Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide

[Page 7] Advanced Tweaking

This section covers the ways in which we can adjust the image quality and performance in Need for Speed: Most Wanted outside of the In-Game Settings, as well as a couple of ways of assisting in resolving problems with the game.

Registry Editing - The Basics

The tweaking in this section involves editing values in the Windows Registry. This can be a relatively risky procedure, so if you're not familiar with Registry editing, I strongly recommend you read the Windows Registry section of my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion which covers how to edit the registry safely, as well as going over the terminology used in this section.

Click to enlarge

All of the Registry entries listed below can be found under the following key in your registry:


Note that registry entries which relate directly to a setting which can be easily and fully changed from within the game are not covered below - you should adjust these in the game and not here. The following are the major advanced settings you should experiment with:


This setting appears to control the amount of memory NFS:MW allocates for caching game-specific information. On my system this value is 3044530176. Since 8 bits = 1 Byte, 1024 Bytes = 1KB, and 1024KB = 1MB, dividing this number by 8388608 (1024x1024x8) should give you the amount in MB that the game is using for a cache. On my system this appears to be around 362MB (I have 2GB of RAM). Raising this value appears to slightly smooth out gameplay performance on my system. Experiment with values up to around half your system RAM to see if it helps smooth out your framerate.

CD Drive

This entry should point to the current drive you have your NFS:MW CD in. If you are having disc detection/authentication errors then change this to the correct drive letter for your CD/DVD drive.


This setting controls the motion blur effect, such as when you trigger Nitrous, as well as when you are moving at high speeds. Disabling this setting can make the image quality crisper and also improve performance particularly on older machines. To disable this setting set the value to 0, to enable it set it to 1.


This setting controls the particle system in the game, and if set to 1 particle effects (such as smoke from spinning wheels) will be enabled. Particle effects can be particularly punishing on some systems, and if you notice that your FPS falls noticeably in situations where there is lots of visible smoke, dirt or explosions, setting this to 0 will switch off such effects in return for a performance boost.


This key records the current version number of the game. You should check to see if you have the latest version (See the Patches & Mods section of the guide). If for some reason you find a patch has not installed properly, you can change the version number here so as to fool the patch into thinking it's an older version and hence reinstalling properly.

Install Dir

This should be the correct path to your current installation of NFS:MW. If you are having game errors such as "Speed.exe not found" then make sure the path shown here is correct.


I am unsure what this setting controls. The default value on my system is 84 (Hex) / 132 (Decimal).


I am unsure what this setting controls. The default value on my system is 73400320, which if the value is in bits equates to around 9MB. Raising this value seemed to have no significant impact on my system, however I suggest you experiment with values of twice your current value to see if this further smooths performance.

That covers all the known advanced tweaks for NFS:MW. If you have more accurate descriptions than those listed above and/or find more ways of tweaking the game which aren't covered here or in the in-game settings section, please Email Me with the details. New tweaks will be included here for all to share, and those discovering them will be given full credit.

The next section provides some important general information about NFS:MW and brings the guide to a conclusion.