In this post, we will take a look at CSGO settings optimization so that you gain an edge over your enemies.
While these settings will make a difference, improving your accuracy, FPS or visibility, they won't make you a pro overnight. The key to improving in CSGO (or anything else) is practice, practice, practice. Be sure, the guy that is owning you frag after frag probably isn't cheating, and isn't using any magic settings - he just practiced more.
However, that doesn't mean settings are unimportant, far from it. In this article, we will go through different things you can do to give you that slight edge you need, turning odds in your favor when it's either you or your foe. The general rule behind tweaking CSGO settings is: performance>looks. And most of the time, you choose one or the other. Let's dig in.
Best CSGO Settings - Video
Launch CSGO, and navigate to Options, and then Video settings.
Like with most other settings changes we are going to mention in this article, there is not a unanimous opinion about what is the best resolution.
Yes, most pro players choose lower resolutions, with a 4:3 ratio, such as 1280x960 or 1024x768. If you ask them, they will claim this helps them focus better centrally, on their target, as it keeps everything in a smaller area. If you decide to switch to lower resolutions you need to know one thing: it will reduce your field of vision by about 20 degrees. But, lower resolutions will undoubtedly improve your FPS.
Try 4:3, and see how it feels for you. You probably won't like it, mainly if you are already used to playing games full screen, 16:9, with higher resolutions. However, we do recommend using the 4:3 resolution for longer period of time to really get used to it before jumping to conclusions.
In-Game Visual effects
A simple rule for the optimization of settings in CSGO - decrease every "fancy" in-game visual setting. So no anti-aliasing, drop model/texture detail, effect detail, shader detail to low. Put texture filtering to bilinear and disable Motion Blur and Waiting for Vsync.
Now, you might want to keep Global Shadow Quality to high, as it will make it easier for you to spot shadows from a greater distance. If you don't think that is important, and you would rather have a better FPS, Very Low is your best bet.
Also, you want to keep Multicore Rendering, as it will allow CSGO to use multiple CPU cores which will give you more FPS.
Best CSGO Audio Settings
Audio is crucial in CSGO, probably more than any other video game out there. Unfortunately, the audio engine this game has isn't very good, to say the least. But, it is how it is, so make sure you compensate that with a quality pair of headsets - speakers are out of the question. We've compared two of the best wireless headsets which you can check out here.
First, you want to update your audio drivers. We will cover how to this further down in this article.
Once finished, it is time to tweak in-game options again. In audio settings, put everything in Music Options to zero except the ''Ten Second Warning'' choice. This will help you hear when it is 10 seconds left to defuse the bomb. You can tweak other settings to your liking. We only recommend that you select Headphones in the Speaker Configuration.
Also, you want to tweak your audio options inside Windows. You do that from the Sound options in Control Panel. There, you need to go to the Playback tab and select your headphones, then click Properties. Go to Advanced, and choose 2 channel, 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality). That will set all sounds to the default Steam Engine value, which will tax your CPU less, providing slightly better FPS. And all that adds up.
Now that we have covered most of the tweaks you can do either through Windows, driver or in-game options, it is time for something a little bit more advanced. Next tips will have a significant impact on your gameplay.
To tweak the CSGO launch options go to your Steam Library, right-click Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and click Properties, then Set Launch Options. Here are some of the rules you should consider adding:
- “-novid” - it will turn off the intro once you launch the game
- “-refresh 144” this one will set the refresh rate of your monitor to the desired number, in this case, 144, but use the most your monitor model supports
- “-d3d9ex” - this one will make ALT-TAB switch windows much faster
- "+exec autoexec.cfg" - executes the custom autoexec on startup
You can also copy paste this: -novid -refresh 144 -d3d9ex
*note - launch options "-high" and "-threads X" are no longer viable, and they might even cause issues, so delete them if you have used them previously.
Best Windows Settings for CSGO
There is a lot of optimization to be done in settings to reach a higher FPS in CSGO, not only settings found in-game, but also settings made in Windows itself.
In titles such as CSGO where every FPS counts, tweaking those settings can have significant benefits. You just enter the name of the settings in the Windows search box or find it in the Control Panel:
- Power plan - high performance - this one is especially important if you play on a laptop as you don’t want the battery saver to cripple PC performance.
- XBOX DVR (Win 10) - useless, and it lowers FPS, turn it off. [Guide]
- Mouse - Properties - turn off acceleration in the Pointer Options by unchecking Enhance pointer precision. This only will make your shots more accurate than ever, if this setting was on.
- Ease of Access - here, find "Make the mouse easier to use" and slide acceleration all the way to the left to switch it off. As for the sensitivity, that is up to you. Generally speaking, lower is better since it will make you less error-prone, so try to keep it less than 3.
- There, you want to change any slider you see in Image settings to Performance.
- Next, you want to select the native resolution of your monitor with the highest refresh rate it supports. In the monitor settings, you might consider increasing Digital Vibrance to the vibrance that suits you. That might make the game unbearable to look until you get used to it, but it will help you distinguish enemies from the dark surroundings (such as the tunnels on d2) much easier.
- Also, in the display settings, you can turn GPU scaling on or off. Turning it on will stretch the image in case you are using a resolution that is lower than native. The other option is to turn scaling off, which will leave black bars on the screen. Either option is very opinionated and you can't tell if it is for you until you've tried.
- You will make most of the adjustments in the 3D settings tab. Essentially you will turn anything that improves the looks at the cost of performance off. This includes antialiasing, ambient occlusion, anisotropic filtering, etc.
