Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Lag Fix: Stuttering, FPS Drops, Crashing, Black Screen

Last Updated on February 19, 2020

Red Dead Redemption 2 Lag – Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t need any introduction. RDR2 is well known for its amazing storyline and gameplay. PC Gamers can rejoice as the Playstation exclusive is finally making its way to PC and you will be able to download and play it from a few hours from now.

Update: The game is available for preload from the Rockstar Games Launcher.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been developed and published by Rockstar Games. The famous studio is known for its big titles such as Grand Theft Auto (All series), Max Payne, L.A. Noire to name a few. The developer has said that you won’t need a beefy gaming rig to run this title as it has been developed and furnished very well. However, we can never be sure about developers hyping their games since most of the AAA titles have multiple issues on release days.

Click here if you are facing crashing issues in RDR2

I’ve written the best possible fixes and optimizations that you can apply to make your gaming experience better. If for some reason nothing works out for you, I’d recommend you comment on the article with your specs and also wait for the developers to push hotfix update.

Continue reading to find out, how to fix lagging issues in Red Dead Redemption 2 PC.

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Lag Fix

Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 7 – Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD FX-6300
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB
  • HDD Space: 150GB

Recommended Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 10 – April 2018 Update (v1803)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Memory: 12GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
  • HDD Space: 150GB

First look at the System Requirements tells us that this title won’t take a toll on your gaming rigs. Even though the minimum requirements mention that you can play this game on Windows 7, but you shouldn’t do it. Microsoft will stop supporting this older version of its OS coming 2020. The older versions also have compatibility, security, and performance issues. The game also requires 150GB HDD Space. Coming to the Graphics card, you need a GTX 1060 to run this game smoothly.

If your PC configuration falls in line with the recommended specifications then the game should run fine. However, there can be issues at the time of launch and you might have to make a few tweaks to fix it. Those tweaks have been mentioned in this article.

Start with Turning off Volumetric Raymarch Resolution. This for some reason takes a toll on your PC and would give you stuttering problems. After turning this off, my FPS was boosted by up to 20-30.

Change Graphic Card Settings

Below are the settings for AMD and Nvidia graphics card users, apply these settings for the best performance.

For Nvidia Users

  • Open up Nvidia’s Control Panel. Right-click on desktop > click Nvidia control panel
  • Click Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings
  • Find “Red Dead Redemption 2”, you can manually add the game if it’s not in the list
  • Now, make the following changes:

Monitor Tech: G-Sync (If available)
Maximum Pre-rendered frames: 2
Threaded optimization: On
Power Management: Prefer Maximum Performance
Texture Filtering – Quality:  Performance

For AMD Users

  • Anti-Aliasing Mode: Use Application settings
  • Anti-aliasing Method: Multisampling
  • Morphological Filtering: Off
  • Anisotropic Filtering Mode: Use application settings
  • Texture Filtering Quality: Performance
  • Surface Format Optimization: On
  • Wait for V-sync: Off
  • OpenGL Triple Buffering: Off
  • Shader Cache: AMD optimized
  • Tesselation Mode: Override application settings
  • Maximum Tesselation Level: Off
  • GPU Workload: Graphics
  • Chill: Off
  • Frame Rate Target Control: Disabled

These settings should be good enough for you. Try tweaking a bit with the priority of the application, this also tends to give a little FPS boost.

Update Device Drivers

Whenever a new game makes it’s arrival, especially when it’s a AAA title, Nvidia is known for pushing their optimized updates for the best performance with their graphic cards. I am not sure about AMD because I’ve never used an AMD card. Below are the links for downloading the latest drivers.

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC 2019 Stuttering Fix

Another thing to check is, open up the task manager and check your memory and disk usage. Close all applications (non-windows) that are eating your memory and using disk drive. If you are still stuttering with everything looking fine then you should probably wait for the hotfix update, which should be pushed out shortly.

These problems are mostly caused due to high disk usage and can be fixed immediately by moving the game to SSD or closing apps that are using “disk”.

Disable Full-Screen Optimization & High DPI in Windows 10

Full-screen optimization and DPI settings come pre-configured with Windows 10. These are known for causing trouble with games leading to several issues. To disable:

  • Locate the game installation
  • Find the .exe file of the game
  • Right-click > Properties > Compatibility Tab
  • Tick the “Disable Full-Screen Optimizations” tab
  • Now, click the “Change high DPI settings” button
  • Tick “Override high DPI scaling behavior” and select “Application” from the drop-down menu
  • Save Settings.
Example of BF5.

Tone Down Game Settings

The general rule of thumb for every game is if you are lagging it is always recommended to tone down the settings. Play around a little bit with the settings, turn down shadows and textures, this should help.

Update: I have published my optimal settings guide for Red Dead Redemption 2. Click here to view it.

I will be posting my exact settings once the game is unlocked on November 5, 2019.

Turn off Game Mode

Windows says that the Game mode helps in optimizing all-around windows processes, windows updates and other windows related stuff while running games if you have the game mode enabled. But this isn’t factually true, the game bar has been known for causing issues related to FPS. So it’s better to turn it off if you are not using it.

