Meaning Graphic settings for video games and video card

When you install a PC game, we will have access to the first launch of the graphics options screen, where we find many configurations that can be modified, so as to adapt the game to the hardware power of your computer.
The options of the graphic cards are not always clear, they are presented as a sliding bar or a lever towards two extremes, with various degrees of effectiveness (we can find various levels to choose from).
These settings are present in 3D video games for Windows and also in the options of the computer video card, AMD, Intel or Nvidia .
In this article we will show you the meaning of 6 of the most important graphics card options and, at the end of the article, the new items that we can find on modern games and that we must absolutely adjust to get the right compromise between quality and performance.
READ ALSO: Change CPU speed, Graphics Card and RAM: best programs
1) Termination
Resolution is a fairly simple concept that affects LCD monitors.
The LCD monitor has a " native resolution ", which is the maximum allowed resolution and which is adopted from the Windows desktop
When you open a game, video or 3D animation, if it has resolution equal to the native resolution of the monitor, it will have the best graphic quality, but will require more power from the video card.
For example, a 1920 × 1080 screen means that the graphics card will have to render about 2 million pixels for each frame and the image will be as clear as possible, since the monitor will not have to convert anything.
For faster performance, we can try to decrease the screen resolution, for example, 1024 × 768, 768, 000 pixels per frame, so as to maintain good resolution for modern games but gain about double the speed in processing (which is not to be overlook when we start heavy games on video cards a few years ago).
You can see how the mouse runs faster when you decrease the screen resolution in the Windows settings (from the Control Panel) and the same thing happens in video games.
Obviously, we should not exaggerate with decreasing the resolution: viewing a low-resolution video in a large full-screen screen will make it appear blurry or grainy, making the game experience worse.
In general, the ideal is to use the native resolution of the monitor, but the computer must be able to support it if you want to see a high quality image.
READ ALSO: Meaning of screen resolution for TV and monitor and for photos
2) Vertical synchronization
The idea behind Vertical Synchronization, often referred to as VSync, is to synchronize the number of frames rendered at the monitor refresh rate.
For example, most LCD monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate, so it displays 60 frames per second.
If the computer manages to run 100 frames per second for the game, the monitor cannot do it and for the PC there is only a waste of energy, in addition to generating visible artifacts (such as ghost images or scene cuts).
VSync tries to synchronize the frame rate of the games by adjusting them to the refresh rate of the monitor, also avoiding the image being cut off.
With this item active the game engine will be limited to 60 FPS, so as never to exceed the frequency of the monitor (which can reproduce everything smoothly).
VSync, however, is also one of the managers of the lag in video games since it acts very heavily on the performance of the video card, therefore it must be activated only if we notice artifacts on the monitor while we play.
The modern video cards and the latest generation monitors also offer vertical synchronization systems implemented at the hardware level, thanks to the use of G-Sync (NVIDIA) and FreeSync (AMD) technologies.
With these technologies, the monitor "governs" the video card, indicating the framerate to be reached: in this way we do not waste resources within the game and everything runs more smoothly and without cuts.
3) Texture Filtering
Bilinear, trilinear and anisotropic filtering are techniques that are used to refine the textures within a game, so as to make them appear more detailed even if reproduced "far" from the focal point (where we observe within the game).
Anisotropic (or AF) filtering is the one that gives better results making textures sharper and less blurry, but requires more hardware power.
Basically it is always advisable to leave it active, but we recommend setting it to intermediate values ​​(usually x4 and x8), leaving the highest values ​​only for very high-end video cards.
4) Antialiasing
Aliasing is an effect that occurs when the lines and edges of the image appear jagged, thus showing "edges" of each polygon reproduced on the screen.
Antialiasing (or AA) is the name given to various techniques to eliminate aliasing, uniforming the lines and making them appear more natural and clear in graphic animations and video games.
The antialiasing options are 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x which are numbers related to the precision of the image.
On a small high resolution monitor, 4x antialiasing can be set and not more to make the images clear.
All video games use more advanced antialiasing techniques, such as FXAA, an algorithm that produces better results in any scenario (in fact, it is always better to have it active, if better filters are not available).
Nowadays there are also MSAA (Multi-Sampling Antialias) and SSAA or FSAA (i.e. Supersampling), which samples multiple pixels and sub-pixels simultaneously, greatly increasing the filter quality in 3D games.
So the advice is to always set at least 4x as basic antialiasing, then activate FXAA for games and, if the video card allows, also the other filter settings to increase the quality.
5) Ambient Occlusion
Ambient occlusion (AO) is a way of modeling lighting effects in 3D scenes.
Ambient Occlusion determines how bright they should be by calculating which pixels in an image should be illuminated, thus adding realistic shadows to an image.
There are many other settings used in PC video games, including some more obvious ones, to be raised or not depending on the graphics card that is used.
The basic one is SSAO, but we can also find HBAO or HBAO + based on the model in our possession and the game running.
Our advice is to always try with the most powerful filters to see how they impact performance ; if the drop in framerates is excessive, then better give it up and use only SSAO.
Expert trick : many use this parameter to decide whether or not to change the video card.
If a very recent game fails to run well with the ambient occlusion filter at its maximum, perhaps the time has come to change the video card, choosing among the models present at the end of the article.
6) Tessellation
With the arrival of DirectX 11 and 12, tessellation has also been introduced, which dynamically adds polygons to the objects we approach. When we are in the game near objects treated with this filter, they appear detailed and realistic. The impact of tessellation can be very heavy and put a strain on the video card, especially on very large scenarios or with many objects to be rendered, to the point of halving the framerate in certain areas.
Let's activate it for test, if it doesn't go or slows down everything better leave it off.
7) Test and benchmark
In some games, benchmarks are available to test the settings used, so as to see the number of FPS generated in a game scenario under test.
If it is not included in the game or we want to carry out more advanced tests, we recommend using one of the following programs:
- 3DMark
- Heaven Benchmark
- Catzilla Benchmark
- Superposition BenchMark
We use these programs to understand whether to replace the video card or whether it is still suitable for modern games.
READ ALSO -> Optimal configurations for NVIDIA and AMD graphics card

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