Nvidia Video Quality Driver Settings
The Nvidia control panel features the same solid interface that it has had for some time now, and that’s not a bad thing. Under the “Select a Task” menu on the left side, we find the “Video” section with two tasks below it that contain all of the settings we need: “Adjust video color settings” and “Adjust video image settings.”
With the “Adjust video color settings” task selected, there are two radio buttons on the right-hand pane under the question “How do you make your video color adjustments?” The two buttons contain text that says “With the video player settings” or “With the Nvidia settings.” To manually control the enhancements, we select the second option.
Now we can navigate the three tabs in this section: “Color,” “Gamma,” and “Advanced.” The color and gamma tabs are there to set the output to taste, but they aren’t relevant for our testing. The advanced tab contains all of the options we need, such as “Dynamic range,” “Dynamic contrast enhancement,” and “Color enhancement.”
[EDIT: We’ve left “Dynamic range” to the “Limited” default. Dynamic range doesn’t appear to have an impact on HQV scoring, but the Full setting does provide a wider range of brightness between white and black if it's appropriate for your display. Most televisions expect a 16-235 signal range, while monitors expect a 0-255 range. Choosing an inappropriate range can cause a loss of contrast, but we didn't experience any contrast issues that would affect scoring during our tests.]
The dynamic contrast enhancement option dynamically adjusts the brightness in video to provide an optimal contrast ratio on a scene-by-scene basis. Color enhancement adjusts blue, green, and skin tones to provide a more vibrant picture. We’ll enable these options if the GeForce card we’re using is powerful enough to handle them. See our individual card configurations below for details.
With the “Adjust video color settings" task complete, let’s move on to the “Adjust Video Image Settings” task. There are three options here: “Edge enhancement,” “Noise reduction,” and “De-interlacing.” Edge enhancement can sharpen the detail of edges and noise reduction will filter out artifacts and speckles in the video. De-interlacing can provide accurate movie playback and superior image quality by optimizing source video captured at different frame rates. Edge enhancement and noise reduction can be set to “Use the Nvidia setting” on the cards we’re testing today and the “Use inverse telecine” option under de-interlacing should always be checked.
With the relevant options detailed, let’s go over the settings we're using with the GeForce cards included in our comparison. As mentioned previously, low-end cards may have all of the options available, but might not be able to handle smooth playback with them enabled.
|GeForce 210: Video Quality Settings As Tested|
|Use inverse telecine:||Enabled|
|Dynamic contrast enhancement:||Disabled|
In our testing, the GeForce 210 was able to run smoothly with all of the “Adjust Video Image Setting” features enabled, but was not able to handle any “Adjust video color setting” options without dropping frames during playback. The good news is that the card can handle edge enhancement at 60% and noise reduction at 70%, which are optimal values for the entire GeForce range, according to our observations.
|All Other GeForce Cards: GT 430, GT 240, 9800 GT, GTX 460, GTX 470: Video Quality Settings As Tested|
|Use inverse telecine:||Enabled|
|Dynamic contrast enhancement:||Enabled|
The rest of the GeForce range is able to handle smooth 1080p playback with all options enabled, including “Dynamic contrast enhancement” and “Color enhancement.” Dynamic range can be left at the “Limited” setting, as changing this value doesn’t seem to affect the HQV test results.