More and more laptops that are available on the market are equipped with two graphics cards – dedicated and integrated. This solution positively affects the performance that the hardware offers and at the same time is extremely practical. But how to choose which GPU we currently want to use?
Table of contents
Two graphics cards in a laptop – how does it work?
The basic information you need to know about integrated and dedicated card hardware is that two graphics cards in a laptop do not work simultaneously. The dedicated card only works when:
- We work with power-hungry software,
- We play games,
- We watch high quality movies,
- We do graphics processing,
In other cases the computer uses weaker and less power hungry integrated card. This solution is the easiest to compare to the gearbox – accelerating, at some point we have to shift to a higher gear, which in the case of hardware – switch to a more powerful dedicated card.
Do two graphics cards make sense?
Many people may wonder why it is necessary to install additional graphics cards in portable equipment, which increase the weight of the device. The reason is simple – an integrated card and a dedicated card together in a laptop make the device more versatile, and we can use it in several situations.
The integrated card will be useful when we want to work, answer emails or do other simple activities far away from the socket, because it consumes much less power, and thus the work on a single charge will last longer. On the other hand, thanks to the dedicated GPU, if we feel like it, we can use a laptop that has 2 graphics cards as a home entertainment center without a significant loss of performance compared to a PC.
It should also be appreciated that working on an integrated card, the laptop will work quieter and in addition will generate lower temperatures, which may be important for people working with the laptop on their knees.
How do I change the graphics card in my laptop for a specific application?
What is interesting is that we are not forced to adapt to the settings automatically selected by the system and if necessary we can decide for ourselves which layout we want to use. It is extremely simple, but remember that the choice of graphics card will vary depending on its manufacturer.
Card Switching in AMD Catalyst
For AMD cards, we need to launch the manufacturer’s application – AMD Catalyst Control Center, where we then go to the “Power” tab. In the menu that will unfold, we should select the option “Monitor graphics switching for applications”. This will give us the opportunity to select which graphics card should be the target GPU for the application. Confirm the selection with the “Apply” button.
Switching cards in NVidia Control Panel
The same should be done in the case of cards produced by NVIDIA. In this case, run the NVIDIA Control Panel application. In the menu located on the left side of the application select “Manage 3D Settings”, and then “Program Settings”. We can choose the application from the drop-down menu and decide whether we want it to use the integrated graphics card or NVIDIA high-powered card.
How to set the default Windows 10 graphics card?
In a similar way we can decide which graphics card should be the main card. As with selecting a card for a specific application, we again need to run the program responsible for the graphics card settings. This time, in the case of an application designed for AMD cards, we need to select the “Power” tab and then “PowerPlay”. On the right side of the application window we will see information about which graphics card is the primary GPU depending on whether the laptop is plugged in or not. We can change this setting freely.
In the case of GeForce cards, the process is equally simple. Again, we have to select the “Manage 3D Settings” tab, but if we select the preferred card, we are left in the “Global Settings” tab, where we can select the card in a simple way using the drop-down menu.
Switching Graphics Cards in a Laptop
Two graphics cards in a laptop make it a multifunctional device that combines the mobility of portable equipment but also the performance of usually more powerful computers with normal graphics cards. Operating a device equipped with two GPUs is extremely easy and in many cases we do not even have to think about which graphics card we are currently operating on. All decisions are made without our knowledge.