NVIDIA Graphics Card Tweaking

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***This tweaking guide is meant to help all NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX up to Geforce 6600GT (as well as the other models) have a general idea on how to optimize or set their videocard to perform at its best with most games.
***Its tough to create a single section and try to help most (if not all) NVIDIA owners optimize their cards. I will be dividing the cards into 3 different groups: Low/Mid/High End. I'm aware that those categories can be sometimes become subjective, but I have to start somewhere to help explain to u guys some things a bit easier here.
**As always tweaking a PC game isn't only about optimizing ur videocard. So if u'r new here, please feel free to optimize the rest of ur system (OS, BIOS, the game itself if applicable, etc.) before proceeding with this guide.
*I was able to use TNT 2 Ultra, GF2 MX, GF4 MX 400, GF4 Ti 4200, and GF 6600 NVIDIA cards. Though its only the latter 2 that I have more or less an idea how newer games perform with them.
*For this guide its best if you have the latest Rivatuner installed in your system: www.guru3d.com/rivatuner/ and the videocard drivers that I will recommend depending on the type of graphics card that you have.

=Reality Check=
Before we start this guide, I must first make sure that u guys are aware that we're trying to perform optimizations here ... not miracles. You cannot expect a GF2 MX videocard to run newer games at 1024x768 with max setting by tweaking. There are times when we have to admit that we have to spend some money and upgrade our hardware, or in this case, the videocard. This guide will just try and give u more value for the money that u spent with your videocard, and not blow higher models to dust by means of tweaking =)
=Stability vs Speed=
This is often times a problem when tweaking a videocard (or any part of ur system) especially if ur overclocking ur hardware. In my humble opinion it's better to lose some performance rather than having to restart the game or ur system due to lock-ups or crashes. So please do not force ur system to use a particular setting or graphics driver even if ur experiencing instability problem just because u get a few more frames out of game with it.
=Screen Resolution=
This is just a reminder for those who may have forgotten or for those who are not yet aware. Even if ur videocard is capable of running ur games with high FSAA (Full Scene AntiAliasing) settings ... try to set ur screen resolution first to max whatever ur videocard and/or monitor is capable of handling (but try not to blind urself by using a very high screen res with super low refresh rate though). Increasing FSAA doesn't improve the game's textures ... it actually blurs them out. Increasing the screen resolution on the other hand reduces the jagged lines on ur game (same as enabling/increasing FSAA) and at the same time improve the quality of textures.
=The Division=
Low End:
-GeForce 4 (and below) series
-GFX 5600 (and below) series
-GeForce 6200 series
Mid End:
-GFX 5700 series
-GFX 5800 series
-GFX 5900 series
-GeForce 6600 series
High End:
-GeForce  6800 series
-GeForce 7800
**the said divisions were based in my opinion as I mentioned above on my notes. all 64bit versions regardless where they're placed should be considered as a Low End card.
=Other Factors=
Regardless of the videocard (or ur system) and game that u have, if u have a high tolerance on frame skips, then u should consider urself lucky. How would u know if u'r one of them? If u find urself enjoying playing ur PC game while ur friends were too busy squinting due to eye strain, then ur one of them lol! Or if ur experiencing control lags (unless of course affected by other factors) yet u still think u have a smooth frame rate ... then ur in the club. Seriously though, there are persons who is unable to notice frame skips better than others and to tell u the truth, I envy them ;)
The other factor is the game itself, even if u have a low, mid, or high end videocard ... its overall performance is going to be dictated on how good looking, how new the game is, or how good or bad (word redundancy anyone?! lol!) the game developers created the code for the game. Now how will u know what game u should use to benchmark ur system with? Well, that's a tough question. Its highly recommended that u test ur system with "true" game engines and not the likes of 3dmark. If u have a fave game that u play most of the time and its packed with a bench feature, then use that feature to gauge ur system. If not, then 3dmark is not a bad option. Just bear in mind that its just a rough approximation on how ur system will perform with most games. It doesn't directly reflect how good or bad it will perform with games because not all its tests are available on the games that u play with.
The detail/display options is obviously one of the parts of the game where u can easily boost its performance. However tweaking that part of the game will most of the time (if not every single time) make u lose some noticeable details in exchange of a performance boost. Of course we always want to enable and max everything out of a game but there are few settings that sometimes is worth trading off. It actually depends on the player, but when I'm having performance probs with a game and no amount of tweaking makes it lose its frame skips ... I often times disable character shadows (or multiple shadows if available). There are other settings in there that u can disable, just play around with it and disable/decrease a setting that have the lowest impact on the graphics quality but have noticeable increase of frame rate.
And as always, and like what I mentioned above ... to give ur games a better boost in performance ... try to tweak the rest of ur system as well by following some of my other guides.

