-- by the S.T.E.P. Team and Wiki Editors
NVIDIA Inspector is a tool created by Orbmu2k. This tool provides detailed hardware information much like GPU-Z from all the available hardware senors pertaining to the video card. This senor information can also be monitored via the included monitors which, in turn, can be logged to a CSV file for later viewing. Inspector also provides simple overclocking tools to control the GPU clock, memory clock, shader clock, voltage, and fan speed of the video card; however, not all of these options will be available to all users.
NVIDIA Inspector's real treasure is the Driver Profile Settings (game profiles). Inspector includes over two hundred individual game profiles. Using these profiles you can set up individual driver settings for individual games that will be loaded and used when the game is launched. These settings are also more extensive than the settings included in the NVIDIA Control Panel so you have more control and additional settings to fine tune your games.
This Guide will not be a step-by-step process of what to set your Inspector settings on. That would be impossible to do with the endless combinations of video cards and system hardware. This Guide will; however, break down each of the settings in Inspector so that you may be better informed about what settings may be best for your system.
The wonderful thing about NVIDIA Inspector is that it's a standalone application. There is no installation required. Simply download the tool and run the .exe to launch the program. This means it can also be ran from USB flash drives and used on the go. You can download NVIDIA Inspector here: NVIDIA Inspector or here: NVIDIA Inspector
When you open the program this is the first screen you'll see. Here you'll find all your hardware information. You'll also notice two buttons on the upper left side. The first button uploads a screenshot of the app to Techpowerup.org. The second button below that will open your hardware monitors. Further down to the right of the Driver Version box is a button that will open the game profiles plugin for Inspector. Finally, at the bottom there is a banner to allow you do donate, a drop-down box to allow you to switch between multiple GPUs if you're running SLI, and a button that will open the Overclocking pane. Clicking this button will prompt a warning about overclocking, before the pane opens.
Clicking the Sensor Monitoring button will open the this screen. Monitors are discussed on the Sensor Monitoring tab.
Clicking the Driver Profile Settings (game profiles) button will open this screen. Game profiles are discussed on the Creating Skyrim Profile tab.
Clicking on the Show Overclocking button and choosing "Yes" to the prompt will open this overclocking pane. Overclocking is discussed on the Overclocking tab.
Sensor monitoring can be very helpful when testing hardware stability, performing overclocks, mod testing, or when testing new settings or changes to those settings. Inspector includes 14 different monitors for this purpose. These include:
Of these, the most useful are going to be determined by what you are using the monitors for.
To open the monitors, click on the Sensor Monitoring button located on the main screen on the upper left side. Once opened, the monitors are defaulted to stay on top of all other windows. The default monitors displayed are the GPU Usage, GPU Clock, Voltage, and the GPU Temperature. To change the monitors simply right-click on the monitor window and hover over "Monitors". The monitors which have a check beside them will be the monitors displayed. You may check as few as one or all of them, if you desire.
The other settings on the right-click menu are as followed:
First a disclaimer: Inspector and STEP can not be held liable for any possible mishaps resulting from overclocking your video card. Potential problems resulting from overclocking can include anything from voiding your warranty to overheating and bricking your card and everything in between. If you decide to overclock your video card, you do so at your own risk. This overclocking overview is meant for information purposes only. Now, on to the magic...
Overclocking in Inspector is not much different than overclocking in other third party software. Keep in mind, depending on your video card model, not all overclocking controls will be at your disposal in Inspector. Inspector was not written with overclocking in mind; therefore, if you need more powerful and precise options you should look elsewhere. It is also a good idea to have monitors open when overclocking so that you may monitor the effect of your changes.
To open the overclocking pane, click the "Show Overclocking" button at the bottom of the main screen. You'll be prompted with a warning asking if you are aware of the risk with overclocking. Clicking "No" closes the windows. Clicking "Yes" will open the overclocking pane. Clicking the button again will hide the pane. Below is a break-down of the items on this pane:
|Notice: Some settings my differ from the settings below as various options are available with various cards.|
Driver Profile Settings or game profiles can be opened from the main screen by click the Driver Profile Settings button located to the right of the Driver Version box. Game profiles are the main attraction with NVIDIA Inspector because when used, these profiles will allow custom driver settings for individual games. The profiles will then be saved and loaded once the game is launched. You may be asking what's the difference between the NVIDIA Control Panel profiles and NVIDIA Inspector profiles. The answer is, Inspector provides a more extensive set of settings and options than the NVIDIA Control Panel does. Many of the settings and additional options that are included in Inspector are hidden from the Control Panel for whatever reason but still exist within the driver. Inspector gives you full control over these hidden settings.
Over 200 profiles are already included in Inspector and there is rarely a need to create a new profile. This is because the profiles exist within the drivers themselves. Whenever NVIDIA releases new driver version they often come with new or updated profiles. Skyrim's profile is one of these; however, if you ever need to create a new profile you can do so by clicking the "Create New Profile" button on the toolbar of the Driver Profile Settings window.
To load Skyrim's profile, open the Driver Profile Settings window. In the text box on the toolbar, type "Elder". You'll see three profile for Elder Scrolls. Click on the profile for "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim". This loads the pre-configured profile for Skyrim. If you already set some setting in the NVIDIA Control Panel, you'll see those settings here. If not, the settings will be the default ones. Below we'll go through each section in detail.
These settings should general not be changed as they are set to work with Skyrim.
