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NVIDIA's latest graphics driver offers an even more flexible framerate limiter

By Koh Wanzi - on 4 Feb 2020, 4:14pm

NVIDIA's latest graphics driver offers an even more flexible framerate limiter

NVIDIA has begun rolling out a new GeForce Game Ready Driver, version 442.19 WHQL, for its graphics cards. The biggest change is the more flexible framerate limiter, which it first introduced in the previous driver version. 

"With the latest Game Ready driver, we've incorporated community feedback asking for the limits to be extended. As a result, framerate limits can be as low as 20fps and can be raised as high as 1000fps," says NVIDIA.

While some games do have a built-in framerate limiter at the level of the game engine, it's not a feature that is present on every game today. In the latter case, some folks have had to rely on the Rivatuner Statistics Server, more popularly known as RTSS. It's a CPU-level external framerate limiter, and it used to be the closest you could get to an engine-level framerate limiter while still keeping input lag to a minimum.

NVIDIA's introduction of a framerate limiter in the NVIDIA Control Panel is potentially a replacement for RTSS, so you don't have to download any additional software. Testing by reviewers like Battle(non)sense, who runs a YouTube channel with extensive videos dedicated to things like input lag and netcode, has shown that it works just as well as RTSS, although an in-game framerate limiter is still the preferred option if one is available.

Image Source: NVIDIA

You're probably wondering why someone would want to limit their framerate in the first place. One obvious reason is to reduce power consumption and noise, especially if you're running a gaming laptop. However, if you've got a G-Sync display, a framerate limiter could come in really handy for ensuring a smooth and tear-free experience throughout and also more consistent input lag times.

While some people are after the lowest possible input lag, they often neglect how consistent their frame times are. Using V-Sync in conjunction with G-Sync helps with this, but if you've got a powerful graphics card that is sometimes capable of exceeding the maximum refresh rate of your display, G-Sync begins to mimic V-Sync behaviour and introduces additional frames of delay. To avoid the extra input lag, you need a framerate limiter to stop your card from hitting the G-Sync ceiling and triggering V-Sync behaviour. The end result is consistent frame times, no tearing, and low input lag, which should give you a pretty smooth and responsive experience.

Here's what NVIDIA itself has to say about this:

Enable Max Frame Rate and set your power management mode to 'Prefer maximum performance' to reduce latency. While in this mode, the GPU is kept at higher frequencies to process frames as quickly as possible. To maximise latency reduction in GPU bound scenarios where FPS is consistent, set Max Frame Rate to a framerate slightly below the average FPS and turn Low Latency Mode to Ultra.

I recommend reading this Blur Busters article to find out more about the topic, and you'll also find the recommended G-Sync settings at the end.

Other than that, the new driver also adds a few more G-Sync Compatible displays to the growing list, including the ASUS VG259QM, Dell AW2521HF, and LG 34GN850. Some bugs are being squashed too, such as an issue with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare where streaming of gameplay using OBS would randomly stop.