IntroductionWelcome to the guide! I know there has been many other guides out there about this, but I have some stuff here that may help you with your TF2's performance. So, let's start!
Upgrading Your RigUpgrading your rig can make a huge deal of performance for TF2. TF2 isn't hard at all on the GPU do to its graphics not being that Heavy, but the game on high still looks decent. I set up a list of parts you can buy and build your own PC. Trust me, building a PC isn't hard, its like a puzzle. There are some videos on YouTube that can help you understand how its like. TF2 Rig Parts Link
This is a 600 dollar build, it can run most casual games and it has an additional monitor, sound card, wireless and wired networking adapters as well. You may need to get some speakers yourself.
Launch OptionsThis is a easy one to start off with, just go to your Steam, right click on Team Fortress 2, make sure you are on the general tab, select Set Launch Options, and just copy and paste this in there and click ok: -dxlevel 90 -w xxxx -h xxxx -novid -high -threads x
(Replace the width and height with your resolution.) (Replace threads with the number of cores you have in your processor.)
FPS ConfigsThere are many different configs out there for sure, but there is 2 that really stand out, below will be some options to choose from, and just install the it in C:/Program Files/ (or Program Files (x86) Steam, steamapps, common, Team Fortress 2, tf, cfg.
For Linux however, just go in Home, and make sure hidden files are enabled, just go in: .steam/Steam/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/cfg. Then Mac you go to: ~/Library/Application/Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/cfg. FPS Configs are scripts or commands for the game to run at startup, the commands make the game run at lower graphics. It also disables useless things in the game, one of the best ways to improve FPS for low end PCs, high end PCs that have trouble with framerates should just try disabling some stuff first, then try low graphics if that doesn't work, however if you have a GPU like Intel HD Graphics, or any type of integrated graphics should run at lower graphics either way.
Or, here are some Chris Frames configs from back in the day, I just updated it a bit, the commands and such are slightly different, but for me it works better than most other configurations. So, give them a shot!
Chris Max Frames (Only has the important stuff on with low graphics, best option if you're PC is a 2007 toaster/potato or your PC is generally low end.)
Chris High Frames (Lower then DX9 slightly, but still decent looks, best option if you have a somewhat decent CPU like a i3 or above but a low end graphics card, even though TF2 may not be so rough with GPU.)
Chris DX9 Frames (Slightly higher graphics, if your PC for the most part is pretty decent or above, this is the best option.)
There is this other FPS config that I came across, it seems a lot more updated since I noticed some commands have been slacking on the Comanglia's and Rhapsody's configs.
This one doesn't have a name, it is just a config. But my the looks of it, it is a lot more updated, not to say that Comanglia's and Rhapsody's is extremely out-of-date, it is just a little bit. But this new one looks great! I suggest giving it a shot. It came out in July.
I actually found it from this video here.
TF2 Upgraded FPS Config
I modified Comanglia's Config into a High Graphic FPS Config that is made to make the game look identical to the regular high graphics, it works pretty much as well as any other FPS config that normally puts the graphics lower, pretty much everyone should be able to run this as long as they have a newer GPU, at least a 2010 or 2011 model since TF2 came out in 2007 and the graphics are not that great compared to now, so I suggest giving it a shot.
High Graphic FPS Config
Here are the benchmarks if you want to see them! Note that I did not do the modified ones, just the stock Rhapsody and Comanglia Configs.
PC Specs when recording benchmarks: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU N2830 @ 2.16 GHz (2 CPUs) (up to 2.40 GHz) - 4 GB DDR3 RAM - Intel HD Integrated Graphics
Comanglia's Config Benchmark: 4451 frames 79.110 seconds 56.26 fps (17.77 ms/f) 5.801 fps variability
Rhapsody's Config Benchmark: 2462 frames 48.302 seconds 50.97 fps (19.62 ms/f) 6.599 fps variability
(Note that with Rhapsody's Config it rendered 2,462 frames, and 4,451 with Comanglia's Config, so Comanglia's would most likely have better FPS, because there so close with the FPS and Rhapsody's only rendered around 2,000 frames and Comanglia's rendered around 4,000 and it still had slightly better FPS, Rhapsody's is more of a editor config, but if you just want to get it done, Comanglia's is better, if you want to make your own FPS config, Rhapsody's is a little bit easier.)
