RUST FPS Guide 2020, Improve Your FPS

A RUST FPS Guide for Improving Game Performance

In this RUST FPS guide, we attempt to demystify the complex world that surrounds system performance, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new player. For gamers, having to deal with slowness, stuttering, and hanging systems at critical moments is the worst. It’s super frustrating to lose your time and efforts to lag in any game. This is especially true in RUST, where so much can be on the line when you step out of your base. So what can you do to improve your RUST game performance?

We’ve put together this RUST FPS guide to address this very issue, which is filled with tips, tricks, and a deep dive into all of the client settings that can help you improve and maximize your RUST gameplay. However, before you can strap in and begin playing RUST, as it is intended, your system must meet the minimum system specification requirements.

The first step to take when troubleshooting your RUST FPS is to check your system against the required system specifications.

RUST’s Required System Specifications

Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System
  • 64-bit processor and operating system, starting with Windows 8.1
  • 3 GHz processor
  • 10 GB of Ram
  • Older graphics cards can run RUST, but most pre-2014 cards will struggle
  • (Developers recommend GTX 670 2GB or AMD R9 280 at a minimum)
  • DirectX version 11
  • 20 GB of hard drive space
  • 64-bit processor and operating system, starting with Windows 10
  • 3 / 4+ GHz processor
  • (Developers recommend the i7-4960k or AMD Ryzen 5 1600)
  • 16 GB of Ram
  • Most Graphics card released post-2014 will do
  • (Developers recommend GTX 980 or AMD R9 Fury as baseline)
  • DirectX Version 12
  • 20 GB of hard drive space, on SSD
At this level, it’s recommended you turn most features down quite low to maintain a competitive FPS rate. Some settings can increase without affecting FPS too highly can be turned up. Still, there is undoubtedly going to be some limitations, continue reading to see which ones will have the most significant impact on your system.At this point, you’ll be able to run RUST with most settings around medium to high. But if you want to maintain a consistent framerate of at least 60 FPS (or higher depending on your monitor’s refresh rate), you will have to tweak the settings for yourself.

Getting Started With Increasing Your RUST FPS

Shut Down Unnecessary Competing Software

  • Check the Windows start bar and closeout non-essential programs competing with Rust.exe
  • Check the Windows Task Manager and identify any processes utilizing a high percentage of your CPU, Memory, or Network that may be negatively impacting your in-game FPS.
  • Focus on shutting down programs such as game launchers (Not the one running Rust), internet browsers, etc. Any applications that take up a large part of your CPU are fair game.
  • Disable Windows startup programs that do not need to be running in the background. Press Windows + R buttons, then type in msconfig and select the “Startup” tab to configure.
  • Disable redundant anti-virus programs, such as Windows Defender, Norton, McAfee. You do not need to have multiple anti-virus and malware protection programs running simultaneously.
  • Don’t randomly shut down essential Microsoft Windows services, be sure of what you’re shutting down before doing so.

Ensure Your Computer Hardware is Running Optimally

  • If you haven’t done it in a while, safely remove any dust that may be blocking fans, both on the computer case fans, in-take covers, CPU and GPU fans, and heat sinks, along with the power supply fan. When these systems clog up and slow down, they begin to degrade and so does the overall system.
  • Be cautious and avoid installing third-party software that promises improved FPS. These programs can be very dangerous, and manually modifying your game settings will be superior to added additional bloat to your computer.
  • Update your Windows to the latest and greatest version. This can take a lot of time, especially if you don’t regularly update your system, but is highly advised.
  • Check that your hardware drivers are up to date, through the manufacturer, especially your video card. Often packaged with graphics drivers are visual control tools, such as the Nvidia Control Panel. Take time to review the control panel settings. Each program will be different, but a useful parameter to enable is the “threading optimization” setting. Threading optimization helps your applications take advantage of multi-threaded processors.
  • Check your hard drive’s current space allocation, as the hard drives fill up they tend to degrade, especially if there are large data files being written and read. Ensure you have 10-15% of space on both your operating system and game drives.

