Diablo III Twitch Stream Has Low FPS, but Game Plays Fine

Last Updated on September 20, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

Last week, I cam across a weird problem after updating my video drivers from nVidia. My Diablo III Twitch stream experienced severe loss in frames-per-second while the game played amazingly well. What did I have to do to fix the low FPS in stream issue?

I spent more than a day trying to figure out why the Diablo III Twitch stream was so poor while games like H1Z1 and Minecraft had no problem at all.

This is what I discovered.
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The Exact Problem with the Diablo III Twitch Stream

Diablo III doesn’t require a beefy computer system to play. In fact, we played it on a $250 Lenovo laptop – although it was a little choppy. From my $1000 work computer, it plays superb reaching more than 150 FPS during play.

After updating the drivers to my Asus GTX 1050Ti Strix video card, the stream began to suffer low FPS…I’m talking between 1 and 25 frames-per-second in certain zones. But only in certain zones.

For example, the game would stream flawlessly at 60 FPS in 720p in one area, but then drop to 10 FPS in Sescheron next to the waypoint. But if I move away from the waypoint, it would jump back up to 60.

However, I saw no change in actual game play. From my point of view, I was cruising along at well over 100 FPS…it was only the Diablo III Twitch stream that had the problem.

What streaming software do I use?

I have XSplit Broadcaster and Gamecaster – both pieces of software were causing the same problem: high FPS in game but low FPS in stream. Here are the things I tried to change in XSplit:

  • Ingest server: making sure the server I was sending the stream to was superior for me. In this case, it’s the Denver server.
  • Switching to the nVenc encoder. This causes XSplit to use the GPU for rendering the stream, which vastly improves performance. However, it did nothing for the Diablo III Twitch stream.
  • Set XSplit to prefer GPU for video processing in the Advanced settings.
  • Changed the resolution of the stream from 720p to 540p. This makes for lower visual appeal but increases performance. Except in this case, it didn’t help at all.
  • Changed the stream from 60 FPS to 30. Usually this helps with rendering and performance. Again, it did nothing for me.
  • Adjusted the bitrate. In reality, I didn’t think this was going to be an issue in the first place. According to Twitch, the stream maintained integrity and stayed at “Excellent” throughout all of my test runs.

My conclusion was that the problem had to be somewhere in between the game itself and XSplit. Everything else was working better than I could have hoped.

Keep in mind, everything was working beautifully until I upgraded my nVidia drivers. As soon as nVidia “optimized” my games, this problem started.

What about adjustments from nVidia?

When I installed the new drivers, I also installed all of the bells-and-whistles from nVidia. This meant the HD audio driver, PhysX and more. In the end, I disabled or uninstalled all of the extras. I started by disabling the nVidia streaming overlay. I thought it would cause compatibility issues with XSplit. But, the low FPS in stream was still present.

What settings did I change in Diablo III

After messing with XSplit, I decided to see if I could undo the changes nVidia made while optimizing my game. I set everything back to default and the low FPS in stream persisted. Then, I started lowering the visual effects of the game, which I shouldn’t have to do with a 1050Ti Strix card.

And then I stumbled across a solution.

Disabling Shadows During Gameplay

Disabling the shadows should have been on the top of my list of things to try. Shadows always take a lot of processing power, and lets people play some intense games without having the intense hardware. For instance, I played EverQuest II just fine back in the day on a very poor video card by disabling the shadows.

Once I disabled the shadows in Diablo III, the stream improved immensely.

For me, this is a workable solution. I don’t really care about shadows anyway, which is why I am usually quick to turn them off. I just hate the idea that my Diablo III Twitch stream cannot handle shadows even though the game plays beautifully on my end.

What Haven’t I Tried to Fix this Problem?

Usually when I find a workable solution for me, I move on. I could spend more time trying to find a permanent and better solution, but I just don’t have the time. Here are some of the things you might want to try if you have a similar low FPS in stream but high FPS in game issue like mine.

Using OBS

I would switch to OBS, and I might just do it specifically to stream Diablo III if it works with shadows turned on. I am a fan of XSplit and pay $5 a month to use it. However, OBS is a good platform that I’ve used in the past. Perhaps it handles the new drivers from nVidia better than XSplit.

Rolling Back the Video Driver

I’ve had to roll back video drivers a few times in the past. While companies try to make sure everything is compatible, sometimes it just doesn’t work. As the nVidia driver is the only change that occurred, I am confident it has something to do with the problems during the Diablo III Twitch stream.

Bump Up the System Memory

I read in several forums how people solved a lot of streaming problems simply by increasing the computer’s memory. Considering how much I have running during a stream, I can see this as a valid point. Unfortunately, I don’t have the $80 on hand to increase the memory from 8GB to 16GB. But I will try that in the near future at some point.

Fine Tuning nVidia Settings

I’ve fixed a few problems in the past by making adjustments in the video settings of the computer. This time, I just didn’t have the time to browse through them. It may be a good place to start if you know your way around graphic settings.

Remember When Things Just Worked?

Many people will experience identical problems but have unique fixes. In my case, turning off the shadows made a vast improvement to the stream. But if you come across any other fixes, I’d be interested to hear them. Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @ColoradoPlays.

Hopefully this helps your own low FPS in stream but high FPS in game issue. I’ll update this article if I come across a valid fix. I would love to run my games at full power, but I don’t want to sacrifice my stream for the sake of my own entertainment.

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.