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How to optimise your graphics in iRacing

While iRacing is generally a quite optimized and easy to run game even on low-end systems, it can quickly become taxing with higher resolution displays or especially in VR. We’ve run through all of the settings in the game and narrowed down the biggest ones to look at when looking to quickly optimize your game, without having to flick through each setting to see which is losing the most frames.

The Settings

It’s safe to say there are quite a few options to get your head around, so let’s take a dive into which ones are most useful to adjust.

Graphics/Performance Slider

Here is where we’ll start to get your graphics settings in the ballpark of where the best settings for your hardware is going to be. Be sure to uncap your frame rate and start with the max quality setting, and check what your frame rate is. You usually want to aim for whatever your monitor’s refresh rate is. So for instance, if you have a 60hz monitor, you’ll want to be getting at least 60fps. If you have a 144hz monitor, you’ll want to try to get 144hz. If you aren’t able to reach your monitor’s native refresh rate, you’ll want to lower the slider down until you do.

Details

Beginning at the top left of the graphics page, you will see parameters such as Sky/Clouds, Car details, Track details, Pit objects, Crowds, etc. If you want your game to look the best it possibly can, you want to keep all of these on high. If you’re looking for more framerate, it may be a good idea to turn some details such as crowds or pit objects down, however, there are other settings you may want to look at before lowering your car or track details.

Max Cars

The max cars setting changes how many other cars are on track your client requests from the server. By limiting the number of cars on your client, you will only see the number of cars you selected that is closest to you. So for instance, if you selected 10 cars on track, your client will not load any cars other than the 10 nearest to you. While this is useful for better performance and smaller replay sizes, it’s important to note that it may impede your ability to be an effective spotter in some cases.

Anisotropic filtering

Anisotropic filtering cleans up muddy textures from 3D objects when viewed edge-on, making textures clearer from further distances. The performance hit is not very big and it’s likely worth it to run 16x if you can.

Anti-Aliasing

Anti-aliasing is what cleans up rough, jagged edges of polygons on 3D models. While running high AA will give you clean, smooth edges, it will also cost you a lot of video memory. Depending on your system you can likely get away with the maximum for a single screen, however, if you’re running triples or VR, you will likely want to run at 4x or less. In VR you may even find that no anti-aliasing doesn’t bother you and that could allow you to turn other settings up.

Shader Quality

Shader quality is likely not going to need to be lower than high on a single 1080p screen. However, in VR, this can be a framerate killer. In some cases, it may be worth lowering the shader quality to keep the details high, or vice versa depending on where your preference lies.

Cockpit mirrors

While sometimes the only time you might even use your actual mirrors rather than the virtual mirror is in VR, unfortunately, it can significantly impact performance in VR, especially if the high detail in mirrors option is checked (keep that off by the way.) Unfortunately, if you choose to limit the number of mirrors you want to use, you can’t pick which ones you want on and which ones you want off. The game decides for you. It’s likely best to keep this on max – 4 if you decide to use in-game mirrors, or completely off if you only use the virtual mirror.

GPU Memory Limit

This is important to get right as setting it too high could result in random drops in frame rate in some races and instances. Windows is going to use a little bit of your memory, so a good method is to multiply 0.95 by your total GPU memory, and give a 50-100MB buffer. So for example, if your graphics card has 8GB of VRAM, a good safe setting would be 7,500MB.

System memory limit

For this setting you are not going to want less than 1200MB as your max limit, however, if you have more ram to spare, you can get away with investing as much as you want. A good way to determine if you need to invest more ram is by watching the P-bar on the performance window in-game. If you see anything more than a little bit of yellow flickering, you may want to increase your ram limit.

Notes on VR

If you want to make VR gameplay smoother without sacrificing visuals, an option worth considering is reprojection, which allows you to only render half of your headset’s refresh rate (eg if you have a 90hz refresh rate, your game will only render 45fps) while the other half is generated as “artificial frames” in between the real frames, giving you the illusion and smoothness of 90fps with your head movements to prevent sickness with less of the raw hardware requirements of running VR in 90fps.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the most important settings to give you smooth gameplay and clear visuals. Remember that if you are hardware limited, you may need to sacrifice one or the other. Try to get as many frames as you can, but remember there isn’t much point in reaching further than the refresh rate of your monitor other than aiming a bit past it for stability, so this is where you can optimize the visuals.

If you want to take your newfound FPS to the track, make sure you check out Coach Dave Academy for some of the best setups available on iRacing and subscribe to our iRacing Setup Subscription for new setups for your favourite series’ every week.

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