To get the best out of your video card: • HWzone Full Graphics Setup Guide
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Get the best out of the graphics card: the complete graphics setup guide

Many video games now offer photorealistic graphics, but one that has many confusing parameters: What is Vsync or MSAA? What settings should you turn on or off and what exactly do they give? You will find all the answers here

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Video game graphics have always been on the rise - we are far from the days when first-rate games, and even fewer games sold, offered graphics with "square" or fancy textures. We are at an age when video games are displaying a grand graphics that sometimes blur the boundaries between reality and reality.

Crysis 3 - one of the first titles to offer photorealistic graphics
Crysis 3 - one of the first titles to offer photorealistic graphics

If there is something that has changed quite a bit with graphics in recent years in video games, is their demand for hardware is stronger, and some will say too strong. In the PC market From the first level, many have become the subject of high demands, and we are even forced to double the amount of memory. For games only.

From NVIDIA's A New Dawn
From NVIDIA's A New Dawn

Also in the market major gaming consoles were conducted in accordance with The next generation, which despite their lack of comparison at the level of graphics offered by most PC with the same games, find it difficult to run these games on the frame rate of 60 and can not maintain a steady pace of 30.

Skyrim - little modification to blur the boundaries between game and reality
- A little modification to blur the boundaries between game and reality

Today, there are quite a few users with a graphics card that can run the most rich graphics, but they do not take advantage of this ability due to lack of orientation in the graphic settings, or they "smother" their video card for nothing for exactly the same reason.

Unlike the consoles, you can run a richer graphics on your PC, provided you choose to run it manually. Always search for the game graphics settings screen. In this tutorial, we'll learn about the graphics settings, and what it means to turn each one on or off. The best way to know first is how graphics work in video games.

Define yourself. Graphics Settings screen from Battlefield 4.
Define yourself. Graphics Settings screen from 4

Graphics - How does it work?

Unlike a static picture or a simple video clip, the graphics we see on the computer screen are real-time edited by the video card and consist of many textures that are spread over a certain number of pixels (ie, the selected game resolution). There are tens of thousands of calculations per second that the graphics card does in the background.

The more the graphics card needs to calculate a larger amount of information and render a picture that is considered heavier, its actual performance decreases - and vice versa. So adding or deactivating a particular setting affects the performance of the video card and the way the game runs. The performance of the card is expressed in the number of slides (frames) per second - which changes at any given time according to the number of frames that the video card can play in this scene.

More frames per second - more smooth movement. Source: Reddit
More frames per second - more smooth movement. Source: Reddit

Animation, any animation, consists of several frames per second (FPS), and the more there is, the more seamless the animation will be. In games the optimal number of frames is determined by the screen refresh rate (Hz) that on most screens is 60 (in the gaming screens even on 120 and 144 Hz). However, many are satisfied with the frame rate of 30 to enjoy a smooth enough move.

30 frames per second are enough for you? Each player experiences it differently (you must run 1080p60 \ 720p60 to see the difference)

V-sync - Bay Image Tears

60 best frame rate per second? Graphics cards can now deliver much more in simpler, older, or low graphics settings. So what happens above the rate of 60? As mentioned, it depends on the refresh rate of the screen, and because in the vast majority of the screens it is 60 and no more, the best "common" rate is identified as 60.

60 refresh rate means that the screen can display up to 60 slides per second. What happens when the video card renders more than 60 frames per second on such a screen? You will not notice any improvement in the speed of movement at all. In fact, the shift will become much smoother, and this is due to a phenomenon called "Screen Tearing".

NVIDIA GeForce "width =" 650 "height =" 367 "srcset =" 650w, https: // hwzone / wp-content / uploads / 2015 / 12 / AdaptiveVSync-1-650-300x169.png 300w, 650-600x339.png 600w "sizes =" (max-width: 650px) 100vw, 650px "/> When will we experience a picture splitting? GeForce

Screen splitting is also below 60 frames per second, but it is not usually noticeable. But when the frame rate goes through the refresh rate of the screen, this phenomenon becomes completely felt and for some players unbearable, especially in fast scenes (such as racing games).

