If you’ve used a NVIDIA GPU in the last decade, you’ve likely had to go into the NVIDIA Control Panel at least once or twice, and if you’re a gamer, you probably use it pretty regularly. Unfortunately, anybody who’s started up this particular NVIDIA application knows how slow and awkward the software has always been. Luckily, there’s a piece of freeware out there called NVIDIA Inspector that can does everything better, as well as provide a variety of unique, useful features.
If you have ever wished there was a better way to adjust your NVIDIA GPU’s graphics settings, we’re here to explain how NVIDIA Inspector can come to your rescue!
What is NVIDIA Inspector?
Developed by user Orbmu2k, NVIDIA Inspector is a free, lightweight program that primarily reads out driver and hardware information related to your graphics card (or GPU). When you open the application’s simple executable file that does not require an installation, you’ll be brought to NVIDIA Inspector’s main window, where most of its functionality is located.
At the click of a button you can see a whole host of information about your graphics card. From here it’s easy to check your overclocks if you have them, confirm what driver version you’re running, or simply have quick access to an overview of what’s going on under the hood of your card at a moment’s notice.
However, clicking the small green icon next to the Driver Version field will open a new window, the NVIDIA Profile Inspector, where you can change all of your global GPU graphics settings as well as GPU settings on a per-application basis.
Aside from adjusting your monitor’s color and display settings, which can be done from within Windows, the core function of the NVIDIA Control Panel is to tweak your GPU’s settings, and NVIDIA Inspector is much better at doing this than the Control Panel. Not only does NVIDIA Inspector load much quicker and save settings faster, there are many settings available only within NVIDIA Inspector that you can use to improve performance.
How to use NVIDIA Inspector
From within the NVIDIA Profile Inspector window, while it may seem unintuitive at first, you can easily change your graphics card’s global settings. These are the settings that will take effect in all your games, for example, unless a certain game has its own profile with different settings.
Settings not grayed-out and with a gear next to them on the left side of the window are your core settings. These correspond to the settings you can change from within the NVIDIA Control Panel itself. To change a setting, simply click on the setting, and a drop-down arrow will appear on the right side of the setting, near the list of codes on the right-most side of the window. Clicking this arrow will display all the available options for an individual setting. Clicking your desired option will select that option.
To save your settings, click the “Apply changes” button at the top-right corner of the window. The process is the same for customizing the profiles of individual applications. By default, when the Profile Inspector window is opened, you will have access to your graphics card’s global settings. But if you click the drop-down arrow next to the _GLOBAL_DRIVER_PROFILE (Base Profile) field at the top of the window, you can select whichever game or application you’d like to change the individual graphics settings for and change them in the same way you change your global settings.
Many settings in NVIDIA Inspector have more options than the same settings do in the NVIDIA Control Panel. For example, in the NVIDIA Control Panel, you can set vertical sync to half your refresh rate. With NVIDIA Inspector, a third or a quarter of your refresh rate is also possible. Depending on what settings you’re interested in tweaking, NVIDIA Inspector likely has more options for you.
While the NVIDIA Control Panel is a core piece of NVIDIA’s utilities, and there’s no way to actually get rid of it, if you have a NVIDIA GPU, you wouldn’t want to. There are a number of settings outside of your graphics card the Control Panel can adjust. However, not only does NVIDIA Inspector give you access to a boatload of useful information about your GPU, it’s the best and easiest way to change your GPU’s settings.
What do you think of the NVIDIA Control Panel, and are you ready for an alternative? And for all those on team red out there, how does AMD’s software stack up? Let us know in the comments down below!