Best Counter-Strike 2 graphics settings for max FPS & visibility in CS2

Best Counter-Strike 2 graphics settings for max FPS & visibility in CS2
Images via Valve

Written by 

Dave McAdam


12th Oct 2023 17:44

Having the best graphics settings for Counter-Strike 2 dialled in is incredibly important for maximising your FPS, improving visibility, and increasing your chances of success. Counter-Strike 2 is a highly competitive game where every tiny detail matters and even the slightest change can be the difference between winning and losing.

The graphics settings play a huge role in the game beyond just how it looks, so let's dive into which settings you might want to change to improve performance. Here are the best Counter-Strike 2 graphics settings for maximum FPS and improved visibility.

Best video settings for Counter-Strike 2

The graphics settings menu in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

Here are our recommendations for how you set up Counter-Strike 2 for maximum frame rate and ultimately a better chance at winning. Bear in mind that much of this is based on opinion, and some of these options are more impactful than others.

We will go over these settings and why it is important to set them a certain way, but first here are our recommended CS2 graphics settings:

Settings What to choose
Boost Player Contrast Enabled
Wait for Vertical Sync Disabled
Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode None (2x MSAA if desired)
Global Shadow Quality Low (High if desired)
Model/Texture Detail High
Texture Filtering Mode Trilinear
Shader Detail Low
Particle Detail Low
Ambient Occlusion Disabled
High Dynamic Range Quality
FidelityFX Super Resolution Disabled
Nvidia Reflex Low Latency Disabled

As you can see, for the most part, we want to turn settings down and disable any intensive processes that may reduce our performance. Some settings are worth having on, such as Boost Player Contrast and High Dynamic Range, as they can help with visibility.

While having it switched off does improve performance, many players do use some anti-aliasing as the visual improvement it gives outweighs the performance lost. If you find the game has a lot of jagged lines and sharp edges that are distracting, maybe turn on 2x MSAA to deal with it.

We've also opted to raise the Model / Texture detail to High. In conjunction with the boosted player contrast, this will ultimately make enemy player models more visible at long distances. It might sacrifice FPS a tad, but it's worth it for the visibility gains it provides.

Finally, a setting that has pros and cons to it is Global Shadow Quality. On one hand, reducing the shadow quality improves performance, and improves visibility in darker areas.

On the other hand, seeing their shadows can be useful for spotting enemies around corners, which is why some pros like to turn this setting up. For the most part, we recommend keeping the shadows on low, but you might want to try turning it up to high to try it out.

Best CS2 resolution settings for maximum visibility

The resolution settings menu in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

When it comes to resolution settings in Counter-Strike 2, you generally just want to stick with the resolution and refresh rate of the monitor you are using. That said, many top players tweak these settings in some interesting ways.

If you have ever watched pros play CS, you might have noticed their footage looks a bit stretched. This is because many play the game on 16:9 ratio screens, but use the 4:3 aspect ratio. What this does is stretch the image laterally, making everything appear slightly wider than it should.

The downside of this is that you lose a bit of peripheral vision, but the upside of increasing the size of items on your screen means your opponents will be wider, easier to see, and therefore easier to shoot.

A Counter-Strike 2 map with light reflections in the wet floor
Click to enlarge

We have an in-depth guide on how to get stretched resolution in CS2 that explains more, but suffice it to say that you can set your aspect ratio to 4:3 and get a bit of an advantage.

The only other crucial setting here that you need to be aware of is Display Mode. Many of us have multiple displays, making Borderless Windowed a great option for swapping back and forth between screens.

However, using any setting other than Fullscreen causes a small amount of input delay. If you are not using Fullscreen, change to this setting and you should find a small but instant boost to your latency.

That will do it for our Counter-Strike 2 graphics settings. For more on the game, head to our Counter-Strike homepage for guides like the best CS2 console commands or if you can still play CS:GO after Counter-Strike 2's launch.

Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.

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