 4 milliseconds.

So how can you measure SIM rate? Using the Network Graph in Overwatch. Go to the Training Range, and after selecting a hero, tap the following key combination:

Ctrl+Shift+N

You will see a shaded area with a bunch of moving lines scrolling from right to left. The faster these lines are moving the more ticks you are processing. Look for the upper white line and value to read your SIM rate. Remember the lower it is, the faster your game will perform. If you can, try to play around in the Training Range, especially in the area with the multiple Training Bots moving in and out of the left side building and output as much primary fire as you can and move around as fast as you can. This will test how fast your system is processing commands and rendering graphics to your screen.

If by any chance you see any white shaded bars appear as you do this, then this means your system had a delay in processing data from the game server. These white bars often point to your computer lagging (and not your connection). On the other hand, if you see orange bars, this often points to a problem with your connection and if they appear frequently, you should troubleshoot your connection (see the link above). Now that you know how to measure your system performance, let’s work to maximize performance.

Overwatch In-Game Video Settings
Let’s go over each of these handy settings and see what and where we can change to improve performance.
As a tip for Windows 10 users, if you are reading this from the same computer as you are adjusting the settings on Overwatch, focus on Overwatch and tap Alt+Enter to enter Windowed mode, then drag the Overwatch Window to one side of the monitor, release and then select the web browser this page is displayed as the second window to tile them side by side for easy viewing and control of each program.

Also note when you view the Video options on Overwatch, it will list your GPU. So, if by rare chance it displays the wrong GPU (such as the motherboard’s integrated graphics) you will know that needs to be changed (outside of Overwatch).
  • DISPLAY MODE: Most likely you will want this in full screen view, however this can be at your preference based on your setup and use of Overwatch.
  • TARGET DISPLAY: Again, this is your preference if you have multiple Monitors to use.
  • RESOLUTION: Try to get this to 1920 by 1080 and at the highest refresh rate you can get, for me this is at 1920x1080 (100)(*)
  • FIELD OF VIEW: This should be increased to maximum of 103, this allows you to have the maximum view of the playfield in game.
  • ASPECT RATIO: Chances are this will be at 16:9. There is support for 16:10 and 21:9 (however the field of view is negatively affected with these aspect ratios).
  • VSYNC: I recommend this turned OFF. Short for Vertical Sync, Vsync allows the you to synchronize the frame rate of the game with the monitor refresh rate for better stability, however you will limit your frames per second with this setting on.
  • TRIPLE BUFFERING: I recommend this turned OFF. Triple buffering simply buffers one extra frame to the cpu instead of two. This extra frame gives enough time to correct more issues such as frame tearing and Vsync. However, an extra frame being buffered by the GPU means it must use more on-board GPU memory to store and buffer that frame.
  • REDUCE BUFFERING: I recommend this turned ON. This allows the game to buffer less frames but at the cost of visual appearance.
  • DISPLAY PERFORMANCE STATS: These handy stats will appear in the upper left corner of your screen that you can quickly glance at to ensure you game running properly at any time. You can choose specific stats by selecting the Advanced tab. I personally like to show the Framerate and the Network Ping. I will often keep the others open when experimenting with settings or doing connection troubleshooting.
  • DISPLAY SYSTEM CLOCK: I recommend this also turned ON. Just because you don’t want to realize that its 4 AM and you should have been at work 20 hours ago… Forget it! play one more game. (^^)v
  • LIMIT FPS: I recommend this set to CUSTOM and based on what your system can handle go as high as you can on the FRAME RATE CAP.
  • FRAME RATE CAP (this option is only available when LIMIT FPS is set to CUSTOM): Really go as high as you can until you start to notice adverse effects from your GPU (such as increased GPU temperature) or the game, the maximum is 300.
  • GRAPHICS QUALITY: Set this to LOW, changing this will change certain settings in the ADVANCED section automatically, so set to LOW and then open the ADVANCED section to further customize the setting.
  • RENDER SCALE: I recommend this at 100%, however if you need to crank out more frames per second, you might try 75%.
  • TEXTURE QUALITY: I recommend at LOW.
  • TEXTURE FILTERING QUALITY: I recommend at LOW.
  • LOCAL FOG DETAIL: I recommend at LOW.
  • DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS: I recommend at OFF.
  • SHADOW DETAIL: I recommend at OFF.
  • MODEL DETAIL: I recommend at LOW
  • EFFECTS DETAIL: I recommend at LOW.
  • LIGHTING QUALITY: I recommend at LOW.
  • ANTIALIAS QUALITY: I recommend at LOW – FXAA.
  • REFRACTION QUALITY: I recommend at LOW.
  • SCREENSHOT QUALITY: I recommend at 1X RESOLUTION.
  • LOCAL REFLECTIONS: I recommend to OFF.
  • AMBIENT OCCLUSION: I recommend to OFF.
  • As for the remaining four options (GAMMA CORRECTION, CONTRAST, BRIGHTNESS and COLOR BLIND OPTIONS), I recommend leaving them alone unless you need to adjust based on the needs of your monitor or your own personal needs.

