Decrease input lag with the help of NVIDIA’s control panel

As an old console man I discovered that running some games I really felt no real difference in the input lag compared to my Xbox system, even I set up the games to run in 60 frames per second. I knew there will be a solution for that PC, which have strength to improve or destroy your own system’s performance.  I always been interested how all things works. So I have found a option that made a huge difference in some games.

Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames

Lower-Input-lagIn simple terms, this is a option that controls the maximum number of frames the CPU prepares in advance to be rendered by the GPU. The benefit of having frames prepared in advance for the GPU is that it helps keep the GPU filled up with data, therefor smoothing out any small variations in rendering times. The disadvantage prepare frames in advance is that it can  result in increase latency (a delay in your input), more commonly called input lag.

The available options for this setting are 1, 2, 3 and 4 frames. When set to Use the 3D Application Setting, games will either use a setting setup by the games developers or  it will be Windows default setting of 3 frames.

You can override this setting and set up how many frames can be pre-rendered here by choosing between 1 to 4 frames. In theory, higher settings ensure smoother framerates but can result more input lag, while lower settings can help reduce input lag, but may result in stuttering or lower performance. However, the effect of altering this setting can be hard to predict. So some experimentation is required to determine the optimal setting for each game on your system.

An example

In my case I had worse input lag at 60fps in Splinter Cell than I ever had on my primitive Xbox 360. This setting is however not a magic bullet and if there will be a improvements is dependant on whatever the default settings of your game and your system. With my current system  I have no problems running the maximum pre-rendered frames on “1 frame” in all the games I tested it with. So in the case of Splinter Cell Conviction, I suspected it was setup with windows default(3 frames) in the game so in this particular case the improvement was very noticeable.

Also I found improvement in the game “Rocket League”. But you need to test yourself. Also you should never underestimate of the effect of placebo 😉

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