Home page
Articles for Windows, Linux, OS X
Mac tips and articles
Mac tips
Windows 8 tips and articles
Windows 7 tips and articles
Vista Tips
XP Tips
Linux tips and articles
Read the blog
Online store
Windows, Linux, OS X programs

Speed up your PC with video driver tweaks

No matter how fast computers become and no matter how many cores there are in the CPU or how many gigahertz it runs it, it never seems to be enough. Computers today are many times faster than they used to be, so why do they take so long to start up? And why don't they seem to run any faster than they used to? Of course, the reason is that modern software is much more sophisticated and complex than it used to be a few years ago. The extra computing power of modern processors is completely absorbed by the demands of modern software. So PCs don't seem any faster than they used to be. However, there are a few simple tweaks you can perform to speed up the computer a little.

The tweaks are to do with the video driver and it is possible to sacrifice a bit of quality in return for extra speed. Technical users and gaming enthusiasts have known this for years, but a lot of people aren't aware that you can choose between quality or performance and by default, most video cards are set up with a medium setting that offers a bit of performance along with a bit of quality too.

If the video chipset used in your PC is not particularly fast then it is well worth sacrificing a bit of quality for some extra speed. After all, you can't play a game if it is too slow and it just isn't fun. If the graphics aren't quit pin-sharp, but otherwise the game runs fine, then it can still be a lot of fun.

We'll use the Intel video chipset as an example, partly because it is commonly supplied in budget PCs and partly because it isn't very fast and you need to extract every bit of performance from it that is possible. Other video cards and chipsets are similar and the only difference is in the menus and dialogs you access.

There is an icon at the right-hand side of the taskbar to access the video driver settings (in Windows 7 you need to click the up arrow first. Click the icon and a menu is displayed - select Graphics Properties. Sometimes there is an item on the Start menu to access the video card properties.

Intel video driver

Select the 3D section on the left and on the right is a slider with Performance at one end and Quality at the other. Drag it over to the Performance end and click the Apply button. Select the Power category on the left and choose Maximum Performance on the right. Click Apply and then OK to close the window. Restart Windows and now whenever you play a game or use other software that requires 3-D graphics, the computer will run a bit faster. It won't be a big difference and it may barely be noticeable, but every little helps.

Intel video driver