Image ruptures - they appear to be moving. From the NVIDIA GeForce home page
Image ruptures - they appear to be moving. From the home page of GeForce

How do you deal with such a problem? After all, we can not stop our video card from having unnecessary frames, right? not exactly. For this, there is a V-sync setting, which allows you to set the frame rate at the maximum screen refresh rate, so that no more frames will be displayed. Her if necessary.

However, it is important to know that V-Sync also has negative effects. The first is that in certain games, when the video card renders suddenly less than 60 (or your screen refresh rate), the frame rate will drop to about half of that, Commonly used. The second is easy input Lag, which most players do not feel, but those who do feel it, for example, in intensive FPS games, most often choose to cancel it.

NVIDIA GeForce "width =" 640 "height =" 360 "srcset =" 1024w, . / wp-content / uploads / 2015 / 12 / vsync-300x169.jpg 300w, 600w, https: / / 1152w "sizes =" (max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px "/> FPS drop with V-sync. GeForce

The way to deal with the FPS drop problem is to turn on a setting called Triple Buffering. This setting is now built into many games, some of which need to be run alone and in certain games, this option will not work. There are other ways to deal with negative effects with external settings such as Adaptive V-sync , And we will discuss them extensively later in the guide.

Anti-Aliasing - No jagged edges

An equally annoying phenomenon for many who have been playing video games ever since (and became unbearable by turning them into 3-D) is the jagged edges (aliasing), where the edges of objects are sharp and fuzzy. The phenomenon exists not only in games, but in any graphic object.

Jagged edges in text
Jagged edges in text

The phenomenon becomes more turbulent in video games than anything else, where jagged edges damage the image quality, which is particularly noticeable when moving. Yes, even for this problem there is a solution, and its name is Anti-Aliasing (or commonly abbreviated, AA). Using different methods and levels, AA creates smoother edges for these objects, helping to improve image quality.

Graphics without AA (left side) with AA effect (right side)
Graphics without AA (left side) with AA effect (right side)

There are many AA methods, which are strongly recommended to read in detail In the previous tutorial (MSN) (Multi-Sampling Anti Aliasing), which you can find in most games, a method in which the scene is processed at higher internal resolution and shrink back To the standard resolution dimensions.The multiplication symbolizes the amount of processing being performed: a product of X2 processes the internal resolution of jagged edges according to 4.


There is only one problem: MSAA, like all other AA methods, is most detrimental to performance, and can reduce the frame rate to about half in high multiples. Therefore, it is customary to regard AA as a luxury and, if possible, maintain a normal product (X4 instead of X8) which in most games is quite sufficient.

Today the situation is less black or white, with many games coming with internal filters that ease the lack of AA. In addition, today's games enable the operation of a non-disruptive altenerative called FXAA - artificially smoothing the edges after rendering the image. This method definitely shows Are identical to MSAA, but some players find the method problematic, as in some situations it slides more objects.

FXAA - a great alternative that barely affects performance

The graphics card drivers are capable of running FXAA (or These are similar) For games that do not offer this option, and other methods discussed below. Either way, when MSAA is heavy for you, activate FXAA. In some games you can even play both, provided your video card is strong enough.

Resolution - Another factor for image quality

Do not underestimate your screen resolution. When the screen resolution (and the game) is high, the video card can render more detailed graphics thanks to the space for more pixels. Also, note that when the pixel density is low (when your resolution is higher than the size of a small physical screen) the dependence on AA decreases and the edges are less jagged.

But the real mistake comes from a different direction: a game at a lower resolution than the screen can deliver. For example, if your screen has a 1920 × 1080 resolution and you're playing 1366 × 768 within the game, you're doing it wrong. Have you ever tried to enlarge an image of its original size? The resulting result will be a blurry and fuzzy image. This is exactly how the result will be in games, and if you play on a different scale resolution, you will get too wide or too narrow a picture.

