Unless I can have a perfect experience with everything max excluding AA I prefer not to play. What I can consider doing is reduce the Rez to 19x10 though but rest max even if that is without AA. And of course FPS 60ish at least. Else no game.
i usually dont give a fck about AA. At high resolutions, it's almost pointless. I max out Anistrpic filtering and shadows. That's all i need and the performance usually stays above 60fps. So, definitely a little beauty along with >60fps.
30 fps is pretty much always sufficient for me. The only time it would not be sufficient is for games like fzero of which is designed to be really fast. I don't even like 60 fps anyway because then input lag goes up. However, the first thing I would dial down in terms of graphics quality is the resolution. I could even be satisfied with as low as 1024x768 modern game if it was required make the the game playable. Turning down any effects from their maximum (other than shadows in some cases), turning down trilinear filtering quality, turning down any precision (although few games offer the option), turning down accuracy (like if a game or emulator was designed for OpenGL rather than DX or vice versa) and less than 4x MSAA with good sample pattern/2x rgss is out of the question for me however.
I'm usually fine with 30fps as long as it stays consistent.
Although I do remember the time when I went into the ini file for grand theft auto vice city and changed the fps cap from 30 to 60 and the difference was night and day. I was floored at how much smoother the game was. I wish I could get that performance out of everything with my currently crappy hardware.
I use to shoot for quality over framerate but lately I'm getting more and more framerate focused.
The thing that sucks the most is screen tearing. I cant stand it. It's always a difficult decision concerning vsync. With multiplayer games I tend to leave it off otherwise it's on.
I go for whatever feels like the right balance. That depends a lot on the game/genre.
Still holding onto my GTX 285. It's performed well for me over the last few years, but its time is just about up. At this point, I think I'll wait until Haswell is released and build a new computer from scratch.
Historically, if I can get >25fps, I'm happy (game-dependent, of course.)
Lately, I've been playing Borderlands @ 1920x1200 with my old 9800GT, and it was just intolerable, even at ~40fps. Maybe it's the cell-shading, but I turned down the resolution to get it up over 55-60fps.
Ideally...both. But the game's playability is much more important than fidelity. I don't give a crap how great GTA 4 looked (which it didn't even look that great) if I can't get a solid framerate on my core i5 750 and gtx 460 sli! Totally unreasonable.
I've gotten to the point where I just can't play a PC game that doesn't reach 60 fps for the majority of the time on at least medium-high settings, I didn't pay this much for 30fps...or just as bad, if it's 60 but stuttery or has screen tearing, NO THANK YOU.
I consider myself a bit of a unique gamer, as I have said before and will say again, I can easily discern the difference between 30 and 60 fps, and even say, 60 and 80.
I actually think that makes me rather cursed as I do everything and anything to maintain 60fps as a MINIMUM. Which can be hard on some titles. Therefore I sometimes have to reduce settings, even though my hardware is usually top top of the line. Which in turn aggravates me because I spend so much money to find myself turning down settings at times.
So basically, I crave the highest IQ settings, but will lower them without even thinking about it if the fps bugs me.