Windows Settings: Optimize Your Configuration

  • Monitor your Window’s Power Setting. There are three settings, “Power Saver”, “Balanced”, and “High Performance” modes. You might think that setting the system to “High Performance” may make a substantial impact but this often isn’t the case. Setting to “High Performance” can cause your system’s CPU to be pegged even during idle time. Press the Windows + I buttons on your keyboard to open the Windows Settings overview and then navigate into the Power Options area to configure.
  • Disabling the Windows 10’s Gaming Bar, an unnecessary feature that will run in the background by default. Press the Windows + I buttons on your keyboard to open the Windows Settings overview and then navigate into the Game Bar section to disable.
  • Set your Windows resolution to the accompanying monitor’s native resolution. This will make sure you’re not bottlenecked at a higher and unsupported resolution, causing the GPU to work harder.

Optimizing and Overclocking CPU and GPU Hardware

Overclocking hardware can improve the overall performance of your system and increase RUST’s FPS, but it carries a risk of damaging your hardware, for both the short and long term. It’s also important to understand what hardware bottlenecks exist before you begin down this solution path.

This is not an area to mess with without having a solid understanding of what you’re doing. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s overclocking guidelines and requirements.

If you’re struggling to reach the recommended minimum of 60 FPS, the honest but unrealistic response is to upgrade your hardware. There will always be a point of diminishing returns, in which your next path is the hardware upgrade path. While this is obviously very effective and it carries a hard cost.

Selecting Server Types, Maps, Mods, and More

If upgrading hardware isn’t a viable option, you might consider carefully the servers you wish to play on.

  • Look to see if there is a “Barren” server that fits your interests. Barren servers are a special type of map that culls and simplifies most grass, shrubs, trees, rocks, and other topologies, significantly reducing the stress on a system. They require less RAM compared to standard and custom maps.
  • Look for un-modded servers, also referred to as vanilla servers, with smaller map sizes and lower populations. The fewer players and overall entity count can help reduce the stress on your system as well.
  • If your FPS is struggling, avoid custom maps where possible. Many custom maps haven’t been optimized and can have memory leaks that severely tank your system.

RUST Graphics Quality Settings

Graphics quality, by and large, refers to the various levels of texture and shadow detail in RUST’s game world. How well drawn the walls, and trees appear upon close inspection. There is a lot you can do to improve performance without forfeiting visual quality. So spare your wallet and let’s have a good look at your settings.

We’ll highlight the big offenders of FPS drops while giving you an idea of what each setting does for you as a player. Below, there will be a list of recommendations given your rough requirements. Keep in mind that each computer is different, and you may have to tailor some specific settings to your needs.

Enable the In-Game Performance Indicator

It’s a good idea to have your performance indicator enabled when tweaking your settings and trying to gauge FPS improvements and drops. This can quickly be done once you’ve loaded into RUST by simply press the F1 button and typing in perf 1 – once entered, you will now see the current FPS on the bottom left of the screen.

There are a few additional values you can add using the perf command:

  • perf 2 – Adds latency
  • perf 3 – Adds RAM usage
  • perf 4 – Adds garbage collection
  • perf 5 – Adds ping
  • perf 6 – Adds background tasks

To gauge your FPS levels accurately, make sure to include a bit of walking around, particularly near player built structures. Allow the game some time to load in any textures, skins, and entities.

Note that the system used to determine FPS rates below, utilized a Windows 10 / Ryzen 7 / GTX 1080 build running at 1080p, aiming to maintain 60 FPS.

If your system meets the developer’s recommended requirements, as our rig did, you are free to choose where you land in the graphics settings. Some people believe there are advantages to playing with specific settings disabled or lowered.

When aiming for better FPS to match a higher-end monitor’s refresh rate, or merely struggling to meet the minimum recommended of 60hz, you may need to make some visual sacrifices.