Note: Any ENBSeries version after v0.119 no longer has support for hardware AA. So if you're planing on using an ENB which uses a version newer than v0.119 please turn AA off here in the drivers. The ENBSeries v0.139 and above now offers edge antialiasing which is similar to MSAA, but with more blur. For a better AA solution with ENB, use SMAA Injector.
On some systems, it might be possible to override the AA settings with ENB installed as some have reported. For more information please refer to this post
From 0xMSAA to 2xMSAA: ~07% loss
From 0xMSAA to 4xMSAA: ~15% loss
From 0xMSAA to 8xMSAA: ~30% loss
Sparse Grid Supersampling
From 0xSGSS to 2xSGSS: ~01% loss
From 0xSGSS to 4xSGSS: ~02% loss
From 0xSGSS to 8xSGSS: ~06% loss
From 0xAF to 2xAF: ~01%
From 0xAF to 4xAF: ~03%
From 0xAF to 8xAF: ~04%
From 0xAF to 16xAF: ~04.5%
Texture Filtering - Quality
High Performance to High Quality: ~01%
No AO to Performance: ~28%
No AO to Quality: ~49%
No AO to High Quality: ~55%
Maximum Pre-rendered Frames
1 Frame to 8 Frames: ~03% (gain)
1 Frame to 8 Frames with AFx16: ~09% (gain)
Before all edits:
FPS: Avg: 58.665 - Min: 51 - Max: 61
After all edits with no Ambient Occlusion:
FPS: Avg: 49.050 - Min: 38 - Max: 61
Before to After: ~16%
After all edits with all recommended settings:
FPS: Avg: 33.623 - Min: 28 - Max: 40
Before to After: ~42%
There's not much for troubleshooting currently. Troubleshooting will be added upon over time.
If you start seeing transparent textures in-game, this could be caused by Sparse Grid Supersampling or Transparency Multisampling. To fix this issue set Antialiasing - Transparency Multisampling to "Disabled". You can also switch Antialiasing - Transparency Supersampling to "Supersampling" instead of "Sparse Grid Supersampling".
Some NVIDIA cards (like the GTX 560 Ti) ceased rendering SSAO outdoors in Skyrim after the official 1.5.24 patch. The problem hasn’t been resolved but NVIDIA is aware of it. For now, you can temporarily switch to Oblivion or Fallout 3 compatibility to get back the SSAO outdoors.
Below is the raw data from FRAPS for anyone interested. The system used during data collection:
2xAA //Frames: 1008 - Time: 17813ms - Avg: 56.588 - Min: 51 - Max: 60
4xAA //Frames: 964 - Time: 18609ms - Avg: 51.803 - Min: 46 - Max: 59
8xAA //Frames: 712 - Time: 16703ms - Avg: 42.627 - Min: 38 - Max: 50
Sparse Grid Supersampling
2xSGSS //Frames: 1494 - Time: 25203ms - Avg: 59.279 - Min: 54 - Max: 62
4xSGSS //Frames: 1400 - Time: 23828ms - Avg: 58.754 - Min: 50 - Max: 61
8xSGSS //Frames: 1450 - Time: 25812ms - Avg: 56.175 - Min: 44 - Max: 62
No AF //Frames: 2525 - Time: 42859ms - Avg: 58.914 - Min: 52 - Max: 62
2xAF //Frames: 2462 - Time: 42312ms - Avg: 58.187 - Min: 50 - Max: 62
4xAF //Frames: 2482 - Time: 43609ms - Avg: 56.915 - Min: 46 - Max: 61
8xAF //Frames: 2397 - Time: 42219ms - Avg: 56.775 - Min: 47 - Max: 62
16xAF //Frames: 2374 - Time: 42016ms - Avg: 56.502 - Min: 47 - Max: 62
Texture Filtering - Quality
High Performance //Frames: 2367 - Time: 41375ms - Avg: 57.208 - Min: 48 - Max: 62
Performance //Frames: 2370 - Time: 41454ms - Avg: 57.172 - Min: 48 - Max: 62
Quality //Frames: 2370 - Time: 41812ms - Avg: 56.682 - Min: 47 - Max: 62
High Quality //Frames: 2395 - Time: 42266ms - Avg: 56.665 - Min: 47 - Max: 62
Off //Frames: 753 - Time: 12657ms - Avg: 59.493 - Min: 57 - Max: 62
Performance //Frames: 1750 - Time: 41016ms - Avg: 42.666 - Min: 36 - Max: 48
Quality //Frames: 1289 - Time: 42203ms - Avg: 30.543 - Min: 27 - Max: 35
High Quality //Frames: 1154 - Time: 43016ms - Avg: 26.827 - Min: 24 - Max: 31
Max Pre-rendered Frames
1 Frame //Frames: 2949 - Time: 51562ms - Avg: 57.193 - Min: 46 - Max: 62
8 Frames //Frames: 2638 - Time: 44828ms - Avg: 58.847 - Min: 52 - Max: 69
With Anisotropic Filtering x16
1 Frame //Frames: 2497 - Time: 48640ms - Avg: 51.336 - Min: 40 - Max: 60
8 Frames //Frames: 2574 - Time: 45563ms - Avg: 56.493 - Min: 47 - Max: 69
Frames: 2485 - Time: 42359ms - Avg: 58.665 - Min: 51 - Max: 61
After Edits with no Ambient Occlusion
Frames: 2044 - Time: 41672ms - Avg: 49.050 - Min: 38 - Max: 61
After Edits with all recommended edits
Frames: 1461 - Time: 43453ms - Avg: 33.623 - Min: 28 - Max: 40