Overwatch In-Game Sound Settings
Most of these options will be based on your computer set up and equipment so I am not going into too much detail here. If you want to have more awareness in your matches, mute out Music Volume as it is more important to hear weapons fire, voice lines, and enemy footsteps. (Sorry Derek Duke, Neal Acree, Sam Cardon, and Cris Velasco; your music in this game is still awesome though!) When it comes to your microphone carefully experiment with both your Windows Microphone Settings and any third-party software that controls your Microphone (if you are using a USB headset or Mic). Finally, if you can disable any outside surround sound features with your headphones, turn on Dolby® ATMOS. This amazing feature really works to provide realistic surround sound to pinpoint the sound enemy movements and weapons fire.

Overwatch Controls Settings
Not going to touch on much here. However, I will give the general guideline to improving aim by slowly adjusting your mouse sensitivity, slowly drop your mouse sensitivity bit by bit and practice aiming with it. This will take several days to master and develop, but if you can learn to aim with your arm and not your hand, you will find you can accurately pinpoint targets easily.

Overwatch Gameplay Settings
In this section, I am going to point out three key settings, first the NETWORK QUALITY NOTIFICATIONS setting should be turned to ON. These will show two orange icons towards the upper left corner of your screen when you encounter connection issues, most likely this will blink maybe every now and then, however if they flash rapidly or appear lit constantly, you have severe connection issues to address. Next, if you are encountering connection issues, try turning on either the LIMIT CLIENT SEND RATE or the LIMIT SERVER SEND RATE to on. This will help prevent any overloading of your router with data (which can cause a disconnection from the game server), but it can possibly impact your input and output as you play.

Computer Settings Outside of Overwatch
There is so much I could cover but I am going to just cover a few basics. First, going back to improving input lag, consider disabling “Enhanced Pointer Precision” for your mouse settings in Windows:

1) Open Windows® Control Panel and find the Mouse option.
2) Click the Pointer Options tab.
3) Uncheck the “Enhance Pointer Precision” checkbox
4) Click “Apply” then “OK” to close.

Another factor to controlling your mouse movement is to manage your mouse driver’s DPI sensitivity (usually adjustable with many gaming mice driver software). Unlike the in-game sensitivity, I don’t recommend trying to crank down the DPI to bare minimums (as it has a similar effect), but to be at a balanced amount to ensure accuracy with control. I have seen pro players use a range around 4.00 in-game sensitivity with 1600 DPI to 8.00 in-game sensitivity with 800 DPI. Note that adjusting your DPI will affect how fast your cursor on menu screens (including the Hero Select Screen) moves.

If you are using a Gaming Keyboard, check to see if its driver software contains features that help disable the Windows® Key while the game runs. This is handy as it can be very easy to tap the Windows® key and open the start menu (which can be annoying to reverse and get back into the game). Also, if you have customizable lighting features with your keyboard, consider alternating the colors of your A, S, D and W keys, and a different color for your Q, E, and LEFT SHIFT keys. Please note, that if you have a Razer® branded USB Keyboard with built in Razer® ChromaTM effects, Overwatch will automatically output color effects based on gameplay.

As mentioned before, make sure any USB headsets you have are set to 2.0 channels (and not 7.1 or 5.1 channels) if you want to use the in-game Dolby® ATMOS feature.

Overclocking and Other Modifications
In certain situations, you may find that overclocking either your CPU or your GPU may help get boosted performance. I will not explain any steps to overclocking (as this can vary), and I do recommend that you approach this with caution however, as overclocking can cause game crashes in specific setups. I also recommend only implementing overclocking features that are built into your motherboard. Thoroughly test your changes in non-competitive game modes for any changes you have made, and take careful notes to what you have changed from in case you need to switch back.

If you are needing to boost performance with your current system resources you can also try expanding the limits of your virtual memory (the hard disk space set aside to manage additional temporary memory that your RAM can’t handle). You can also review settings in your graphic card control panel (often found in the Windows Control Panel) to ensure you have no restrictions such as your refresh rates for your monitor. Again this all varies with your setup, so carefully research each option before making changes.