Settings with the Highest-Impact on Performance

  • Graphics Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Shader Level
  • Draw Distance
  • Anisotropic Filtering
  • Max Tree Meshes
  • Anti-aliasing
  • Depth of Field
  • Max Gibs
  • Motion Blur

These settings have a clear and definitive impact on FPS settings regardless of your rig. They are the first settings we recommended reducing if you’re falling substantially short of ideal FPS limits. The settings listed below as Moderate or Low might only contribute to a single FPS gain or drop depending on your system. As such, they are considered personal preference settings. If you need to eke out a few more frames to be happy, you can test them yourself to see if they negatively impact your gameplay. Otherwise, most rigs will run them just fine.

Let’s dive into the various settings!

Graphics Quality (Variable Impact)

Despite its name, this setting refers primarily to the texture quality of objects within the game world. Any geometry that is not a part of the base mesh, such as distant structures and trees, will lose quality, grass, player models, and built structures. The setting is rated 0-6.

  • 0-2 textures are blocky and pixelated with no bump or specular mapping (null impact)
  • 3-4 surfaces are in higher definition with more shadows coming into play (Low Impact)
  • 5-6 textures are well defined, at a distance and close up with higher-definition on bump and specular mapping (High Impact)

Systems that meet the recommended requirements are mostly free to play with this setting where they want it. However, lower-end systems, particularly those low in RAM, benefit significantly from reducing the texture quality.

Shadow Quality (High Impact)

Shadow quality affects the diffusion of shadows cast. Turning the setting up will blur the edges of shadows, simulating a more realistic lighting effect.

While pleasant, there is a substantial impact on FPS. However, it is mostly impacted by whether it is on or not at all.

At setting 0, there will be an improvement in FPS, but anywhere between 1-3 has virtually the same impact. If your system is struggling, turn it off. If not, simply choose how blurry you like your shadows.

Shadow Cascades (Moderate Impact)

Shadow Cascades determines how many times light splits between a source and a player, affecting the lighting of intermediary objects. Reduce the number of cascades, and light will shine brighter through trees, and there will be fewer overlapping shadows.

If you have shadow details and shadow lights set to high, this setting doesn’t have a significant impact. Still, lower-end CPU’s can benefit from reducing it alongside related settings.

It does negatively affect the visuals of RUST, particularly in and around wooded areas. Players looking for a slight visual advantage may play with this turned off.

Max Shadow Lights (Moderate Impact)

Max shadow lights control how any sources of light may affect an object and the shadows they cast. This setting at 0 will consider the sun and moon as the only sources of light that can create shadows. Its impact is primarily determined by whether it is on or off. At 0, there is no performance loss, with negligible difference between 1 and 3. Turn it off to improve FPS, beyond that, its personal preference.

Water Quality (Moderate Impact)

This setting affects the texture maps on the water. When set to zero, the sea and rivers will lose frothing and foaming textures, instead of dull blue waves. Settings 1 and 2 improve the foaming aspect of rushes and optical surface tension.

While turning the water quality down can improve FPS by a few frames, its impact is primarily determined by how close to the sea you play. Living on the shoreline, you will see a consistent FPS increase at the cost of the wave’s details. Live inland, and you’ll never notice either way.

Water Reflections (Low Impact)

Much like the water quality, the effect of turning on or off the water’s ability to reflect the surrounding geometry is negligible and varies depending on playstyle.

World Reflections (Low Impact)

The world reflection setting permits player structures and points of interest materials to reflect the world’s geometry if they are capable. Glass and buffed metal, for example. Given the low-end nature of the reflection map, this has a negligible effect on FPS. But, it may find some effect on more massive bases that use many glass windows.

