Graphics Card

We show you how to make sure you get a noticeable improvement in graphics performance when you upgrade the graphics card in your PC or laptop. (For more on that, see How to upgrade your PC's graphics card.)

QUESTION Gaming performance is slower than I'd expect when using my new nVidia GeForce GTX 780. At the moment, my monitor is connected to one of the ports on the computer's motherboard rather than the graphics card itself. Does it matter which HDMI socket I use? I tried moving the connection over to the graphics card, but it didn't improve matters. It's still much better than integrated graphics performance, so I'm sure the computer is using the graphics card rather than the CPU's built-in graphics. Can you suggest a solution? (See also: How to buy a great games PC.)

Maximise graphics card performance

HELPROOM ANSWER If you want to achieve the maximum performance from your graphics card, it's important to plug your monitor directly into the card and not via any video ports on your PC's motherboard. The GeForce card will co-operate with your CPU's integrated graphics, and this is how output from your graphics card is able to emerge via the motherboard, but there's a performance penalty in doing so. It also means that you'll probably have drivers for both the nVidia card and the integrated Intel graphics installed at the same time.

If you're not using integrated graphics, it's a good idea to disable it altogether. This will be an option in your EFI or BIOS settings and the exact steps will vary depending on the motherboard you have, so check your documentation.

After this, you'll need to uninstall the Intel graphics drivers as well as the nVidia drivers, then reinstall the latest nVidia drivers from scratch.

We've seen performance actually get worse after removing the Intel drivers while leaving the nVidia drivers in place. This is rectified when the drivers are cleanly reinstalled without the integrated graphics being enabled.

After this, you should see a noticeable increase in performance, in line with what you were expecting. For the latest reviews, see also Group test: What's the best gaming PC?

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