How To Use NVIDIA Low Latency Mode

If you game a lot on your PC, you know how vital system latency is to your performance. High system latency can adversely impact the PC’s responsiveness.

How To Use NVIDIA Low Latency Mode

Fortunately, if you have an NVIDIA graphics card, you can lower your latency by up to 33% without compromising the graphics quality or resolution. Keep reading to learn more about the NVIDIA low latency mode, how to turn it on, and whether you should keep it on at all times.

Should I Use Low Latency Mode with NVIDIA?

The NVIDIA low latency mode was designed to give players faster game input response. Traditionally, graphics engines queue frames for the GPUs to render. Then, the frames are rendered for the PC, which displays them to you.

The low latency mode changes this process by providing pre-rendering frames, thus preventing the queue from getting too crowded. By submitting the frames just before they’re needed in the queue, this mode significantly lowers system latency.

 As a result, your gameplay will be much smoother, making gaming more enjoyable. Low latency is most impactful with GPU-bound games using frame rates from 60 to 100 FPS.

You can enable the low latency mode for all NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. However, it will only work if your game runs DirectX 9 or 11.

The best course of action is to enable this mode on your system and test your favorite games. You’ll quickly see for yourself if this mode helps your configuration.

Unfortunately, there are instances where the NVIDIA low latency mode will do more harm than good. You shouldn’t use this mode if:

  • You play Vulkan games or games running DirectX 12. These games decide when to queue frames on their own, making the low latency mode ineffective.
  • The game you’re playing starts stuttering more than usual, meaning your CPU can’t keep up.
  • You’re playing racing games since low latency can ruin the immersion.
  • It leads to significantly higher power consumption.

How to Enable NVIDIA Low Latency Mode

Before enabling the low latency mode, ensure that you have installed the latest drivers for your NVIDIA graphic card. Otherwise, you won’t be able to see the settings necessary to enable the low latency mode.

You can download the drivers directly from the NVIDIA’s website. Once your drivers are up to date, follow these steps to enable NVIDIA low latency mode:

  1. Right-click on your desktop.
  2. Select the “NVIDIA Control Panel” option from the drop-down menu.
  3. Navigate to the “3D Settings” section on the left sidebar.
  4. Click on the “Manage 3D Settings” option.
  5. Go to the “Settings” section in the “Manage 3D Settings” window.
  6. Select the “Low Latency Mode” from the list of options.
  7. Use the drop-down menu next to the mode’s name to select the “Ultra” option.
  8. Click on the “Apply” button in the window’s lower-right corner.

Once the Apply button disappears, the low latency mode is activated, and you can start gaming.

The drop-down menu next to the low latency option will display three choices. Here’s when to use each of them:

  • Off: Use this option if the low latency mode isn’t working for you. After turning it off, the game’s engine will queue around one to three frames for maximum render.
  • On: Try this option if the ultra-low latency mode causes your game to stutter. This mode limits queuing to a single frame.
  • Ultra: Use this mode in all other gaming situations. It submits the frame just in time before the GPU starts rendering.

What Else Can I Do to Optimize Latency?

If you’re on a mission to reduce lag as much as possible, there are several other steps you can take to optimize latency.

The key is to target each part of the system latency, which includes optimizing:

  • Peripheral latency
  • PC latency
  • Display latency

How to Optimize Peripheral Latency

Peripheral latency pertains to optimizing peripherals, such as the mouse and the keyboard. Several factors influence the processing time of these devices:

  • The mechanical parts used for the peripherals
  • The techniques used for click detection
  • The device’s polling rate

Here’s what you can do to optimize your mouse and keyboard:

  • Maximize your device’s polling rate

This rate determines how frequently your PC asks the peripheral for information. The higher the polling rate, the faster the devices can deliver the clicks to your PC.

  • Purchase a lower-latency mouse and keyboard

In general, these peripherals range from one to 20 milliseconds of latency. However, remember that latency shouldn’t be the deciding factor for purchasing a decent gaming mouse. You should also consider the weight, wireless support, a style that fits your hand, and the maximum polling rate.

How to Optimize PC Latency

PC latency usually contributes the most to the overall system latency. As such, it’s crucial for a smooth game operation. NVIDIA low latency mode is used to optimize precisely this latency. But enabling the low latency mode isn’t the only step to help with game lagging. You can also do the following:

  • Turn on NVIDIA Reflex mode

NVIDIA Reflex is a feature that was introduced after the NVIDIA low latency mode. Both modes operate similarly and have the same goal – optimizing game latency. However, the Reflex mode has proven to be a better option for competitive games. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to turn it on, provided it’s available in your game.

If you enable both the Ultra-low latency mode and the Reflex mode, the latter will override the former’s functionality.

  • Turn on exclusive fullscreen

This mode will bypass the Windows compositor, which adds latency.

  • Turn off vertical sync (VSync)

Turning off VSync is one of the oldest methods for optimizing latency. VSync causes frame queuing and increases latency. But this mode also prevents screen tearing, so keep that in mind when choosing your gaming priorities.

  • Turn on Windows Game Mode

Enabling the Windows Game Mode helps your PC prioritize processes associated with your game. Consequently, the CPU will stay focused on simulating the game and collecting your inputs, thus reducing latency.

  • Invest in faster hardware

If your hardware isn’t up to scratch, there’s only so much you can do to optimize the software. Hence, the best option for reducing latency throughout your system would be to purchase a faster GPU and CPU.

How to Optimize Display Latency

A display lag can severely disrupt your gaming. Fortunately, these issues can be avoided by optimizing your display latency. Here’s what to do:

  • Enable the maximum refresh rate

The higher the refresh rate, the lower the risk of a display scan-out lag. Consider investing in a new monitor if your current display doesn’t support a high refresh rate.

  • Use a moderate amount of overdrive

Using some overdrive will help improve the pixel response time. You should start at the first level, the default setting for most monitors. Be careful about increasing this amount since too much overdrive can create highly distracting effects on your display.

No More Lagging Behind

NVIDIA ultra-low latency mode will allow you to enjoy a smooth gaming experience and bid the annoying lags farewell. Enabling this mode is pretty straightforward, as our guide has demonstrated. Plus, disabling the low latency mode is equally as quick if you encounter game compatibility issues.

Gaming is about having fun, so experiment with different modes until you find what works for you, allowing you to master any game.

Do you have lagging issues when gaming on your PC? How do you deal with high latency? Let us know in the comments section below.

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