How to use RivaTuner to monitor the performance of gaming equipment

The freedom to push your computer far beyond stock specifications is the best part of PC gaming. If you’ve faced minimal hardware issues or want to learn how to use advanced overclocking tools to optimize your game setup without necessarily overclocking your components, we’ll show you how to use Riva Tuner Statistics Server (RTSS) to monitor your games . hardware performance.

What is RTSS?

RivaTuner statistics server was originally a companion to the open source overclocking tool RivaTuner designed for Nvidia GPUs, with limited support for ATI / AMD hardware. However, it has now become a standalone tool offering hardware and frame rate monitoring capabilities, with additional support for image limitation and video capture.

Rivatuner interface

RivaTuner itself has since been assimilated to virtually all of the main GPU overclocking tools such as MSI Afterburner, EVGA Precision X and ASUS GPU Tweak. This guide is based on MSI Afterburner, supplied with RTSS. Here’s what you need to do to get started.

Install and configure RTSS

1. Download the latest stable release from MSI Afterburner supplied with RTSS.

2. Install the tool and be sure to select RivaTuner Statistics Server when prompted to choose components during installation. It is not possible to monitor critical hardware parameters without RTSS.

3. Open MSI Afterburner and compose the GPU overclocking settings. Alternatively, you can leave everything unchanged at the default settings and go directly to the RTSS configuration by clicking on the Settings button represented by the gear icon.

4. Go to the Monitoring tab in the Settings window. The tab contains a list of relevant hardware parameters for the CPU and GPU.

Rivatuner settingsRivatuner settings

5. Select the hardware parameter that you want to monitor. Make sure the check mark next to it is not grayed out. Monitoring these parameters consumes CPU time, so choose what you need if you are concerned about RTSS performance.

6. Once the desired parameter is highlighted, check the first box under the list of hardware parameters named “Display in screen display”. The drop-down menu next to it lets you choose whether you want this data to be displayed as text, a graph, or a combination of both. Repeat this procedure for all the parameters you want to monitor.

7. Click the OK button to save these settings. The next time you launch a game, the selected settings will be superimposed on the top left of the screen.

Rivatuner overlayRivatuner overlay

Using RTSS to Monitor Hardware Performance

RTSS comes with a long list of features and capabilities, but we’re mainly interested in the ability to monitor hardware settings to improve the gaming experience. This involves keeping an eye out for a lot of statistics regarding thermal speeds, d , power, voltage, and clock for the CPU, GPU, and memory subsystems. The following are the parameters you should take note of.

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GPU temperature

Keeping an eye on the GPU temperature versus room temperature gives a good idea of ​​the overall health of your graphics card’s cooling system. An overheated GPU is a sign that corrective measures such as cleaning the GPU heatsink and reapplying thermal paste are necessary. Monitoring the fan speed to verify proper operation and the use of aggressive fan profiles should also help.

Modern GPUs tend to move control of manual overclocking away from users and base it on thermal storage. Getting the most out of your GPU is no longer limited to prevent thermal limitation, but to ensure that the GPU works as cool as possible. Example: The Pascal and Turing Nvidia GPUs provide loads of additional clock speeds with every five degree drop in temperature. The Temperature Limit setting is also a great way to find out if your GPU’s performance is greatly affected due to thermal limitation.

Processor temperature

The same reasons also apply to processor temperatures. However, the processor clock speed is not as temperature dependent as that of GPUs. Thermal limitation is what we are looking for here. Be sure to use the CPU1 temperature monitoring option. This is the precise temperature reported directly by the processor chip. The option called processor temperature is reported by the software and is not entirely accurate.

Rivatuner monitoringRivatuner monitoring

CPU and GPU usage

These parameters are extremely important. Depending on the optimization of a game, the CPU usage will vary from 40 to 80% for most gaming platforms. However, if your CPU is at 100%, this means that it is the weakest link and that your GPU is idle, waiting for the CPU to finish its work. GPU usage will be less than 100% in this case. You will get much better performance by switching to a more powerful processor.

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The reverse also applies to the GPU. However, your GPU should reach 100% use under normal conditions. Otherwise, there is a bottleneck by the CPU.

Memory usage

This refers to video memory (VRAM) and should not be confused with the RAM Usage option which refers to the main memory of the system. Certain game settings, such as shadow quality, ambient occlusion, multisampled AA, and anything that uses normal maps will require additional VRAM. Once VRAM usage exceeds the maximum memory installed on your GPU, the frame rate will drop catastrophically.

Some rare games, such as new releases in the Resident Evil series, warn of potential memory bottlenecks, but for most other games, keeping an eye on memory usage is essential if you encounter sudden frames and / or microstutters.

Use of the BUS

Remember to keep an eye on this setting if your frame rates drop precipitously without any explanation. The use of the BUS is the use of the PCIe bus, which is the interface governing the communication link between the CPU and the GPU. No current GPU is capable of saturating the modern PCIe 3.0 x16 bus, so this setting should record low percentages at full load. If BUS usage indicates 100%, you are looking for a problem with the PCIe bus.

Rivatuner overclockingRivatuner overclocking

This could be due to a number of factors, such as driver issues, incorrect BIOS setting and even debris in the PCIe slot or an improperly installed GPU preventing optimal electrical contact between the GPU and the motherboard. This problem is also caused by low-priced PC cases with misaligned rear I / O brackets that cause GPU positioning problems. This can be verified by running a GPU info / diagnostic tool such as GPU-Z.

Basic / memory clocks

Once you know the maximum clock speeds of your CPU / GPU core and memory, any discrepancy indicates that the components are experiencing thermal limitation or are underutilized due to other underlying issues. This setting also helps diagnose memory problems. Memory cooling on most GPUs is poor, so overclockers should closely monitor memory clock speeds for signs of thermal throttling and reduce memory overloads to avoid damaging the GPU.

No load / power limit

Extremely useful for Nvidia laptop users. This will tell you if there is a problem with the GPU’s power saving function. If no load limit is displayed while you have a low refresh rate, there is a problem with the GPU. It can be the PCI-E bus or a power saving feature, but you at least know what to troubleshoot. The power limit is important for overclockers. This will tell you if the CPU / GPU is throttled because the power distribution subsystem cannot provide enough power to contain the overslocks.

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No load / power limit / voltage

These nifty monitoring settings are a boon to diagnose behavioral and performance issues with the graphics processor. No Load Limit basically tells you when the GPU is idle due to a lack of processing load. You know there is something wrong with your GPU when the no-load limit appears during the actual game while causing a severe drop in frame rate. For example, Nvidia laptops using a hybrid GPU configuration will reach the no-load limit if the integrated GPU is used instead of the discrete GPU.

Power and voltage limit indicators are relevant for overclockers. Reaching these limits is a sign that your GPU is being strangled because the power distribution subsystem cannot provide enough power to contain the clocks.

Conclusion

Monitoring the performance of your hardware gives you a fair idea of ​​the overall health of your system, which is essential for diagnosing performance and underlying hardware problems on time and without a lot of heartburn. RTSS, with MSI Afterburner, is a powerful tool in the hands of a PC player who knows where and what to look for. Now is the time to give it a spin on your gaming platform.

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