In the Forums...
Posted: October 4, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Monitors, Resolution, and Refresh Rate
I know, this doesn't have a whole lot to do with speed (well, with the exception of the effect of 3D rendered resolution on a game…), but it is important nonetheless if you want things looking and running as well as they possibly can. The first thing that you need to take into account is the monitor - because the size and quality of the monitor will help determine the other two subjects. If you have a 14" or 15" monitor, you are probably going to want to run your monitor in 800x600, or if you have good eyes and sit close to your monitor, 1024x768. If your monitor is 17" or larger, you should be running in at least 1024x768, if not higher. However, there is another factor you need to take into account when you are determining the resolution you are going to run your monitor at - the refresh rates available to you in that resolution.
Refresh rate, if you are not aware, is the number of times per second that the monitor 'redraws' the screen. The higher the number of times the screen is redrawn a second, the easier it is on your eyes and the lower the chance you have of getting eye strain or a headache from what is commonly referred to as 'flicker.' I would personally never choose a resolution that I couldn't run my monitor at least at 72 Hz, but some people can notice flicker (and it gives them headaches) up to 85 and sometimes even 100 Hz - so this is something that you will personally have to account for. If you are getting headaches, or you can see flicker in your screen and it bugs you, upping the refresh rate (which can be done from within the Display Properties => Settings => Advanced => Adapter menu) is the way to go.
There are a few general windows settings that can contribute to a speedier graphics card. The first of these settings that I'm going to cover is the performance slider that is accessible in two places, the advanced menu in the Display applet and the graphics menu in the System applet. Both are linked so you only have to change this setting in one place. I would recommend moving the slider all the way to the right, signifying "full acceleration" - on most computers this is set by default but it is best to check. Also, in the display applet, set the color depth to 16-bit color. If you are running a game in 16-bit color but have your background desktop set to 32-bit color you can take a big performance hit.
This is probably one of our favorite video card tweaking programs here at Tweak3D - it has a huge number of tweaking features for many of the current video cards available today as well as support for modifying the core and memory clocks on many of today's video cards (gotta love overclocking). If you want more information about this program, or you want to grab a copy of it for yourself, check out Powerstrip's website.
There are a lot more tweaks for video cards (as a general rule, they are one of the most tweakable parts of the computer), but the most of them are driver or chipset specific, making them difficult to cover here. If you are lucky enough to have one of the video cards that we have already written a tweak guide for (such as the Geforce or the Voodoo3), you should check those guides out for more specific information. Read the Tweak Guides Index to see if your chipset is covered by a full length guide.
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