Editing the config file
Note that editing the config is indeed an optimization in CSGO the same way changing the settings is.
- First, you need to locate the config file.
- Find your game folder
- Navigate to CSGO → CFG folder. Find the config.cfg file there.
(To see the file extension, you need to enable it in Windows Folder Options screen.) First, copy the file, and paste it somewhere else, just in case you mess something up. Open the file by right-clicking on it and choosing Open With - Notepad.
These are some of the settings you should consider adding:
- snd_mix_async “1” - this one will improve performance
- snd_mixahead “0.025” - makes the sound more accurate
- snd_stream “1” - makes the game stream audio from the hard drive, rather from the RAM
- cl_lagcompensation “1” - should correct some lag issues
- cl_predict “1" - movement and physics prediction
- cl_predictweapons “1” - sets weapon predictions correctly
- cl_interp “0” - keep interpolation always on zero
- cl_interp_ratio “1” - makes interpolation low ping
- rate “786432” - sets bandwidth rate to max. Use this setting if your bandwidth is higher than 6 MB/s
- cl_autohelp “0” - turns off tips, boosts FPS
- cl_showhelp “0” - the same as above
- cl_forcepreload “1” - turns preloading maps on, can improve FPS
- m_rawinput “1” - turns raw input on
- cl_autowepswitch "0" - you will not automatically switch to weapons you pick up
Keeping your computer healthy
If you want the best performance, your PC needs to be in top condition.
1. make sure it is virus and malware-free. You want to have an updated anti-virus running on your computer all the time. Windows Defender is a good option, as you already have it in your system.
Also, if you want to check your PC for existing infections, your best bet is installing Malwarebytes and running a full system scan. The free version doesn't give you real-time protection, but it is useful for scanning your device from time to time.
2. The second thing you need to do is to update all of the drivers on your PC. Many people make a mistake as they only keep their GPU drivers up to date, thinking that for gaming everything else is irrelevant. It couldn't be further from the truth. Take audio drivers for example.
Update Audio Drivers
The audio driver might seem insignificant, but for some people, it has a tremendous impact on FPS. If you are not sure about your sound card model.
- right-click on My Computer → Properties.
- Click on the Device Manager on the left side. Open it, find Sound, Video and Game Controllers.
- Now, either right-click on your audio device and hit Update Driver
You can also write down your sound cards name and Google for drivers to download and install them manually. Remember, the optimization of your drivers is as important for your fps as your in-game settings in CSGO.
If you don't want to go over each driver manually, you can use third-party software like Driver Booster to do it for you. Run it every now and then to make sure everything stays fresh. The good thing about this software is that it makes an automatic restore point, so you can easily revert any changes if they create issues.
Also, if you have a weaker machine, or you want to make sure nothing interferes with your game, you can try programs like Razer Cortex. With those, you can disable any background apps, making sure all the resources of your PC are at the disposal of CSGO.
Lastly, it is a good idea to have CSGO installed on an SSD. That will load maps much faster, and make the game more responsive overall.
Hardware - Mouse
A good quality mouse plays a massive role in any FPS, especially CS: GO. It is a good idea to have a proper gaming mouse, known to be a favorite of FPS players, but at least buy a mouse that lets you choose DPI.
Lucky for you we've reviewed the absolute best gaming mouses in this article.
Most pro players use 400 DPI. While this might seem extreme to you, especially when combined with lower sensitivity, we recommend that you never go higher than 800 DPI. This might seem very hardcore first, but you will get used to it in no time, and you will notice accuracy improvements almost immediately.
You can also tweak your mouse settings from in-game options. Remember, you lowered your DPI to make your mouse slower, so don't counter that by increasing sensitivity, it will accomplish nothing.
It is worth noting that you can also set Zoom Sensitivity to a separate value. This will help players who often buy AWP, as it will allow them to easily maneuver when not sniping.
Also, if your mouse driver allows you to change the polling rate, we suggest you set it to 1000Hz as it will give you the most benefits without any disadvantage. And of course, if your driver also has mouse acceleration, as 97% of the pros disable it, that is what we recommend.
If you don't want to think about your windows or custom mouse drivers, you can turn the raw input on, in mouse and keyboard in-game options. That will ignore everything you changed outside of the game, and your mouse will only react to the tweaks you made in the game options, or by editing game files.
Stick to monitors with 144hz or above. You'll have more smooth and responsive gameplay and it absolutely gives you that extra advantage over your opponents.
You want to tweak your monitor settings, making sure it has the highest supported refresh rate. Also, it is a good idea to increase brightness and to use "Computer monitor" for in-game Color Mode. That will make visibility better, especially in the dark corners, which will make spotting ambushing enemies much easier.
Customizing the crosshair
For this one, you will have to try different options yourself. We recommend you to read our in-depth guide for the best crosshair to bring your gaming to the next level.
You will have to try a bunch of different options before deciding what works best for you. Try selecting one of the pro player configurations before deciding. And give each option at least a few deathmatch rounds before making the decision.
Optimization of settings in CSGO is important, but it is up to you what works for you and how much graphics you're willing to convert into higher FPS.
While some pieces of advice are great for anyone - such as updating drivers - other parameters like the best crosshair or sensitivity level you have to try for yourself.
Although it might seem tedious at first, optimizing settings will pay off both in performance, and increased accuracy, both of which will result in a better score, and overall, a more enjoyable gaming experience. So don't be lazy, try out different options and see how it feels, you won't regret it!