Lowering Lag / Latency

Here's a list of things you can check out that can help out with lag or latency on Parsec.

Reduce bandwidth, resolution and FPS

You or your client's setup might not be able to handle too much of a high bandwidth, resolution or FPS. Try to reduce everything to the very minimum (bandwidth to 5mbps, resolution to 1280x720, FPS to 60 or 30), and see if the lag or latency is gone. Then move it up little by little and see where you can go until it's too much.

The resolution and bandwidth can be changed in Settings > Hosting. The FPS can be changed if you tweak your screen's refresh rate, or go to Settings > Hosting > Open Configuration File and add the line encoder_fps=number (requires a Parsec restart to update).

Switch the client renderer between OpenGL/DirectX

Clients might have better luck with a different renderer in Settings > Client > Renderer.

Most Windows clients will have a better time with DirectX, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 and older do not support OpenGL well.

Don't use full screen in applications

If you're experiencing lag only in specific applications or games, this is usually caused by the application being run in full screen. You should change it to run in borderless windowed or windowed mode. If that's not possible, at least turn vsync on for that specific app.

This issue stems from how full screen games render.

Turn off VSync in Parsec and the game

Clients can disable VSync in Settings > Client > VSync, while the host can disable it in the game settings.

Hosts should keep VSync on if they're playing a game in fullscreen, fullscreen games have a tendency to not give Parsec any room otherwise.

Avoid 2.4ghz Wi-Fi, signal boosters and others

Use an Ethernet cable or ensure you're using 5ghz Wi-Fi. Avoid signal boosters, Ethernet over power line or mesh Wi-Fi systems. Move closer to your Wi-Fi if possible.

If you're using Google Mesh, it isn't recommended, but you can eliminate lag by setting the device hosting the Parsec session as the Priority Device on the network.

Mac: Use Zero-Copy Decoding

If you're on a Mac, you can set decoder_zero_copy=1 in Settings > Client > Open Configuration File. Learn more here.

Close unnecessary background applications

Get rid of any background applications that might be stealing resources from Parsec and making it slower.

Keep the same refresh rate between the host and client

If the host and client have differing refresh rates, it might result in what looks like stutter. On the client, go to Settings > Client > Open Configuration File and set server_refresh_rate=60 to force the host to use 60FPS.

Remove any advanced quality settings

If you happen to have experimented around with quality settings in Settings > Client/Hosting > Open Configuration File, remove them to see if it fixes your issues.

Replace your router if it has an Intel Puma chip

If you see a lot of retransmit issues in the Parsec console, find the models of your router and look them up on wikidevi. If yours has the Puma chip in it, you should look to replace it, as these chips do not handle intensive network tasks very well and often cause severe stream issues.

I'm still having issues

If you're still having issues, it could be that:

  • You don't meet our network or hardware requirements
  • Your internet is currently unstable
  • In case of latency, you're too far away from each other and we couldn't beat the laws of physics
I'm still having issues and I have a cloud machine

Resort to this section only after you tried everything above.

The lag I'm experiencing only affects a game or games that I'm playing

I've always had lag in desktop and games

Create a support ticket here.

I've been having lag only for the last couple of days / hours

Perform these tests on the cloud machine by opening the command prompt and running the 3 ping commands listed below for your region. If the cloud machine is unstable, the time=XXms will vary wildly per line (10-50ms is a lot, 1-2ms is normal).

  • If it's unstable, create a ticket with the result of the 3 commands
  • If it seems stable, then it's probably your computer or internet
Europe US East US West Others
ping -n 10
ping -n 10
ping -n 10