GeForce Experience optimizes in-game graphics settings

PC games typically present users with myriad of graphical detail options that affect not only the visuals, but also the frame rate. Getting the best experience usually involves a fair bit of trial and error to determine which settings deliver the best graphics improvements with the smallest performance penalties. Some games do offer built-in optimization routines that tailor settings to a user’s hardware configuration, but they tend to be fairly conservative and are sometimes completely hopeless. Nvidia thinks it has a better solution in GeForce Experience, a software package that optimizes in-game graphics settings based on the user’s system specifications. Check out the promo video:

GeForce Experience’s optimization routines are based on a combination of manual and automated testing. First, Nvidia’s “expert game testers” identify demanding areas that are used to benchmark the impact of various quality settings. They also define performance targets, including a minimum frame rate, based on the pace of the game. Twitchy first-person shooters typically require higher frame rates than slower-paced real-time strategy games. Each graphical setting is weighted based on its visual impact and associated performance hit. Then, everything is fed into the “GeForce Experience supercomputer,” which intelligently turns up the graphics detail until the performance target is reached on a multitude of presumably simulated hardware configs.

The iterative testing is conducted entirely on Nvidia’s end. All the end-user has to do is install the GeForce Experience app, scan their system for supported games, and click the “optimize” button to apply the recommended settings for their rig. The software interface also explains how various settings affect the graphics, including what looks like a preview based on in-game screenshots. Neat.

In addition to tweaking game settings, GeForce Experience can download graphics driver updates in the background. The automatic driver downloads work with graphics cards dating back to the GeForce 8 series, but you’ll need a Fermi- or Kepler-based GPU to take advantage of the game optimization capability. GeForce Experience is currently being tested in a closed beta with 10,000 users. An open beta is planned for January; by then, Nvidia should have expanded upon the 32 titles currently supported.

Naturally, GeForce Experience needs to send Nvidia information about your system. Some of that data may be aggregated and shared with Nvidia’s partners, but the firm promises to keep user-level information to itself. GeForce Experience doesn’t collect any personally identifiable information, Nvidia says.

GeForce Experience looks promising, especially for newbies who might not have otherwise touched a game’s detail settings. However, the focus seems to be on reaching FPS targets rather than minimizing the frequency and severity of high-latency frames that can noticeably disrupt the smoothness of animation. Perhaps we need to introduce that GeForce Experience supercomputer to our inside-the-second methods.

Comments closed
    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I purchased an AMD 7970 about an hour before this article was posted.

    Dammit, you guys were supposed to call me before my credit card charges were authorized!

    LOL. Sigh.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      did you win? nm. wrong article.

    • Shoki
    • 7 years ago

    I want this.

    • Sam125
    • 7 years ago

    Reminds me of the whole quack3 debacle lol. Nvidia is so amusing with their gimmicks.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    The initiative is good, i mean they are helpfull if you don’t want to waste time to adjust them yourself. Personally i always take the time and enjoy doing it. But frankly i’m surprised to learn that there are people who don’t even know they have to change the resolution and yet buy high end parts….

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      I find it strange too, but I actually know somebody that did this, although the parts were more mid-range it was still a terrible waste to run a good video card and nice monitor at 640×480 or whatever it defaulted to (believe it or not, there are still some semi-recent games that do this, but don’t ask me which ones).

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    So, this is what I suggested Valve do about six months ago when they started talking about the steambox to improve user experience.

    Only this will definitely be closed with an agenda instead of being available to everyone. In other words they’ll try to force newer graphics cards on you and AMD users may not get the same treatment, if any treatment at all.

    You missed the train Valve, but there is still hope. You can still do this and you have a better way of gathering data based on users with a gajillion different configurations. That allows you to analyze the data and setup a heuristic approach based on statistics instead of making a handful of profiles for well known games on only certain GPUs.

    You still have the opportunity to setup a upgrade recommendation system and a ‘playability’ system to analyze someones hardware and give them a general idea of how good their playing experience will be on that hardware (green, red, yellow). You can do all sorts of cool things with this!

    Valve is supposed to have smart people g’dit.

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      They do have smart people. They’re smart enough not to get into any business but their own. Making recommendations based on hardware is fraught with compatibility issues, is highly subjective, and a lot of money is at stake for hardware companies. Performance targets vary, and the way to get there is based on a lot of subjective decisions.

