Virtually every consumer-facing GPU, integrated or discreet, for gaming or for work, comes with a program called a "driver suite" or "control panel". These apps give you options for crafting and playing around.

While Nvidia's driver suite (officially the Nvidia Control Panel) can seem intimidating with its list of options, in reality there are few major options for the average user to worry about. Here are the top options to look at.

Open the Nvidia control panel

When you install your Nvidia drivers, they usually come with the Nvidia control panel. However, sometimes there are cases when it doesn't. For example, some OEM desktops and laptops may require you to use the Microsoft Store version of the Nvidia Control Panel.

Before you begin, look for "Nvidia Control Panel" in the Windows search bar:

Nvidia Control Panel in the search bar

If you see it, you already have it. If you don't see it, go to the Microsoft Store and download the app, which is free of course. When you open it it should look something like this:

Nvidia control panel

And yes, the user interface is a little antiquated. Also, don't worry if you experience severe delays when changing the settings, which is (unfortunately) typical.

Related: How to Cleanly Install and Reinstall GPU Drivers on Windows

Important 3D settings in the Nvidia control panel

The first thing we should look at is this 3D settings. You should have several tabs under 3D settings (which are on the left side of the window) but the only thing you want to click is Manage 3D settings. You should see something like this:

Manage Nvidia Control Panel 3D settings

You should see many, many settings in this tab, but don't be overwhelmed. Most of these settings are pretty much useless or inoperable for modern applications. We'll just focus on a few, organized from start to finish on the list.

The first potentially useful setting on this list is Background application max frame rule. Basically, you can set a maximum frame rate for an app (e.g. this can be especially useful when you don't want to shut down a game entirely, but also want to keep power consumption to a minimum.

DSR factors (DSR stands for Dynamic Super Resolution) can be used in place of anti-aliasing to improve visual quality. Basically, a game is rendered at a higher resolution and then scaled down to the resolution of your monitor.

You could play a game in 4K and see it on your 1080p monitor, but you obviously wouldn't see a 4K image. This may sound like a useless setting, but it can be better than anti-aliasing to get rid of jagged graphics. However, increasing the resolution is very graphically consuming, so be careful.

Low latency mode is useful if you're playing a competitive game like Fortnite where you want to keep lag and latency as low as possible. Nvidia recommends setting this to Ultra, but based on our own testing, it doesn't seem to do much in some of the most popular competitive games. Even so, sometimes every millisecond is important.

Maximum frame rate is similar to the first setting we looked at, but takes effect anytime it's enabled. This setting can also be used to reduce power consumption. However, it has other uses as well. For example, there are some games (mostly older ones) that shouldn't run at very high frame rates.

Monitor technology is a setting that you will definitely want to change if you have a G-SYNC monitor. When it's set to Fixed update Instead of G-SYNC compatible, your anti-screen tearing technology may not work.

For most users, these are the most relevant and applicable settings.

Related: Easy Ways To Fix nvlddmkm.sys Error In Windows 10

Important display settings in the Nvidia control panel

This time under the display Options we will look at two different tabs: Change resolution and Set up G-SYNC.

Resolution settings in the Nvidia control panel

The Change resolution As the name suggests, the tab allows you to change the resolution. You can also change the refresh rate.

But more interesting than these two functions (both of which can already be changed in the Windows settings) is this To adjust represent. You can set a custom resolution or refresh rate, and even set a refresh rate higher than the one validated for your display.

To do this, click on To adjust then Create custom resolution. This will bring up these options:

Custom resolution of the Nvidia control panel

To be clear, increasing the refresh rate beyond what's advertised is overclocking. No manufacturer accepts damage from overclocking.

Related: The Best CPU Overclocking Software for Boosting Performance

However, changing the resolution is perfectly fine. In fact, just like DSR, you can increase the resolution and it will be applied across your entire PC, rather than just in games. Again, the physical resolution of your monitor is unchanged, but it can look a little clearer.

The last rider is Set up G-SYNC and again the name is simple. It should look like this:

Nvidia system control G-SYNC

Under this tab there are a few more options for adjusting G-SYNC. If you have a G-SYNC display you should make sure it is enabled both here and in the 3D settings. Check the Activate G-SYNC, G-SYNC compatible Option and make sure you choose Enable for window and full screen mode.

If you have multiple monitors, the second section will show you which monitor you are currently changing. The third section will finalize all of your changes if you review Activate settings for the selected display model.

If you have multiple monitors, it is recommended that you only enable them on the monitor you are playing on. Enabling G-SYNC for multiple monitors can lead to weird patching issues.

You can enable these "G-SYNC" settings even if you have a FreeSync or Adaptive Sync display. Nvidia will inform you that the display is not "validated", but the technology behind G-SYNC Compatible is the same technology as FreeSync and Adaptive Sync. Nvidia's validation has more to do with their seal of approval than whether or not it actually works.

The Nvidia control panel offers many settings … but few meaning

Nvidia Control Panel is a very useful app, but there are a lot of honestly useless and unnecessary settings out there. Most users should only care about the few discussed in this article.

Even enthusiasts probably won't bother with the half-dozen anti-aliasing settings (without the DSR, of course). Still, the Nvidia Control Panel is key to taking advantage of some very unique features that you can't find anywhere in Windows Settings.

It's also important to note that the Nvidia Control Panel is different from Geforce Experience. Both are great tools for gamers, but they all do different things.

nvidia graphics hardware

What is GeForce Experience? Benefit explains important functions and advantages

Here's what you need to know about GeForce Experience, what it does, and if it's better than the Nvidia Control Panel.

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About the author

Matthew Connatser
(4 articles published)

Matthew is a PC writer at MakeUseOf. He has been writing about PC hardware and software since 2018. His previous freelance positions were at Notebookcheck and Tom & # 39; s Hardware. In addition to writing, he is also interested in history and linguistics.

By Matthew Connatser

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