Playing on a lower resolution than the screen - that's how it looks
Not very sharp: a game on a resolution lower than the screen - that's how it looks

This error is mainly because many games do not match their internal resolution to that of the screen, and many users do not bother changing it in the game settings, always change the resolution to the highest, unless your video card is unable to run the game properly on resolution Higher, so it is very important to adjust the power of the graphics card to resolution, and find out before buyers agree with such a huge resolution .

Physics - advanced physics

In some games (more and more in recent years) you will find a definition called Physx, most often with a logo With her, for obvious reasons - PhysX is supported by cards GeForce only. Video cards of type Enabling this option will always result in a drastic decrease in performance, so always leave it turned off.

This exclusive technology of cards Allows game developers to present more dynamic and realistic physics that is very difficult to process, such as in complex scenes, for example when a structure is blown up - in which a huge number of particles are seen, similar to reality, or in scenes where something is on fire and real sparks appear. With this setting, a lot of effects occur on the screen.


The reason that only cards Are able to run Physx is that thanks to their unified processors (CUDA), they are able to undertake the processing work from the CPU. Please note - even if you have a card , And even if it is fairly strong, Physx is a very demanding performance setting, so run it at controlled levels, if at all. Some players go so far as to dedicate another card Dedicated only for processing.

Image quality settings

These were "the leading and most prevalent settings". However, it is important to remember that the quality of the image has other factors and they come in levels (usually from Low to Ultra). Some settings are clear enough from Water Quality (or "Water" only), for example, indicates the quality level in which water and other water elements will be graphed in graphics.

Note that in many cases, some of these settings take a good part of the performance as they go up, but the differences in image quality are quite small without noticeable. Take the Fallout 4 example: Lowering the "God Rays" setting to Low will improve performance quite a bit, but there is almost no difference in graphic level.

God Ray effect is low and maximal: see a big difference?
God Ray effect is low and maximal: see a big difference?

Therefore, you should play with such settings and actually see the difference in image quality compared to the number of frames per second you lose until you find the "Sweet Spot" that balances the image quality is good enough and the movement of burnout and respectable enough for you.

From these settings, there are common and demanding settings that should also be put on the eye. Let's start with type definitions Texture. These settings will be characterized by the level of detail of the graphics in the game. This is usually about loading textures at a higher resolution - which takes a lot of video card memory and is not recommended if you have a bit of it. As always, always pay attention to actual differences.

Between Medium and High: Is it worth it?
Between Medium and High: Is it worth it?

Another definition, which I would go so far as to say is the most demanding, is a definition of the shadows in the game - settings Shadows. The higher this setting, the more shading effects will be seen and behave more realistically. This requires additional processing of lots of pixels that reduce quite a bit of game performance.

In the higher levels of shading settings, the emphasis is more on how a shadow will behave in reality compared with the light of the day and the environment, and less on its shape. Usually the difference seems rather negligible, and in continuous play it is also meaningless. Lowering this setting to Medium from Ultra, for example, can add up to 30% improvement in performance when image quality is almost intact.

Shadows - take a lot, give a little
Shadows - take a lot, give a little

In recent years, and especially in the newest and most famous games,HDAO, SSAO And other settings that end with AO, Ambient Occlusion, which relates to everything we've talked about so far: shading, light rays and yes, it takes a lot of resources while playing.

This setting creates a lens effect of strong illumination (such as sun rays and internal light) that passes between different objects and affects the shadows in the scene as well as the general lighting of the game. Like the rest, is not always necessary, and in this case even actors do not like the effect it creates.

AO - Need artificial effects?
AO - Need artificial effects?

Drivers - Advanced Graphics

We can not always enable V-sync, we can not always apply FXAA or AA at all, and sometimes there are things that should just and should be done through the graphics card drivers.

in , Go to "NVIDIA Control Panel" (usually installed in Hebrew), from there to "Manage 3D Settings". For AMD, go to "AMD Radeon Settings" from the bottom to "Gaming". In both, you can set global settings or a profile for a particular game ("Application Settings" in the tab) , And "Add" on the right side with AMD).