      Why would they want to deal with that when they are there to sell games? The people who make up their most loyal customers aren’t going to need this; by and large they know how and what to upgrade, what each setting does and have a pretty good idea how it’s going to affect their performance. Those that don’t generally leave things at default, and I doubt they’d even know about the software, and the first time the optimizations made their game unplayable, that would be the end of that for them.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I disagree… It’s entirely possible to make a quantitative measurement based on aggregated hardware data. They have access to pretty much every combination of PC parts put together since they opened their doors and they can easily build recommendations on it simply by monitoring performance in game (FPS) and reading the game settings.

        This would easily allow them to make recommendations for settings as well as what sort of upgrades would be beneficial for users or what sort of performance users could expect with current hardware. They could even easily figure out if someones performance is low for their current hardware, which would aide people in troubleshooting their PC experience.

        You’re underestimating the raw amount of data they have access to and statistics.

        They aren’t justin the business of selling games. Amazon sells games, why go with Steam? They’re in the business of making the PC experience easy and enjoyable for whoever is using Steam. Heck that’s essentially what they were preaching when they released more info on the Steambox.

        No, I completely disagree that the majority of steam users know what to buy for hardware upgrades. There are plenty of casual users that use steam. And even if you’re someone like myself or you that knows what sort of performance to expect with hardware because we regularly read up on it (which isn’t normal), you still can’t figure out exactly what performance it will get you with your current hardware in a game of your choosing. Steam could tell you all of this.

        They could even allow you to see what sort of performance increases you will get by swapping out components of your system merely because they have access to such a huge repository of data. Nvidia, AMD, and even Intel can’t do this because they don’t manage a game content distribution system. The only way Nvidia can make profiles is by actually getting the hardware and testing it.

        Keep in mind games don’t always automatically default things to the best settings for your computer either. Valve could do this, much like Nvidia is trying to, only they could do it a lot better because they have tons and tons of hardware configurations at their disposal.

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    Thanks for the heads up. The beta is currently full but I put my name into the hat for the next round of openings.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    some computers cost as much as much as cars

    how do u justify doing this?

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t buy cars and I buy computers with other people’s money. How is this relevant, though?

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Buy a better car.

      • FakeAlGore
      • 7 years ago

      What does that have anything to do with anything? Ever?

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        i think he’s just surprised at the excessive expenditure on toys. I know i often am.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          You can’t take it with you.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            WELLS!

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          You’ve got a really big holier-than-thou chip on your shoulder.

      • mnemonick
      • 7 years ago

      …which cars are we talking about? Some buy Fords or Hondas, some buy Audis or Acuras and [i<]some[/i<] buy Lamborghini Murcielagos. 😀

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        i have more respect for the guy in a 10 year old honda than the guy who got a 10 year old audi or acura, used in an attempt to look rich or something

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          I’ll make sure to keep your respect in mind whenever I purchase something.

    • DPete27
    • 7 years ago

    I hope they can make it consider the effects of Lucid Virtu software on framerates.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Yet more qualitative measures for what is a quantitative problem.

    I appreciate what Nvidia are trying to do here, but raising the Physx to High on Borderlands2, for example, causes the 650Ti to stutter during heavy exchanges of exlosives. “Nvidia recommended settings” is obviously going to be biased towards enabling their proprietary features.

    What would actually be more useful would be a min/max/average framerate [b<]estimate[/b<] that tells you, the user, how much of a performance hit a particular graphics setting entails. In BL2 for example, ambient occlusion is a 25% hit to frame rates on midrange hardware and it actually only looks good in a still scene. if you take screenshots of rapidly moving parts of the game, you can see all the AO going wrong (lagging behind the edges that are supposed to be occluded) so it's [list<][*<]something that provides dubious real-world quality benefits[/*<][*<]reduces performance enough to make a playable situation unplayable.[/*<][/list<] Nvidia would be onto a winner if they gave you a screenshot of the feature, and also the expected performance hit, either as a framerate estimate, or a percentage drop, based on [i<]your hardware[/i<]. Obviously FXAA and 16x Aniso hurts a GT520 more than a GTX680.....

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Oh wow, I was just reading some other comments on this and stumbled on my own; I must have been on the wine….

      Can someone please explain to me what quantitative is? 😛

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        Your OP is fine. Quantitative = the result is based on something you can measure. Qualitative = the result is based on something that is basically subjective.

        E.g. say I say that tree looks nice over there because green is a nice colour. = qualitative.

        Say I then scan your brain and have some new technology that measures brain actitivity and can map it to the area that sends off dopamine receptors making you feel happy or something (yeah I don’t know if this is possible) and I show you a picture of that tree and it triggers you to “feel happy” and I have the brain wave data to prove it = quantitative.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          I think the spelling brainfart was this morning then; I was looking at those two words and thinking they just had [i<]too many tits[/i<] in them. Do you sometimes get that - where you look at a correctly-spelt english word and it looks utterly alien to you?

