I recommend PrecisionX, alongside HWMonitor basic 32-bit edition (available on cnet.com), as virtually the only tools I use to dial in games. They are not miracle workers and require a little knowledge to define your own goals, but once you're able, the entire process is simple and scalable to any reasonable hardware profile. I play all PC games at my native 1920x1080 120Hz and hold a locked frame rate to stay competitive/ immersed. What that frame rate is depends on what genre of game and the hardware I can throw at it. Primarily, I play multi-player, first-person-shooters, which rely on the highest framerates you can attain and lock steadily without any interference to reflex and muscle memory. With another type of game, a city builder like SimCity, I don’t mind the fewer frames, still locked mind you, but pouring on the candy a little. Both are set up using the feedback and control of the same two programs.
In the real world we have our investments, not every computer can run a game at max settings without severely punishing it or some tremendous hits on performance. It’s the wrong way to go about things. PC gaming is the freedom to prioritize when sacrifices must be made and they will be made as time marches on and your technology's timer ticks away. I can assure you this combination of tools with that little base knowledge will give you a much better experience than the defaults and other arbitrary changes you’ve been accustomed to. Add to that the confidence of keeping heat in check, good health for a 5 year run if your build is on point.
My current computer will reach a cross-road before too long due to the eventual sliding scale started the day I built it in late 2010, but after an upgrade this past July, from an EVGA GTX480 to a used GTX660ti, I’ve gotten a second wind. Anyone who knows me understands my frustrations with performance at the launch of COD Ghosts, but I’ll be damned if that 480 didn’t have me at native res pinned to 50fps. Too much had to be sacrificed reaching that mark and it fell short of a competitive level. Now I’m at a static 91fps with much better filtering, smoothed out a ton to my expectations of performance, and I’ve arrived at the best case scenario for an honest dependable build with the same tools.
I’ve listed my current computer specs below with a link to another system I'd build for myself given the means. Every piece of both those puzzles were carefully thought out and it’s not to say there aren’t other solutions out there… but mine served me well for nearly 4 years and the latter would, in my hands, be the destroyer of worlds. At both ends of the spectrum PrecisionX and HWMonitor would have it under safe logical limits, just on different scales. That’s my definition of powerful tools. Less is more, use your resources wisely. Newegg Spec Dream Machine. My personal choice as "The destroyer of worlds" :D
CPU - i7 950 1366 socket (CPU up in Asus bios clocked to i7975 3.33GHz) w/ Zalman cnps 9900 Cooler
MOBO - Asus Rampage III Extreme
RAM - Corsair 6x2GB Tri-Channel PC3 12800 1600 Dominator GT RAM (full kit w/ cooler)
GPU - GTX660 Ti 2GB w/ EVGA Precision X 16.0 tuning
HDD - Western Digital Velociraptor 10k RPM 300GB
PSU - Corsair Pro Series AX1200
CASE - Cooler Master HAF X 942 w/ 8x case fans
MONITOR - Acer GD235HZ 120Hz 2ms response 24”
OS - Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1 retail pkg
It's my intension to create a community guide to aid people utilizing this tool in a careful and effective manner under the philosophy of frames over fluff, to a degree, and when it's called for. Until then, here are some screen shots of the game settings I used in Ghosts as a reference, achieving 91 locked and smooth frames. DO NOT BLINDLY MIMIC THESE SETTINGS. They were generated using my hardware and might harm your computer trying to follow suit.http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=292588200http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=292588672http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=292588895