New Graphics Card Too Expensive? 10 Ways to Squeeze More Performance From Your GPU. How to get a better graphics card for windows 10

Equipped with the advanced graphics performance of the Turing architecture, the GTX 1660 Ti competes with the performance of the GTX 1070. Moreover, it can also upgrade your PC with ease. It ensures ultra-fast operation of popular games and faster use of new titles.

New Graphics Card Too Expensive? 10 Ways to Squeeze More Performance From Your GPU

Good luck getting a current generation graphics card at a fair price these days. These simple tricks can help you increase FPS and keep your old card spinning a little longer.

If you’re one of the millions of people who have tried – and failed – to buy a new graphics card this year, you probably already know this tale of technological woe. Since the semiconductor supply cap continues through the first half of 2021 with no signs of slowing down, many buyers simply don’t have a good way to get a new GPU at a reasonable cost. (After all, who wants to resort to borrowing a bot?)

Supply-side semiconductor shortages, an increase in cryptocurrency value, and an overall surge in electronics demand during the COVID-19 pandemic led GPU prices to soar far north of proposed list prices – if specific models can be found at all. So if you’re not satisfied with supporting the scalping economy (and its absurd prices) until some normality returns, you need to know: What tricks and techniques can you use to squeeze the most out of a card you already have?

Let’s check out some of the most common options for gamers waiting for an elusive dose of common sense to heal the GPU market. This may take a while.

Tweak Your In-Game Settings

First, the obvious stuff. If you are having trouble running your favorite games at your preferred frame rate, the first step you should take is either to lower the quality of your game’s graphics settings or lower the overall resolution to increase overall frames per second (fps) speed.

Overall, the most taxing elements of the GPU rendering in the game are anti-aliasing quality and texture quality. These two settings can usually be increased or decreased through a series of “levels”. But whether or not you have that option and what form it will take depends on the game.

For example, in the popular AAA title Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ll see four anti-aliasing options: TAA (Temporary Smoothing), FXAA (Quick Approximation), MSAA (Multiple Sampling), and None. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the performance impact of each setting will vary depending on the GPU that you use to power your game.

In this situation, the best way to see how to get more performance from your current GPU would be to benchmark in-game at each anti-aliasing level, along with any other setting changes you want to make, and compare the results systematically. You’ll only want to change one variable at a time. However, only selected games have built-in benchmarks; for RDR 2, it is in the graphics settings menu. (See how we test graphics cards.) Be sure to note down both your performance data (measured in fps) and observe the visual quality to see if it is in a place you are happy to call “good enough for now.”

If the title you’re trying to fine-tune doesn’t have an in-game benchmark, you can use a tool like FRAPS to help you record FPS and make the appropriate changes. (Use the link for how to use FRAPS, but remember that you have to use the same pass or methodology for each test, otherwise frame rate comparisons won’t make sense.)

All in all, this give and take applies to every setting in your game, whether it’s the amount of anti-aliasing, texture quality, shadow level or something else. There is no work around the basic laws of GPU scaling here: the more settings you reduce to gain in framerate, the worse the game will look. The more of them appear, the harder the GPU works and the more heat is emitted. Thermodynamics is pain!

However, in recent years, things have started to change with several innovative approaches to this age-old problem. Take DRS for example.

Clean your laptop’s fans and vents. As dust builds up, the laptop cannot evacuate hot air as efficiently. Regularly clean your laptop physically and organize the air vents to keep it cool. If you’re feeling brave (and you don’t mind voiding the manufacturer’s warranty), you can open your laptop and clean its fans directly.

The Whys of a Video Card Upgrade

However, if you’ve ever upgraded your graphics card, you know there is no point in focusing on just part of the process. This is what leads to an improvement that is more irritable. In fact, it all starts with a much earlier question: Do I need a new graphics card? This question can be difficult to answer, and it depends more on the software than on the hardware.

Think about why you think you need an improvement. Suppose you experience frequent pixels or skip frames when playing on Netflix in full screen, causing jittery viewing. Both symptoms can sound like slow video and / or graphics processing faults, and since these tasks are usually handled by the graphics processing unit (GPU) then the GPU must be the culprit, right?

