Back when Fallout 4 came out in 2015, not everyone had the 8GB RAM and Nvidia GTX 780 required to run it as it was meant to be played.
It was expected of a game as expansive and beautiful as the latest Bethesda masterpiece. But it was still a lot.
Five years down the line, these requirements are much easier to meet. Even with budget gaming rigs – but not everyone has the spare cash, and few things beat playing Fallout 4 on your laptop at work when you should be double-checking accounting files.
Luckily modders have been working tirelessly since release to optimize the experience in such a way that even the most humble of rigs can run the game acceptably well.
Even integrated cards, if you’re willing to play at 20fps.
As a low-spec gaming enthusiast, I consider myself an authority on the subject of performance. So I’ve put together a ranking with the most useful mods to boost your FPS and stability while roaming the Commonwealth.
You’ll be surprised what your toaster can achieve with the right mods.
15. Great FPS Boost
We start our list with an easy-to-install compendium of small tweaks to give your game a performance boost without messing too much with the textures or anything of the sort.
Modder Terso simply played around with the settings for how the game handles fog, the quality of shadows and the amount of grass, among other things, looking for the most FPS with the least loss in graphical fidelity.
Optionally, there’s a version that’ll make your weather remain clear to avoid performance drops due to weather effects like rain.
14. Load Accelerator
If rather than a performance boost to an old rig you’d rather take full advantage of your powerful PC, then Load Accelerator is a must.
Created by Chairo_Hippo, this mod endeavors to reduce all loading screen times by controlling Vsync and CPU affinity while loading.
For this reason you may see a spike in your GPU’s processing load during this time.
If working correctly, it should dramatically lessen loading times in general, especially for systems running on SSD storage.
Also check out this preview video to see the mod in action.
13. Light Sources Do Not Cast Dynamic Shadows
As anyone with expertise in low-spec gaming knows, shadows are among the most resource-consuming graphical features you can run into.
This goes double for the sophisticated dynamic shadows present in modern games.
This mod by HicSuntDracones1 simply swaps all shadow-casting lights in the game for more basic, less GPU-heavy ones that don’t cast shadows.
The game will definitely look less realistic, but the change is relatively minor and can improve performance drastically.
12. Dynamic Performance Tuner and Load Accelerator
And if you’re not entirely down with eliminating all shadow-casting light, perhaps something more dynamic is a better fix.
This mod by StochasticTinker promises to dynamically adjust Shadow Dir Distance and the quality of godrays in the game for minor FPS gains without a major loss in aesthetics.
It also caps FPS, improves loading times, and so on.
Admittedly, the difference in performance is minor.
But you’ll barely notice the change in graphics and it all adds up to a better experience.
11. FPS and Performance Fix
On the other hand, our next entry aims to give you anywhere between 10 and 35 more frames per second.
A very substantial improvement under any circumstances.
The mod, created by SiTheHandsomeGuy, is ideal for those with basic setups.
It works by tweaking preferences in the game’s internal configuration to reduce render distance, among several other things.
Despite being a relatively new fix, it has received a lot of support from NexusMods users and it may be the thing that’ll finally let you play the game in a stabler fashion.
10. Faster Workshop
Perhaps you run the game perfectly well on your mid-range gaming rig.
But have you noticed just how long it takes to open a simple workshop menu?
Modder Registrator2000 also took notice and found out that the reason was simply inefficient code lines that funneled your processing power into nothingness.
With this mod, the faulty code is replaced to make loading the workshop almost instantaneous.
Even if you have no issues with workshop loading times, you should install this if you plan to get mods that add more workshop functionality.
This baby created by TheCyberShadow is a clever and very necessary tweak that allows the game to be run in borderless fullscreen in any resolution you like.
While it can be useful to improve performance by playing the game at a lower resolution without losing the benefit of fullscreen, it truly shines in the way it lets you run the game in borderless fullscreen on 4K monitors that lack native upscaling.
8. Boston FPS Fix
Keeping with the tradition of very obvious names for very complex mods comes Boston FPS Fix, which promises to… well, you get the point.
Modder Valyn81 describes what the mod does as tweaking the game’s treatment of precombined meshes, which is especially relevant around Boston because of the way the area is built.
The performance improvement is notorious, especially for low-end PCs.
And it comes with no visual downgrade of any sort. Free FPS!
7. Optimized Vanilla Textures
It would be weird to make a list of performance improvements without touching on textures, wouldn’t it?
Modder AlpineYJ noticed a lack of proper compression for a lot of textures found in vanilla Fallout 4.
To fix it, they put each and every one of them through a texture optimizer called Ordenator to improve the situation, therefore helping the game run better.
You’ll get some marginal FPS gains, but it’s mostly about stability.
6. Max Performance – All Interiors
I like extreme solutions to difficult problems – problems like needing to run Fallout 4 on a toaster, for example.
To help everyone dealing with such a great challenge, modder MxmOvrDrv manually removed all shadow-casting lights, beams of light and several effects such as mist, smoke, and decals on every interior area.
This should assure a massive FPS gain in such areas for low-spec systems, and improve stability for mid-range ones.
5. Wasteland 512 Textures Reloaded
Another texture-based improvement is Wasteland 512 Textures Reloaded, a mod by Darthanimal that offers very nice FPS gains at virtually no graphic cost.
What it does is optimize the vanilla textures and resize them to 512px.
The creator did everything in their power to set things up so that this resizing isn’t noticeable, so you can rest easy knowing your game will look just fine.
Although it isn’t perfect, the performance improvement can be substantial-enough to justify it.
4. Blurkiller – Visual Pollution Remover
On the other hand, the next mod in our list seems almost too good to be true in terms of the cost/benefit ratio it offers.
Blurkiller, by Sortitus, focuses on removing several effects triggered by events such as explosions to improve stability and prevent crashes on lower-end systems.
Blur, Bloom, HDR, and Depth of Field effects in the environment are left intact, but completely removed from such events.
Not only will it drastically improve performance, but it’ll give the game a cleaner look that some people may appreciate.
3. Fog Remover – Performance Enhancer II
Among the most popular performance enhancers for Fallout 4 is Fog Remover by Glass1411.
This offers better FPS and also gives the game a much cleaner look.
It’s simple. The mod removes effects such as mist, steam, dust, smoke and, of course, fog, from the environment. Airborne miasma, begone!
It’s not as immersive as the vanilla look of the game, and some things such as fires look weird without the smoke… but I think a stable performance trumps such details, right?
2. FAR – Faraway Area Reform
Fallout 4, like many other open-world games, spends a tremendous amount of resources rendering things you won’t ever see. Some of those are distant places and objects.
FAR, by modder SparrowPrince, seeks to save you some processing power by optimizing and improving over 6.000 distant land textures for better performance and reduced stutter on higher-end systems.
As a bonus, faraway areas actually look better and less cluttered.
1. Insignificant Object Remover
But if we’re talking about saving resources spent on things you won’t pay attention to, Insignificant Object Remover offers you the best returns.
This mod by Akkalat85 removes a wide array of useless objects placed in the terrain to make it look “more realistic”, such as stone formations in riverbanks and the like.
Once gone you’ll notice a significant improvement on your FPS, and the Wasteland will simply look a lot less cluttered.
You’d be surprised at how much of your processing power lays in the bottom of rivers, lakes and other places you’ll never look into in the form of algae and random debris.