Graphics Enhancers

Here's how to make the most of your graphics card, monitor and PC setup.

Wind up your graphics clock

Hard-core gamers and PC power users squeeze every drop of performance out of their systems by pushing their CPU's clock frequency beyond the factory settings. You can do the same to your graphics card.

The two leading graphics card vendors, ATI and nVidia, both offer utilities for speeding up their cards' graphics processing unit (GPU). ATI's Overdrive and nVidia's Coolbits programs are included with the graphics drivers that install along with the cards. (You might need to unlock the Coolbits utility to make it visible in nVidia's Forceware configuration program.)

Note that overheating can destroy your graphics card's delicate circuitry. The Overdrive app monitors your ATI board's temperature to prevent overheating, and using it doesn't invalidate your warranty. But overclocking an nVidia board via Coolbits--or with a third-party utility like the free RivaTuner 2--does invalidate your warranty.

Teach your monitor who's BIOS

If your pc uses AGP graphics--which it probably does unless you recently purchased a midrange or high-end system--then its BIOS settings offer several low-level tweaks that can improve graphics performance.

Open your PC Setup program by pressing the key you're instructed to use prior to Windows' loading ( is most common). Look for these settings:

AGP Mode: Adjust this item to the maximum value your card supports--2X, 4X, or 8X (check the card's documentation or the vendor's Web site to identify its maximum AGP speed). This tweak can improve your system's graphics performance.

AGP Fast Write: Enabling this option often speeds up graphics cards that are not overclocked.

AGP Aperture Size: This setting governs the flow of graphics data in and out of system RAM whenever the memory on your graphics board runs low. For graphics cards with 32MB or less of memory, increasing the aperture to 128MB or higher can enhance the performance of texture-laden games.

Fine-tune your display

The fastest and simplest way to get the most out of your CRT or LCD monitor is by adjusting its brightness, contrast, and other controls; a few simple fixes can make a big difference in your on-screen view.

Stop unwanted glare--and glances

Got glare? improve your view--and reduce eyestrain--by purchasing an antiglare screen that fits over your display. 3M and Fellowes make filters that cost from US$25 to US$60 online, depending on the type and size of your display.

Of course, there are probably times when you would like to make your screen more difficult to read. A screen-privacy filter will not only reduce glare but also will limit your display's viewing angle so that nosy neighbors and passers-by can't see what you're working on. Privacy filters from 3M are priced between US$40 and US$100 online.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kirk Steers

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?