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Questions about setLOD, Preload, swapping textures in-game.

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Im looking into loading higher resolution versions of textures in-game, depending where you are. I am afraid of the renderer chugging of course. In an ideal world I would just be setting mipmap levels and the renderer would always just give me what it could at that instant without ever stalling. Does anyone have any general advice, and.. also how are Preload() and setLOD() meant to be used? eg is Preload something you call some seconds before you need a resource, or directly before a frame for all relevant resources? If you give it enough time can it load in in the background?

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