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So-called game optimisation
Posted Jun 25, 08:51 AM by KroFunk

WARNING: This post includes far too many sarcastic quotations, and I apologise. 

This is a little grumble about tools that "optimise" your games for you. A few years ago this software didn't really exist, and I can't say that I ever really thought I would "need" something that set my texture and lighting settings unless I was struck by a bus and left unable to work out whether what I was looking at seemed like blarg or not. ANYWAY that's "me" (someone au fait with computer hardware and software) what about the masses that don't care about how many kinds of "Anti-Aliasing" there is...so there is a market for it, but I just wish for two things: 1. That this BS was optional 2. That it actually fricken worked. 

There are third party optimisers that I have not dedicated any real time to (like raptr, iobit, razer) I have however been forced to have tools from Nvidia and AMD (different machines OBVIOUSLY) installed and nagging me for how to update a driver and constantly telling me that my settings are not optimal. 

The thought crosses my mind..perhaps they are right and I am wrong? I have two very brief case studies:

Tom Clancy's The Division

Hardware: i7 6700, 16GB DDR3, GTX960m, 1920x1080 (yes, its a laptop!).
Nvidia Optimal Settings: YOU CANNOT RUN THIS LOLOLOLOL, everything to low and pray! set res to 1024x768.
Nvidia Performance: Looked like utter garbage, did run at 60FPS (60hz display).
My Settings: Generally hovering around the mid-high region for texture and detail turned stuff liked the snow to low. set res to 1080p.
My Performance: Looked great, crisp and responsive. Not quite 60FPS, Average of 50 but not below 40. 

Despite what the GeForce experience says, my laptop can play this game and play it well! I have logged over 70 hours so far without any issue. I have looked into why I'm given the false info, and many believe that because a lot of Intel laptops technically have 2 graphics adapters, a low power intel solution and a dedicated Nvidia chip, it is possible that the GeForce Experience is checking the wrong doodah, but I find that unlikely. I believe that this is the laptop discrimination problem; in the game requirements section, you will quite often see this tidbit: "laptop versions of graphics card may work but are not supported" Which is a PR way of saying "We didn't test it, good luck" and I believe the GeForce Experience deals with that by crippling your settings..you know, just incase. 

DOOM

Hardware: i5 4460, 16GB DDR3, GTX980, 2560x1080 (this one's a desktop with an "ultrawide" display).
Nvidia Optimal Settings: All settings medium to low or "OFF" set res to 2560x1080.
Nvidia Performance: Still looked like DOOM, but no shiny stuff and less explody body bits, capped at 60FPS.
My Settings: High to Ultra. set res to 2560x1080
My Performance: DOOM!, This game is a beaut. still running at capped at 60FPS.

It could be worth noting that my CPU, which is not a "gaming" processor does get a hammering when playing DOOM, but it does pull it off, the temps are not an issue and nothing gets throttled. Most importantly, switching to the low settings does not have a massive impact on the CPU load in my case..obviously your mileage may vary. I could uncap the FPS but my screen does not go above 75Hz and is anything over 60 really necessary? I struggled to see what the GeForce Experience was trying to do...you know, other than make things less pretty.


I recorded this clip using OBS (which in itself should impact performance, but it stayed at 60FPS on Ultra)Nvidia shadowplay would not allow me to record or stream DOOM.

Synopsis

Game optimisers are in a tough spot. When selecting settings you have to know what is going to take the load. I can speculate that the software picks out your weakest component and moves on from there. It's difficult to make a hat that fits everyone so I understand that they are being conservative. I guess the outcome is, they "work" but only if you don't know any better. 

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