    • superjawes
    • 7 years ago

    I do kinda like the ability to change all your games from the desktop. It would be especially nice if you can just hit a button after a GPU upgrade and have everything bump up.

    It would also be really cool if this unlcoked other tweaks that are normally unavailable in game.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Additional tweaks, in fact an almost ridiculous amount, are already available and can be set on a per-game basis in the driver control panel. It would be cool for the super tweaker geeks if that were available, but I think the point of this program is to make optimizations accessible to a wider audience. Maybe they’ll add an advanced mode.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve never had a problem using games Auto-Detect abilities. This -can- be a useful feature but I doubt I’ll ever turn it on my GTX 670. It’s good to see nVidia pushing forward though.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    shouldn’t the game detect you video card and apply optimal settings?

      • Zoomastigophora
      • 7 years ago

      Generally, the auto-detect settings are only setup for the GPUs that were around at the time of the game’s release. This means that as new cards are released, games will often default those newer cards to low/inappropriate settings because they don’t recognize them. A utility like this means nVidia can properly configure new cards for older games.

      Aside from that, developers also can’t test every possible GPU and general system configuration so they have to make sweeping generalizations i.e. configure for the worst case at that tier of GPU performance. If nVidia is willing to exhaustively test more configurations and settings combinations, you can very often end up with more appropriate visual quality and performance balance than just relying on the in-game’s auto-detect.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        Really though, it shouldn’t need any preprogramed knowledge. It should test the card for it’s capabilities and adjust the game settings accordingly.

          • bcronce
          • 7 years ago

          capabilities != performance

          Just because a card can support something, doesn’t mean you should use it. Different cards may get different performances based on the combination of features used. A game developer doesn’t have the time to test all configurations.

            • Jason181
            • 7 years ago

            Actually, it can mean performance. It can also mean features, but the definitions are both acceptable. I’m pretty sure he meant test how capable it is at running with different settings; testing its capabilities.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 7 years ago

      And I auto-detect bad grammar.

        • swaaye
        • 7 years ago

        We need to tweak your default settings.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      In Soviet Russia, game detects [i<]you![/i<]

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    If game developers opt to save themselves the effort of creating user-configuration settings and screens and simply letting the graphics driver optimize the settings for the user, it’s going to become very difficult for TR to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      I doubt they would do that completely. They might offer it as an option, but if something hits a hiccup and a user can’t turn something down to fix it, there will be massive backlash.

    • Ifalna
    • 7 years ago

    Nice PhysX Demo video. Is there a point apart from “Hurr durr PhysX is awesome!11”?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Doesn’t that cynicism apply to graphics eye candy in general?

        • Ifalna
        • 7 years ago

        Well, sure. But the point of this Video is to present a simple to use software that changes settings on the fly. It’s really a great idea for peeps that have no clue.

        But all he goes on about is “awesome sparks, awesome cloth look at how realistic PhysX renders stuff!”

        Simply put: He completely misses the topic at hand.

          • indeego
          • 7 years ago

          I have a clue and I find this a time-saver, probably worth checking out. Not everyone wants to sit and tweak games for hours every year just to jump in and play with eyecandy/fps balance.

            • Ifalna
            • 7 years ago

            Dunno, I only game at max detail anyway. Played FarCry on my 9600xt back in the day, boy… don’t try to move that gun when shooting…. ^_^

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            ME TOO BABY. i don’t care about fps, i just like the pretty slideshow!

    • cegras
    • 7 years ago

    I like AMD but I’m just getting less and less reason to stick with them. The 7870 I have is plagued by a well known issue where a cheap capacitor on the card causes it to hang, and I’m about to initiate my second RMA. I look at the nvidia side and see stable drivers, stable performance, and a lot of bells and whistles.

      • Ifalna
      • 7 years ago

      Which 7870 do you have? I run Gigabytes OC version and it’s rock solid.

        • cegras
        • 7 years ago

        Sapphire. The problem is well documented …

          • Ryu Connor
          • 7 years ago

          [url=http://www.behardware.com/news/12705/black-screens-and-radeon-hd7870-a-solution.html<]This[/url<]?

            • cegras
            • 7 years ago

            Precisely.

      • Shambles
      • 7 years ago

      AMD has nothing to do with the capacitors that their partners decide to use on their products. If you have an Asus 7870 you’re going to have an equal chance of having a bad capacitor on an Asus GTX 660.

        • cegras
        • 7 years ago

        This issue was caused by a underspec’d component that AMD did issue a correction for, but unfortunately some partner’s ignored.

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