Valorant PC Optimization Guide Windows 10 Settings
ENABLE SPATIAL SOUND FOR GOD’S SAKE-
You can Ignore this step if your headset has an inline sound card that says something to the effect of “7.1 surround” on it. This will usually be a hard plastic bit slightly larger than a thumb drive typically located near the inline volume controls on a USB headset. This is a dedicated spatial sound mixer, and should always be used if you have the option, as the quality of this will be far superior compared to the option built into Windows.
If you don’t have a dedicated sound card built into your headset as mentioned in the Italics, Windows does a terrible job of passing spatial sound through to your headset by default, regardless of how expensive your headset is, unless you have enabled Windows Sonic for Headphones (or equivalent) in your operating system. This enables your headset to simulate the effects of a full surround sound headset without actually being surround sound. On your task bar there should be a little speaker symbol (the one you left click to change the overall volume on your PC). You want to right click on that symbol, then hover over “Spatial sound”, then click on “Windows Sonic for Headphones”. You can now enjoy much more accurate directional audio in game, and stop complaining about not being able to tell where footsteps are coming from =D This should be a big improvement for any stereo headset, whether you have a 100 dollar semi open audiophile’s stereo headset, or the default apple earbuds jammed in your ear holes. It’s astonishing to me the amount of times I’ll hear complaints in game about the audio, from people that are baffled by the existence of this setting. To be fair, Windows doesn’t really draw your attention to it, and it should really be activated by default unless an external sound card is detected, but what can you do? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
WINDOWS TIMER RESOLUTION-
This has been by far the worst section to research. There is little to no concise information as to exactly how this setting works, the effect of this value changes based on your specific hardware, and the effect of this value also changes occasionally after certain Windows updates with the last change to it being almost a year ago now. I have never had such a hard time researching something during my entire time using the internet. That said, I’m going to try and keep this as absolutely simple as possible.
Here is everything I have been able to determine to some degree of accuracy, though if anyone can shed some light onto exactly;y how this works, corrections are appreciated.
- Timer resolution is a GLOBAL value in Windows, meaning it can only ever have 1 value, and every program that relies on this value for timing has to share.
- Program performance is intrinsically linked to the resolution value of the Windows Timer.
- The lowest possible resolution before Windows Loses its Motha’ Fluffin’ Mind, is 0.5, though it is perfectly stable as long as it stays here
- Higher Resolution Values result in worse performance, especially on newer processors with more cores, potentially owing to the increased reliance on precision when it comes to orchestrating increased numbers of threads simultaneously. The i9-9900k Seems to be the most impacted, though I have yet to find info regarding AMD Threadripper and little regarding Ryzen in general.
- When deciding whether or not to update the Windows Timer Resolution value, Windows compares the current value of the resolution timer to the value requested by the program. If this requested value is higher, the resolution updates. It will never lower, until the program that request that value releases it. Some programs do this well, others do not.
- Timer Tools have varying degrees of success based on how well a particular game handles timing, coupled with your individual hardware. RYZEN processors seem to be the most improved, though this should theoretically boost any machine that is CPU bound in a given application. These are perfectly safe to try, unlike the next portion….
The bottom line here seems to be that it’s an absolute hit or miss when it comes to this, and depends mostly on your specific hardware, and what’s running in the background. My suggestion is to try the below list of things, mixing and matching combinations until you figure out if something gives you a performance boost. I provide links to 2 different tools for setting your timer resolution. TimerToolV3, and TimerResolution1.2 You can decide which one you prefer. I Myself User TimerResolution1.2
WARNING! STEPS 1 & 2 BELOW CAN CAUSE EXTREME SYSTEM INSTABILITY DEPENDING ON YOUR HARDWARE. ONLY MESS WITH THESE IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING LARGE AMOUNTS OF STUTTER. SOME HAVE REPORTED THIS TO BE A FIX. THESE SHOULD BE DISABLED BY DEFAULT IN THE CURRENT WINDOWS UPDATE! SOME RYZEN SYSTEMS CAN BENEFIT WITH THESE LAST 2 STEPS, BUT THIS SHOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT! I HAVE NOT TESTED THIS. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
- bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes
- bcdedit /set useplatformclock true
To execute the above steps, begin by opening your command prompt as an administrator. Then copy them into the command prompt and hit enter. Line 1 above enables the setting disabledynamictick, while line 2 enables the setting useplatformclock. To disable these settings, replace yes with no, and true with false.
