Those using high-end computer aided design software which heavily relies on graphics performance and those who want to play all of the latest video games with the maximum quality settings available will need a beast of a computer. For such power users, a minimum of four gigabytes of memory, a 64-bit operating system and a quad-core processor or better is a must. However, by far the most important component is the graphics card and this is something that power users will likely want to spend at $300 or more on. Even then, you may experience slowdowns. The following tips will help Windows users to get the best performance possible from 3D graphics.
Upgrade Your Graphics Card Drivers
The two major graphics chip manufacturers, nVidia and AMD, release new drivers frequently to address compatibility issues and improve performance in video games and other applications released after the graphics card itself. You should always keep your graphics card drivers up-to-date as a result. Avoid the drivers from the card manufacturer itself (such as Asus, MSI, Gigabyte or PNY etc.), since these are often outdated. Instead, obtain the latest drivers directly from nVidia or AMD depending on your card.
Use Your Graphics Card Control Panel
nVidia and AMD drivers both come with their own control panels which allow you to modify various graphical settings and even set up different profiles for different games and applications. While you won’t usually need to use this software a great deal, it can be very useful for tweaking the settings in particularly demanding 3D games and other programs to get a few extra frames per second. You can access the graphics card control panel by right-clicking on the Windows desktop.
Overclock Your Graphics Card
Overclocking your graphics card has by far the greatest influence on performance, but it does come at a price. While some cards come factory-overclocked, manual overclocking almost always voids the warranty as it increases the risk of permanent damage due to overheating. However, in reality, the risk is quite low. You can overclock your card by using the extra features provided in the graphics card control panel. Be sure to overclock in small increments of no more than five percent and test it thoroughly until you find a stable overclock. Both the memory speed and processor core speed can be overclocked on almost any graphics card.
Close Unused Programs
Close down any background programs, particularly things like hardware-intensive antivirus software. Many high-end antivirus programs also have a gamer’s mode allowing the computer to allocate more system resources to games rather than real-time malware protection. Prevent unneeded programs from starting up automatically when you log in to Windows. You can configure start-up programs easily through the Advanced Task Manager in Windows 8.
Clean Up Your PC
Optimize your computer’s overall performance by getting into the habit of periodically maintaining it. Get rid of unused files and remove and programs that you don’t use. The Disk Clean-up utility is useful for this purpose. Additionally, get into the habit of running Disk Defragmenter once or twice every month or after installing Windows or any new games. The more often you run it, the quicker it will work and it will keep your hard disk performing optimally and loading times to a minimum.