The video settings and launch options of Dota 2 can be optimized to increase your FPS and improve your gameplay.
On the web, you can find several configuration files to replace yours and boost the fps. Honestly, I don’t like this approach because I want to know exactly what I am changing, so I decided to review all the options in this article.
These adjustments are useful if you are struggling to reach an acceptable amount of fps as you are using a low-spec PC, but also if you have a monitor with a high refresh-rate as you bought it to gain an edge in a competitive game such as Dota 2.
Launch Dota 2, click the Settings icon on the top left, and open the Video tab. I will show you how to set up each option for maximum performance.
Use my monitor’s current resolution: off.
I suggest using the advanced settings, but in some cases this option is helpful to solve bugs.
For example, I am currently using a 34 inches ultrawide monitor: the game doesn’t offer a 21:9 aspect ratio in the advanced settings, and my display resolution isn’t listed either.
In order to play Dota 2 with my monitor, I must select “Use my monitor’s current resolution” and also indicate my exact resolution (2560x1080) in the launch options with the following command: -w 2560 -h 1080.
Note: I didn’t have this issue in the past as my monitor resolution appeared correctly under “Size”.
Use advanced settings: on.
Aspect Ratio: use your native one.
It depends on your display, but nowadays the great majority of the monitors have a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Size: use your native resolution.
Using your native resolution is desirable for a better view, but if you badly need a performance boost, decreasing the resolution will greatly improve your fps. 720p is usually a solid compromise between quality and performance.
Display Mode: Full Screen.
Full Screen is the best choice performance-wise, but you might prefer Borderless Window if you have a multi-monitor setup and you wish to move quickly on another display.
Note: you can switch from Full Screen to Borderless Window by pressing Alt+Enter on the keyboard.
Rendering API: DX11.
The available options are DX9, DX11, Vulkan, and OpenGL.
DX11 provides the best performance on most modern systems, but I recommend trying also DX9 on yours as the results may be different.
Vulkan is only slightly behind DX11. I believe this API might become the superior choice in the future as Valve drastically improved it in the past years.
OpenGL is the worst option. Do not use it.
Use basic settings: off.
This slider is the simplest solution to tune down the graphic if you don’t know what are you doing, but I prefer selecting individually each option.
Here are two comparative images with the slider set to Fastest and Best Looking.
Use advanced settings: on.
I have tested each option with my PC (i5 6500, GTX 1060, 16GB DDR4), so I am going to list each one based on their fps impact.
High - above 15%
High Quality Water
Medium - about 10%
Atmospheric Fog / Caustics
Additive Light Pass (no fps loss in some areas of the map)
Ground Parallax (it requires Normal Maps)
Low - below 5%
Specular and Light Blooms
High Quality Dashboard
Ambient Cloth Simulation
I suggest disabling all the lighting and bloom options as they generate visual effects on your screen that do not influence negatively only your performance, but also your gameplay.
Regarding the others, it mostly depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you aim to maximize the fps, just disable them all.
Compute Shaders: on.
It should improve performance under Vulkan and DX11. A limited number of users reported a loss in performance, so I suggest testing it with your own configuration.
Texture Quality: high.
I believe this is the only option you want to max out because the game looks noticeably better without adding distracting effects. It has a low to medium impact on your performance. Decrease it only if you really need any extra fps increase.
Effects Quality: low.
Shadow Quality: off.
Beware: Dota 2 looks a lot better with shadows!
Game Screen Render Quality: 100%.
I warmly recommend to not change this setting if possible. Decreasing the value below 100% will grant more performance at the cost of a blurred image. 70-75% is the minimum value you should consider.
Generally, decrease the resolution and turn off any other options before touching this slider.
Maximum frames per second allowed: your monitor refresh rate.
This is the fps cap. I suggest keeping it at the same value as your monitor refresh rate (60, 120, 144Hz).
The maximum value is 240, but you can indicate a custom one via the +fps_max command in the launch options.
Note that unlocking the frame rate might cause overheating problems if your system isn’t cooled properly as the game will try to render as many frames as possible.
Click Apply to save the changes.
How to open the launch options:
Open the Steam launcher
Go on the Library tab
Right click on Dota 2
Select Properties and go on the General tab
Click “Set Launch Options…”
Here is a list of useful commands you can include in the launch options:
It loads the Dota 2 map when you launch the game. This reduces loading times after you find a game.
It gives Dota 2 high CPU priority, which might increase your fps.
It sets your game language to English. You can select any language supported by the game.
It forces the game to run on DX9, DX11, Vulkan, or OpenGL.
Dota 2 automatically uses the 64-bit client if you are on a 64-bit OS, but you can use this command to force the 32-bit client. AFAIK, there isn’t a performance difference, but the 32-bit one drains less ram.
It enables the console in-game.
The in-game settings are limited to 240 fps, but with this command you can increase the fps limit.
-w “width” -h “height”
You can indicate a custom value for the width and height of your monitor. I use it to display correctly my 21:9 aspect ratio.
Header image (Fall 2016 Battle Pass loading screen): Valve