with drivers has been that the reference drivers (drivers distributed
by the chip manufacturer, not the board manufacturer) have generally
been the best and there is usually a gain in performance by using
them. However, performance may vary from card to card. In any
case, get the MOST RECENT drivers (http://www.3dfx.com
for Voodoo chipset and http://www.nvidia.com
for TnT). Drivers are updated usually because of bugs and / or
better performance tweaks to the drivers, and even though you
may have just bought your video card yesterday, it could've been
sitting on the shelves for quite a while and have pretty old drivers.
If you install
new drivers, it is STRONGLY recommended you get rid of the old
ones first. Old drivers, like ex-lovers, can often linger and
cause problems. One way is to get rid of them is to go to Control
Panel > System > Device Manager and remove your card.
Then go to Add new hardware > choose the type of hardware
to install, install it with the new drivers and reboot.
When you remove the card from Device Manager, Windows helps remove
the old drivers. However, sometimes you may need to seek out the
drivers on your own and delete them from the system directory
(windows \ system) and the registry. The easiest way to find them
is to use regedit.exe, then do a search for the name of the manufacturer
of your card and delete those lines. Make sure you READ WHAT YOU
ARE DELETING. If you have a Creative Labs video accelerator and
a Creative Labs sound card, make sure youre not deleting
information for your sound card. See last
week's article on backing up your registry first!
today come with some control panel software to tweak settings.
If you are using the drivers your card came with, it may have
a control panel (Diamond, for example usually ships with "InControl
Tools") that helps you setup the rendering options
and speed settings for the card. Please examine this in
Control Panel > Display > Settings > Advanced.
There are gamma settings and (depending on the card) fog tables
and vsync. Make sure to read the help files, learn about your
card's abilities and the tools that came with it (we cant
cover every card and its utilities here). However, using the control
panel can also have a negative effect. For example, the InControl
Tools for Diamond Viper V770 TnT 2 will override your custom config
in Quake2. The only way to stop it is to uninstall and use the
reference drivers from Nvidia (which seems to increase performance
as well), another reason to consider the reference drivers. And
remember, if you turn everything up to be all fancy and have the
best image quality, you will probably lag your game online. Forget
the fog and all that cool stuff... do you want to win or look
at pretty pictures?
facts. Most cards (especially older ones) will not gain much from
overclocking. The risk may be too high to worry about it. Sometimes,
only a few fps are gained by it, which is usually unnoticeable
to the human eye. Sometimes the best option is to just buy better
equipment than overclock (most cards have a bigger gain in FPS
by upgrading the amount of RAM in your system, not overclocking
the cards). If you dont know what fps means (not literally
- its "frames per second") or how to see
what your fps is in the game, youre probably not ready for
go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE, 3Dfx Interactive, then
Voodoo 2 in the registry. Now look for D3D / Glide and
right click on SSTV2_GRXCLK. You can modify one or both
to anything from 85 to 105. It is recommended that you NOT set
this above 109 (that is unless you LIKE the smell of burned silicone).
The safest way to do this is use a Freeware program called V2
Overclock. This will handle changing the cumbersome registry
The easiest way to poke around the registry and get this card
overclocked is to download Gary
Peterson's Voodoo 3 Overclocker utility. It's a freeware program
and relatively easy to use. Just make sure you don't overclock
too high or you'll lock up your system. Try increasing the memory
/ clock speeds by 5-7 mHz increments, and once you get a lockup
in your favorite FPS, bring it back down 5 mHz. Voodoo 3s, just
like TnT 2s, have a nasty tendency to overheat, so overclock at
your own risk!
TnT and the registry, we're not even gonna go there. If you have
to do it, try either Powerstrip
And we cant stress enough on this chipset... COOLING! For
a good cooling fan, check out The Cardcooler or 3DFXCool (Cozmo's note: I took the fan off
of an old Pentium Cooler and bolted it the heatsink of my TnT
2 - she's running cool at 188 by 170 and it didn't cost me a dime).
that the first sign of a problem when overclocking is usually
the system becomes unstable (for example the system locking up,
graphics tearing, the blue screen of death, the game shutting
down and returning you to Windows, the faint smell of something
electrical burning, black smoke pouring out of the case, firemen
beating on the door, etc.). These are all signs to put your card
back the way you found it. Unless you have a money tree, be very
careful with all these overclocking / performance tips.