NVIDIA App hands-on, Team Green delivers the GeForce GPU software we've been waiting for

Available now in beta the new NVIDIA App delivers what we've been waiting for, a fast and powerful app that includes Control Panel and GeForce Experience.

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Hardware and software go hand-in-hand, and the latter often gets overlooked. NVIDIA has been creating powerful software and tools for its GeForce RTX hardware and GPUs for years, from the first Control Panel to recent efforts like RTX Broadcast. Not to mention timely and robust driver support.

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However, in recent years, it's all felt a little disjointed thanks to the GeForce Experience app used for updating drivers and optimizing games being completely separate from the NVIDIA Control Panel that offers deep drivel-level customization tools and the best display and color calibration suite currently available for Windows.

It doesn't help that Control Panel looks like an app for Windows XP and GeForce Experience, like an app from the mid-2000s. To say that we've been waiting for something like the NVIDIA App would be an understatement; something that would overhaul the GeForce Experience and expand its capabilities.

NVIDIA's Control Panel hasn't changed its look and feel for decades.

NVIDIA's Control Panel hasn't changed its look and feel for decades.

Available now in beta, the NVIDIA App exceeds our expectations thanks to its fast, compact, and simple-to-use design that combines elements of Control Panel and GeForce Experience. And it doubles as a hub to access GeForce NOW, RTX Broadcast, and other NVIDIA apps.

This is hands-down the best solution NVIDIA could have offered; instead of adding more features to the GeForce Experience app, the NVIDIA App is faster, uses less space, adds features, and integrates many of Control Panel's hard-to-find features.

Even though display settings like resolution and refresh rates will come in a future update, alongside AV1 encoding for game capture, what's already here is excellent - and with no crashes or issues after a solid week of usage, the NVIDIA App beta is stable and worth installing and trying out for yourself.

Improved App and Game Control

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Outside of access to driver updates that include expanded driver release notes, new game support details, and bug fix updates - all great additions - the big thing here is the unified game and app optimization support found under the Graphics menu. Here, you've got direct control over games and apps supported by NVIDIA's GeForce optimizations, with an easy way to change settings or take advantage of NVIDIA's optimized settings based on your PC configuration and GPU hardware.

It's clean and fast, and after using it all week, it's the best way to change graphics settings on a per-game, per-app, or global level. It takes one of GeForce Experience's best features, making the interface simple, elegant, and easy to use - while also expanding it with Control Panel options like image scaling and v-sync. In-game and driver-level options are separated, and NVIDIA even includes detailed explanations for all the driver-level settings, which is fantastic.

The New and Improved Overlay

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The on-screen overlay has been a staple and go-to feature of the GeForce Experience app - giving you quick access to capture images or video while offering real-time performance monitoring. With a new and modern look, the NVIDIA App's performance monitoring overlay is now customizable - where you can choose from over a dozen different stats to display and even arrange its position and visibility.

Like the main app, the overlay also feels faster and smoother than the GeForce Experience option. With quick access to your gallery, it's a far superior tool for capturing screenshots and footage. As someone who loves keeping tabs on things like FPS, GPU usage, and render times, the NVIDIA App is up there.

New AI Freestyle Features - RTX HDR and RTX Dynamic Vibrance

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With the new overlay now popping up on the left side of your display, everything is laid out and accessible instantly, from pressing buttons to recording or capturing screenshots or changing how the game looks via NVIDIA's extensive Game Filters. Many of these carry across from GeForce Experience; however, as they're now easier to access, they feel essential, especially with the brand-new AI-powered RTX HDR and RTX Dynamic Vibrance.

As discovered by fans and added to an impressive mod, RTX HDR is an SDR to HDR tool for thousands of games, and it's remarkable stuff.

Unlike Windows Auto HDR, NVIDIA's effort is a step or two ahead, with proper 10-bit color recreation with no visible gradients and banding. On top of this, you've got direct control over its settings in-game via the NVIDIA App overlay to make the most out of your display's HDR capabilities. I tested it with many games, including older Assassin's Creed titles, Doom 64, and the Batman Arkham games. In many cases, it's on par with a native HDR implementation and something that can transform non-HDR PC Games.

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RTX Dynamic Vibrance is also something you can adjust, and like the namesake, it is all about making colors pop by ramping up the saturation and contrast. NVIDIA notes that by leveraging AI and the Tensor Cores in GeForce RTX graphics cards, RTX Dynamic Vibrance doesn't suffer from 'color crushing,' so the overall detail remains intact. This was something that I got used to pretty quickly, and although I'm not a big fan of overly saturated and vibrant visuals - it's destined to be a go-to feature for many in the years to come.

NVIDIA's new GeForce Everything App

The NVIDIA App isn't promising; it's already excellent - we can't wait for the rest of the NVIDIA Control Panel features and settings to be integrated. Available in beta form, it's worth switching and jumping in immediately.

Not only is the interface cleaner and easier to use, but switching between windows, overlays, and options is instantaneous - it's easily the fastest bit of GPU software we've ever encountered. Combining the features of GeForce Experience and NVIDIA Control into a single package was something we were hoping to see (one day), and NVIDIA didn't disappoint. GeForce RTX users now have one of the most robust and powerful customization software one click away.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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