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Manually switch between graphics devices ?

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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August 18, 2010 8:14:44 AM

I have a querry regarding manually being able to switch between graphics on a laptop.
Now consider a new Laptop having i3 processor and ATI graphics, but without having the Switchable graphics functionality.
So in the Device Manager it will show as only the ATI graphics being present.

It is well known that the i3 processor comes with its own Intel HD graphics.
Now If i were to uninstall the ATI driver and then next install the Intel graphics driver, will the ATI card be disabled and thus in turn enable the integrated Inel HD graphics.
So in this way you would manually be able to switch between the graphics card by uninstalling & installing the required drivers. I know it seems a totally unnecessary solution, because then why would u buy the gfx card in the first place. But consider that you are tight on battery, then this would provide a hard but eligible means of increasing battery time.

Is this at all possible or is it just a very wild shot into the dark
a c 200 D Laptop
August 18, 2010 2:42:47 PM

Unless the notebook was designed to support switchable GPUs (like the Dell/Alienware M11x), the answer is VERY likely NO. When another GPU is installed in most notebooks, if there is another GPU installed, it will be disabled and not accessible to the user. Interesting question. Have fun!
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August 19, 2010 5:11:39 AM

... But how will the Intel gfx be disabled, isn't it integrated into the processor itself.

In notebooks that support switchable GPUs, I have seen that in the Device Manager both the Intel and ATi gfx are displayed at the same time. And in those not supporting only Ati is displayed.
So this seems to imply that if the Switchable gfx is supported then the lap will show u both gfx & then allow you to choose the one you want to use.

Now if Switchable gfx is NOT supported in the Lap, then will the above technique work ? :) 
Even if the notebook is not designed to support both graphics at a time, shouldnt it allow to chose the intel one as it comes inbuilt.

Most of the medium-range notebooks (except few HP, Acer models) dont provide this feature. I would have liked to have checked it myself but I dont have one with i3/i5 and intel integrated graphics, and the guys at the store dont seem to entertain my ideas. :lol: 
Wonder why most of the Lap manufacturers are not implementing this feature. Would be a wonderful facility to have.
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a c 200 D Laptop
August 19, 2010 11:51:51 AM

The GPU is not built into the CPU, rather it is a separate chip soldered onto the motherboard. The above technique will not work because the BIOS will not allow it.

Sorry.
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a c 200 D Laptop
August 19, 2010 3:50:43 PM

BTW, another way to think about how the BIOS disables the on-board GPU when another GPU is detected is how it is done with your typical PC desktop motherboard. There is no setting that the user needs to set when they install a discrete GPU.

There are exceptions to this, such as with supported GPU chipsets and Hybrid Crossfire and some Nvidia hybrid solutions, as well.

So, unless specifically designed to support the selection of on-board or add-on/discrete GPUs is enabled at the system level (in the BIOS/EFI) it isn't going to happen.

Still, an interesting question to ponder. Keep thinking hard.

HOOAH!!!
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August 20, 2010 9:51:57 AM

The new Icore processors have the graphics unit built inside the processor itself. There is no need for the separate graphics chipset to be present on the motherboard like the old days.

Check the links -

http://www.intel.com/technology/graphics/intelhd.htm

With the introduction of Arrandale-based Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, graphics cores were now built into the processor package itself.
Source -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_GMA#HD_Graphics_.28G...

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August 20, 2010 9:52:37 AM

Consider this scenario -
In the old desktop models, if you connect the Graphics card to the AGP port, and next install the software, then you will be able to use the new graphics card.
If you now remove the card, uninstall the s/w, and next install the motherboard s/w, then you can again get back to using the graphics chipset present on the motherboard.
- I think this is correct

Now will this also work with a notebook having the new icore processor having inbuilt graphics. Here instead of removing the graphics card altogether, you are just installing/uninstalling the required drivers.
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Best solution

a b D Laptop
August 20, 2010 12:07:07 PM

I'm not sure if this will work, actually. If your notebook is not equiped to do switchable graphics, even uninstalling the ATI drivers would just mean that Windows will use the default graphics drivers for it, giving you crappy resolution, but would still use the discrete card instead of the integrated Intel GMA HD.
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a c 200 D Laptop
August 20, 2010 12:13:50 PM

qaz is right about the i3 GPU/CPU integration, but it still cannot be enabled to be switchable with a discrete GPU unless it is specifically designed to do so.
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August 20, 2010 3:03:48 PM

The reason for all this doubts of mine is that I'm planning on buying a laptop that I'll end up using for more than 15hrs a day. And was hoping this method (if doable) would give me graphics power when needed, and more battery life and less heat, otherwise.

