How to switch from integrated graphics to GPU – Easy guide

Switching graphics made easy

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Efficiency is vital for PC users; especially for laptop users. Since the best laptops have integrated graphics in the CPU and a dedicated GPU, the computer must know how to switch between the default integrated graphics and a GPU to maintain smooth battery usage. And although it’s normally able to do it, there are some cases when it’s a good ability to know how to do it manually.

In this article, we will show you the best ways to use integrated graphics instead of GPU and vice versa. All you need to know is the GPU and processor you have. You might have an Intel integrated and an Nvidia GPU, or an AMD GPU with an AMD integrated.

For those looking for additional how-to guides for their Nvidia graphics cards, be sure to check out how to update your Nvidia drivers here. Anyway, where were we?

Step-by-step guide – how to switch from integrated graphics to GPU

In the world of computing, having the flexibility to switch between integrated graphics and a dedicated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) can be a game-changer, especially for balancing performance and power efficiency. This guide will walk you through the process of how to switch between integrated graphics and a GPU, ensuring you can make the most out of your system’s graphical capabilities.

In this section, we’ll provide you with a detailed, step-by-step approach to managing these settings. We’ll cover everything from ensuring you have the latest drivers installed for both your integrated GPU and dedicated video card to configuring your system settings for optimal performance. By the end of this guide, you’ll clearly understand how to effectively manage and switch between your integrated graphics and dedicated GPU, allowing for a more tailored and efficient computing experience.

1

For Intel Integrated and Nvidia GPU

In the realm of optimizing your PC for better graphics performance, especially when balancing between power efficiency and high-demand tasks like video games, knowing how to switch between integrated graphics and a dedicated GPU is invaluable.

We’ll guide you through the process of configuring these settings, ensuring you can effortlessly switch between your Intel Integrated Graphics and Nvidia GPU based on your current running applications. Whether you’re a gamer seeking maximum performance or a casual user looking for efficiency, this method offers the flexibility to customize your graphical output according to your needs.

By following these steps, you’ll learn how to harness the full potential of both graphics systems, ensuring optimal performance for any task at hand.

Step

1

Open Nvidia Control Panel

  • Right-click on the desktop to reveal a context menu.
  • Select ‘Nvidia Control Panel’ to open the interface where you can manage the settings of your NVIDIA GPU.

Step

2

Manage 3D settings

  • Once in the Control Panel, navigate to ‘Manage 3D settings’. This section allows you to customize a wide range of graphical options.
  • Go to the ‘Global Settings’ tab. This program settings tab will provide options that affect the overall behavior of your Nvidia GPU.

Step

3

Select preferred processor

  • In the Global Settings, you will see a dropdown menu for ‘Preferred graphics processor’. This feature is particularly useful for laptops or desktops with motherboards supporting both integrated and Nvidia GPUs.
  • Choose from the dropdown options: ‘Auto-select’, which lets the system decide based on specific GPU requirements of applications; ‘High-performance Nvidia processor’ for GPU-intensive tasks; or ‘Integrated graphics’ for power saving and less demanding tasks.

Step

4

Adjust Windows Graphics settings

  • Open Windows Settings and navigate to System > Display.
  • Click on ‘Graphics settings’. This area on Windows allows further customization of graphics preferences on a per-application basis.
  • Select an application to set its graphics preference. Choose ‘Power saving’ for integrated graphics (ideal when not connected to a power outlet or for less demanding tasks) or ‘High performance’ to utilize the NVIDIA GPU for more graphically intensive applications.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage and switch between your integrated graphics and NVIDIA GPU, ensuring optimal performance for various applications while balancing power consumption and performance needs. This method is particularly beneficial for those who have specific graphical requirements, whether for professional work, gaming, or general use.

2

For Intel Integrated and AMD GPU

When you have a system equipped with both Intel Integrated Graphics and an AMD GPU, understanding how to switch between these two can significantly enhance your computer’s efficiency and performance. In this section, we’ll explore Method 2, which is specifically designed for systems that combine Intel’s integrated graphics solutions with the power of an AMD GPU.

AMD Radeon Software plays a crucial role in this switching process. It allows users to optimize their system’s graphics adapter settings for better performance, depending on the task at hand. Whether you are engaged in everyday activities that require minimal graphics power or you’re running graphics-intensive applications or games, knowing how to manage this switch can lead to a more efficient and responsive computing experience.

We’ll provide you with a clear and concise guide on using the AMD Radeon Software to manage your graphics adapter settings effectively. This will include how to manually select the preferred graphics processor for specific applications or allowing the system to make automatic selections based on predefined preferences.

By mastering this method, you’ll be able to tailor your system’s graphics performance to match your specific needs, balancing between the low-power consumption of Intel Integrated Graphics and the high-performance capabilities of your AMD GPU.

Let’s delve into the steps and nuances of making this switch, ensuring you get the most out of your dual-graphics setup.

Step

1

Open AMD Radeon Settings

  • Right-click anywhere on your desktop to access the context menu.
  • Choose ‘AMD Radeon Settings’. This will open the AMD Radeon control panel, where you can manage various settings related to your AMD GPU.

