Do you sacrifice PC game enjoyment to chase for higher frame rates?

There's a general consensus within the gaming community (particular for the PC) that 60 frames-per-second FPS is what one should aim for as an absolute minimum for a stable and enjoyable experience. Using tools like Fraps can help gamers fine-tune their hardware and software installations to achieve such a result in benchmarking and test runs in games. But while ensuring you have a stable rate of frames being sent to your connected display(s), do we risk forgetting about why we play games in order to chase perfection?

Hardware ain't cheap

We feel consumers with the latest iteration of processors (CPU) and dedicated graphics processing units (GPU) as both are super expensive, especially if you're seeking to game comfortable at a resolution of 1440p or 3840p (4K). A GTX 1080 (or two) would be able to handle such resolutions with high to maximum settings, but you'll need to shell out a good few hundred for the card alone. Then you need to throw in a CPU that won't be a bottleneck, which would be another few hundred.

GTX 1070

ZOTAC GTX 1070 AMP EXTREME (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The end cost quickly escalates and it's easy to find one's budget eaten up solely by both components, and that's before we've even considered a solid motherboard, 16GB/32GB RAM, and SSDs. Investing such an amount in hardware immediately makes any PC owner almost demand maximum performance, which is often promised by companies in marketing and the slew of performance numbers shared. It's therefore understandable that you'd want to keep glancing at an FPS counter to check for dips.

Chasing the dream

The Witcher 3

When looking at the counter, however, are we simply at risk of becoming obsessed with obtaining a solid number of frames being rendered each and every second? Until we're at a point where computers are generally so powerful (even mid-rang builds) that they're able to output high-quality content in 4K at 60 FPS or higher, there are going to be those who continuously glance at this number to see if there's a need for overclocking settings to be increased.

Jumping up and down between 30 and 60 FPS would be noticeable for many, including me. That said, in titles like The Witcher 3 I never once felt ashamed when my PC fell below the glorious 60 FPS marker. The game looks so gorgeous and is that good I'm too lost in the fantasy world to even care. The same goes for something like Euro Truck Simulator 2, which is an excellent game (no, seriously), whereby frames are lost in another realm when playing online with thousands of others. Again, it doesn't bother me since it's incredibly demanding.

So, I'll admit that I try and chase for 60 FPS performance levels, but if I'm already taxing my system to the degree that I don't wish to go any further, I'll turn off the counter and just enjoy what I'm currently playing. While I agree that the higher this number in particular, the better the overall visual experience (even if the human eye is unable to fully tell the difference), I would turn down settings slightly if I'm having slight stuttering and call it a day.

Are you part of the hunt?

I'm intrigued to learn what level of performance you chase, be it 60 FPS or even higher, as well as how determined you are to achieve it. Most importantly, do you find yourself sacrificing the experience offered by the title in question? Sound off in the comments.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.