Evil. It is more likely that the cause of the error is a lack of Internet and / or local network bandwidth and the system is not receiving video data fast enough to generate optimally detailed full frame rate playback. Modern GPUs, even those built into CPUs (known as Integrated GPUs or IGPs), have more than enough graphics power to handle Netflix and its similar streams.

How could you test it? Download content to your system and play it from your system’s internal storage instead of streaming. If the problem goes away, you know it’s a network bandwidth issue and not a GPU issue.

Other common bottlenecks include the CPU, system memory (RAM), and possibly storage, especially if that memory is nearly full or is a plate-based hard drive. The trick is to make sure your GPU is the main concern.

How to Know Your GPU Is the Problem

First, you may want to test your GPU to determine exactly how slow (or not!) It really is.

Gamers are the people who find it easiest to feel the slow GPU. Because most 3D games are so GPU dependent, the resolution you want to play as well as the graphic detail settings (usually along a continuum of low, medium, high, and extreme) are a key part of the gameplay. To learn more about these graphics features and how graphics cards handle them differently, see our list of the best graphics cards.

However, aside from something “sensing” in a given game, your quantitative measure will be frame rates or proprietary results generated by benchmarking software. Before you jump into testing, however, take a look at more basic things, starting with the specs of the games you actually play.

A quick check of the publisher’s system requirements for a given game should provide the minimum (and possibly recommended) graphics guidelines. For example, the current bestseller Dragon Age: Inquisition is a light game; notes minimum graphics requirements of 512MB of graphics memory on an AMD Radeon HD 4870 or Nvidia GeForce 8800 or better, but recommends 2GB on an AMD Radeon HD 7870 or Radeon R9 270 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or better. These are all old video cards, and any modern video card should crush this game.

But take a newer AAA title like the newest Call of Duty, and you can see a modern card (maybe even a modern card higher than the card you have) as the minimum or recommended card to use. There, the compromises will be more vague. Playing at lower resolution or lower detail settings can improve the experience, but where do you draw the border? How do you compare the performance of what you can buy with what you already have? This is where an objective comparative analysis comes in.

The motherboard PCI Express slot holding the card in place probably has a plastic locking mechanism on the front (opposite to the end of the monitor ports).

Driver Tweaks

Once upon a time (late 90s) AMD and Nvidia often lost drivers that improved gaming performance by 10-20 percent, even in older titles. Those times are mostly gone, provided you don’t install an update the day a new game launches. But there are still a few ways to tweak the driver panel settings to squeeze a little more performance.

Nvidia and AMD have implemented scaling options that can be used to improve overall quality on newer cards. AMD has Radeon Image Sharpening, and Nvidia has its own Image Sharpening option, shown below.

The purpose of enabling features such as Image Sharpening is that you can then set a lower native resolution and rely on a post-processing filter to improve the image quality. The goal is to deliver something closer to 1080p without sacrificing rendering at that resolution. How well this feature works will vary from game to game for both AMD and Nvidia.

Texture filtering

On Nvidia cards (AMD has a similar option in its own driver settings), you can also set the texture filtering quality to “High Performance”, as opposed to the default “Quality” option, force Ambient Occlusion to be turned on or off (if applicable), and the anisotropic texture can be filtered out. Check the visual effect of these options before you assume you’ll like the end result; the effect of disabling anisotropic filtering is likely higher than the recovered performance is worth.

Improving the image quality in the driver won’t get you tremendous performance, but it should improve the situation by a few percent. It is also worth checking that you have not used the global settings for one title and then you have not forgotten to change them to another.

Enable DLSS / FSR

While Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution are fairly new and only supported in a few games, try enabling any of the features if it’s available in the title you want to optimize. Both DLSS and FSR render the game at a lower resolution and then use spatial sharpening (AMD) or an artificial intelligence-based scaling network (Nvidia) to improve the final image quality. This can improve performance at a given target resolution, although this typically has at least a minor effect on image quality.

By using 3DMark TimeSpy for benchmarking, I found that overclocking my system as described above resulted in a 10% performance increase, from 17,018 points before overclocking to 18,591 later.



One way to improve GPU performance is to overclock it. This is done by adjusting the frequency and voltage of the GPU core and its memory to squeeze out extra speed. Unless you are used to overclocking components, use caution and read wide and deep before you begin. Incorrect settings can potentially damage the chip. Moreover, inadequate cooling will overclock and crash the overclocked GPU.

