Dropped Frames, CPU/GPU Issues, and Improving Stream Quality

First, check out this video that breaks down this topic in 3 parts:

Before we discuss fixes, there are the 3 types of frame issues and different causes for each:

  1. Lagged frames are caused by a compositor overload, and common with high GPU usage.
  2. Skipped frames occur when the encoder is overloaded, often with high CPU usage.
  3. Dropped frames occur when network issues exist and could be caused by servers or equipment.

Here is a breakdown of how to improve stream quality, identify CPU/GPU issues, and troubleshoot dropped frames:

To fix lagged frames:

  1. Try lowering the quality of the game so Streamlabs Desktop has some breathing room to compose the frames of the encoder. You can also limit the FPS or use V-sync.
  2. Lock your settings in your game to 120FPS and 120Hz, as this nicely divides for 60FPS and 30FPS streaming.


To fix skipped frames:

  1. Check for high CPU usage. If you’re using software x264 encoding, consider using a faster preset or start using hardware encoding (NVENC/AMD) and this will be less taxing on your CPU to encode the stream.


Potential solutions for dropped frames and stream disconnects:

First and foremost, when it comes to dropped frames or stream disconnects you must understand that this is almost always a network issue. Sometimes the issue cannot be resolved without contacting your ISP (internet service provider, IE: Xfinity, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to let them know that you are experiencing issues with your connection. However, there are a few fixes that you can try to do. We would recommend starting with the following to rule out that it doesn't have anything to do with your local network.

  1. Try manually connecting to the closest or second closest streaming server on the streaming platform you are using, do not use Auto in Settings > Stream.
  2. Restart your network gear, like your modem, router, or switches, and see if that helps
  3. Check that the video and audio bitrate are not exceeding your internet upload speed
  4. Disabling your computer's LAN adapters and re-enabling them.
  • Note: Speed tests are a snapshot of your speeds. A speed test might say you have 5mbps upload, but this does not mean it is stable to upload at 5mbps. Also, these speed tests do not show that you could be experiencing other network related issues such as packet loss or demonstrate stability of your connection overall.

Another potential solution for your issue is reinstalling your network drivers for your computer by going to your motherboard/laptop manufacturers website and downloading them from there.

It could also be a local issue with your network. Open the outbound port 1935 for TCP. We recommend reaching out to your ISP or your router provider for assistance.

If reinstalling your network drivers and opening the port does not fix your dropped frames issue then you would need to call your ISP and ask them for assistance and let them know you're experiencing connection issues/packet loss.

For further troubleshooting, please see this post from OBSProject's Github.

If none of these fixes work, your dropped frames or stream disconnects are certainly due to an internet service provider issue. 

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