How To Reduce Latency & Input Lag in All Games – Ultimate Guide 2022

Stavro P.UncategorizedLeave a Comment

Everyone is looking for ways to reduce latency and input lag at all costs. Upgrading to new hardware, buying hundreds of dollars worth of networking equipment, and generally doing everything they can to make everything react a few milliseconds faster. What if I told you that most of the stuff that matters and makes a difference in reducing your latency and input lag is included in this post?

No, for real, below you’ll find detailed instructions on having the lowest input lag and latency possible on your computer and enjoying your games like no one else does!

How To Reduce Latency & Input Lag in All Games - Ultimate Guide 2022

Step 1 – Update Network Drivers

One of the main reasons you may be experiencing high latency and input lag issues is the outdated or corrupted network drivers. Windows most of the time will have an old network driver installed on your PC, or there will be no ethernet driver at all. If you want to have the lowest input lag and latency possible, then making sure you are running on the latest network driver is a must!

Navigate to your search bar, type “Device Manager, “ and click on it.

Look for Network Adapters and once you find it, click on the bottom arrow to collapse the list. Your ethernet adapter should look like the one in the photo below.

Finding network adapters in Windows

Before you download anything, you need to find your network adapter model. If it’s not available through the Device Manager in Windows, then do the following:

Navigate to the Windows search bar and type “Control Panel” then click on -> Network and Internet, and choose -> Network and Sharing Center. You should see the option -> Change adapter settings on the left side, click on it, and now you can see all your network adapters. Under the adapter name, you can see the adapter’s model, ex—Realtek, Intel, Killer, etc.

How to find your network's adapter model

There is a different process to update your drivers depending on your model. I will go through the update process of the three most used ones. ( Realtek, Intel, and Killer ) 

Visit the official website of your network card manufacturer, download the latest version of the driver for your specific model, and install it.

If you don’t know how to do that, follow this guide on updating network drivers.

Step 2 – Optimize Network Settings

Now that you’ve installed the latest network driver, it’s time to disable all power-saving features of your network adapter to ensure no latency spikes while gaming. Go into Device Manager, look for your network adapter, right-click on it, and choose Properties.

If you want more advanced network optimizations, I recommend following my guide on optimizing network settings and reducing ping.

Navigate to the Power Management tab and uncheck the option: “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power“.

Optimizing Network drivers in Windows to reduce latency and input lag.

Navigate to the Advanced tab, and disable any power-saving feature like:

  • Energy-Efficient Ethernet
Optimizing Network drivers in Windows to reduce latency and input lag.
  • Green ethernet
Optimizing Network drivers in Windows to reduce latency and input lag.
  • Power saving mode
Optimizing Network drivers in Windows to reduce latency and input lag.
  • Disable any other power saving feature.

Step 2 – Use Ethernet

Using an ethernet cable instead of wifi makes sure that you have the best connection possible. That’s important for latency and input lag since you want every single piece of data to transfer as fast as possible. I understand that sometimes it may not be possible for you to connect via an ethernet cable. If that’s the case, you may consider moving your computer or laptop closer to your router to have a better and more stable connection or purchasing a long ethernet cable. You can even find 30+ meters of ethernet cables.

Here are two cheap but highly effective ethernet cables: VANDESAIL and AB RJ45

Animated ethernet cable

Step 3 – Flush your DNS

By clearing your DNS, you are clearing all the IP addresses of all the websites and game servers you have ever connected. That will make sure that you always connect to the latest servers and that there will be no conflicts. To clear your DNS, type the following commands on your CMD in the same order as you see them below.

How to open command prompt ( cmd) as administrator
How to open CMD as administrator

Command #1: ipconfig /flushdns

Command #2: ipconfig /registerdns

Command #3: ipconfig /release

Command #4: ipconfig /renew

Command #5: netsh Winsock reset

Step 4 – Change DNS servers

Head to Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center and click on “Change adapter settings“.

Change adapter settings in Windows

Right-click the network connection you want to change the DNS servers and select “Properties”. You should do this and the next step for each network connection separately.

Ethernet properties

Click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCIP/IPv4)”, and click “Properties”.

