How to enable a discrete graphics card on a Lenovo laptop

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Detailed instructions on how to enable a discrete graphics card

The thing is that today’s computers can be equipped not with one video card, as before, but two at once. Integrated and external. But, they can’t run at the same time, and you can’t run the built-in and external graphics card at the same time. That’s why PC owners have the need to change the way the monitor output from one graphics adapter to another. To do this, you need to disable one, such as the built-in and activate the other, in our case the discrete graphics card.

Enabling the card from Windows

Nowadays the possibility to work simultaneously two video processors is absent even on laptops. And the system often automatically starts the necessary board. To work with text editor built-in, for the game discrete.

For the owner of a desktop computer, the issue is solved even simpler. When you connect the display to the integrated card, it turns on, when you connect to an external video adapter starts this device. However, sometimes when you turn on PC image on the monitor does not appear. And one of the reasons may not run the video card.

To enable a discrete graphics card, you will have to use the Device Manager (by entering it through the “Start” menu):

  • Go to the properties of the graphics adapter and enable the device (or update the drivers);
  • For a laptop should not only turn on the external, but also disable the integrated adapter.

After rebooting (and plugging the monitor into the correct slot if you’re talking about a PC) the discrete card is usually detected automatically. However, you can simplify the switching process on a notebook by using the utility that comes with external graphics cards automatically.

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If such a mobile computer is equipped with an AMD processor and a discrete card from the same manufacturer, both manual and automatic switching is done through the Catalyst Control Center application.

Notebook computer with Intel chipset and Radeon (AMD) video card is switched manually with the same utility, but automatic switching to another adapter is done through BIOS.

Graphic processor settings from nVidia can be performed for each program (and game) separately with the help of its control panel settings.

All these options of switching from integrated card to discrete does not work in Windows XP. And especially not in older versions. You can’t do without entering BIOS for these operating systems.

For most computers, though, the best thing to do is to simply install a later version of the system. At least Windows 7. If the resources of your PC or laptop do not allow the installation of new OS, most likely there is no need in the presence of a discrete video processor at all.

How to enable an AMD Radeon discrete graphics card in your notebook

Enabling Graphics Cards in BIOS

BIOS (Input/Output System) is available in any laptop computer. It actually starts the computer, checks the functionality of accessories and connected devices, and also starts Windows. To access the settings, press the Del or F2 key a few times immediately after turning on your notebook. There can be also other variants. For example, in Lenovo laptops to enter the BIOS setup program, use the key combination FnF2, and in HP laptops. Key F10. Read more about how to get into the BIOS in this article.

Algorithms used for switching AMD Radeon video cards differ in different versions of BIOS / UEFI, as well as the menu items. The principle is the same: in the peripheral settings (most often found in Advanced or Motherboard) you must activate the option to initialize the discrete graphics card. Go to Mainboard Settings and visit the Advanced subsection:

Open the Integrated Graphics Configuration menu:

Go to the Graphics Adapter Initiation section:

Exit the BIOS with the changes saved. Generally it is key F10. Older devices, 8-10 years or more ago, have more options and may have different names:

  • PEG/PCI. Analogous to PEG. If the discrete graphics card (if enabled) is now activated when there is a high load on the built-in graphics card, previously it was activated when power was applied, the built-in was disabled.
  • PEG / IGD or PCI / IGD. Analogous to PEG. The integrated graphics are activated first, the integrated graphics are not activated.

In modern laptops you can bind a graphics card to certain applications in the Radeon graphics settings, or make one graphics gas pedal work all the time. Next, let’s figure out how to enable amd discrete graphics card on your laptop using operating system utilities.

Configuring Catalyst Control Center

This switching is still done with AMD Catalist Control Center program. You can see its icon in your system tray, or you can find it by using the search line or the system menu. Run the program. Its main window will be displayed. Find the Power menu item, click it and select the Switchable graphics application settings submenu item.

You will see the installed applications on the right side of the window. Select any of them. From the Graphics settings drop-down list, select High performance. This option indicates that your application will automatically use an AMD discrete card.

If the application is not on the list, add it using the Add Application button in that window. To do this, click on the Add Application button:

Navigate to the folder where the application’s main executable file is physically located. Select it and click the Open button. The application will appear in the list. Select the usage mode for it, as shown above.

Configuring the Radeon Software

If you want to know how to switch the Radeon video card on your laptop using the Radeon Software utility, the procedure is as follows:

Select the Settings tab.

In the window that opens, click on Advanced Settings.

A window opens in which you select the Switchable Graphics Application Options tab. Repeat the steps described above for Catalyst to work with applications where you need to replace the integrated video adapter with a discrete one.