Conflicting Programs that can Hinder Performance in Overwatch
There can be a variety of programs both on the overlay and the in the background that can hinder your performance in Overwatch. If you notice freezes in game, this can often be pointed to a program that is taking up system resources. This includes:
  • Web Browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome (Chrome is a big culprit)
  • Third-Party Communication Applications such as Discord, Skype, and Teamspeak
  • Cloud Storage Management Programs such as OneDrive, Evernote, and Dropbox
  • Streaming software such as Shadowplay, Open Broadcasting Software, and ReLive
  • Anti-Virus and Malware Protection applications

Obviously, I am not going to cover each of these, and depending on your connection and computer setup, not every program will pose an issue. However, if you encounter troubles, try disabling each and see if you can improve performance. You may have to forcefully shut down programs in the Windows® Task Manager to fully close them down. Then check that programs settings to see if you can prevent it from conflicting with Overwatch. Furthermore, there can be background programs that can cause conflicts with Overwatch, and if you feel this is the case, check out this Blizzard Support article to learn how to disable and carefully test each one to isolate any conflicting background programs:

https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/Closing-Background-Applications

In conclusion, there are many possibilities to maximize system performance to get the fastest possible performance out of your system. Remember to carefully adjust and test each setting to make sure you like it and see how it affects the feel of the game. This may take time, but you are bound to enjoy Overwatch even more as you explore and maximize your system performance. As always, I love feedback and will be happy to add in additional tips that you have that can help everyone improve their system performance. Thanks for reading!

WyomingMyst (^^)v

Other resources
Common Crashes & Performance Issues:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20744175764

Troubleshooting Overwatch Performance:
https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/Troubleshooting-Overwatch-Performance

Troubleshooting Overwatch Network Performance:
https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/Troubleshooting-Overwatch-Network-Problems

Update Drivers and Operating System:
https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/Updating-Your-Drivers-and-Operating-System

THE ULTIMATE SC2 OPTIMIZATION & FPS GUIDE 2.0
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/sc2/topic/10195020800 (StarCraft 2 Forums)

This article in other languages:
Español - https://us.battle.net/forums/es/overwatch/topic/20758486154
Awesome. Very well written an very informative. TY for taking the time to post this.
:)
Oh yeah. Just one thing, I tried setting the 1600 DPI mouse with 4.00 in-game sensitivity and got really slow. I moved to 10 and got comfortable.

My mouse goes up to 3200 DPI. Is it OK to increase DPI and further decrease in-game sensitivity?
07/13/2017 05:18 PMPosted by Chumbo
Oh yeah. Just one thing, I tried setting the 1600 DPI mouse with 4.00 in-game sensitivity and got really slow. I moved to 10 and got comfortable.

My mouse goes up to 3200 DPI. Is it OK to increase DPI and further decrease in-game sensitivity?


You can, however that does not affect how the menu screen cursor moves so it may feel wonky. I recommend setting the DPI at around 1600, and then adjust with your in-game sensitivity to where it you remember feeling comfortable. Then over several days as you play & practice, tweek the in-game sensativity by like .1 to .5 each day. Practice in the Practice Range and focus on improving your aim, once you feel you have it mastered, lower the sensitivity a bit more. The overall idea is to gradually train you from wrist movements to whole arm movements, so this way you can quickly whisp from side to side in heartbeat, but make surgeon-like adjustments to perfect your aim. If you like some pro advice on that, check out this video from pro Overwatch player, IDDQD on that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0rREoBLf4k
07/13/2017 05:23 PMPosted by WyomingMyst
07/13/2017 05:18 PMPosted by Chumbo
Oh yeah. Just one thing, I tried setting the 1600 DPI mouse with 4.00 in-game sensitivity and got really slow. I moved to 10 and got comfortable.

My mouse goes up to 3200 DPI. Is it OK to increase DPI and further decrease in-game sensitivity?


