Do you play old computer games? If so, you know how nostalgic they can be, bringing back childhood memories of playing with your friends in groups of five or six on old video games consoles. These memories are forever tied to the quality of the graphics in those old games, and how they compare to modern ones.
Even now, after so many years, the quality of graphics in old games is still very good, but some games have aged poorly and lack even the most basic of graphics. Fortunately, there are ways to get better graphics on old games, and even make them look better than they ever did.
This article covers everything from installing NVIDIA Graphics Cards in old computers, to optimizing old computer graphics performance and even how to get better graphics on old PC games.
What is the Difference Between Old and Bad Graphics
One of the most common questions about graphics cards and old computers is what determines the quality of old graphics and how modern graphics cards compare. Old video cards may have been powerful enough to render millions of triangles per second, but today’s cards are much more powerful and can handle much more advanced tasks such as dynamic lighting, volumetric clouds, and more.
Furthermore, modern cards often support multi-threading, which helps make old-fashioned graphics look less impressive when playing old games. Meanwhile, software-based enhancements such as Overlay Maps,Antialiasing, and advanced lighting can increase the quality of old graphics and make them seem more current.
Optimize Your Graphics Card
Most modern graphics cards come with an optimization option that can help increase your old graphics card’s performance. This option is usually near the bottom of the menu, and is often labeled “PhysX” or “S3TC.”
By pressing this button, your graphics card will put a spell on your CPU to boost your old graphics card’s performance. Unfortunately, this will also cause your CPU to use more energy, so make sure to check the “Power Consumption” section of your computer’s specs to make sure this isn’t causing device damage.
When it comes to processing power, the older your graphics card, the more power it will require, and the more heat it will generate. If your computer already has a low-end Intel processor or low-end AMD processor, you may be able to overclock these computers to improve the overall performance of your computer, but in general, it is advisable to upgrade to a modern computer whenever possible.
Installing a New Graphics Card
If your computer doesn’t already have a graphics card, you can always buy one and add it to an old computer. There are several ways to go about this, depending on your budget and personal preferences.
The easiest way is to use an old computer with a custom motherboard and an old graphics card. If you are willing to spend a little bit, some companies will even sell you a pre-built computer that includes a new graphics card.
The downside to pre-built computers is that you’ll have to wait a few days for it to reach your location before you can actually use it, so if you are looking for a quick fix this is not the best option.
If you decide to go this route, make sure to check out our article on Buying an Old Computer.
Change your Hardware
If you are looking to get better graphics on older games, but don’t want to completely upgrade your computer, you can always change your hardware. This may sound like a drastic move, but in many cases, it is the only choice available.
Some hardware doesn’t get any love from manufacturers, and while it is super old, it still works great. In these cases, there is no need to replace it altogether, as it can be used as a spare or workhorse computer.
If you are looking at purchasing a new computer, make sure to check out our other article on Choosing Your New Computer.
If your old graphics card can only hold a certain amount of memory, it is high time to upgrade it. The most common reason for this is an old motherboard with a low-res BIOS. If this is the case, it is vital to bump the amount of RAM your computer is running. This can be done by upgrading the motherboard, or by upgrading the BIOS.
Bump the Resolution
If your old graphics card can only handle a certain resolution, you can increase its performance by bumping the resolution. An easy way to do this is to buy an Anti-aliasing (AA) or Post-Processing (PP) program, which will allow you to change your default mode to Anisotropic or Bilinear to improve the quality of your old graphics.
Although AA and PP programs are not free, they are definitely worth the price of admission.
Install Some Texture Mods
Many old games don’t include textures that look as good as they should, or maybe they are just old and have aged poorly. If you have an old computer with low end graphics, you can always upgrade the graphics card to get the best out of modern games.
However, if you want to save money and get the most out of your old graphics card, you can always install some texture mods.
A texture mod gives each pixel in an image a different look and helps make old graphics look more current. There are many different texture mods you can install, depending on your tastes and preferences.
For many players, the nostalgia that comes with old computers and video games is a draw. Using these devices can bring back wonderful memories and create new ones. Whether you are a new player looking to pick up a few tips or a seasoned veteran who wants to keep playing the best games, this guide has everything you need to get better graphics on old computer games.
Depending on your computer’s age and your personal preferences, you can either change the default graphics settings to get better graphics, or install some texture mods to get the old graphics looking better.