Discrete graphics card in Device Manager

Another way to switch from a built-in video card to an external one is to disable the built-in card in Windows Device Manager. First right-click on the My Computer shortcut, a context menu will appear:

Select Device Manager:

Select Internal Graphics Adapter. In our case it is Intel HD Graphic 4000.

Right click on the mouse. A context menu will appear, where you should choose the option Disable device and confirm the disabling of the device:

How to turn on the built-in graphics card along with the external one on a PC?

In order to enable an embedded and discrete graphics card at the same time, you must activate the IGPU or IGD Multi Monitor option in the BIOS / UEFI. That’s all, now you know how to enable integrated and discrete graphics cards simultaneously!

Right-click on the empty space on the “Desktop” and select “AMD Radeon Settings”. After starting the utility, go to the “System” tab. Then go to the “Switchable graphics adapters” section. In the right part of the window there is a button “Running applications”, click on it.

How to switch a laptop to a discrete card through the BIOS (BIOS)

You can enter BIOS by pressing the special key at the moment of Windows startup. Depending on the computer model this may be “Delete”, F2 or F8.

Once in the menu, look for “Peripherals” or “Config” and “Advanced”. You will see a window with the “Graphics Device” parameter. Select it to monitor the active video adapter. If the built-in video adapter is active by default, set it to “Disabled”.

This method may not work. Then the desired device should be made first in the list or just select it without any additional disabling.

Features of Discrete Adapters

Most advanced users pay attention to laptops that have discrete cards due to a number of their advantages:

  • Significant performance gain. All graphics need to be processed by the video processor. The more complex the task, the more power is needed. Built-in video card is often not enough. Discrete model is suitable for different video formats, games, screen sizes and resolutions;
  • Can be replaced by a more productive. A desktop computer can be upgraded with a graphics card in just 2-5 minutes. In the case of a laptop still have to go to the service center;
  • There is a function of dividing the streams into multiple screens. Many discrete adapters support 2-4 screens;
  • Expanding the capabilities of the PC by using several cards at the same time.

One of the main and obvious disadvantages of discrete cards is a high price tag. Models with this video card cost 20-30% more. The starting price for a video adapter that allows you to run games that are 2-3 years old starts from 100. For more modern games should prefer a 400.

enable, discrete, graphics, card

When installing the discrete card, take into account that the additional device will require additional voltage (sometimes up to 400 W). Because of the high throughput is installed one large or two smaller fans. Coolers will create a lot of noise.

How to switch AMD Radeon graphics card

Many laptops are equipped with an AMD discrete graphics gas pedal. It can be laptops, using processors of the same brand, as well as created based on Intel. There is no fundamental difference: all settings in any case are made with a special utility for graphics gas pedal management.

It’s called the ATI Catalyst Control Center program. As a rule, it is installed automatically, along with drivers for AMD video card. Please note: Nvidia control panel does not react to competitive graphics adapters. For discrete and integrated graphics cards you need to use the same type of drivers: either universal or OEM.

How to enable AMD discrete graphics card on your laptop:

  • Right-click on the desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings (or “Radeon Settings”) in the context menu.
  • Go to System.
  • Select “Switchable graphics adapters”.
enable, discrete, graphics, card

The “Recent Applications” tab displays all programs that have been run on your computer. You cannot change the default settings for some applications; they will always run on the integrated graphics card to save power.

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You can select one of the following modes for non-blocked programs:

  • Power saving. Only the integrated graphics adapter will be used.
  • High performance. The program will run on a discrete graphics card.
  • Power source based. If the laptop is running on battery it will use the integrated video gas pedal, if powered from the mains the discrete.
  • For games it is recommended to choose high performance mode. Changes take effect after you click “Apply”.

If the launched game is not displayed in the list of recent applications. You should find it by yourself in the list by pressing the button “Installed profiled applications”. As you see, the only difference in the settings for switching AMD graphics cards is Catalyst Control Center. All other methods described above can be used to activate them on your notebook.

Simultaneous use of two video cards

Nvidia graphics cards support SLI technology. 2 video cards can run simultaneously, and their power is summed up. This mode is not supported by all devices, but only certified ones (you can check the laptop manufacturer’s official website for more information). In this case you do not need to switch between discrete and integrated graphics cards, and the total power supports Full HD gaming, so you can connect an external monitor as well.

  • Right click on an empty area of your desktop and select “Nvidia Control Panel.
  • Under 3D Sittings select Confogure SLI.
  • In the SLI Configuration tab select Maximise 3D performance.
  • Under Adjust Image settings with preview, activate Let the 3d application decode.
  • Under 3D Setting on the Program Setting tab, select the application of interest in the dropdown list. In the settings list, set the SLI rendering mode option to NVIDIA recommended (SLI).

For the changes to take effect, you’ll need to press Apply. Now when you run a game for which you have selected these settings, the graphics will be handled by two video adapters at once.