You can, however that does not affect how the menu screen cursor moves so it may feel wonky. I recommend setting the DPI at around 1600, and then adjust with your in-game sensitivity to where it you remember feeling comfortable. Then over several days as you play & practice, tweek the in-game sensativity by like .1 to .5 each day. Practice in the Practice Range and focus on improving your aim, once you feel you have it mastered, lower the sensitivity a bit more. The overall idea is to gradually train you from wrist movements to whole arm movements, so this way you can quickly whisp from side to side in heartbeat, but make surgeon-like adjustments to perfect your aim. If you like some pro advice on that, check out this video from pro Overwatch player, IDDQD on that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0rREoBLf4k


Yes. I made the adjustment in the training room, where I could feel the differences. I'll start with 10 and then go down.
FYI - HDMI 1.3 (or higher) cables can handle 144hz.

http://www.144hzmonitors.com/knowledge-base/144hz-1080p-which-cable-do-i-need/

Good article! /thumbup
Thanks for the tip, I totally forgot about those. In my real job, I work on Arcade games, so I often don't have the luxury of dealing with HDMI anything.
So -- to be clear, since I've seen conflicting information about this -- the SIM number is always relevant, and turning on reduce buffering does not change this? Also, since SIM number is tied to framerate, does it make much of a difference if you generate more frames than your monitor's refresh rate?
07/14/2017 09:27 PMPosted by Zoozle
So -- to be clear, since I've seen conflicting information about this -- the SIM number is always relevant, and turning on reduce buffering does not change this? Also, since SIM number is tied to framerate, does it make much of a difference if you generate more frames than your monitor's refresh rate?


The simulation number you see is a good indicator of input for only when reduce buffering is off. When reduce buffing is on the sim value will be the same as before so it is no longer a good indicator. That also was never the intent for this value people just noticed a correlation between it and input in this game.
Yes having more fps will impact with your input lag even pass monitor refresh rate, it also impacts your frame times (suggest fps locking at the highest lowest fps point for best results example: your monitor is 60hz but you get 150 fps in spawn and 100 in a fight and a dip of 92fps in a crazy battle on screen. fps limit (in game option) should be set to 90fps to get a consistant never dropping fps for the less amount of shuddering and also consistent input lag).
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I've also made a much more technical guide for optimizations (few months old now) for overwatch and your pc for issues people normally run into, some of it is for advanced pc users only but the links to each guide should explain how to do everything, just be careful and dont do anything you are not sure of and understand this is at your own risk. https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20755026986#post-4
Shadow details should be low. Shadows can be cast around corners letting you know someone is hiding there.
This might also be something good to throw into the guide. Many people with capable PCs aren't getting full performance because of the "low GPU usage issue Overwatch has.

https://youtu.be/4ynWZMZypLY
I sent you a super long chain of tweets on twitter but thanks you for writing this ! Getting 200+ fps on Epic now ~~~
WyomingMyst
I congratulate you for making this article! Very informative.
Maybe I will take some ideas to make a similar thread but in spanish. Thanks!
I think
low polygon & low resolution modeling fundamental solution
07/13/2017 04:08 PMPosted by WyomingMyst
Conflicting Programs that can Hinder Performance in Overwatch
There can be a variety of programs both on the overlay and the in the background that can hinder your performance in Overwatch. If you notice freezes in game, this can often be pointed to a program that is taking up system resources. This includes:
Web Browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome (Chrome is a big culprit)
Third-Party Communication Applications such as Discord, Skype, and Teamspeak
Cloud Storage Management Programs such as OneDrive, Evernote, and Dropbox
Streaming software such as Shadowplay, Open Broadcasting Software, and ReLive
Anti-Virus and Malware Protection applications


While in a livechat to fix an issue I had with Overwatch a few weeks ago, a Game Master told me that things like LogMeIn Hamachi don't work well with Overwatch either - so it is best to disable those sorts of programs.
07/26/2017 08:03 AMPosted by DeathBoy
While in a livechat to fix an issue I had with Overwatch a few weeks ago, a Game Master told me that things like LogMeIn Hamachi don't work well with Overwatch either - so it is best to disable those sorts of programs.

That can be true, and I should probably list those programs as well. I will note though there are dozens of programs in each of the categories I listed and encourage everyone to carefully test which programs causes issues for your specific computer setup so you know which ones you can run, and which ones you cannot.
You want better?

Uninstall OW and go play a game the devs actually care about.
For those who are native Spanish speakers, this article is now available in Spanish on the Overwatch Latin American forums courtesy of Blizzard Support Agent Dromogaz!

Para aquellos que son nativos de habla hispana, este artículo ya está disponible en español en los foros de Overwatch latinoamericano, cortesía del agente de apoyo de Blizzard, Dromogaz.

https://us.battle.net/forums/es/overwatch/topic/20758486154
https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/6sdn4s/if_you_play_overwatch_on_windows_10_consider/

Mind adding this to your post? Seems like a bunch of turkeys don't read these forums and don't know much about full-screen optimization doing the opposite of what it says.

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