To enable AA Through the drivers, the device driver's "interference" is selected first: adding to the game, or overriding it (recommended is the second). For both, the setting is "Antialiasing - Mode", and then in the field that will open for us, we will select the AA product we want, which in the default mode is MSAA.


We can choose another type of AA called Super Sampling. This is an old, but actually the most effective method for smoothing down memorization. The absolute disadvantage of this method is drastic performance, even with powerful video cards, so it is recommended to use it only for weak or old games, where MSAA is not enough or not supported (very rare). in This type is chosen by means of "Antialiasing - Transparency" and we can choose a level (multiplication) This is selected in the Anti-Aliasing Method.

And, as noted above, we can allow FXAA, and even we can do so along with MSAA without a problem. in It will appear up in his name, indeed at This is a different method called MLAA that works exactly the same, and to enable it, click on the control panel About Morphological Filtering.


The option to run V-sync (or disable) In the drivers is even less simple. in , Go to the bottom and list and mark "Run" on "Vertical sync" (V-sync, of course). For AMD, search for "Wait for Vertical Refresh" in the middle and select "Always on". The option to run Triple Buffering Will appear in both of them clearly (at , In Hebrew, "triple buffering") in the middle.

in , You can run a useful method called Adaptive V-sync. This method permanently eliminates the need for V-sync over refresh rate and screen, while eliminating the negative effects of frame rate fall by about half by turning on the V-sync method only when a number of frames is higher than the refresh rate Screen, and turns it off as soon as the number is less than that.

As noted, unfortunately, the method is exclusive for cards Only, and for years AMD has not been a viable alternative to a method so necessary and useful to many - in my personal opinion. How to enable setup in vista Is a selection in Adaptive in Vertical Synchronization.


Throughout the tutorial we talked about graphics settings that give a bit of a picture, but take quite a bit . We will end the guide with a kind definition that does exactly the opposite: Anisotropic Filtering. This setting, which takes very little resources from the graphics card, is present in the new and popular games, but in many of them it does not exist and it is worth considering to operate it.

A trail disappears-no more

This definition takes continuous textures, such as floors and earth, and "continues" to list them horizontally, similar to reality, where games often begin blurring the image. , Operated it through "anisotropic filtering" (its original name in English) toward the end, and in First choose to intervene in the game in the Anisotropic Filtering Mode and then put the product next to the product.


What if we do not want to get into trouble?

Not everyone has a computer with a processor or video card powerful enough to choose the graphic settings and indecision, and the vast majority of which is not usually composed of heavy gamers or at all, holds an average laptop computer with Intel's graphics chip or one of the most basic of the company .

These users, who occasionally want to play games on a regular basis, will encounter problems With almost all of the settings listed here, although the guide will help them understand where the dog is buried when it comes to low performance in their game. For the computers with the weakest graphics chips, I would have no choice but to lower any graphic setting to the minimum possible against the frame rate.

But there is another option that is equally effective. Cards And AMD comes with software that automatically detects the power of your computer and sets the graphic settings you want, and all you have to do is just select those games. I will demonstrate this with the help of GeForce Experience Which comes along with the driver, which automatically loads games with a click and selects the best settings.

Graphics settings: Let the software do it for you
Graphics settings: Let the software do it for you

But how would we know?

Of course, once you set the desired graphics settings against the convenient movement, the work will end. But what if you want to know in real time what your frame rate is, to get a little better control over things? As stated, the rate varies in real time. For this you can use third party software. The first one understands, again, GeForce Experience Only, and additional software such as AfterBurner.

But the most common software to monitor frame rate per second is Fraps. When the program is running in the background, a yellow number will appear at one end of the screen, indicating the number of frames when it is updated at a fraction of a second. At the touch of a button, you can choose which corner will appear or hide it.

Real-time performance monitoring
Monitoring in real time

Still confused? It's perfectly natural, there will always be other strange graphics concepts - some of them the same lady in a change of cloak and some something else entirely new. The above guide contains the absolute majority you need to know, but if you have more questions, you are always welcome to contact To our forums For her.

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