As with processors, you can overclock the GPU using desktop software. One solution is MSI’s Afterburner feature which scans the GPU and finds the highest, most stable overclocking settings. Another is EVGA’s Precision X1, which supports GeForce RTX graphics cards, and GTX support is “coming soon.’

For more help with overclocking your graphics card, check out our dedicated guide.

It’s worth noting that almost all modern GPUs have a slight overclocking headroom built in. You don’t need to do anything to get your GPU to peak performance out of the box, as long as you provide adequate GPU performance with power and cooling.

Raise your power limit

As mentioned, MSI Afterburner can automatically find the most stable overclock for your GPU. This includes power and voltage limits. You can squeeze more performance out of your GPU by simply raising your GPU’s power cap. Nvidia and AMD cards have basic and increased clock speeds. When all conditions are right – power consumption, temperature, etc. – your GPU will automatically increase its clock speed up to the boost limit. So raising the power limit does one thing: it allows the GPU to increase the clock frequency more frequently and consistently.

Note: As with overclocking, make sure your GPU is cool before proceeding. This will raise the temperature of the GPU and may make it run louder as well.

Step 1: Open MSI Afterburner.

Step 2: Drag the Power limit slider from 100 to 110.

Step 3: Click on the check mark under the sliders.

Step 4: Run the game which is overloading your GPU.

Step 5: Check the clock speed with MSI Afterburner.

Step 6: Keep an eye on GPU temperatures and make sure they are within safe range. Repeat until you hit the power limit or the GPU becomes unstable.

Afterburner gets the upper power limit from your GPU’s BIOS, so if you just raise the power limit and don’t mess with any other settings you’ll be fine. This is not overclocking in itself, as you are not really boosting your GPU’s clock speed. Instead, you just give your GPU more space to automatically reach its boost clock.

The hotter your laptop is, the worse its performance becomes: a hot laptop will try to regulate its temperature on its own, slowing down performance. Here’s how to cool your laptop for more consistent, high-performance and less stress on sensitive internal components:


Equipped with the advanced graphics performance of the Turing architecture, the GTX 1660 Ti competes with the performance of the GTX 1070. Moreover, it can also upgrade your PC with ease. It ensures ultra-fast operation of popular games and faster use of new titles.

It also has the simultaneous implementation of floating point and integer functions, adjustable shader technology and the latest integrated memory architecture which has twice the cache compared to the previous version. It allows you to seamlessly update your computer and make it ready to play with super performance. You’ll also experience great image quality and overall performance when streaming live to Twitch or YouTube.

Moreover, you can also record and share live streams, screenshots and videos with your friends while updating GeForce drivers and optimizing game settings. From speeding up multitasking to creating professional-level photography, it offers many possibilities.

Price: Starts at Rs. 24, 7502h

AMD Radeon VII

AMD Radeon VII is equipped with a huge 16 GB of memory, which ensures smooth gameplay and efficient loading of content. With a feature called FreeSync technology, it offers enthusiasts a smooth and uninterrupted gaming experience.

It is the first product of this type with 7 nm graphics. While it automatically activates AMD’s display technology, optimal system and display settings with just a few clicks, it also seamlessly links game and video streaming to your mobile device. It produces sharp images with almost no impact on its performance. Besides, it also reduces input lag with Radeon Anti-Lag.

Additionally, you’ll also get access to extended controls to help you customize the graphics for a better gaming experience.

Graphic details: Reduce the quality of things such as shadows, lighting, textures, and reflections. Your game will look a little less realistic, but should run smoother in return.

Why you should upgrade your graphics card

More than any other component of a PC, the GPU is responsible for the quality of the graphics or visuals that appear on the screen. In the beginning, processors were responsible for both processing and rendering graphics, but nowadays virtually every computer on the market contains some kind of graphics card.

As graphics cards age, they become less able to keep up with the latest games, streaming, and software. While they don’t actually degrade, your 5-year-old graphics card may not support the latest video editing software or stream 4K video without stuttering. Or, it may have a hard time presenting your brand new video game the way you want.

When you plan to upgrade your graphics card, you should really think about how you use your computer. For example, if you mostly use your gaming PC and newer games don’t run at a constant 60 frames per second (fps) then that’s a good sign that you need to upgrade.

