It’s easy to hype up about the maximum graphics settings your system can play a game at or watch a benchmarking video to see how your system fares against those settings.
However, Ultra graphics settings may not be worth the computing tax or frame rate drop. Here you should consider using lower graphics settings instead.
What are ultra graphics settings in video games?
“Ultra” graphics settings is the colloquial term used by many modern gamers to refer to the maximum graphics settings any game can be set at. This may mean clicking on the highest preset, or manually adjusting those graphics settings to make sure everything is the best it can be.
Maximum graphics settings are usually very demanding on your system and can cause higher temperatures (and greater power draw) on both your processor and graphics card. These settings will also usually mean that your gaming experience will look great to the eyes, but can become sluggish if your system can’t handle a decent frame rate at those high graphics settings.
If your system is struggling, you might want to know how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming to deliver a better experience and even bump up your frame rates a bit.
Why do ultra graphics settings exist?
Ultra graphics settings have always been there to give the player the least compromised visual experience. The textures, foliage, shadows, and many other details like what the game designers envisioned them to be.
Benchmark at ultra graphics settings
Nowadays, maximum graphics settings are much publicized, often viewed with a sense of pride if one’s system is able to handle those settings and still achieve 60 or more frames per second.
If you search for any CPU and graphics card combination on YouTube right next to the word “benchmark,” you’ll see tons of videos benchmarking those parts at max settings. For mid- or low-end computer parts, you’ll often see low frame rates and interested buyers expressing their defeated feelings in the comments.
Benchmarks can be a curse to your buying decision as you might find that you will not have as good an experience playing at lower graphics settings. However, benchmarks are just tests to see the performance of a system. You don’t really need to follow the benchmark settings to have a good time.
Are Ultra graphics settings worth the frame rate drop?
We can’t answer whether the drop in frame rate is worth it, but we can help you answer by considering these things.
What is a playable frame rate for you?
A playable frame rate is completely subjective. Console and handheld gamers often play at 30-60 frames per second and are perfectly happy with it, while many PC players aim for 100+ frames per second to get the most out of their high refresh-rate monitors.
If you’re a gamer who doesn’t play many competitive games, you’ll probably be fine at 60 frames per second. Ideally, you should lower your graphical settings and aim for a stable and ideal frame rate. Most of the time, you won’t even notice the difference, and we’ll show you examples in the next section. However, if you’re still struggling for more frames, you may want to take a look at how to fix low FPS in Windows.
If you like to play competitive games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Apex Legends, or Overwatch 2, you can aim to match your monitor’s refresh rate. They can because reactivity is more important than beautiful grass (which can also obstruct your vision).
Can you tell the difference between medium and ultra graphics settings?
In many modern AAA games that are well designed, the lower settings are almost indistinguishable from the higher settings. Sure, the shadows won’t be as crisp, or there won’t be as much grass. However, when you’re in the heat of an intense scene or if you’re busy getting from point A to point B, you won’t have time to pay attention to those things either.
Many AAA games (even smaller games) use dynamic rendering techniques when it comes to slow-motion scenes. These technologies reduce either the render resolution or texture quality when you’re moving around and gradually increase detail when you look at them for a few seconds.
This way, when you want to take in the beauty of the game, it will enhance the quality of the textures and allow you to take in the scenery while delivering higher frame rates for faster situations.
Examples of medium vs maximum graphics settings
For most people, a smoother and more responsive experience is better than a sluggish but visually stunning experience. What if we told you that you can be both?
We have taken five games and split them down the middle.