TCP/IPv4

Mark “Use the following DNS server addresses“, enter the addresses of the new DNS servers you want to use, and click “OK”.

Best DNS to reduce latency and input lag.

Best DNS Servers for gaming

DNSPrimary DNS ServerSecondary DNS Server
Google DNS Server8.8.8.88.8.4.4
Cloudflare1.1.1.11.0.0.1
Quad99.9.9.9149.112.112.112
Comodo DNS8.26.56.268.20.247.20

Step 5 – Update BIOS

I always recommend running on the latest BIOS version since manufacturers provide frequent updates to address issues and fix stability problems or even enhance performance in most cases.

Here is a small guide on how to update your BIOS.

PLEASE DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR PC OR TAKE OUT THE POWER CABLE WHILE UPDATING YOUR BIOS.

Flash Mode BIOS

Step 6 – Optimizing BIOS Settings

Since this guide is primarily for people who are not PC experts, I will keep everything straight to the point. We will only change basic settings that make the most significant difference. If you want more advanced BIOS / RAM tweaking, you can join my Discord or follow me on Twitter to get complete guides for more advanced users.

By optimizing your BIOS you will make sure that your CPU and RAM are running at the maximum speed possible which will dramatically reduce input lag and latency, and make everything super responsive.

Optimize AMD system BIOS Settings

  • Make sure XMP, A-XMP, or D.O.C.P is set to Profile 1 / Enabled.
  • Precision Boost Overdrive: Enabled
  • Re-size BAR support: Enabled
  • Find the options for FAN controls, and if you have a water cooler make sure to set it to 100% at all times, as well as optimize the rest of the coolers to work on higher speeds to keep temperatures as low as possible.

Optimize Intel system BIOS settings

The Intel settings below can be found under your BIOS’s CPU features/CPU configuration/Overclocking/Ai Tweaker tabs. If it’s your first time entering BIOS, it may take you some time, but I am pretty sure you will find them easily.

  • Make sure XMP, A-XMP, or D.O.C.P is set to Profile 1 / Enabled.
  • Intel Speedstep: Disabled
  • Intel speed shift tecnology: Disabled
  • Intel C-state: disabled
  • Turbo Mode: Enabled
  • Look for tutorials, and apply some basic overclock on your CPU.
  • CPU Ratio Offset when running AVX: 0
  • Re-Size BAR support: Enabled
  • Find the options for FAN controls, and if you have a water cooler make sure to set it to 100% at all times, as well as optimize the rest of the coolers to work on higher speeds to keep temperatures as low as possible.

Once you are done with all the settings, you can go ahead and save these settings as a profile and then find the option to Save & Exit BIOS.

Step 7 – Deep scan for Malware or/and Miners

One common issue I’ve encountered while doing my PC optimization service on other people’s computers is that they have miners and sometimes even malware running on their computer, and they haven’t even noticed. Hidden crypto miners and malware, apart from eating up your CPU and GPU resources, also create backend connections from your PC to other servers or PCs to transfer data. So if you’ve been having latency and input lag issues and tried everything without fixing it, maybe it’s time to take things more seriously!

Apart from your internet connection and computer resources being used, there is also a high chance that your gaming accounts, bank accounts, cards, and any personal data you have stored on your PC will be used by someone else(and not for a good cause).

So, what I recommend doing is downloading Malwarebytes. You can get the free version or the 14day trial. After the free premium trial ends, you can still use Malwarebytes free version. Keep in mind that the free version doesn’t provide real-time protection. It’s only valid for manual scans. ( If you want to be safe on the internet and can afford it, you can get the premium version and then disable Windows defender.)

Install Malwarebytes and then open it. Click on Scanner -> Advanced Scanners -> Configure scan, and select the option scan for rootkits and also, on the right side, select all your drives and click on scan. This scan may take a lot of time, but it can save you from unwanted situations.

How to remove viruses and malware from your computer.

Once the scan is done, quarantine everything and restart your PC.

Disable automatic scans, and you should be good to go!

If you get the full version, you won’t have to worry again about viruses, malware, etc., infecting your pc. If you keep free, you’ll have to do some manual scans from time to time to make sure everything is OK.