Step

2

Navigate to Switchable Graphics

  • In the AMD Radeon Settings, navigate to the ‘Preferences’ section, and then select ‘Additional Settings’.
  • Look for the ‘Power’ section and click on ‘Switchable Graphics Application Settings’. This area lets you control which graphics processor is used on a per-application basis.

Step

3

Assign graphics levels

  • Under the Switchable Graphics settings, you can select individual applications.
  • For each selected application, you have the option to assign ‘Power Saving’ (which uses the integrated card) or ‘High Performance’ (which utilizes the AMD GPU). This allows you to tailor the graphics performance based on the specific needs of each program.

Step

4

Utilize Windows Graphics Settings

  • Similar to systems with NVIDIA GPUs, you can also use the Windows Graphics settings to further fine-tune your preferences.
  • Access this by going to Windows Settings > System > Display, and then click on the ‘Graphics settings’ link.

Here, you can assign applications to either the integrated graphics or AMD GPU. This is particularly useful for ensuring that less demanding tasks run on the integrated card for lower performance needs, conserving power.

Additional tips:

  • In the AMD Radeon Settings, you can explore the ‘Program Settings’ tab to manage specific applications.
  • Utilize the ‘Advanced Mode’ and gear icon in the AMD software for more in-depth customization and control over your graphics properties.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage the performance of your Intel integrated graphics and AMD GPU, ensuring an optimal balance between power efficiency and graphics capability. Whether you’re gaming, working, or just browsing, these settings will help you get the most out of your dual-graphics setup.

BIOS/UEFI settings for both configurations

Step

1

Enter BIOS/UEFI

  • Restart your PC.
  • Press the designated key during boot-up (usually F2, F10, F12, Delete).

Step

2

Locate graphics settings

  • In the BIOS/UEFI, find graphics-related settings (like ‘Primary Display Adapter’).

Step

3

Choose primary graphics

  • Select integrated (IGD/Onboard) or dedicated (PCIe/PEG) as primary.

Step

4

Save and exit

  • Apply/save changes and exit BIOS/UEFI.

Additional steps:

  • Update Drivers: Ensure both integrated and dedicated GPU drivers are up-to-date.
  • Check Application Settings: Some applications allow you to select the graphics processor within their settings.
  • Consider Power Plan: The chosen power plan on Windows can impact graphics performance.

Is a dedicated GPU better than an integrated one?

When deciding between a dedicated GPU and integrated graphics, the choice hinges primarily on the specific tasks and requirements at hand. Both have their unique strengths and roles in a computer system, whether it’s a laptop or desktop. Make sure you understand your current compute workloads before moving ahead.

Understanding dedicated GPUs

A dedicated GPU, separate from the CPU, stands out for its superior power and capability to handle more demanding tasks. This is especially noticeable in situations requiring high graphics processing, such as gaming, video editing, or running complex simulations.

The main advantages of dedicated graphics cards include:

  • Higher Performance: They are adept at handling complex graphical tasks, rendering high-quality visuals smoothly and efficiently.
  • Better for Gaming and Professional Use: Dedicated GPUs are the go-to choice for gamers, graphic designers, and video editors, providing the necessary horsepower for demanding applications.
  • Upgradability: Particularly in desktops, upgrading to a dedicated graphics card is feasible, offering a pathway to enhanced performance and compatibility with evolving software demands.
  • Graphics Driver Flexibility: With dedicated GPUs, especially those from manufacturers like Nvidia (with Nvidia Optimus technology) or AMD, you have more control over graphics driver updates and settings, allowing for fine-tuning of performance and power usage.

Role of integrated graphics

Integrated graphics, embedded within the CPU, share system memory (RAM) with the processor. They are typically found in Intel and AMD processors and are designed for efficiency and space-saving. 

The benefits of integrated graphics include:

  • Cost-Effective: Integrated graphics reduce the overall cost of the system since they’re a part of the CPU package.
  • Energy Efficient: They consume significantly less power, which is particularly advantageous for extending battery life in laptops.
  • Space-Saving Design: Ideal for compact systems like ultrabooks and small form factor PCs, integrated graphics eliminate the need for additional space and cooling solutions.
  • Intel Graphics Settings and Properties: Systems with Intel integrated graphics offer users a suite of settings and properties to adjust graphics performance and power efficiency, aligning with Intel graphics technologies.

In summary, a dedicated GPU excels in power and performance, ideal for high-end gaming and professional graphics work. On the other hand, integrated graphics provide a cost-effective, energy-efficient solution for everyday computing tasks. Understanding the role of each and balancing their use through technologies like NVIDIA Optimus and Intel graphics settings can lead to optimized power performance and enhanced overall system efficiency.

Can I have integrated graphics and a GPU at the same time?

Yes, you can have both integrated graphics and a dedicated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) in the same computer system. Many modern CPUs come with integrated graphics, and you can also install a separate, dedicated graphics card. In such a setup, the integrated graphics are part of the CPU, while the dedicated GPU is an additional hardware component.

Should I disable integrated graphics if I have dedicated?

Generally, it’s not necessary to disable integrated graphics, as modern systems and operating systems are designed to handle both simultaneously without issues. For most users, leaving both enabled allows for more flexibility and acts as a safeguard.

Maria is a full-stack digital marketing strategist interested in productivity and AI tools.