Earlier this year at the GeForce LAN party in Shanghai, Nvidia chief Jen-Hsun Huang revealed an interesting cloud-based service that's supposed to analyze your hardware and adjust in-game settings and display resolution for an optimized experience. It's an ambitious initiative given the number of hardware combinations that exist not only today, but tomorrow and beyond, yet Nvidia is determined to see this project through after having worked on it for more than half a decade. Gamers can get their first taste of Nvidia's new tool today by downloading the GeForce Experience beta.
There's nothing complicated about what Nvidia wants to do. Put simply, the GeForce Experience tool is about simplifying the configuration process and adjusting settings to their optimal values based on your particular setup. The hard part, obviously, is figuring out what those settings are. How does Nvidia determine what they are? It's a six step process:
Expert tester plays through key areas of the game
Find a demanding test case to use as a benchmark
Determine an appropriate FPS target (40-60 fps)
Analyze how each setting affects quality and performance
Find the highest quality settings that satisfy frame rate target
For each game, test across thousands of hardware configurations
The software tool takes all your hardware into consideration, and then based on what was already figured out through the 6-step process above and uploaded to the cloud, it pulls that information down and adjusts the game's settings automatically.
Once you install the software tool, you can then look at all your supported games in one place (as shown above) and click the Optimize button for whichever ones you want Nvidia to, well, optimize. The interface also provides detailed instructions on what the different settings do, so it's also a bit of a learning tool, especially for inexperienced users and/or first time PC gamers.
"GeForce Experience also delivers the latest GeForce drivers right to your desktop," Nvidia explains. "No more going to the web to search for the right driver – GeForce Experience automatically selects the right driver based on your HW config and OS, (optionally) downloads it in the background, and notifies you when it is ready to install. Optimus, SLI and game profiles are also automatically downloaded and installed to your PC, so you are always ready for the latest games."
Not only does this tool help out gamers, but it could make things easier for game developers who are forced to ship a game without knowing what hardware is on the horizon. For example, a game bought today won't necessarily pick out the best settings for a graphics card that you purchase next year or in two years based on its own analysis. The Nvidia Experience tool will, at least in theory.
If you want in on the beta, you'll have to act fast. It's limited to 10,000 users, with the primary goal of getting user feedback before polishing this into a final product. As it stands, GeForce Experience supports over 30 games (Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Borderlands, Crysis 2, Dirt 3, Just Cause 2) and both notebook and desktop GPUs based on Fermi and Kepler.
The download link is now live. Remember, this is a closed beta limited to 10,000 users, so if you're interested, you'll want to pounce on this sooner rather than later.