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The Best NVidia Control Panel Settings?

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What are the best NVidia Control Panel Settings?

A quick walkthrough for beginners and experienced users alike!

So you might be asking yourself "How can I get more performance out of my games, do I really have to spend upwards of $500 or more on a new video card?" The short answer is, no. Probably not. I am going to walk you through the details in setting up your Gaming rig to squeeze out as much performance as possible. 

But first, i'd like to talk about current games as of this writing (September 2017), and the performance requirements of those games. I won't get into the actual details of each specific game, just what is considered a somewhat "stout" Gaming PC as of this writing.

The actual PC specs

Don't be alarmed if your system falls outside of 1 or more of the specifications that I am going to list. You don't need to freak out and think that you've blown money away on a brand new system that is already obsolete.  This list is just what I would consider quite frankly, a bad ass gaming PC.

  1. Intel CPU - i5/i7 From the 3000 Series and up - I would consider this still decent enough to play most, if not ALL current PC games. For VR users (Like Occulus) you'll probably see an inadequate CPU warning if running anything below a 4000 series Intel CPU.  You can ignore this warning, and still have a great VR experience. Keep in mind, the only difference between the i5 and the i7 is Hyperthreading - If you are shopping for a system, and the games you are not interested in take advantage of Hyperthreading, then save some dough with the i5 CPU and put the savings towards the budget in your video card, or simply back in your pocket.  You'll save about $100 here. Also, if you have a Microcenter Store nearby, you can still get Intel CPU's for a huge savings when bought in-store. Somewhere around another $100.

  2. Memory - 8GB of DDR3 or DDR4 is sufficient for most, if not ALL PC games. Don't get too hung up on the speed of the memory, or the CAS Latency.  I personally recommend G.SKILL for my memory, and also in all the systems my company builds for our customers. 

  3. Video Card - NVidia graphic cards, all day, everyday!  From the 700 series on up - you'll be able to play most, if not any game currently available as of this article. I cannot argue though, the 1080Ti is the best bang for the buck in performance.  If you have one in your system right now, stand proud my friend. You have the best of the best...and even the Titan X cannot touch it performance was.  At Least until the next overpriced Titan is released by NVidia.

Those are the 3 main parts that will directly affect your system's graphical performance.  Nothing else within the system will change the performance in your games.  The motherboard can, to some effect.  Just make sure you run the best chipset for the CPU you are going to purchase.

NVidia Control Panel Basics - What do these settings do?

NVidia Control Panel - Manage 3D Settings

  • Ambient Occlusion - Depending on your games shadow performance, this changes the way shadowing appears when an object is blocking the ambient light.  In most cases, this can be turned OFF. Turning it ON though should not hurt graphical performance much.  Try it out for yourself.

  • Anisotropic Filtering or AF - I recommend maxing out this setting to 16x - it's not too hard on the graphics card, and gives the highest quality.  This setting affects the quality of textures at weird angles.  It'll help things look more realistic and cleaner.  

  • Antialiasing FXAA - In the above screenshot I have this set to OFF, however in some games this can dramatically improve the quality of jagged lines. Games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3 take advantage of this setting very well.  Games like iRacing.com though do not, and it can cause a huge performance hit for little enhancement.  Try it out though!

  • Antialiasing Mode - Always set this to Override the application setting, let NVidia do the work for you.  You'll end up with a much more well rounded gaming experience across all of your games by letting the NVidia Drivers do the work.

  • Antialiasing Setting - Just do 4x, always.  It's the happy medium between performance and quality. If you run SLI, you can get away with 8x SLI mode AA. Play around with it!

  • Antialiasing Transparency - I prefer Multisample.  Some people will argue you should go higher, and that is fine. But multisample would be the best happy medium.

The rest of the settings can be left to Default. If you have GSYNC capable monitors, make sure you enable that.  To learn more about GSYNC and what it does, head here.

  • Multi-display/mixed-GPU acceleration - If you have more then one screen, choose Multiple Display Performance Mode. If single screen, choose Single display for obvious reasons.

  • Power management mode - Always select Prefer maximum performance.

  • Refresh rate - Highest available that your monitor can handle.  The higher, the better.  Refer to your monitor manufacturer to learn what this limit is.

  • Negative LOD bias - Set to allow

  • Texture filtering quality - Set to Quality, you can mess with this a small bit, but again, we're looking for a happy medium between quality & performance.

  • VSYNC - This is helpful for those of you experiencing what is called screen tearing. I do not recommend it unless this is an issue already happening for you.  If you have GSYNC monitors, this setting should be set to OFF.

An example of screen tearing

Screen tearing can be annoying, basically the monitor's refresh rate cannot keep up with the speed at which your graphics card is providing the next image to be displayed.  So you end up with a mix of the current frame, and the next one to follow.

VSYNC forces the video card to only provide frames at the refresh rate the monitor is capable of. The downside to VSYNC is in some games it can create whats known as "Input Lag". You move your mouse, or turn your racing wheel, and your physical movement does not closely coincide with the movement you are seeing on the screen. GSYNC takes VSYNC a step further, allowing the framerate to move around instead of being locked, and when your FPS fall below the refresh rate of the monitor, GSYNC kicks in and limits the video card with the monitor at the same time to prevent any tearing from occurring. Nice stuff!

I hope this article has helped out those of you who come across it.  Happy gaming!

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