It starts with something subtle. A moment’s hesitation on screen that wreaks havoc on your gameplay. A small stutter that ends up being the cause of your untimely and undeserved death.
Micro-lag or stutters happen in gaming for a myriad of different reasons, and this type of lag can be the hardest to diagnose and solve. Nailing down what is causing these stutters in your own system can be frustrating. Because the pauses are occurring mid-frame, they don’t really impact the game’s frame rate. These small pauses may not always be visibly apparent due to the games’ attempts to compensate for missing data. At other times, they are very noticeable as the game appears to briefly freeze and then jump back into action.
In this guide, we’ll go over some of the causes of frequent micro-lag and solutions to help you avoid micro stuttering and get you back to gaming!
What Causes Micro-Lag?
Unfortunately diagnosing micro stutters isn’t as easy as most issues in computing. There are generally three root causes of this type of lag: networking, software or hardware.
Diagnosing Hardware Issues
From the hardware side, micro-lag can be caused by your processor (CPU), graphics card (GPU), RAM or even your motherboard. It can be something as simple as a faulty piece of hardware, an incompatibility between hardware, one piece being outdated or other various issues.
Troubleshooting this type of issue is extremely complex. Here are some tips:
- Make sure your CPU and GPU both meet the minimum system requirements for the game you are playing
- Review your game’s CPU and GPU requirements and then go to https://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ to make sure your hardware meets the minimum specs
- Make sure your RAM is working correctly
- On Windows 10, hit Start and run Windows Memory Diagnostic.
- Check your motherboard for defects
- On Windows 10, hit Start and run Troubleshoot, then select Hardware and Devices and let Windows detect and fix problems
- Make sure your system isn’t overheating during gameplay
- On Windows 10, hit Start and run Troubleshoot, then select Power and let Windows detect and fix problems
This is a good start, but depending on the severity of your issue more troubleshooting might be required. At the worst, you may have to replace one or several parts.
Diagnosing Software Issues
Software can be almost as complex as hardware but is generally less expensive to resolve. These types of issues are usually caused by corrupt software or improper settings in game.
Here are things you should check if you suspect a software issue:
- Run your game at low settings, or at the “suggested” settings in game
- Make sure to cap your framerate in-game at the maximum your monitor can handle – typically 60fps, 120fps, or 144fps
- Close background programs to narrow down the problem
- Reinstall the games that experience stuttering
Again, sometimes issues may require more in-depth diagnostics, but this will at least put you on the right track towards a solution. Sometimes taking these steps can eliminate a problem altogether.
Diagnosing Network Issues
Network issues are among the easiest to diagnose, but can sometimes be difficult to solve if they aren’t in your control. Generally, stuttering caused by networking is the result of packet loss or jitter.
To diagnose a network issue, try these steps:
- Run a speedtest and see the results
- While a speedtest doesn’t show you your game’s connection, it does let you know if your network connection to a nearby server is working well
- Run a ping test to the game’s server and check the packet loss and jitter
- Check your system process latency under the network tab
This small checklist will let you narrow down where a problem exists. Make sure to run these tests several times, or for several minutes to check the consistency of your issues.
- Upgrade your router
- Use Ethernet instead of WiFi
- Reduce network issues by using Haste
As you can see, fixing micro-lag is often difficult, but we hope this guide has given you some insight into diagnosing your hardware, software and network issues. If your gaming experience is still less than optimal, let us help!
Haste uses customized network routes to reduce ping, packet loss, jitter, and various other networking issues, including micro-lag. Haste’s next-gen Internet optimization software for gamers works to optimally route network traffic to the central game servers. Try Haste for free today and feel the difference!