Fortnite Performance Mode Explained: Should You Use It?

Fortnite Performance Mode Featured

Fortnite’s performance mode was introduced to all PC players in early 2021. The rendering setting is targeted at low-end gaming PCs that are experiencing dropped frames or low FPS. In this Fortnite performance mode settings guide we provide a detailed rundown of how to use performance mode to get the most out of your gaming PC experience.

Table of Contents

What is Fortnite performance mode?

First off, performance mode is an advanced graphics setting that improves FPS by lowering the rendered visual quality of the game through a preset combination of settings. This reduces the load on your CPU and GPU to help Fortnite run smoother with big increases in FPS.

Gamers enabling Fortnite’s performance mode settings on a low-end gaming PC that meets Epic’s minimum requirements should be able to run the game at 150+ FPS. Fortnite performs well on console hardware already, which explains why this setting is just available to PC users.

In our tests, we improved FPS by upwards of 38% when enabling performance mode versus the low-end settings we cover within our best Fortnite graphics settings guide.

Should you use performance mode?

If you’re getting 60 FPS or below in Fortnite then it’s a must to enable performance mode for competitive gameplay. While mid-range and higher gaming PCs are capable of running competitively-high FPS in Fortnite with detailed graphics, there’s still a strong case to be made for keeping performance mode on.

But consider that enabling performance mode will sacrifice visual quality and make the game look more like the mobile version. Goodbye grass detail (and much more), hello more pixelated scenery.

As you can see below, though, the detail and graphics quality of the scene don’t degrade to the point of being unbearable with performance mode on.

Side by side comparison with Fortnite performance mode on and off
The visual differences with performance mode on or off can be most easily seen on surfaces and objects, such as the scene pictured here where the grass is rendered as a flat surface with no detail with performance mode on (right). Individual blades of grass can be seen with performance mode off (left). Source: Setup.gg

Many Fortnite players, including most professionals, rightly accept this tradeoff in visual detail for the competitive performance advantage that higher FPS grants. It’s better to click heads fast than to be enamored by how detailed the blades of grass are.

How performance mode affects FPS

We prefer not to take game developer statements about FPS improvements at face value. It’s best to test gaming settings in-house to understand the practical performance improvements and that’s exactly what we did. Here are the FPS results with performance mode turned off and with performance mode turned on.

Settings FPS
Performance mode off (low settings with DirectX 12) 290 to 330+
Performance mode 340 to 400+

At the highest end, our tests improved FPS by 38%. This is actually on the lower end of results that have been reported by others. It’s not uncommon for FPS to roughly double on low-end gaming PCs.

Our results are based on battle royale gameplay using a desktop gaming PC with an Intel Core i7-12700KF CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070ti GPU, and 32GB of RAM. With performance mode off and DirectX 12 selected as the rendering mode, we ran Fortnite at our suggested low settings configuration detailed in our best Fortnite settings guide.

Do Fortnite pros use performance mode?

Pro Fortnite players and streamers frequently enable performance mode. In fact, we analyzed pro Fortnite settings and found that 69% of professional players and streamers enable performance mode. 18% and 13% of Fortnite players we track set their rendering mode to DirectX 11 and DirectX 12, respectively.

Fortnite pros overwhelmingly enable performance mode to prioritize FPS performance over visuals for a competitive advantage, even when their gaming rigs are already capable of 200+ FPS with better visual detail and performance mode off.

Simply, there is a competitive edge to pushing the FPS envelope beyond 200 FPS, and performance mode helps achieve this outcome.

Over time, we anticipate Fortnite players will continue to use performance mode with generational advances for CPUs and GPUs, in addition to fewer players using DirectX 11, in favor of DirectX 12.

How to turn on performance mode in Fortnite

Fortnite Performance Mode Menu Setting
Source: Setup.gg

Fortnite’s performance mode is available to all PC users that meet the minimum requirements to run the game. Learning how to turn on performance mode in Fortnite is simple.

You can turn on and turn off Fortnite performance mode by navigating to the video settings menu and visiting the Advanced Graphics section.

Once there, you can adjust the Rendering Mode to Performance. You will then need to restart Fortnite for the setting to stick. Once booting Fortnite back up you’ll notice that some settings are no longer available to customize, such as raytracing and other graphics settings.

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