Honestly speaking I was hoping that someone who has the required configuration would try this out himself. :) 
But I'm getting only opinions instead of actual test results.
Dont get me wrong, all of the replies have been helpful. I do appreciate members taking time out to provide some feedback. Its just that I would have like to hear a solid Yes or No (with reasons), instead of it Might or Might not. :( 
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August 20, 2010 3:14:07 PM

sidewinderx2 said:
I'm not sure if this will work, actually. If your notebook is not equiped to do switchable graphics, even uninstalling the ATI drivers would just mean that Windows will use the default graphics drivers for it, giving you crappy resolution, but would still use the discrete card instead of the integrated Intel GMA HD.

This does seem like what would happen in such a case.
sidewinderx2,
since the notebook has both type of graphics, how does it know which to use. Why couldn't it end up using the windows default drivers for the intel gfx instead of the ATI.
Is there some setting that makes it revert to ATI - like some setting in BIOS, and is it editable.
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a b D Laptop
August 20, 2010 3:54:56 PM

I'm really not sure, but there's probably a bunch of ways to not enable dual graphics cards hardware-wise... it doesn't sound like something that a BIOS update can fix. Just like sticking a discrete card on a desktop mobo with integrated graphics, the system will no longer see the integrated card even if you remove the discrete card's drivers.
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a c 200 D Laptop
August 20, 2010 4:54:28 PM

qaz said:
The reason for all this doubts of mine is that I'm planning on buying a laptop that I'll end up using for more than 15hrs a day. And was hoping this method (if doable) would give me graphics power when needed, and more battery life and less heat, otherwise.

Honestly speaking I was hoping that someone who has the required configuration would try this out himself. :) 
But I'm getting only opinions instead of actual test results.
Dont get me wrong, all of the replies have been helpful. I do appreciate members taking time out to provide some feedback. Its just that I would have like to hear a solid Yes or No (with reasons), instead of it Might or Might not. :( 


I am pretty sure you have received your solid "NO it won't work" with sufficient rationale at this point. If what you are asking about was possible, it would be a widely available feature in many laptops (including a Dell I have). So, unless specifically designed to provide the hybrid GPU solution you are pondering, it simply will not work.

Best of luck, qaz, in your search. Have you been looking at any notebooks designed to do what you are asking about? Check out the Dell/Alienware M11x. It does have switchable GPUs. Out.
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August 20, 2010 5:38:34 PM

Currently there are very few models having Switchable Graphics. I guess i'll go for the available ones from HP or Lenovo. Dell doesnt have in Studio & inspiron, and sony doesn't have in any of their affordable models. Either that or wait for this to become a common feature in all laps.
Well thanks all for the timely replies.
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a b D Laptop
August 20, 2010 6:24:53 PM

qaz said:
Currently there are very few models having Switchable Graphics. I guess i'll go for the available ones from HP or Lenovo. Dell doesnt have in Studio & inspiron, and sony doesn't have in any of their affordable models. Either that or wait for this to become a common feature in all laps.
Well thanks all for the timely replies.


Depending on your budget, you can try this? http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Aspire-TimelineX-AS4820TG-56...

It's got an i3, and Radeon HD 5650, and allows you to switch to the integraded intel GMA HD.
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August 21, 2010 4:57:55 AM

Thanks for that, but this Acer model is not yet released here. And i'm sure when they do, they'll bump the price over 1200$.
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August 29, 2010 8:46:48 AM

Best answer selected by qaz.
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March 31, 2013 3:49:31 AM

Start>Type 'Device manager'>Find your second GPU>Right Click>Enable>Desktop>Right Click>Configure switch-able graphics>Select your second GPU. Done!
Hope it helps.
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October 24, 2013 12:37:33 PM

I have made a little trick for that but I am still looking for the correct and the comfortable solution.

My trick is to make another screen (Right click on the desktop->Open "Screen Resolution"->Click on "Detect" you will have some disabled screens->Click on the one you want to switch to->From "Multiple displays" choose "Extend desktop to this display"->Enable the check box that says "Make this my main display"->Click "OK") when you open a program for the first time the new program goes into the other screen To bring the program to the current screen (Press "Alt+Space"->Press "M"->With out moving your mouse just click and drag to the current screen).

That's it...
I will put a tutorial on that on youtube soon..
Thank you, and if there any issues, just replay.. :) 
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