If you are deciding you are going to make your own FPS config, then I highly recommend getting this program called Notepad++.
It is a more advanced Notepad that makes it a lot easier to manage all the text and you can multitask with different text files. For making any scripts or configs, this is one of the best programs to recommend. Unfortunately, Notepad++ is only available for Microsoft Windows.
FPS ModsThere are a few mods, not that many that work now though unfortunately, but there is still some. I will tell you where to install them individually since some can't be installed in the same spots.
No Hats Mod: Windows: C:/Program Files/ (or Program Files (x86) Steam/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom
Linux: Home/.steam/Steam/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom (If there is no custom folder for Mac, then make one.)
No Hats Mod removed most - all hats from the game to help it render it on the computer easier, certain hats can make extreme losses in framerate, I recommend giving it a shot!
Bullet Hole Effects: Windows: C:/Program Files/ (or Program Files (x86) Steam/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/scripts
Linux: Home/.steam/Steam/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/scripts
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/scripts
Bullet Hole Effects basically just removed smoke and such when you shoot and a bullet hits a wall, like in BLU spawn on Dustbowl if you shoot the walls dust and stuff comes off of it, it doesn't exactly remove dust, just removes some particles from it.
No Hats Mod Link
Bullet Hole Dust Effects Link
There used to be many mods out there that helped a lot, but now they do not really help at all, just lower graphics, maybe it is the way TF2 renders stuff now, I do not know, but besides that... There are still a few mods that work, such as No Hats and Bullet Hole Dust effects, so give them a shot!
Graphics Driver SettingsNVIDIA
Open NVIDIA control panel, press Manage 3D settings, and then choose High-performance NVIDIA processor under Preferred graphics processor.
Some people reported to gain an FPS boost from uninstalling GeForce Experience, it basically let you check for updates, uninstall it. You can check for driver updates on their site.
If you are having issues though on amd change the tesselation from amd optimized to programs defaults. reduces the polycount of the ingame objects will help if your lagging on an lower end ATI card. also switch the anti-aliasing off in catalist and switch the V-Sync off.
Featuring basic 3D controls found on Catalyst Control Center plus exclusive controls like advanced V-Sync control and post-processing based anti-aliasing like SMAA, RadeonPro can help on fine tuning of your games making them look better and also feel better and smoother through the use of Dynamic V-sync Control (DVC) and Dynamic Frame rate Control (DFC). RadeonPro can also help Crossfire users to force multi-GPU utilization in games not supported by the driver, improving your games performance with a few clicks.
Intel HD Graphics
Also features basic 3D controls and other simple display options. I tried different options several times, they never sped up my PC and in some cases slowed it down, the only option you really need to do is right click the desktop, select Graphics Properties, than Power, than set it at High Performance.
Updating Graphics DriversI cannot stress enough to update your graphic card drivers, these can give a huge FPS boost, it gave me about a +10 FPS boost, you just make sure you know your graphics card, if not then go in the Run box, type in dxdiag, go on the Display tab, and by Name is should say the graphics card. Then just search it on your PC manufactuerer's website, and see if you can find a newer version, if there is make sure you install it, it can increase FPS and on some things maybe even increase graphics a bit. I recommend getting the Intel Driver Update Utility if you have a Intel Graphics Driver, it will just scan for new versions of Intel Graphics Drivers, and you can just download it and install it. It is actually really good! I use it (As of 9/11/16) and it has helped a lot!
Anti-VirusWhile you are playing any Steam game, there is this folder in Steam is constantly getting updated with new Steam stats, because it is getting updated constantly it gets anti-virus software's attention and makes it constantly scan it, especially bad on lower end PCs and laptops, I will show you how to make it not do this.