Step 8 – Use a dedicated IP

If you have to use a VPN to play your games, you need a dedicated IP address. You can’t be gaming on the public servers of any VPN.

I recommend NordVPN because apart from you being able to access all the public IP addresses of the service, they will provide you with a dedicated IP address which you will be the only “owner”, so no one else can access it, and you can use that dedicated IP specifically for playing games and getting the lowest input lag and latency possible. Not all VPN services have this feature.

There is also a promotion going on their website: GET 30 DAYS FREE TRIAL

NORDVPN

Step 9 – Uninstall & Reinstall GPU drivers

Corrupted driver files apart from high latency and input lag issues can also cause a dozen other problems. You want to make sure you are running on a fresh driver installation with no leftovers to eliminate any possibilities of it causing latency spikes.

All you’ll have to do is completely uninstall your GPU drivers and then download and install a new driver.

Step 10 – Optimize GPU Driver settings

Now that you have installed a fresh copy of the GPU driver it’s time to optimize the GPU settings to make sure everything is set to run on the maximum performance possible. That will ensure your GPU doesn’t downclock for no reason causing lag and latency issues. Below, you can find two detailed guides for optimizing GPU settings for Nvidia and AMD.

Step 11 – Get a good power plan

I’ve tested every single power plan available, and I can say that the one working the best, especially for gaming, is the one in my files. I do not create it, it’s the Bitsum Highest Performance Power Plan, and it works well for Intel systems, AMD systems, and laptops.

I’ve created a script on my files, so all you have to do is, run it to import the power plan and make it the active one. Also, I recommend deleting the rest of the power plans because sometimes Windows will automatically switch to another one.

Step 12 – Use ISLC

You’ll find many different theories about this app on the internet. It does not tremendously help your overall system performance, but it helps with system & driver latency, latency in general, and input lag and makes things just a little bit snappier. Hence, it makes it worth running on your system to make games run a little bit smoother.

You’ll find ISLC in my files as well, so you don’t have to download it, so go ahead and open the folder, run ISLC as administrator, and do the following:

  • Set Wanted Timer Resolution to 0.5
  • Tick Enable Custom Resolution
  • Tick Start ISLC minimized and auto-Start monitoring
  • Tick Launch ISLC on user logon
  • Change the “Free memory is lower than” option from 1024 to any of the values below(depending on your RAM)
    • Take half of your RAM and multiply by 1024. Put the number you got on the “Free memory is lower than” option.
    • For example, if you have 16 GB of RAM installed on your computer, the number should be 8192. ( 16/2*1024). You can check the table below with all the values.
  • Once you’ve done that, click on Start and that’s it.
  • ISLC will start running automatically every time your PC boots up, so you don’t have to worry again about it.
YOUR RAMVALUE TO ADD
2GB1024
4 GB.2048
8GB4096
16GB8192
32GB16384
64GB32768
ISLC: Free memory is lower than values
How to configure intelligent standby list cleaner for Windows depending on your RAM size.

If after restarting your PC, you notice that “Current timer resolution” is not 0.5ms exactly, and it’s a number like 0.4988, do the following:

Run CMD as Administrator and type the following commands one by one:

Timer Resolution Windows
  • bcdedit /set useplatformtick yes
  • bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes
  • bcdedit /deletevalue useplatformclock

If the last one gives back an error that the value doesn’t exist, that’s fine. If the value doesn’t exist, it’s already off.

Step 13 – Rebuild Performance Counters

Run the Rebuild Performance Counters file from the files you downloaded. Sometimes performance counters get corrupted, so it’s a good practice to rebuild everything. Make sure to run it as an administrator.

How to rebuild performance counters.

Step 14 – Overclock your CPU, GPU, and Controller

As I said on the BIOS part, look around the internet for some basic CPU overclocking guides, learn the basics, and go ahead and do some basic overclocking on your CPU. The GPU overclocking is even easier to understand and safely do, and finally, the controller one is the easiest.

By overclocking all three, you are guaranteed to feel the difference in your input lag and latency instantly. Your games will feel more responsive and smoother, and your controller will handle just amazing.

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