Friday, December 24, 2010

Adjust Graphics Settings for Peek Performance of Games - For Intel Users

A variety of graphics settings are available in PC games that can improve graphics quality or increase game performance. This gives games the ability to take advantage of the latest high performance computers, while still allowing acceptable performance for slower computers. Some common settings are described below.

When enabling or disabling different features, there is usually a tradeoff between graphics quality and game performance.Try enabling a feature or increasing the detail level, then check the quality and performance that results to find the best balance for that particular game.

Screen Resolution:

Increased screen resolution improves graphics quality by increasing the number of pixels displayed at once. This allows for sharper graphics details and decreased stair-step patterns on the edges of polygons. In most cases, the higher the screen resolution, the lower the frame rate for the game. 800x600 and 1024x768 are common screen resolutions for games. Lower resolution is good for network play, where the frame rate must stay high in order to compete with other players

Color Depth:

Many games give the option to run in either 16-bit or 32-bit color depth. This refers to the amount of video memory that is required for each screen pixel. 32-bit color depth gives a larger range of colors to use, resulting in higher quality rendering. Due to the increased video memory bandwidth that is needed, 32-bit color will reduce the frame rate for the game. With some games, this can result in choppier performance.

Some games also allow setting the color depth of textures. 32-bit color can dramatically improve the appearance of textures and reduce artifacts, like dithering and banding. The improvement is especially visible when three or more textures are applied to a polygon. A small performance decrease may be seen with 32-bit color textures.

Texture Detail Level:

This usually refers to how large or how many textures are used in the game. Large textures can take up a lot of video memory, but this can be alleviated by using texture compression, if supported by the game.

Mip Mapping :

Mipmapping is a method of improving graphics quality and performance by using different mipmap levels, or texture sizes, depending on how far a pixel is in the distance. Trilinear mipmapping further improves quality by smoothing the transition between mipmap levels. Anisotropic filtering further improves graphics quality by increasing the amount of detail that can be seen when textures are seen from certain angles.

Depth Buffer :

The depth buffer (Z-buffer or W-buffer) is used in 3D games to determine whether pixels on one polygon are in front of the pixel on another polygon. A higher precision depth buffer, such as 24-bit, will prevent pixels from showing up in front of pixels that they should be behind. A 16-bit depth buffer gives higher performance due to a large reduction in video memory bandwidth.

Texture Compression:

Texture compression is a method of reducing the amount of memory and memory bandwidth required for textures with a small reduction in visual quality. In certain games where a low-resolution texture is used for a large surface, like a sky image, significant color banding can be seen if texture compression is enabled. A combination of enabling texture compression and high texture detail can provide a good balance of quality and performance in many games.

Lighting Model:

Common lighting models for games include lightmap and vertex lighting. Vertex lighting gives a fixed brightness for each corner of a polygon. The lightmap model add an extra texture, called a lightmap, on top of each polygon which gives the appearance of variation of light and dark levels across the polygon. Due to the extra texture pass required, the lightmap model usually gives lower framerate than vertex lighting, but gives a much richer look to games that use it. Both types of lighting are supported by all Intel chipsets with integrated graphics.


Anti-aliasing is used to reduce stair-step patterns on the edges of polygons in games. It gives a smoother, slightly blurred look to the edges. Full scene anti-aliasing accomplishes this by rendering each frame at a larger resolution, then scaling it down to fit the actual screen resolution. This can lower the frame rate by a large amount, while increasing quality by a small amount. Usually, increasing the screen resolution is a better tradeoff than turning on anti-aliasing. Anti-aliasing is only useful for games when a lot of extra graphics performance is available.


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