All you have to do is to go on your anti-viruses Trust List, or Exceptions, and add this folder to the list: C:/Program Files/ (or Program Files (x86) Steam/appcache/stats
ALSO, make sure you have a really good anti-virus, viruses get worse and worse everyday, so make sure of that, and I will also leave links to MY personal top 3 favorite anti-viruses, these are free editions. Make sure you scan for PCs for viruses, once they are removed it may speed up your PC.
However, you do not exactly need an anti-virus for Mac or Linux because their systems are so much harder to program viruses for and their security systems are a bit better then Windows, so for those 2, I wouldn't worry about it, but Windows, I would get an anti-virus.
If you have the extra money to buy a better version of an anti-virus, you should. I would recommend McAfee Total Protection. If you want a more simple but still good alternative, you can use Windows Defender, or in other names, Microsoft Security Essentials. It is a more simple antivirus that also provides a firewall. If you have Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 than you already have it since it is built in, if you have Windows 7, you will need to download the installer. I HIGHLY recommend to uninstall any current anti-viruses if you have installed one, this goes for ALL anti-viruses, anti-viruses can conflict with each other and can ravage you system's performance and the two anti-virus programs may corrupt or have some important files needed to run to be deleted. Microsoft Security Essentials
Windows Settings (Windows Only)Windows has various settings to optimize your PC to run programs and games faster, here are some ways to optimize your PC.
Right click the power icon at the bottom-right, select Power Options, and select the arrow, and select High Performance.
Now, this one depends if you have, Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10.
Windows 7: Open Windows Explorer, Right click This Computer, or something similar to that, and click Properties, select Advanced System Settings, select performance settings, and click Adjust for Best Performance.
Windows 8, 8.1, and 10: Right click the start menu button, click System, click Advanced System Settings, select performance settings, and click Adjust for Best Performance.
Press Windows Key + R keys at the same time, type in the Run box msconfig, and then select the boot tab, click No GUI Boot, click Advanced Options, select Number of Processors, and select as many as Windows allowed you with it is 1, 2, 3, etc.
CCleaner CCleaner is a very good program that cleans out your computer for any junk files. A lot of professional tech people have recommended too, even though I am techy but not the best tech guy, I still recommend this program! Junk files hog up disk space and reduce performance in games and in general. CCleaner Download
Defraggler Defraggler is a really good program for defragging files. Defragmenting basically moves files in the right places to avoid errors and performance bugs. Defraggler Download
Razer Cortex Razer Cortex is a program that optimized system processes to free up CPU usage, GPU usage, and RAM. It varies how well it optimizes depending your your computer. It definitely works best on older computers, it still may help on newer computers. Razer Cortex Download
Microsoft ContigMicrosoft Contig is a set of files that gets inserted in your game's main folder that will defragment it, I use this myself on my GL752VW laptop from Asus and it works great, it keeps the game running smooth, boosts FPS, and keeps it stable. I will leave a link to a video on how to use it, since explaining it can be complicated.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKG49fIY07Q
MS Contig Link: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/contig.aspx
Overclocking Your CPUOverclocking your CPU is a great way to improve FPS on TF2 if you have a very old or low end CPU. However, it can come at a dangerous cost, heat. You will require a higher voltage as you increase the MHz of a CPU. (MHz is the way they measure the speed of a CPU) So be very careful about your temps, or else you can burn down your PC's CPU, or maybe even the whole computer. If you have an Intel Processor, I suggest installing
Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, which is a great tool for overclocking, I will leave a in-depth video off of Intel's website for overclocking CPUs with this program here. (Note that this only support the i series processors, any different processors can't be overclocked unfortunately.) However, if you have an AMD processor, you want to use AMD OverDrive, which is another great program for AMD processors. I will leave a guide here for how to use it safely. I HIGHLY recommend having 1 or 2 case fans for this or if you have a laptop use a laptop cooler to prevent heat damage. I WILL NOT be held responsible for any damages that are caused, just stick with the guide and be careful about what your doing, increase the voltage and MHz little by little, then if it crashes, reboot put it back a little bit lower where it didn't crash, then there you go! It is easy to use as long as you be careful and think about what you are doing, overclocking isn't a game.