  • Click Start > Settings > Gaming
  • On the Game Bar, set “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar” to off.
  • Now head to the Captures tab set the “Record the background while I’m playing a game” to Off.
  • Lastly, click on the Game Mode tab, and turn it off.

P.S. Nvidia’s Shadowplay is better for capturing game clips.

Update Windows

The recent couple updates were weird and broke a lot of games, to fix those issues, Windows has already pushed out hotfixes and you can download them right away. If you are running an older version of Windows, I’d recommend you to download the updated version.

There was also an update that caused windows to use up a lot of RAM for its search bar’s function called Cortana. This also has been fixed, you just have to update.

Disable Discord in-game overlay

If you are using Discord like me, then I’d recommend you to change a few things. One such thing is, discord overlay, it’s not really something you need at all times. I use a two-monitor setup, so the overlay is useless for me. It is known for causing FPS related issues.

Disable Hardware Acceleration in Discord

  • Open Discord
  • Click on User Settings > Appearance
  • Click on the Hardware Acceleration radio, this will turn it off.

Disable Discord in-game Overlay

  • Open Discord
  • Go to Overlay under App Settings
  • Click on the radio next to “Enable in-game overlay”, this will turn it off.

Increase Game Priority

This is an old-school method of boosting FPS in certain games, this only affects the CPU relying Games.

  • Press CTLR + Shift + ESC to open task manager
  • Find Red Dead Redemption 2 and right-click > go to details
  • Now right-click on the process’s .exe file and set priority to “high”.

This will prioritize your game over other windows applications and provide you with a little boost.

RDR2 Crashing

For me the culprit was my overclocked GPU, I went ahead and disabled MSI Afterburner, changed all the settings to stock and my game went running smoothly.

If you are still lagging then I’ll advise you to check Task Manager for any applications that might be conflicting with the game. You can also turn off your antivirus while playing the game. There can be multiple reasons why the game might be lagging for you, after applying all the optimizations given above, the performance should be better.

Fix Freezing Issues in Game

To Fix Freezing in Red Dead Redemption 2: You can start off with limiting CPU usage of the game. This can be done using a software called Process Lasso. After limiting the CPU usage my freezing issue was gone. After that proceed with switching to DX12.

Switch to DirectX 12

The issue is probably caused due to Vulkan API acting weird. This should be fixed within a few coming updates. To do it:

  • Open Settings Menu
  • Head to the Graphics Page > Advanced Settings
  • Locate “Graphics API” and change it to DirectX/Vulkan depending on your hardware.

Change Graphics Settings

I have posted the best settings for the game already which work best on PCs running on i3 8100, i5 8600, i7 8700 with Msi GTX 1060, RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Super and 2080 Ti. Check them here.

Fix Unable to Change Resolution

Fixing this problem is really easy and has to do something with the DirectX API. Switching the DirectX API fixes the issue.

  • Open Settings Menu
  • Head to the Graphics Page > Advanced Settings
  • Locate “Graphics API” and change it to DirectX/Vulkan depending on your hardware.

I have already published an article on the best settings for Red Dead Redemption 2. After taking care of the API settings, change Anisotropic Filtering to 2 and turn off Unlocked Volumetric Raymarch Resolution. This will improve your gaming performance a lot, especially for low-end PCs.

Fix RDR2 High CPU Usage – 100%

While playing the mission I noticed that I was stuttering a lot. I went ahead and opened the task manager and found out that my CPU usage was 100% whereas the GPU usage was only 52%.

There are multiple sites and forums where this issue has been reported but no one has actually posted any working fix yet. Let’s find out if there is any way to fix this.

I am not sure what the culprit is, after tweaking around a bit. I found a workaround for this. What you can do is, change Read Dead Redemption 2 to run in Windowed mode. This actually increased my GPU usage and the CPU usage dropped. After this, all the stuttering stopped.

Do comment below if these helped you out. Make sure any hardware tinkering software is turned off while you are trying to play the game.

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Written by Vikas

Hey, I am Vikas. I've had a longstanding passion for computing and gaming for over a decade now. With a computer science degree under my belt sparking my initial interest in the industry from a young age, you'll often find me immersed for hours in the latest PC titles, especially enjoying multiplayer online games, while also enjoying sharing my insights and reviews. My work has been featured on IGN, Kotaku, MSN and Forbes to name a few. In my spare time, I read books and play with my cats. You can read more about me here. My favorite games are Destiny 2, Warframe, COD Cold War, and Minecraft.

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1 thought on “Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Lag Fix: Stuttering, FPS Drops, Crashing, Black Screen”

  1. thank u for the tips… but i have still fps problems (arround 30 fps), even with low settings… with high settings arround 25…

    Mainboard ASRock Z370 Pro4

    Prozessor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8700K CPU @ 3.70GHz, 3696 MHz

    Grafic NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, 8GB

    Memory 16GB

    PLEASE, help me… really can´t understand that (sry for my english)


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