CONFIRMED AND VERIFIED TWEAKS FROM REPUTABLE SOURCES-
These tweaks are all well documented, and supported. I highly recommend checking them out and reading through everything as you have the time. Pretty much any question you could ask, has an answer in here. Somewhere.
OVERCLOCKING… PROCEED WITH CAUTION HERE-
Disclaimer: This Step is a general overview of overclocking rather than an exact guide, and you should do your own research if you intend to pursue this avenue. Both myself, and JayzTwoCents whose video I link regarding safety and benefits of overclocking, are biased towards the utilization of overclocking. This is something that should be known before blindly following either of our advice on this matter. I would advise you to do some of your own research on top of this video and my commentary, so as to get a variety of opinions. Overclock at your own risk. That said, this will by far result in the most noticeable impact of any tweak in this list.
Paying proper attention to the MANY caveats listed throughout this section, I advise that you Overclock any hardware that both supports it, and that you feel comfortable with overclocking in the first place if you intend to squeeze every last possible drop of performance out of your machine. While there are a lot of considerations that I will get into throughout this section, please consider everything fully, and don’t be scared away by the warnings before properly considering everything. Please Note that VALORANT tends to be CPU bound on high end machines due to poor multi-threading, though it is pending updates the Devs claim will increase performance for such users as well as potentially increasing multi-threaded performance, though they have stated multiple times that they will most likely focus on increasing non multi-threaded efficiency in the near future so as to increase performance as quickly as possible. Only time will tell which of their endeavors yields the best results for them as we move forward.
It should be understood that increasing the number of simultaneous multi-threaded operations within a given piece of code is incredibly complex, especially when it comes to gaming applications, as the timing of events has to match up LITERALLY PERFECTLY. While Performance gains on high end machines can be greatly improved in this manner, it’s not as simple as “just add more threads” or “Just use all of my CPU”. Splitting the main game loop of any game (the part of the code that constitutes most of the games logic and physics, thus comprising the majority of the heavy lifting that a processor needs to do), into more than even ONE thread, can wreak havoc on stability, and creates a plethora of bugs to squash, which usually isn’t worth the time it would take when compared to increasing the efficiency of single threaded operations. Before complaining, remember that these devs (and the devs for every other game for that matter) have degree’s in their respective field of work, and still find this challenging. If you want to max out a 10 core 20 threaded CPU so that all the cores share the work evenly, just so you can reach 100% CPU usage, your going to have to get a degree in computer science, and solve a problem very few people have managed to do in a way that works in the gaming landscape. Everyone is trying their best, so please be patient. (Sorry to rant a bit here, but I see people complaining about this in particular CONSTANTLY, and it’s been getting on my nerves as of late, seeing as no one bothers to google what increasing utilized threads in a game loop would actually require, before making themselves look very silly)
Moving on, Mid to Low range machines are often GPU bound, however, significant performance increasing patches were recently released for this use case, though the efficacy of this I can not attest to, as my only computer currently is a Threadripper 1920x + GTX1080 build, falling into the high end category. Ideally you should only have to overclock whichever components are bottlenecking your specific machine. I would recommend searching around for a PC bottleneck calculator on Google to help you decide where your bottleneck is for VALORANT, if you don’t already know. Now at this point I would recommend watching the video Is overclocking safe?, regarding the safety implications of overclocking compared to the benefits by JayzTwoCents before doing anything, as it should help you decide if an overclock is right for you in the first place. Overclocking is a rather controversial topic in general, and if done with extreme disregard for advice, and incredible amounts of negligence, can cause some damage to your machine, and create system instability that can result in your games crashing anywhere from often to once in a blue moon, if you don’t test things properly throughout the process. In my opinion, you would have to disregard basically every warning that an overclocking guide gives you, and disable every safety function your hardware has (both in it’s drivers, within the overclocking software, and often baked into the hardware itself), in order to do any immediate/irreversible damage, and is horsepower you’re leaving in the garage for no other reason than mostly unfounded anxiety. The biggest issue that often comes up is decreased hardware lifespan long term, though most of that is anecdotal, and little evidence exist that has compared Identical PC lifespans after one has been overclocked. This isn’t typically an issue as long as you do proper testing, make sure that your temperatures aren’t crazy, and stay within reasonable voltage limits. Guides are usually specific to your BIOS and Processor, so search YouTube for something along the lines of “Your processor overclocking guide your motherboard manufacturer Bios” swapping out your specific hardware for everything in italics.
