Fallout 4 has been out for about a while now, and lots of people are still having issues with random lag spikes and/or constant stuttering – myself included. For a lot of people, this issue likely spurs from Bethesda “locking” Fallout 4 at 60fps by enabling vsync and not giving us an easy way to turn it off. For others, it might just be substandard hardware.
I don’t have the most powerful PC, but it’s generally capable of running most games on ultra/high around 50-60fps without vsync on. Although I was getting those 50-60fps in FO4, I was also experiencing really annoying lag spikes from time to time, and it was killing the game for me. Plus, the choppy effect from having vsync on without being able to maintain 60fps was getting old, quick.
Because of this, I set out to find a way to fix these horribly annoying issues, and what I found was really quick & easy to do. There’s another option available which involves tweaking settings yourself either in the .ini files (if you have the know-how), or by using one of the various FO4 config tools that people have made.
Whichever way you go, you’ll be playing Fallout 4 in a way smoother Commonwealth that you have been up until now.
The “Quick” Fix
The quickest and easiest fix that I found was one by someone who goes by Tayten, and his fix pretty much just turns off vsync and disables mouse acceleration in a FO4 config file. Once you’ve installed the fix, Tayten suggests going into the Nvidia Control Panel and toggling vsync to “adaptive”. Without this, minigames, consoles and some other things will be sped up and/or broken.
It’s pretty easy to do, and I’ve even broken it into 4 steps:
- Head over to Nexus and download the files
- Follow along with Tayten’s installation video
- Enable “Adaptive Vsync”(Nvidia) or “Dynamic Vsync”(AMD) – Steps below
- Play Fallout 4 stutter free!
Instead of using Tayten’s, or another modder’s .ini files, you can always make the edits yourself and gain a similar performance boost. There have been a few configuration tools created by various modders and uploaded to places like Nexus Mods, using one of these is by far the more preferable option and you’ll have access to way more options.
One pretty important thing to keep in mind is that after you’ve used any of these config tools, you should not (and sometimes won’t be able to) make changes to the Fallout 4 graphics settings via the launcher – it will overwrite things you have done via the config tool.
The Fallout 4 Tweaker is the most popular tool on Nexus Mods it’s probably the most comprehensive tool out there. It gives us access to a whole bunch of options that Bethesda seemingly overlooked, like toggling vsync (which can actually mess things up without enabling adaptive vsync like in Tayten’s fix), giving FO4 a high CPU priority, and a bunch of other settings that affect both gameplay as well as performance. There are a lot of options to play around with, and I think this tool is worth having regardless.
Turning off vsync is going to give you the most noticeable drop in stuttering, but it will also mess with certain things like consoles and holotape games in a negative way. There is a way to fix this though, and it’s actually pretty simple. What I’m talking about is enabling “Adaptive Vsync”, which yes, is an Nvidia thing, but there’s a similar solution for AMD users.
By enabling Adaptive vsync (or it’s AMD alternative) things will function like when “normal” vsync is turned on, and when you would otherwise exceed 60fps you’ll be capped to 60fps (on 60hz monitors), but vsync will turn off whenever you drop below 60fps; effectively killing a huge portion of the stutter in Fallout 4, while maintaining the integrity of the minigames and consoles.
Nvidia – Adaptive Vsync
- Open “Nvidia Control Panel” (right click on desktop)
- Go into “Manage 3D setting”
- From “Global Settings” scroll down to “Vertical sync” and toggle it to “Adaptive”. You can also do it for just Fallout 4 via “Program Settings” instead of global.
AMD – Dynamic Vsync
- Download & install RadeonPro (it’s the only option to enable “Dynamic Vsync”)
- Open RadeonPro and go into the “Tweaks” tab
- Enable “Dynamic Vsync” under “Vsync Control”
If All Else Fails…
If you’ve tried everything above, and you still can’t get Fallout 4 to run smoothly, but you’re able to constantly exceed 60fps due to powerful hardware, then you have one option left to try, one option that I know of at least.
Your last ditch effort should be to download a program like RTSS (Rivatuner Statistics Server) and set your FPS cap to 60 while running Fallout4 with its in-game vsync turned off. Heck, this might even be a good solution to start with, but then you won’t know about Adaptive Vsync which is a really useful setting to know about anyways.
See? Super easy, right? Using Tayten’s modified .ini files and turning on adaptive vsync seemed to clear up ALL of the stuttering and lag issues I was having, and I’m hoping that it will do the same for you! In fact, I was actually able to crank everything that was set to “high” up to “Ultra” while still maintaining between 40-60 fps depending on where I am.
But, if you want more control over other settings like field of view, making all NPCs killable, tweaking shadow resolutions and turning mouse acceleration on/off, then you’re going to need a config tool like the Fallout 4 Tweaker, or whichever tool you find that looks good. Just don’t forget to enable a variation of Adaptive Vsync to avoid breaking Fallout 4’s physics.
At the end of the day, either of these solutions will help clean up a ton of lag & stutter in Fallout 4, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience because of it. No one likes random lag spikes and choppy gameplay, especially me, so I really hope this post helped you out!
If this worked for you, or if you have anything to add, let us know in the comment section!