A graphics card upgrade will absolutely guarantee you higher frame rates in the latest games. But the best graphics cards around don’t come cheap. So if you want higher fps in the latest AAA titles without breaking the bank you need to tweak your game’s graphics settings.
Whether you want to push 4K at a consistent 30fps, or nail super-smooth 1080p at 60fps, we got them covered. These are the graphics settings you can try in-game that will give you a performance boost without seriously sacrificing the graphics quality.
7 Settings to Speed Up Your Gaming PC
Shadows can be very intensive on your GPU and be a handicap to your frame rate. Popular methods for dynamic shadowing often require rendering an entire scene a second time.
You might not want to turn off shadows altogether, as they add a sense of depth to every frame. However, setting shadows to the lowest can effectively take the load off your GPU and improve performance.
Reflections are one key to creating an immersive world. Sometimes it can be important to the plot too, like when the game involves vampires, as they have no mirror reflections. But, as was the case with shadowing, creating reflections dynamically takes more effort from your PC.
Dynamic reflections are noticeable during movement, especially along reflective surfaces. But if you are struggling to get a playable fps in playing your game, simply turning off dynamic reflections can boost your game significantly.
Supersampling is useful when your GPU can’t run a game at your PC’s native resolution. By rendering at a higher resolution and then downscaling the graphics back to your native resolution, supersampling ends up acting as a form of spatial anti-aliasing.
While this may be great for gamers with some excess horsepower in their rigs, it’s no use if you need a little downtuning to even play your games. So set the supersampling according to your specs and the games you want to play.
There are many types of anti-aliasing, and they don’t all do it with the same finesse. Some anti-aliasing techniques are far more degrading to performance than others, and it can be a fine line as to whether these anti-jaggy techniques suit you.
The most common anti-aliasing technique used to be supersampling, a technique to increase and then reduce the resolution that we outlined above. But times have changed. There are three main categories of anti-aliasing. One of them is spatial, which relies on increasing the sample rate. Then temporal, which relies on data across multiple frames. And the last is post-processing, which applies anti-aliasing once the scene has been rendered. There are also many more that blur the lines between these three.
MSAA and SSAA, or simply FSAA, are forms of spatial anti-aliasing, which utilize sample rate increase to prevent the staircase effect. SSAA will supersample the whole screen and then interpolate it back together again, which as you might imagine takes some serious effort from your rigs. MSAA, on the other hand, will only sample certain areas of the frame. MSAA isn’t quite as accurate, but it requires a lot less computational impact.
Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing
Supersampling is not the most friendly to old PC components, as it requires all the hard work of anti-aliasing to be actioned before the scene is fully-rendered. Post-processing techniques, such as FXAA, take the pre-rendered scene and run anti-aliasing directly on the frame’s pixels. FXAA is super quick, low impact, and clears out those jaggies, which has made it one of the most prevalent anti-aliasing techniques in gaming today. However, some may find it to have to much blur. FXAA is also similar to MLAA (Morphological Anti-Aliasing).
Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing
SMAA, or subpixel morphological anti-aliasing, is best for those who prefer their games to look a little less blurry. This works similarly to FXAA, while utilizing improved edge detection. It also remains low-impact on performance. For the best of both worlds, accurate anti-aliasing, and low-performance hit, SMAA is often the best way to go.
Last but not least is TXAA. The technique utilizes samples from previous frames to filter the current frame. This method is optimal for removing jaggies. But, you get an image that people often find far too blurry. If none of these methods take your fancy, you can always turn anti-aliasing off altogether.
5. Anisotropic Filtering
Anisotropic filtering is useful to get textures at oblique angles. With multiple minimaps loaded into the distance, the resolution scaling between them becomes obvious, leading to a segmentation of the background. To avoid this effect, a technique called anisotropic filtering was designed, which is a vast improvement over the bilinear and trilinear filtering available previously.
Anisotropic filtering is handled well by modern-day graphics cards. So well, that the marginal performance gains from disabling this feature would likely be imperceptible. Best to leave this one on.
Post-processing entails all effects that occur after the first render. These are often effects that will take information from across the entire frame, or effects that improve the visual. Individually, these settings often have little impact, however, turning all post-processing effects combined to low, or zero, can greatly increase performance overall.
Post-processing entails all effects that occur after the first render pass. These are often effects that will take information from across the entire frame, or effects that ‘improve’ (hugely dependent on the observer) the gaming experience through small tweaks or visual upgrades. Individually, these settings often have little impact, however, turning all post-processing effects combined to low, or zero, can greatly increase performance overall.
A whole heap of effects at a developer’s disposal focuses entirely on creating an interactive movie aesthetic. Depth of field, motion blur, lens flare, and chromatic aberration all recreate these film effects.
Motion blur does exactly what it says, it blurs objects during rapid movement. This tool is often used to reduce the impact of low frame rates on your overall experience, although if you are aiming for rock-solid 60fps you may find this setting is best set to off.
Volumetric fog allows for engrossing fog effects that are affected by multiple light sources to create incredible environments and light shaft effects. It cost so much to recreate every frame, so best to ditch this effect.
Depth of Field
Depth of field blurs the outer area of your game, largely when zooming in on certain game elements. Disabling this option may increase your frame rate slightly, but you’ll need to test it in-game to decide whether you like it or not, and whether it is affecting performance whatsoever.
7. Field of View
View distance is essentially the in-game horizon. With it, you can see objects further away in the distance. Fortunately, in most modern multiplayer titles, these potential differences in graphical fidelity and draw distances have been accounted for. So for those games, it’s recommended to keep that horizon close, and your field of view even closer to keep fps high. But in some cases, like in shooter games, you may want to set it to match your playstyle.
There you have it. With some tweaks in the settings, you can ditch the unnecessary effects and experience smooth gameplay. But if they don’t work, you may want to upgrade your GPU with these best graphics card for gaming.