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How To Optimize Your Graphics Drivers 2021

In this ultimate guide we cover Graphics drivers, why optimization is essential for performance and how to configure every part of your setup.

Before you install new graphics drivers it’s recommended to properly remove the old ones, whether you are upgrading the graphics card or just updating to a newer version.

The official uninstallers from NVIDIA (and AMD) are notorious for leaving leftover files that may interfere with performance.

This guide focuses exclusively on NVIDIA graphics cards, for the time being, check out our PC guide for our hardware recommendations.

This ultimate Graphics drivers guide covers the following
  • What GPU driver optimization is
  • Why it’s important to optimize your GPU drivers
  • How to optimize your Graphics drivers
  1. What are Graphics drivers?
    1. Why are GPU drivers important?
  2. How to optimize your GPU drivers
    1. Download DDU and NVCleaninstall
    2. Launch Display Driver Uninstaller
    3. Configure options
    4. Restart the application
    5. Uninstall drivers
    6. Launch NVCleaninstall
    7. Driver components
    8. Installation tweaks
  3. The Final Result

What are Graphics drivers?

NVIDIA and AMD make drivers for their graphics cards containing software and instructions on how to run their hardware on a PC.

The Graphics card drivers contain optimizations and instructions for specific games.

Why are GPU drivers important?

New drivers are released to increase the performance of new games and established titles alike.

Updates may also introduce features and bug fixes for existing drivers and will improve compatibility with newer games.

It’s generally recommended to use the latest version for the most up-to-date features (NVIDIA Reflex etc.)

(It May or may not be worth it to test older drivers for specific competitive titles that have reached maturity.)

How to optimize your GPU drivers

In order to completely optimize your GPU and game graphics, you need to properly install drivers.

Configure the drivers for improved performance, responsiveness, and limited Input-lag.

Follow the steps below to remove your current drivers.

Install the latest version without the unnecessary features that may interfere with your gameplay.

Download DDU and NVCleaninstall

Use these applications whenever you upgrade the GPU, re-install Windows, or between major Nvidia GPU driver updates.

Launch Display Driver Uninstaller

Use the self-extracting archive to unzip DDU and double-click the *.exe file to start the application.

Close the smaller pop-up window for now and move on to the next step.

Configure options

Make sure your options look like the picture above.

Restart the application

  • This will trigger the option to reboot in fail-safe mode.
  • Click to reboot and wait for the computer to restart.

(You need your Windows password to log in to Fail-safe mode.)

Uninstall drivers

  • The application will start automatically once you log in to Windows.
  • Select your graphics card brand from the drop-down and confirm remove and reboot.

(Make sure to preserve the option to prohibit Windows from installing new drivers.)

Launch NVCleaninstall

  • Launch NVCleaninstall and wait for the application to find the latest driver from NVIDIA.
  • Click Next to proceed to the next step

(Using optimized GPU drivers will not only limit the amount of telemetry sent back to NVIDIA but will also remove the need to create an account for future updates.)

Driver components

  • Select only the essential components to install with the package.
  • Click Next, the application will now prepare the driver installation without unnecessary bloatware.

(Our recommendation is to select only the Display Driver unless you rely on ShadowPlay to record your gameplay.)

Installation tweaks

  • Check all the boxes except “Add Hardware Support” (which is only for older laptops etc with limited driver support).
  • Click Next.

(“Disable NVIDIA HD Audio device sleep timer” will probably throw an error during installation due to the HDMI Audio driver not being installed – You can simply ignore this.)

The Final Result

The installer has now installed the optimized NVIDIA drivers with the configuration we set above.

This will limit the amount of additional bloatware and improve performance and lower network lag.

By Linus Feldt

I wish I was a professional gamer, but I love marketing.

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