Whether you play games, do creative work, or just do your day-to-day computing, the graphics card plays a key role in many tasks. Therefore, the drivers for the hardware should always be up to date.
What many do not know: The GPU can be optimized via certain settings in the so-called Nvidia Control Panel – including a small performance boost! COMPUTER BILD shows the way to get the most out of the Nvidia GPU.
Nvidia: Install the latest drivers
First the obligation: A graphics card only works properly if the drivers are installed and up to date. Before diving into the Nvidia Control Panel, make sure you have the latest versions of Nvidia on board. This will prevent annoying crashes in new and old games, for example.
Downloading Nvidia drivers is easy and can be done in two ways – either through the Nvidia website or through the “Geforce Experience program”. If you download directly from Nvidia’s website, click “Automatic Driver Updates” and the website will figure out what graphics card you have and provide the appropriate driver.
If that doesn’t work, simply select your graphics card in the field below, press Search, and download the latest driver. If you are unsure of the exact model of your card, first check your PC’s specifications.
To do this, type “Device Manager” in the Windows search field at the bottom left and click on the field. A new window will open where you click on “Graphics Cards”. The name of your graphics card is there.
Installation via Geforce Experience
Geforce Experience is a program that can help you update drivers, optimize game settings, and much more. It also notifies you when new drivers are available for download. Using the program is really recommended.
To use this method of updating your drivers, download Geforce Experience – and install the program. You may be asked to create an account. Once that’s done, just launch Geforce Experience. The program will automatically start searching for new drivers.
If there is, a notification will appear at the top of the screen. Click on it and start the download. Once the drivers have been downloaded (this always takes a while because the drivers are about 600 megabytes “heavy”), click on “install” and select “express installation”.
It may happen that your screen goes black during the installation – this is completely normal. No matter which way you choose, restart the computer after the installation is complete.
The heart: Nvidia Control Panel
Most owners of Nvidia graphics cards have the Control Panel installed by default. That means it’s not an extra download (if you are, get it here). Once everything is installed, start the Control Panel. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on the desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel (or Nvidia Control Panel) from the drop-down menu.
The best settings for gaming and performance
The settings menus of the respective games can be used to adapt the performance to the capabilities of your computer. But: Optimizing the 3D settings of your Nvidia card may also have an impact on your gaming experience.
Smoother gameplay and better, sharper and brighter graphics are possible when settings are properly adjusted.
The Nvidia Control Panel is easy to use, but there are so many options that it might seem confusing at first. To find the best Nvidia settings for gaming or just everyday performance, you’ll need to navigate the list of settings. Read the guide below to learn what each option does and how it improves the performance of your graphics card.
Nvidia Control Panel – 3D Settings
The 3D Settings tab on the left side of the Nvidia Control Panel is arguably the most important when it comes to gaming. To access all options, just click “Adjust image settings with preview”.
Under the moving Nvidia logo, select “Use advanced 3D image settings” and then click “Apply” at the bottom. Then go through the list as described in the following instructions. Click on the respective sub-item and select the recommended setting. When you’re done with that, click “Apply” and the settings
genes are accepted.
Image scaling: Disable image scaling as it is of little use in games. Especially at lower resolutions like 1080p, hardly any differences are noticeable.
Anisotropic filtering: Those who have a weaker PC with an older graphics card (Geforce GTX 1080 and weaker) should turn off this function. Anisotropic filtering sharpens distant objects, which takes a lot of computing power.
Antialiasing: This feature sharpens edges and prevents jaggedness at the expense of performance. This option can be turned off. This applies to all the following antialiasing functions.
Preferred refresh rate: Here you can select the highest if you wish, as long as it matches the refresh rate set in the game. In a pinch, you have to adjust these in the respective game menu.
CUDA – GPUs: This option should be left on so that all graphics card cores are used.
DSR factors: This effect digitally smoothes and sharpens the image, but this costs too much performance.
DSR smoothing: The same applies to DSR smoothing. It beautifies the upscaled image, but it’s not worth it.
Triple buffer: Nobody needs the buffer, it only costs performance.
Energy management mode: “Maximum performance” is required for the graphics card and should be set accordingly.
Background application max. frame rate: If you often have several programs open and switch between them (e.g. a browser), switch on the option if you wish and set 30 FPS (frames per second).
Max. frame rate: This setting can be defined in the games themselves, so it can remain “off” in the driver.
Low latency mode: This option costs a lot of processing power, but it shortens the time it takes to show content on the screen. Therefore, the “ultra” mode should be selected.
Monitor technology: Anyone who has the opportunity, i.e. owns a monitor with G-Sync, should also activate this option. At least on the main monitor where the game is played.
Multi-Frame Sampled AA (MFAA): This is a different type of antialiasing, so it can also be turned off.
OpenGL rendering GPU: If you use multiple graphics cards, you should select your main graphics card here.
Shader cache size: Here the “Driver default value” is the best option.
Texture Filtering – Anisotropic Sampling Optimization: This feature costs too much power, turn it off!
Texture Filtering – Negative LOD Bias: Here you set the “Clamp” option.
Texture Filtering – Quality: The textures should look nice. So the optimal setting is “high performance”.
Texture Filtering – Trilinear Optimization: Keep this feature, it affects the image well. A clear “on”!
Threaded Optimization: This is about coordinating CPU performance, so the “auto” option is recommended.
Ambient occlusion: This costs a lot of FPS, better to leave it out.
Vertical Sync: This feature should be left to the game, so select “Use setting for 3D application”.
If you accept these settings, then you should definitely tease out some extra power. How much always depends on the respective system. On the test computer, it was a whopping 7 percent more FPS in the multiplayer shooter “Escape from Tarkov”. The game also feels smoother.
Tip: Are your games not running smoothly after the changes? Then reset the system to the initial values and adjust the settings one by one – or you can choose the easy way.
Geforce Experience: The easy way
Tired of annoying settings? With Geforce Experience, you can optimize the performance of your games with the following steps – completely automatically without complicated menus:
Open the Geforce Experience application and sign in to your NVIDIA account.
Click on the “Games” tab in the upper left corner of the application.
Select the game you want to optimize from the list of installed games.
Click on the “Optimize” button next to the game.
Geforce Experience will now analyze your system and apply the recommended game settings based on your GPU, CPU, and other hardware.
The settings can also be adjusted manually by clicking the Customize button and changing the options to your liking.
Click Apply and launch the game to see the improved performance.
Set refresh rate
There are other sub-items in the Nvidia Control Panel that may require your attention. Important: Under the “Display” heading you will find the “Change resolution” option. Basically, choose the highest resolution (e.g. WQHD with 2560×1440 pixels) and the highest refresh rate (e.g. 144 Hz) for the sharpest and smoothest
picture while playing. If your PC is too weak, then you should reduce the resolution when playing, for example to Full HD (1920×1280 pixels) – most PCs can handle that.
If you have multiple monitors, you should keep the same refresh rate if possible. Also important: Set up “G-Sync” and “G-Sync Compatible” via the “Screen”. To do this, right-click on the monitor icon and select “Set up G-Sync” from the drop-down menu. G-Sync adapts the monitor’s refresh rate to the graphics card’s images.