Make sure to check the comments before proceeding to make sure the guide gives solid advice, and I would opt to avoid any video you find with a large number of dislikes, or comments disabled, just to be safe. This is good practice any time you look for info online, but is best reiterated here.
The following video is an explanation of a bunch of RYZEN specific overclocking terms and technologies explained by an actual AMD Employee ->How to overclock ryzen, and is the video I used for Overclocking my Threadripper. I can only speak for overclocking with RYZEN, so sorry to the Intel folks out there.
Depending on your cooling, and the airflow in your case, you may or may not be able to get acceptable thermals with an overclock, but it’s usually worth a shot. General theory is to bump up voltage and clock speed at the cost of increased temperatures. Do so in small increments, and stress test after each bump for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to ensure your system is still stable,not crashing, and nothing else weird is happening. Final test should be at least a half an hour to an hour long to ensure that everything stays stable over time. I recommend also googling what others recommend as a safe voltage for everyday use is on your specific hardware if you would prefer to leave your hardware overclocked on a regular basis, rather than turning it on every time you intend to game. Did I mention TESTING? Do it. It sucks when your game only crashes like every two hours or something strange like when you alt tab too many times, and you end up spending hours trying to diagnose it, only to realize you didn’t test things properly, and it’s your fault for being too impatient to do it right the first time. (speaking from unfortunate experience as a lazy bum T_T) It’s worth it to take your time for stability sake, and the performance bump is usually good.
For Reference, I run a +.5 Ghz Overclock on my Threadripper 1920x, bringing it up to a total of 4.0 Ghz, with 3333 Mhz CL14 Quad Channel Ram at a +133 Mhz overclock. This nets me roughly 40-50 extra frames in VALORANT (Note: Threadripper processors rely heavily on Ram speeds to function, so I list it here for completeness in this regard. Also, I do not overclocked my GTX1080 for VALORANT, as my particular rig is very much so CPU bound in regards to this particular game, especially since Valorant only utilizes 1 thread for the main game loop, and 3 other threads for a total of 4 currently. This is nowhere near to maxing out my Threadripper 1920x’s behemoth core count of 12 cores with 24 threads, though I still manage to maintain roughly 200 fps in game no matter how crazy things get in a full multiplayer lobby. Not half bad considering its not a processor designed for the gaming use case.)
AVOID ALL IN ONE GAME BOOSTERS & LAUNCHERS LIKE THE PLAGUE-
Best case scenario, they pretty much just do several of the things mentioned in the above sections, but do so poorly, and with little to no ability to customize the tweaks for your specific use case. Worst case scenario, they do nothing at all besides launching the game and running a little “loading game optimizations” load bar, and are just magic fairy placebo dust. I’ve had very little luck with any of them, and they often actually slow things down, at least for me.