Potential bottlenecks

Make sure your GPU is not causing CPU bottlenecks. This happens when the CPU is generating more frames per second than the GPU can handle, which can lead to screen stuttering. If this scenario affects your computer’s performance, most likely you need to update your graphics card.

What to look for in a graphics card

When looking for graphics cards, you can choose from two major brands; AMD and NVIDIA. Both manufacturers offer high-quality, high-performance graphics cards.

  • First you need to decide how much memory you want in your graphics card
  • Also consider factors such as computer size (desktop vs laptop),
  • Whether you want a separate graphics processor or a graphics card integrated into the processor
  • Take into account what power connectors your card uses
  • Note the Design Thermal Power (TDP)

All of this will determine whether the graphics card will fit directly into your computer and whether it can receive adequate power and cooling. For an overview of the best budget GPUs, check out our HP Tech Takes article here.

1. Integrated vs discrete graphics

Integrated graphics are more common on smaller systems like laptops, but you’ll also find them in desktops for those who don’t need to use high-powered graphics software.

Integrated graphics may not have independent RAM, but neither does it generate as much heat or use as much power and battery life as their discrete counterparts. Integrated graphics are generally not preferred for graphics-heavy games, but it’s more affordable. They are also good for more basic visual tasks like streaming movies and TV.

If you’re interested in using your computer for graphics-intensive tasks, such as gaming at high settings, video editing, photo editing, and 3D rendering, you’ll need to invest in a separate graphics card.

These cards have their own RAM, unlike their integrated cousins. However, a discrete graphics card requires a good CPU to match as well as a cooling configuration to prevent the PC from overheating. It also uses more power, so you’ll need a larger (and more expensive) power supply in your desktop PC to run both CPUs.

It also means that if you have a separate card in your laptop, you will be dealing with shorter battery life compared to the less powerful options.

2. Desktop vs laptop graphics cards

Graphics cards for both desktops and laptops have separate considerations. Due to the types of devices these graphics cards are made for, there are differences between the aspect ratio, performance, and price of desktop and laptop graphics cards.

  • Form Factor: The ability to fit larger, stronger components is one of the benefits of using a tower computer. The PC tower provides the space and cooling necessary to handle the heat and power consumption of durable GPUs.
  • Performance: You will enjoy higher specs compared to laptop graphics cards. This includes greater memory bandwidth, faster pixel speeds, and greater texture mapping than with laptop graphics cards.
  • Price: Desktop cards are more affordable because the hardware is less compact and therefore less costly to manufacture.
  • Form Factor: Smaller components are necessary as the GPU has to fit into the thin casing of the laptop. As a result, they are optimized for energy consumption and use advanced thermal and electrical technology. They are also designed to run as quietly as possible.
  • Performance: Manufacturers are approaching parity for desktop and laptop GPUs, but as we mentioned earlier, laptop cards tend to underperform in some areas.
  • Price: You’ll pay a premium for laptop graphics cards. This is because the components to create a portable and energy-efficient graphics card are more expensive to manufacture. Larger and more powerful laptop graphics cards are available, but they also add to the overall weight of the device, can heat up the laptop, and make portability difficult.

Note: This guide is for computers running Windows 10, although some suggestions also apply to macOS. We are also focusing solely on the GPU in this guide. This is the main component of performance in the game, but not the only one. For more general tips, check out our guide to increasing FPS on PC.

How to boost FPS: advanced techniques

From overclocking your GPU to learning all the advanced tweaks for settings, there are a few powerful changes you can make to take your framerate to an elite level on your gaming PC:

Overclock your graphics card

More than insufficient RAM or a struggling CPU, your GPU is almost always a bottleneck that causes stuttering or poor gameplay. To improve performance and increase FPS, move the graphics card above the default speed setting by overclocking.

Five to ten years ago, overclocking could potentially harm your hardware. But now most of the current systems will shut down before they suffer any damage. Besides, we are dealing with a slight overclocking of the graphics card by no more than 15% to quickly improve performance, which can greatly improve the gaming experience.

