Creating the Main Loop with SDL2

How to Improve Frame Rate in an SDL2 Application

What are the best practices for improving the frame rate in SDL2 applications?

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Improving frame rate in SDL2 applications involves optimizing your game loop and handling resource-intensive tasks properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Limit Frame Rate: Implement frame limiting to avoid overloading the CPU and GPU. You can do this by calculating the time it takes to complete each frame and delaying the next frame start using SDL_Delay() to maintain a consistent frame rate.
  • Optimize Rendering: Only redraw parts of the screen that have changed. Use SDL_RenderPresent() on specific rectangles rather than the entire screen.
  • Use Hardware Acceleration: Make sure to use hardware-accelerated rendering options in SDL, like using SDL_RENDERER_ACCELERATED when creating the renderer.
#include <SDL.h>

int main(int argc, char** argv) {
  SDL_Window* window = SDL_CreateWindow(
    "Frame Rate Example", 100, 100, 640, 480, 0);

  SDL_Renderer* renderer = SDL_CreateRenderer(

  bool running = true;
  SDL_Event event;
  const int targetFrameRate = 60;

  // milliseconds per frame
  const int frameDelay = 1000 / targetFrameRate;

  while (running) {
    auto frameStart = SDL_GetTicks();

    while (SDL_PollEvent(&event)) {
      if (event.type == SDL_QUIT) running = false;

    SDL_SetRenderDrawColor(renderer, 0, 0, 0, 255);
    // Rendering code here

    auto frameTime = SDL_GetTicks() - frameStart;
    if (frameDelay > frameTime) {
      SDL_Delay(frameDelay - frameTime);

  return 0;

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