Prefer Intel or AMD hardware

This is how you set the graphics settings of your PC games with ease

PC gamers will need to set a variety of graphics options to balance performance with graphics quality. If you don't want to tweak them manually, NVIDIA, AMD, and even Intel have tools to do it for you.

Sure, if you're a serious PC gaming freak you'll probably want to do this by hand. Doing it yourself still gives you the best combination of performance and the settings you want. However, you need to understand the options available and spend some time testing them. This alternative is just a click away. And while it's far from perfect, it's a fair balance between effort and results.

Why don't games just automatically detect your settings?

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Most games try to set your graphics settings automatically. They determine which default settings to use when you first start up, and offer different groups of settings such as Low, Medium, High, and Ultra. They may also have an auto-detect option that tries to automatically detect the ideal settings for your hardware.

However, these in-game automatic options aren't the best. Settings such as "Low", "Medium", "High" and "Ultra" do not depend on your hardware. They are just groups of settings. You may want to use Ultra in an older game and Medium in a newer, more challenging game. You still need to do some testing and it still won't give you a great result. "Autodetect" also doesn't always work best as it can fail and suggest low settings when using hardware made after the game was built.

The tools from NVIDIA, AMD, and now Intel are smarter. They consider a lot more, like your system's GPU, CPU, and screen resolution, and compare that to a database of tests for various hardware. With this information, the game determines the recommended settings for your particular hardware. You can even tell the game how much weight to place on graphical fidelity in relation to performance. This gives you settings that suit your personal taste.

In other words, if you want to use custom graphic settings, tweak away. However, if you prefer automatic graphics settings, use these tools instead of the ones built into your games. The automatic settings may be a good starting point for optimizing your games - or they may provide automatic settings for games that you don't want to optimize.

Step One: Download NVIDIA GeForce Experience, AMD Gaming Evolved, or the latest Intel drivers

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If you have NVIDIA graphics hardware, you will need to obtain the GeForce Experience application from NVIDIA. There's a good chance you've already installed this application as it is also used to update your graphics drivers. It also includes other functions such as: B. built-in options for streaming and recording games. However, this manual only deals with graphics optimization.

If you have AMD graphics hardware, you will need to download and install AMD's Gaming Evolved Client. It's a bit more community-oriented than NVIDIA's GeForce Experience application, but has a similar graphics optimization tool.

If you have Intel graphics hardware, this applies to the latest versions of the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel. You need at least version 15.65 of the Intel graphics driver, which was released on February 13, 2018.

Step two: scan your game library

Before you can optimize your games, you need to search your game library for compatible games.

If you are using the NVIDIA tool, launch the GeForce Experience app and select the Games tab. It should automatically search your library and show compatible games in the left sidebar.

AMD users start the AMD Gaming Evolved client and select the "Library" tab. It should automatically search your library and show compatible games in the left sidebar.

Intel users just need to start the Intel HD. In the graphics control panel, click the “Gaming” icon at the bottom of the window. To start the Intel Control Panel, right-click the Windows desktop and select Intel Graphics Settings.

Since these tools do not support all games, not all games are shown here - only those that support NVIDIA, AMD and Intel in their respective apps.

However, if you don't see a game knowing it's compatible, there is something you can do to help your tool find it. In the NVIDIA GeForce Experience application, click the Settings icon at the bottom of the list of games. It usually searches your Applications folders, but you can add additional folders here. For example, if you installed your games in C: Games or D: Games, you will want to add that folder here.

In AMD's Gaming Evolved app, you can click the wrench icon on the Library tab, click the plus sign at the bottom of the left sidebar, and navigate to a game's .exe file, if it's not automatically in the list is shown.

This only helps if the tool supports the game but can't find it. You cannot use this feature to manually add games that the tool does not support and to change their settings.

Intel does not provide a way to point the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel to a specific EXE file. Intel needs to be confident that its tool will always find supported games.

Third step: optimize!

Now for the good stuff: to tweak a game, simply select it from the list and hit the big tweak button. In the Intel Tool, just click the game icon, then click Optimize. (If you haven't already started the game, you may need to start the game once before the button works properly.)

After pressing Optimize in NVIDIA or AMD using the tools, you can scroll through the list to see the difference between your "Current" settings for the game and the settings recommended by NVIDIA or AMD as "Best".

Here's the thing, though: your "optimal" settings probably won't be all that great on the first try. You may find that the graphics quality is not high enough for you, or that your game is choppy and slow. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to performance and quality. These tools usually need a little more information before they can tweak your games. (For example, I want my games to run at a smooth 60 fps, even if I have to sacrifice a bit of graphics quality for that.)

To customize this in NVIDIA GeForce Experience, click the gear icon next to the Optimize button. You get options to change the resolution and display mode, but most importantly a slider that lets you weigh your settings for performance or quality.

In AMD Gaming Evolved, this slider can be found on the main page. It's not nearly as customizable, however, and only offers three options: Performance, Quality, and Balanced.

Both the NVIDIA and AMD tools tend to weigh heavily, so if you prefer to get 60 frames per second, you should move this slider to the left a little. Again, you can easily change the settings in-game itself, but these tools take more of your hardware into account. They provide a great starting point for graphics settings.

The Intel tool does not allow you to change the settings in the app beyond enabling or disabling the recommended settings. To view the recommended settings, click a game's icon and choose View Settings. You can then view the settings recommended by Intel.

To optimize these settings after using the Intel tool, you need to start the game and adjust the settings in-game yourself.


Ultimately, these tools are pretty simple. Hardcore PC gamers will still want to tweak their own settings, but these tools offer a better alternative to the automatic graphics settings found in games.