Shader Level (Low-High Impact)

The shader level affects the texture detail of geometry attached to the maps generated mesh. This level includes the ground, rocks, and any immovable objects. Reducing this setting can have a positive effect on your FPS, at the expense of visually appealing scenery. If there are any stats worth leaving high, despite FPS drop, the shader level one of them

It is rated 0-600 but has definitive points of effect.

  • 100 textures are low resolution, to a point where it can negatively affect gameplay (Null Impact)
  • 100- 200 Textures are more recognizable for what surfaces they represent (Low Impact)
  • 200-300 Improved textures and some light shading (Low Impact)
  • 300-500 Higher detail and visually distinct surfaces (Moderate Impact)
  • 500-600 Even higher resolution with detailed bump maps to give flat geometry the appearance of height and shadow. (High Impact)

Setting the textures to incredibly low will improve game performance for lower-end systems. Anything within the developer’s recommended range may play with the setting wherever they prefer.

Draw Distance (High Impact)

This setting determines how far away objects must be before they render. The further down this setting is scaled, the closer objects must before they will appear. While this can impact game immersion, the developers have taken measures to assure that it doesn’t affect gameplay. It will not affect player render distance, and won’t remove objects within the player render-distance. It does, however, reduce the graphical quality of objects within that distance.

Shadow Distance (Moderate Impact)

Much like the draw distance, this setting determines the range at which objects will cast and receive detailed shadows. The close range shadows still render even when set quite low, and thus it has minimum impact on gameplay. A natural choice to turn down. Some players will turn this down deliberately to better see players in the distance.

Anisotropic Filtering (High Impact)

Anisotropic filtering is a setting which bends texture maps at a distance to make them appear more detailed and less blurred or stretched. This setting is a graphical quality of life setting, which players can turn down without a substantial impact on gameplay. However, it is a system-intensive setting, and we recommend it as one of the first to go when trying to save FPS.

Parallax Mapping (Moderate Impact)

Adds floating detail maps to the ground level shaders, giving the illusion of depth and detail. While the setting is beautiful to look at, it requires a good deal of rendering power. As it has no impact on gameplay, this is another easy one to toss, given its demands on your system.

As a side note, even on high PCs, parallax mapping is sometimes misaligned, leading to an odd graphical effect. When affected, the player will see a ‘seam’ in the earth textures that appears to follow them around. Reduce the parallax setting to one, or off to get rid of this graphical bug.

Grass Displacement (Low Impact)

This setting determines whether or not players affect grass and brush surroundings. When it’s on, other players will step down on the grass, and when looking at their own feet, the player sees a similar effect.

While this setting has a shallow impact, it has an insubstantial effect on the game graphically, unless you spend a lot of time looking at your feet.

RUST Mesh Quality Settings

Mesh quality refers to the detail in the 3d models, which make up the Rust world. Reducing any of these settings will scale back the poly-count of surfaces, creating slightly more jagged edges.

Particle Quality (Moderate – Variable)

This setting affects the detail on particle effects such as smoke, fire, sparks, and electrical discharge. The impact on your system is mostly dependent on the frequency of these effects. Oil rig, burning helicopters, and during raids are times when particle effects will come into play. There is little harm in turning them down, and they save your FPS during the moments when they matter most.

Object Quality (Moderate Impact)

Object Quality controls the detail of geometry on objects attached to the world mesh, such as shrubs, small trees, and non-player buildings. It can be reduced with a substantial impact on gameplay.

Tree Quality (Moderate – Variable Impact)

What it says on the box. Tree Quality reduces the overall polygon count in the meshes of trees. And all tree-related objects, such as cacti and driftwood. Reducing the quality can have a substantial impact when playing near forested areas, and if your other settings affecting trees are set quite high.

Max Tree Meshes (High Impact)

Determines how many separate meshes each tree can utilize within the vicinity of the player. While reducing this setting, each tree will lose facets until nearby trees look like a cartoon picture of a tree. An unfortunate environment that massively affects immersion and gameplay, but has such a significant impact on FPS. Something a player will have to tweak to their preferences.