On my purpose-built gaming PC, I picked up the Nvidia RTX GeForce 3090 about 15% above the factory clock:

Screenshot of MSI Afterburner showing GPU overclocking in Windows 10

Overclocking the Nvidia RTX GeForce 3090 GPU on a Custom Gaming PC.

On my main laptop, a 2016 MacBook Pro with Windows 10 and a Radeon 460 Pro GPU, I overclocked the GPU by 100MHz and overclocked the RAM by 300MHz.

Overclocking speeds up the GPU, but it also puts a load on all your hardware, not just your CPU or GPU – which raises the temperature inside your PC. My desktop and laptop both turn up both the temperature and the temperature by 5 ° Celsius – which is significant, but within safe limits. Always follow safe GPU overclocking practices by trying it yourself. The same goes for CPU overclocking – slow and steady wins the race.

By using 3DMark TimeSpy for benchmarking, I found that overclocking my system as described above resulted in a 10% performance increase, from 17,018 points before overclocking to 18,591 later.

Upgrade your graphics card

After upgrading to a 4K projector, I noticed that my old gaming PC really couldn’t keep up with the higher resolution. While The Witcher 3 performed decently in Full HD, my two GeForce 970 graphics cards (in SLI mode) struggled with 4K resolution, which is basically four times the resolution of 1080p.

Only thanks to the Nvidia Pascal graphics processor from the 2016/2017 generation, we obtained the graphics power that allows rendering 4K games with mass fluidity of 60 FPS and higher. But even in 2022 and beyond, you’ll need high-end GPUs like the GeForce RTX 3090 or Titan RTX to support this type of performance and optimize your PC for gaming at this level.

If 1440p or 1080p is enough for your gaming needs, you’ll see a significant increase in frames per second thanks to a much cheaper GPU. And if you’re currently building your own Windows 10 gaming PC, you can choose the perfect graphics processor for the way you play.

Moving from a GeForce RTX 2080 GPU to a GeForce RTX 3080 can dramatically improve FPS.

According to Nvidia’s tests, switching from GeForce RTX 2080 to GeForce RTX 3080 significantly increases FPS. Source: Nvidia

Bonus: improve gaming performance on your laptop

Here’s the good news – if you’re a laptop gamer, you can use most of the tips above to boost your framerate and optimize your laptop for gaming. While many laptops are unable to handle aftermarket GPU upgrades, you can enable Windows 10 Gaming Mode, update your graphics drivers, and in most cases upgrade your RAM and swap your hard drive for a super-fast SSD.

Here are some additional FPS tips and boosters to improve your laptop’s gaming performance:

Optimize your power settings for performance

Maximize your laptop’s gaming performance by giving it all the power it needs to increase FPS. Optimize your power options by clicking the battery icon in the system tray and dragging the slider all the way for the best performance. This will shorten your battery life if your laptop isn’t plugged into an external power source, but as long as you’re using it you’ll be fine.

You can optimize the gaming performance on your laptop by setting the battery to the best performance.

Keep your laptop cool

The hotter your laptop is, the worse its performance becomes: a hot laptop will try to regulate its temperature on its own, slowing down performance. Here’s how to cool your laptop for more consistent, high-performance and less stress on sensitive internal components:

Clean your laptop’s fans and vents. As dust builds up, the laptop cannot evacuate hot air as efficiently. Regularly clean your laptop physically and organize the air vents to keep it cool. If you’re feeling brave (and you don’t mind voiding the manufacturer’s warranty), you can open your laptop and clean its fans directly.

Don’t put this on your lap. The word “laptop” is misleading. Place your laptop on a smooth, flat surface so that air can circulate underneath it. If it’s on your lap, on a rug or blanket, you’ll strangle it.

Plug it in. When your laptop is running on battery power, it can get warm – especially if you’ve optimized your power settings for performance. Whenever you can, connect your laptop to an external power source.

Use a Cooling Platform: An external cooling base blows cool air underneath the laptop to improve airflow. You can buy one for a relatively cheap price and connect it directly to your laptop via USB.

Use a performance-boosting app

There is a whole world of software out there that will automatically optimize your laptop for top performance. AVG TuneUp allows you to easily make many effective performance tweaks, including putting programs running in the background to sleep to free up RAM and uninstalling unnecessary software that clogs up space. Try it out with a 30-day free trial to boost FPS on your gaming laptop.

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