Tech AdviceThe face of online gaming software is constantly changing as online casino software developers continue to improve their games, adding features and graphical enhancements as well as new games. However, no matter how good the casino software you use is, it is often limited by your hardware, or your hardware settings. Getting the best video performance from your PC and your online casino software can make the difference between a great gaming experience and a one way trip to the recycle bin.
First, Some Data
According to one developer of downloadable casino software, the median resolution of today’s online gambler is 800x600 at a color depth of 16 bits per pixel, the median processor speed is 500Mhz, and the median RAM size is 128MB.
Given this hardware profile, it follows that many software developers target this range of PC, and to be a success, all of them must be compatible with that target. In reality, since there is still a significant portion of the marketplace with lower end hardware, the actual target platform is somewhat lower.
A Brief Digression about Video Resolution
Some of you may now be asking, “What does 16 bits per pixel mean?” Well, there are a number of factors that govern the quality and capabilities of video on your PC. These factors are:
1) Resolution. The resolution of your video card and monitor determines how many pixels can be view across and down your screen.
2) Color Depth. The Color depth determines maximum number of colors that can be displayed at any given time. It is measured in bits per pixel, which means the number of bits that are used internally to represent each pixel. In general, the more bits per pixel, the finer level of control the software has over each pixel, giving better visual results. Color depth ranges from 1 bit to 32 bits on today’s hardware, but depending on the software you are using, your games may not be able to fully take advantage of color depths greater than say, 8 or 16, bits per pixel.
3) Refresh Rate. Refresh rate is the frequency at which your video card “repaints” the screen. Despite what it seems, images on your screen on not persistent. They must be redrawn periodically. The refresh rate governs this. Higher refresh rates generally appear to have less flicker. Refresh rates near 60Hz may have noticeable flicker near fluorescent lights.
4) Monitor Size. Your monitor size ultimately determines how large each pixel is. For a given resolution, a larger monitor size will appear more chunky.
5) Video RAM. Video RAM is the portion of your video card that actually stores the video image. To display high resolution images at high color depths, you need a lot of Video RAM. For example, to display a resolution of 1162x864 at a depth of 32 bits per pixel, you would need a minimum of 4 MB of video RAM.
What to Do
Now that we know what makes up PC video, optimizing it should be easy. To view and change your video settings, go to the desktop of your PC, right click and select properties.
Select the settings panel of the dialog box that appears. In this window you will find controls for the screen area and the color. Experiment with these settings to find a combination that looks good to you. Remember that more is better for colors, but for resolution you will have to find the right balance between the amount you display on the screen and the size of the image.
Next, press the advanced button, and in the window that appears, select adaptor. In the refresh rate section experiment with higher refresh rates. When you find the one that has the most stable image, keep it. Remember to click apply after each change to see the effect.
You can get the most of you online casino software by keeping a few points in mind. Make sure you have the highest color depth selected, keep your resolution to at least 800x600, and find a refresh rate that keeps flicker to a minimum.
Lastly, if these settings either do not work, or are not available on your video card, consider upgrading it. You can find good quality video cards for under $100.