Terrain Quality (Low Impact)

It affects the quality of the ground mesh, mostly unnoticeable, but such low impact that it barely makes a difference in where it’s set.

Grass Quality (Low Impact)

Grass Quality controls the level of mesh detail of grass. Barely noticeable turned up or down. This setting can is natural to turn off for the little improvement it might provide.

Decor Quality (Low-Null Impact)

This setting affects small foliage, such as flowers. It has little to no impact on performance and can be turned off without consequence.

RUST Image Effects Settings

Image effects are applied post-render and often have little bearing on overall performance. A few of the settings have a substantial impact, and it’s worth going through them to make sure there isn’t one overly affecting your system.

Anti-aliasing (Moderate Impact)

Softens the jagged edges of textures and meshes by lightly blurring the separately rendered elements. Helps with immersion and improving overall graphics experience. But can harm FPS.

Depth of Field (High Impact)

Simulates the photographic effect of depth by blurring objects that aren’t in the center focus of the player’s camera. Adds some cinematic flair. Most people turn this setting off regardless, but it does have a surprisingly substantial effect on FPS.

Ambient Occlusion (Moderate Impact)

Darkens shadows in places where geometry meets. Adds a level of detail which some players may value, but an easy one to turn off and save yourself a few FPS.

High-Quality Bloom (Low – Null Impact)

This setting affects the glow around the edges of lights and their lens-flare simulation effects. Effects might change your system slightly in the few environments that have many embedded light-sources, such as outpost, oil rig, giant excavator.

Lens Dirt (Null Impact)

Enabling this setting adds a dirt effect to the player screen. It has little to no impact on FPS, but most people turn it off anyway to avoid the distraction. It does not affect other display effects such as fog from cold, or blood from damage.

Motion Blur (Moderate Impact)

This setting blurs the image on screen corresponding with player movement. While it can produce an overall pleasant effect, it does require a fair amount of resources for the visual quality of life change, and its best to turn it off.

Sun Shafts (Low Impact)

Adds another ray of light to the sun’s lens flare effect. It has such a small impact on the graphic quality of the game it should be off under any circumstances.

Sharpen (No Impact)

Undoes the work of anti-aliasing by sharpening the edges using post rendering effects. As such, it doesn’t cost any FPS, but players can produce the same effect by reducing your anti-aliasing, which may, in turn, improve your FPS.

Vignetting (No Impact)

As a pure overlay effect, vignetting has no impact on your FPS. This setting adds a bit of cinematic flair by slightly darkening the corners and edges of the screen, entirely up to player preference.

RUST Options Settings

Max-Gibs (High Impact)

This setting is not in the standard graphics controls but can significantly impact your FPS. Gibs are the particle products of structural damage. If you break a wall or floor with high gibs, they will shatter into many small pieces. With low gibs, walls and foundations will break down into 2 or 3 parts. When there is considerable destruction, such as during raids, your gib count will come into effect.

We recommend a substantial reduction depending on your rigs capability so that you don’t lose FPS during raid encounters.

RUST Experimental Settings

Occlusion Culling (Variable Impact

It helps your system choose what to render based on your line of sight. Makes very little difference to overall performance, and can improve overall FPS performance. However, on lower-end systems, it might cause stuttering as objects are loaded and unloaded rapidly.

If you’re not getting stuttering as you turn your camera, there is no need to disable this function.

Grass Shadows (Moderate Impact)

This setting causes grass and shrubbery on the ground to cast shadows. Its impact is dependent on a few other parameters, such as to render, draw, and shadow distance. Assuming you have these additional features at a maximum, you can lose up to 3-4 FPS. An easy one to turn off without much visual impact.

Contact Shadows (Low impact)

When enabled, this setting adds extra shadow maps to models, players, and areas otherwise missed by default shadow maps. With little effect on both the visuals and FPS, you may as well leave this on.

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About Digital Ghost

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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