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How can I detect the speed of the user's graphics card so that I can decide whether or not to enable advanced graphics features that would slow down the app on a slow card, such as anti-aliasing? I am using OpenGL.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Usually you would just leave this up to the user to decide or alternately run a small bench test and recommend settings to the user.

If you want to bench test to recommend settings or just put it on regardless all you need to do is see how long it takes to complete your render call. If a frame is 25 milliseconds, for example, and all your draws are done in 12 milliseconds, then you can probably turn it on.

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I was about to post "Leave it to the user to decide" as well, but you beat me to it. Just have a Low, Medium and High quality setting, and a "customize" button that lets the user turn on and off whatever they want. – Tim Holt Apr 25 '12 at 17:03
@TimHolt I do have these settings, but I don't know what to set as 'default.' – Isaac Waller Apr 25 '12 at 17:05
This does seem like the only way to do it. Thanks for the help. – Isaac Waller Apr 25 '12 at 17:06
Dynamically changing settings during run-time can be useful though, sometimes. It's more important to have smooth game-play than consistent graphics quality, and the user can't predict what's coming up later, so everything may be fine with the settings they choose and then, 10000 monsters drop from the sky firing light emitting bullets. So sometimes it could be good to just turn their settings up or down automatically. Another example; when pausing a racing game you know you have some extra seconds to render that next frame for the pause menu background, so put the settings up. – OriginalDaemon Apr 25 '12 at 17:09

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