=Rivatuner v2.0 RC 15.6=
Driver Settings > Customize
System Settings:
Compability Tab > Motherboard Compatibility:
I recommend enabling this setting to gain a bit of performance. Although 3dmark 2005 (ver 1.10 Pro) users might notice that when the CPU test is enabled, enabling this setting actually gives u slightly lower scores. In my opinion it is best to disable the CPU tests when tweaking ur videocard since the tweaks mentioned here will not affect ur processor in any way. Although u can also try to disable it (CPU tests) while tweaking the videocard, once u already have the best settings (etc) in place, u can test if enabling/disabling the said compatibility setting will increase or decrease ur points.
=Directdraw and Direct3d Settings=
Vsync Tab > Synchronization with Vertical Retrace:
This setting enables/disables, or lets the application control the synchronization function. It may sound complicated but its actually pretty simple. This setting will enable game to run at whatever amount of fps ur system can pump regardless of ur monitor's refresh rate when using the "always off" setting. And it limits ur fps to whatever refresh setting u have when set to "always on". Now u might think ... "why the hell would I want to limit my fps?!". Well if the fps of a certain app/game is too high, it can cause ur monitor to display graphics tearing. I always recommend my visitors to use "always off" unless they experience the said problem with games.
Textures Tab > PCI Textures:
Set to "0" (zero) unless ur using a PCI card.
Texture Filtering Preferences:
Now this setting is a bit hard to explain since its somewhat subjective. The difference should be very minimal to unnoticeable when going down a single notch ... same goes with its performance impact. Its best to try the settings urself and check for urself whether the graphics increase is worth the performance hit (and vice-versa). If u want to have an idea on how and/or where to start, try and check the settings below depending on the type of card that u have:
Low End Cards:
-Running old and/or graphically low quality games: The higher the setting, the better (to help increase visual flair). Granted of course that ur card can still handle the said setting.
-Running new and/or graphically intensive games: Set to "High Performance"
Mid End Cards:
-Running old and/or graphically low quality games: "High Quality" is a good place to start (to help increase visual flair).
-Running new and/or graphically intensive games: "Performance" is not a bad place to start. Its better to lower the said setting than lowering ur screen resolution.
High End Cards:
-Set to "High Quality" by default.
Antialiasing Tab:
This setting helps remove the staircase or jagged graphics that is more noticeable when playing at 1024x768 or lower resolutions. Increasing the screen resolution is the best way of removing the staircase problem, but the bottleneck with most systems is the monitor limitation. FSAA (Full Scene AntiAliasing) produces a slightly blurry to a noticeably blurry effect on the textures that is most noticeable when using settings like Quincunx or 4x9tap. There is quite a big hit on performance when enabling this setting (FSAA).
Low End card users might want to use a max setting of 2x or Quincunx (depending on the current screen resolution and game in use) if not completely disable the said setting. Mid End users on the other hand may not experience any major decrease in performance when using 4x setting with not-so-graphically-intensive games at 1024x768 resolution. High End users, set it to at least 4x.
Use "Determined by Application" setting if the game have the FSAA options inside the game.
***Overclocking info is currently not available in this section. I will only post GeForce 6600 AGP 256mb overclocking tips here. As for the rest, I only post settings that I have tested myself ... so please try and visit my previous GeForce sections if u'r looking for overclocking tips for GF2 MX, GF4 MX 400, and GF4 Ti 4200 cards.
**Not all settings will be available for all videocards. If u already have the latest driver, Directx, and Rivatuner version installed and u still do not have the option to set, enable or disable a particular setting ... then it's most probably not supported by ur hardware.
*The settings mentioned above is a more detailed description for each category. This in my opinion is a better option to help the user decide what settings he/she want to use depending on his/her preference. For settings that are not listed here, its either not available for my current specs/settings or the default setting is already the best setting to use. This make this section less daunting for most users. But if ur really that curious though, u can check my previous videocard tweaking sections for possible info.
Last Updated: 071005
Next update will feature:
-more detailed explanations for FSAA and other settings
-Rivatuner profile creation
-OpenGL settings explanation/recommendations
-Recommended driver versions
-etc etc etc


***I will not be held responsible to any damage this tweaking guide might cause your graphics card.

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