Low performance after installing new graphics card

Answer ID 1412
Published 03/21/2006 03:50 PM
Updated 05/09/2007 04:30 PM

I just installed a new NVIDIA based graphics card in my PC to replace an older graphics card.  I am not getting noticably better performance when playing games.  How can I improve performance on my PC?

NVIDIA provides top to bottom solutions for every type of desktop PC user.  For gamers, NVIDIA offers value, performance and enthusiast class GPU's (Graphics Processing Unit) which offer the latest 3d technology, the most advanced programmable video processor  for DVD and HDTV playback and our award winning Forceware display drivers to meet different customer needs.   

For users who enjoy playing the latest 3d games with enhanced visuals and lighting fast framerates, NVIDIA recommends stepping up to one of our performance or enthusiast class graphics cards.  These cards are better suited for the onslaught of next generation games as well todays hottest selling3d titles.  Designed from the ground up to deliver maximum visual quality and detail at the best possible frame rates, these cards will satisfy all gamers needs. 

NVIDIA also provides GPU's for the Value PC market which feature many of the same 3d technologies found in our performance and enthusiast graphics cards.  The Value PC graphics cards do not provide the same 3d processing power as the higher end models.  For this reason, these cards are targeted towards the casual gamer who uses his/her PC mainly for work, watching movies, browsing the web and occasional lite 3d gaming.  While most 3d games should be able to run on these graphics cards, the graphics settings may need to be turned down to the lowest quality and resolution to operate smoothly.

If you have upgraded and older graphics card on your PC to one of our Value PC line of graphics cards, you may not be getting the best performance you can get from your computer.

If you have installed a Performance or Enthusiast class graphics card and your computer's framerates have not dramatically increased, it could be caused by a number of factors.  Please read the following guidelines to troubleshoot your performance issues:

  • Uninstall older display drivers - When replacing graphics cards, you should always first uninstall your previous cards display drivers.  If they are left on a system, they may remain active and consume CPU resources which lower overall performance, especially when going from a non-NVIDIA based graphics card to an NVIDIA based graphics card.  Please check that the drivers for your previous graphics cards have been completely removed from your system.
  • Software audio controller - Most PC's shipped today use an onboard sound controller for audio playback.  These solutions use more CPU resources than a dedicated hardware sound card.  Upgrading to a hardware PCI sound card can provide imrpoved performance in 3d games.
  • External power - If your graphics card requires an external power source, verify that the cable from your PC's power supply is running into your graphics card.  When the graphics card is not receiving enough power, it reverts to lower clock speeds to prevent your PC from locking up.
  • Motherboard chipset drivers - When installing a new operating system, the drivers for all of your components should be installed including your motherboard chipset drivers.  If Windows is using standard drivers, it will not perform at the optimal level that your graphics card is capable of.
  • Proper cooling - As technology advances and GPU's become more complex, they also produce more heat.  Place your PC in an area where it can receive proper air circulation.  If not properly cooled, your CPU or GPU can overheat forcing it to run at a lower clock speed to prevent hardware damage.
  • PCI Express vs. AGP vs. PCI - Before purchasing a new graphics card, inspect your system to find out what type of slots it supports for graphics cards.  Many of the older PC's use an AGP slot to interface with a graphics card.  Newer PC's have a PCI Express x16 slot for the graphics cards.  Both of these slots are high bandwidth communications slots designed specifically for graphics cards however are not interchangable with each other.  Several budget older PC's do not offer support for AGP or PCI Express x16 graphics cards.  This may require you to purchase a PCI graphics card.  If this is the case, then it may be limiting the speed of your graphics card.  A PCI graphics card operates at around 20% lower speed than an equivalent AGP or PCI Express x16 graphics card.  

For more information on NVIDIA's desktop consumer graphics product line, please visit the following URL:


Was this answer helpful?
Your rating has been submitted, please tell us how we can make this answer more useful.


Chat online with one of our support agents



Contact Support for assistance