How to Improve a Windows Graphics Score

by Dan Stone

    If you want to run a game that requires a 6.0 Windows Experience Index graphics score but can't because your system only rates at 5.8, you might be able to run it by squeezing a little more performance out of your existing graphics card or upgrading to a better one. You can give a WEI graphics score a substantial boost by upgrading your computer's graphics card; however, laptops with upgradable graphics cards are rare, so this easy way to boost the score is limited to desktop computers.

    WEI quantifies a computer's performance capabilities: the higher the score, the better the performance. WEI breaks graphics into two subsections: "Graphics" and "Gaming Graphics." The key difference is that "Graphics" measures 2-D performance and "Gaming Graphics" measures 3-D performance. Different graphics cards are better suited for different performance metrics. If you want to play the latest and greatest 3-D games you want to boost the "Gaming Graphics" score and if you're trying to get the Windows desktop to render faster you want to boost "Graphics."

    Occasionally, hardware manufacturers will release updated drivers that improve a graphics card's performance. The increase isn't like getting a whole new card, but everything may work a little better. You can get the latest graphics card drivers from the manufacturer's drivers site. Laptop graphics cards may see a WEI increase when the computer's power management setting is switched to "Performance." Graphics cards are a top energy consuming part of a computer and if there's not enough power to run them at capacity their performance will suffer.

    Desktop computer graphics cards can be upgraded by installing a new, faster graphics card to one of the computer's expansion slots. Updating an old graphics card with a newer, higher-powered graphics card can make an enormous difference in performance akin to the difference between video game console generations. However, the computer needs to have an available expansion slot that matches the new card's slot type. Desktop computers usually have a mix of PCI Express and PCI expansion slots -- PCI Express graphics cards generally perform substantially better.

    A RAM upgrade can boost the WEI graphics score. Integrated, or built-in, graphic cards may share memory with the rest of the computer; increasing the RAM increases the amount of memory available for the graphics card, which can boost the WEI score. Dedicated performance graphics cards that have their own built-in memory can borrow RAM from the rest of the computer to boost performance. Increasing the available system RAM lets the graphics card borrow more memory and improve the WEI score.

    Graphics card manufacturers AMD and Nvidia both offer overclocking programs that can be used to overpower graphics cards to get more performance out of them. However, overclocking runs a high risk of overheating and breaking computer parts if not done correctly. Overclocking also usually requires adding an advanced cooling system to the computer.

    About the Author

    Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.

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