Let’s say you just bought a shiny new gaming laptop! You turn it on, set everything up, and start gaming! But you notice that the performance of your games aren’t what it should be, especially given how capable your GPU is. So, what’s the issue?
Well, your laptop’s gaming performance is probably suffering because it’s using the integrated graphics chip (iGPU).
Even if you are not able to relate to the scenario mentioned above, you are still probably having some issues with your iGPU as you are reading this article right now! If that is the case, then let’s start from the basics by first asking –
- What is integrated graphics?
Simply put, integrated graphics refers to a graphics processing unit that is built into a CPU. They serve the same purpose as that of a dedicated graphics card, which is to help your computer system render different graphical outputs.
However, the main difference comes down to the actual capability of these GPUs, as dedicated graphics cards are far superior to an iGPU in terms of performance. These dedicated GPUs are the best option for running graphically demanding applications and programs, especially modern games.
Should I Disable Integrated Graphics?
Most current-gen gaming laptops come with both an iGPU and a dedicated GPU. Using both of them can sometimes cause performance issues. That is why a lot of gaming laptop owners ask themselves –
- Should I disable integrated graphics?
The short answer is – Yes. You should disable integrated graphics if you have a dedicated GPU in your computer. iGPUs have a tendency to bottleneck the dedicated GPU, which can result in a loss of frame rate. But if you don’t have a separate graphics card in your computer, then you are better off leaving the integrated graphics on. Also, it is important to note that integrated graphics usually affect laptops the most as desktop PCs don’t really have an issue regardless of whether you keep it on or off.
In this article, we are going to be fully breaking down all the aspects of disabling integrated graphics and the results you are likely to see. With that said, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes!
Does Disabling Integrated Graphics Improve Performance?
Yes, disabling integrated graphics can improve performance. As mentioned, having integrated graphics enabled can impact gaming performance negatively. Hence, we decided to test this out to see how much of a hit your FPS will take when using integrated graphics.
For this test, we picked the Lenovo Legion 7 gaming laptop, which comes with a Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, RTX 3080 16GB GPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD. And we used it to see the difference in FPS in a variety of popular games at their highest graphical preset. Here is what we found:
|Game||Avg. FPS With iGPU On||Avg. FPS With iGPU Off|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhala||69||74|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||78||87|
|Watch Dogs: Legion||68||80|
|Shadow Of The Tomb Raider||87||98|
So, does disable integrated graphics improve performance?
It would clearly seem so from the data presented in the table. While the difference is not as prominent in most AAA game titles, e-sports players can certainly enjoy playing games at a significantly higher frame rate if they disable the iGPU.
How To Check What GPU Your Computer Is Currently Using?
Here are the steps to determine which GPU your PC is currently using:
Step 1: Press both the Windows and I key together to open your computer’s Settings.
Step 2: Enter System, then Display, and then Advanced Display Settings.
Step 3: You will be able to see the Display Information from here, under which you can see what GPU your computer is using.
How To Check If Your Computer Has A Dedicated GPU?
If you want to check if your computer has a separate GPU other than the integrated graphics, then here is what you need to do:
Step 1: Press the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys all together.
Step 2: Then, choose the Task Manager.
Step 3: After opening the Task Manager, locate and click on the Performance tab.
Step 4: If you only have integrated graphics, then you will see GPU 0 in this panel. But if you also have a dedicated GPU, then you will see GPU 0 and GPU 1.
How To Disable Integrated Graphics And Use Nvidia GPU?
If you have bought a new gaming laptop, then it is likely that you will be able to disable the iGPU and use the discrete Nvidia GPU from the proprietary graphics settings software. Lenovo, ASUS, Alienware, MSI, Gigabyte, etc. all offer a feature like this in their laptops. However, if you do not have access to such software, then you can also do it manually. There are two ways to disable your computer’s iGPU. You can either do it using the Windows Device Manager panel or from your computer’s BIOS. Here is an outline of the methods:
Disable Integrated Graphics From Device Manager
Step 1: Type Device Manager in your Windows Search Bar. When you see the program pop up, hit Enter to launch it.
Step 2: In the Device Manager tab, locate the display adapters option and double-click it to expand it. There you should be able to find your integrated GPU.
Step 3: Right-click on the integrated graphics for the drop-down menu and then select Disable Device. Do remember that you have to log in with the Admin account to perform this action.
Step 4: Once you click the Disable Device option, your computer will then prompt you with a pop-up, which will tell you that this action will stop the function. Press Yes to disable the integrated graphics.
Disable Integrated Graphics From The BIOS
Step 1: On your keyboard, press both the Window and I keys together to get access to Settings.
Step 2: Locate and enter Update & Security. You will see the Recover option there.
Step 3: In the Recovery tab, under Advanced Startup, click on the Restart Now button to reboot your device.
Step 4: As your device is rebooting, look for a prompt that tells you which key you have to press to access the BIOS. Usually, it is the F1, F2, or Delete key.
Step 5: Once you are inside the boot system menu, look for onboard devices, built-in devices, or integrated peripherals. Under it, you will find an option labeled onboard, VGA, or integrated video.
Step 6: You will be able to disable the integrated graphics from here by changing the settings to Off and hitting Enter.
Step 7: Press the F key to save the changes and Y to confirm the action.
In correspondence to the previous scenario, you can also manually turn on your Nvidia GPU as well so that your system prioritizes the discrete graphics card over the integrated graphics. Here’s how to do it:
Enable Nvidia Card As The Default
Step 1: Search and open the Nvidia Control Panel. If you don’t have this program, then simply download it.
Step 2: Open the 3D Settings and then go to Manage 3D Settings.
Step 3: Then go into the Program Settings tab.
Step 4: You will see the Global Settings tab, which you need to click.
Step 5: There, go to the Preferred Graphics Processor.
Step 6: Click on it and select High-performance Nvidia Processor.
Step 7: Hit Apply and you are done!
Should I Disable Integrated Graphics On Laptop?
You should only ever consider disabling your laptop’s integrated graphics if you already have a dedicated GPU installed in it. In scenarios like this, using the dedicated GPU is much more preferable because it allows you to use the full power of the GPU without being held back. On the other hand, if you are using a desktop PC, then you won’t have to do anything as most people connect their monitor directly to the dedicated GPU anyways.
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