How to Enable Ultra-Low Latency Mode for NVIDIA Graphics

NVIDIA has been developing its GPU Enhancements to improve performance, image quality and the processors used. NVIDIA has also developed certain techniques to help the GPU in applying colors, shading, textures, and patterns.

Graphics Card

Graphics Card takes binary data as input and converts it into an image, which is quite a demanding process. To make a 3-D image, the graphics card creates a wireframe out of straight lines. Then, it Rasterizes the image by filling in the remaining pixels. It also adds lighting, texture, and color to the image. For fast-paced games, the computer system goes through this process about sixty times per second.

Games use graphics cards quite intensively and eventually, there is Lagging during the gaming. Lagging is the amount of time it takes to process a keypress of peripherals (keyboard/mouse) to the monitor and computer. So, to make the user experience smoother and lag-free a variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games.

On August 20th, 2019, Nvidia released a new beta feature for its Graphics Driver titled “Ultra Low Latency Mode“. This feature introduces an option ultra-low latency mode in NVIDIA Control Panel that tweaks how the handling of frame buffering, along with sharper scaling for pixel art and retro games.

Frames are qued in Graphics Engines to be Rendered by the GPU, the GPU renders them, and then these frames are Displayed on your PC.

The NVIDIA Control Panel has enabled GeForce gamers to adjust the “Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames” for more than a decade, the number of frames buffered in the render queue. Several frames are rendered in the render queue, new frames are sent to your GPU sooner, reducing latency and improving responsiveness.

Rendering Workflow

Ultra-Low Latency Mode is built on the “Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames” feature. In “Ultra-Low Latency” mode, frames are submitted into the render queue just before the GPU needs them which is called “Just in Time Frame Scheduling

This feature is intended for competitive gamers and for users who want the fastest input response times in their games. This feature is available in the NVIDIA Control Panel for all NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

Gaming isn’t just about raw Frame Per Second but gamers also want great image quality and faster response times. And this new Ultra-Low Latency mode gives gamers the ability to get the low latency feeling of high framerates, without compromising their graphics quality settings or resolution to get there.

This new feature will be more effective on games that are GPU Bound and running between 60 FPS (frames per second) and 100 FPS. In other words, if a game is CPU Bound i.e. limited by your CPU resources instead of your GPU or you have very high or very low FPS, this feature won’t help too much. If you have input latency in games e.g. mouse lag, that’s simply a result of low FPS and this new feature won’t solve that problem and will potentially reduce your FPS. This new feature is Off by Default, which leads to “maximum render throughput.” For most people most of the time, that’s a Better Option. But, for competitive and intensive gaming, you’ll want all the tiny edges you can get and that includes lower latency.

This new Ultra-low latency mode will work on DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 titles, but not on DirectX 12 and Vulkan Games as these decide when to queue the frame and the NVIDIA graphics drivers have no control over this setting.

This feature increases the performance of frame rate and reduces latency by up to 23 percent in games like Battlefield V, Apex Legends and Forza Horizon 4.

Faster Performance

This new feature is very CPU intensive if set to Ultra. So, if you have a weaker CPU or running a CPU heavy game e.g. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey you will both get lower FPS and FPS Spikes that will cause lag.

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, you can grab new GeForce Game Ready 436.02 WHQL drivers, NVIDIA’s 105th set of Game Ready drivers at NVIDIA’s website.

How to Enable Ultra-Low Latency Mode

  1. Update NVIDIA graphics driver to Version 436.02 or Newer either through the GeForce Experience application or download the latest graphics driver directly from NVIDIA’s website.
  2. After updating, launch the NVIDIA Control Panel by Right-clicking your Windows Desktop and select “NVIDIA Control Panel”.
Open NVIDIA Control Panel
  1. Click “Manage 3D Settings” under 3D Settings on the left side of the NVIDIA control panel.
  2. To enable Ultra-Low Latency Mode for all games on your system, select “Global Settings.”
  3. To enable it for one or more specific games, select “Program Settings” and choose the game or games you want to enable it for.
    Manage 3D Settings
  4. Locate “Low Latency Mode” in the list of settings on the right side of the NVIDIA Control Panel. Click the dropdown box and following three options will show
    • Off: In this mode, the game’s engine will queue 1-3 frames for maximum render throughput on its own. This is the default setting.
    • On: This mode limits the number of queued frames to 1 which is the same setting as “Max_Prerendered_Frames = 1” from previous drivers
    • Ultra: Submits the frame just in time for the GPU to pick it up and start rendering and select “Ultra” in the list to enable it. There will be no frame waiting in the queue.
Types of Low Latency Mode
  1. Click the “Apply” button to save settings and close the NVIDIA Control Panel.
Apply Settings

Remember this option can hurt performance in different scenarios. Enable it only for specific games and test the best settings that work.

And if things do not work as per expectations you can come back to this setting page and click on “Restore” to make setting revert to their defaults.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.