GeForce Experience Closed Beta Released
Today, NVIDIA is releasing the closed beta for GeForce Experience, a new PC application that optimizes your game settings and helps keep your drivers up to date.
One of the last unsolved issues of PC gaming is the difficult and time consuming process of figuring out which graphics settings work well on a particular PC. Unlike consoles, PCs come in hundreds of thousands of configurations with vastly different capabilities; an Ultrabook and a high end desktop PC may differ by as much as fifty-fold in graphics horsepower. To accommodate for this wide variety of hardware, PC games are built with various tweakable graphics settings such as shader quality, texture filtering, ambient occlusion, and so on. Tweaking these settings can be a great way to get the most out of the gaming experience. But even for seasoned gamers, figuring out what each setting does can take many hours of digging through forums and looking through tweak guides.
GeForce Experience is designed to make this process much easier. To help solve this problem, NVIDIA has built a gaming supercomputer designed specifically to test thousands of different hardware configurations to find the best settings for each game. The user simply installs GeForce Experience on their system and the app will automatically download the best settings from the server based on the user’s specific hardware configuration. These settings can be applied per game or across all games as desired.
Another key feature of GeForce Experience is automatic driver downloads. Keeping drivers up to date is one of the best ways to keep your GPU running at peak performance. Previously this has meant periodically checking the web and waiting for a large file to download. GeForce Experience will now do this for you. Every time a new driver is released, it will download it in the background. When complete, you'll get a balloon notification letting you know that a new driver has been downloaded and an option to install it with one click.
A Quick Look at GeForce Experience
When you first start GeForce Experience it will scan your PC for supported games and list them on the left hand pane. On the right hand panes, you'll be able to see the current settings in the game and the recommended optimal settings for your PC. If you want to learn more about a particular setting like "Texture Resolution," simply hover your mouse over the setting and a corresponding screenshot and text box will explain what the setting does and how it affects the game. Clicking "Optimize" applies the optimal settings into the game. You can launch the game right from the app and it'll be ready to play with no further configuration required.
As an example, below is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 running on a GeForce GTX 660 Ti PC. Out of the box, the game sets very conservative settings. Image quality, texture resolution, and shadows are set to low. This is the case even if you click the "Optimize Video and Audio" button from within the game.
GeForce Experience, on the other hand, recommends enabling most of these settings, especially "Image Quality" which controls the internal rendering resolution of the game. After being optimized with GeForce Experience, the game looks dramatically better. The textures are sharper throughout, the weapon looks much more realistic with specular lighting, and particle effects are more dramatic. And the game still runs great at over 60 frame per second.
Our interactive comparison shows how GeForce Experience can optimize and enhance your game experience with one click.
How Optimal Playable Settings Are Determined
To find the optimal settings for each game, NVIDIA performs extensive tests both by expert game testers and automated machine testing. The testing is done via six steps:
- We start with expert game testers that play through key levels of the game (indoors, outdoors, multiplayer etc.) to get a feel for the load and how different settings affect quality and performance.
- The game tester identifies an area for automated testing. This area will be from a demanding portion of the game. We don’t always select the absolute worst case since they tend to distort the results.
- As part of the game evaluation, the expert game tester will identify an appropriate FPS target. Fast paced games typically require higher FPS. Slower games lower FPS. We also define and test against a minimum FPS to minimize stuttering. The average framerate target is typically between 40-60 FPS, the minimum 25 FPS.
- The most difficult part of OPS is deciding which settings to turn on and which to leave off in a performance limited setting. This is done by analyzing each setting and assigning them quality and performance weights. The game tester compares how each setting (eg. shader, texture, shadow) and each quality level (eg. low, medium, high) affects image quality and performance. These are stored as weights which are fed to the automation algorithm.
- From here on the testing is automated. The GeForce Experience supercomputer tests the game by turning on settings until the FPS target is reached. This is done in the order of maximum bang for the buck; settings that provide the most visual benefit and least stress on the GPU (eg. texture quality) are turned on first; settings that are performance intensive but visually subtle (eg. 8xAA) are enabled last.
- Finally, the GeForce Experience supercomputer goes through and tests thousands of hardware configurations for the given game. Unique settings are generated for each CPU, GPU, and monitor resolution combination.
Join The Beta
Today marks the first beta release of GeForce Experience. For the initial release, NVIDIA will be limiting the app to 10,000 users. An open beta is planned for the future that will allow everyone to try it out.
GeForce Experience initially supports 32 games and all Kepler and Fermi GPUs. We plan to add more games in the coming weeks and these will automatically be pushed to the app requiring no user updates. For details on systems requirements and game support, visit the GeForce Experience page.
Being a beta, our key goal is to get feedback from gamers and iron out any bugs. We encourage you to file any bugs directly in the application using the "Send Feedback" button. For more general suggestions and discussion, please post your thoughts to the GeForce Experience forums.
We hope you enjoy the application and look forward to hearing your feedback!
December 10th Update: We have reached the sign-up limit - thanks for your interest, and stay tuned for further GeForce Experience developments.