Process HackerProcess Hacker is similar to the Windows Task Manager, but it has many more advanced features that can be useful, there is an option that 'may' improve FPS, it mostly works on CPU intensive games, such as TF2, but it again, it may not always work, but it is good to give it a shot, for me it didn't increase my FPS, but it rather made it more stable. Process Hacker Link: http://processhacker.sourceforge.net/ Now, what we are going to do is change the system priority of the game and set it to automatically set it on High priority whenever it boots up. Once you have installed Process Hacker, you may see a lot of letter and such floating around, don't worry about those. You want to open your game, which in this case is TF2, and than you want to head down where it says "Steam.exe", it is highlighted in yellow. Than when you launch TF2, you want to minimize the game, don't close, minimize. And than under Steam, it should display "hl2.exe", right click it, select "Priority", select "High", than go back into "Priority", and select "Save for hl2.exe". Once you do that, you may close out Process Hacker, and check and see if TF2's FPS increased! If it didn't most likely case it just made your FPS more stable, which can still be a good thing as it can make a game feel smoother.
ResolutionIf you lower your resolution you should get a bit of a performance increase. Resolution is basically the scaling of the game's window, and it also effects quality such as, 1080p, 720p, things like that. If you go in TF2's Options and go to the Video tab, you should see a option for resolution, select a lower one. It may increase framerates a lot, it may not at all. If it doesn't, just set it back to the way you had it before, if you do not know what you had it set to before, just select the one that says (Native). If you want even more of a performance boost however, you may need to lower resolution a bit more, but there are other ways of doing this. If you go into Steam, right click Team Fortress 2, select Properties, and select Set Launch Options, you will see a little command bar. What you do, is you put -w WIDTH -h HEIGHT (You put your resolution width and height in the WIDTH and HEIGHT parts). However, if you do not know these slightly more advanced resolution options very well, I wouldn't recommend messing with them or else the screen may look weird and you may require to reset TF2's settings to restore it to default. But I mean, I guess you could look up some things about it, but I still wouldn't mess with it unless you know what you are doing. Unless you just wanna explore it.
Core Unparking (Windows Only)In Windows, there is a feature called Core Parking, which basically sets your CPU cores to a low power mode, decreasing performance and saving power. I guess Microsoft especially now is obsessed over power saving, it is better to have extra performance than power saving when it comes to gaming. But otherwise, there is this program called Disable Core Parking Utility (Ik long name). It unparks your cores, taking them out of low power mode, and basically making them ready for some serious gaming! All you do, is once you open the files, is you click Check Status, and once it is done, which can take up to 5 min, you just click Unpark All, reboot your PC, and done! It is a one and done deal. Quick and easy. Disable Core Parking Utility Download
How to Reset TF2's Settings to DefaultIf one of these settings screwed up your game, you can easily set the game back to default settings to fix the problems.
All you do, is you wanna go to your Steam directory, go to steamapps, common, Team Fortress 2, tf, and delete the cfg folder. Once you do that, you want to open up Steam, Right click Team Fortress 2, select Properties, and insert -autoconfig. Once you do that, go to the Local Files tab, select Verify Integrity of game files, it may take a bit depending on your hard drive speed and such. It should only take 5 min max, but that is rare for it to even take that long. And mind you, this will reset all your game's settings unless you have Steam Cloud Syncronization enabled. However, if you have a config installed, and you DO NOT want it to be reinstalled, you will need to open Steam, right click Team Fortress 2, select properties, select the Updates tab, and disable Steam Cloud Syncronization, or else it will reinstall the config.
Now you have successfully optimized your computer and your graphics for smooth TF2 performance, and any feedback or anything is always appreciated, and if there is something new that comes out to help with performance, please leave a comment about it below and I will look into it and possibly update this guide. Enjoy your better FPS. :)