Configuring Laptop Switchable Graphics on a Windows® Based System

Article Number: DH-017

Switchable Graphics is a technology that utilizes both the graphical processing capabilities of a discrete graphics adapter and the power efficiency of an integrated graphics adapter.  Laptops equipped with Switchable Graphics are capable of engaging the higher performance discrete graphics adapter for 3D applications, and the energy-efficient integrated graphics adapter for less demanding tasks.

This document provides instructions on how to configure Switchable Graphics using Radeon™ Settings.  The contents are organized into the following sections:

Driver Compatibility
To ensure compatibility, it is recommended to install the latest display drivers provided by the laptop manufacturer (OEM) for both the integrated and discrete graphics processing unit (GPU).

You may also consider using the latest compatible generic driver offered by the integrated and discrete graphics manufacturer(s).  This may allow the laptop to run games and applications that are not supported by the latest OEM drivers.

Before installing display drivers, check the Windows® Device Manager and verify that both GPUs appear on the list of hardware devices and they are enabled as shown in the screenshot below.

Either of the GPUs may appear under Other Devices as a Generic Video Controller, if no driver is currently installed for the device.

Once verified, follow the steps in the order listed below:

  1. Install the latest driver for the integrated GPU
  2. Install the latest driver for the discrete GPU

Ensure to use the same type of drivers (OEM or generic) for the integrated and discrete GPUs.

For example:  If the Integrated GPU is not manufactured by AMD, and if you choose to use generic drivers, first install the integrated GPU driver from the GPU manufacturers website then install the discrete GPU driver from AMD's website.  However, if using OEM drivers then install just the drivers from the laptop manufacturer's website.

Note! Switchable Graphics may not function if the display driver for either of the GPUs are missing or not installed.

 

Accessing Switchable Graphics Menu

Switchable Graphics offers several standard operating modes and can also be configured to run a specific application using the desired GPU.

To configure Switchable Graphics settings, right-click the Desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings from the menu.

Select System.

Select Switchable Graphics.

 

Assigning Switchable Graphics Mode to an Application

In the Switchable Graphics menu, the Running Applications view will be displayed by default.  This view lists recent and current running applications and their assigned Switchable Graphics mode.

Note! The default mode for most applications is predetermined by the operating system.  Applications with specific GPU requirements show a Lock icon beside the application name and cannot be changed; these applications always run on the integrated GPU, Power Saving mode. 

For applications that are not locked by the operating system, the following Switchable Graphics modes can be selected from the application drop-down menu:

    • Power Saving - Selects the integrated GPU, which consumes less power but provides lower performance
    • High Performance - Selects the discrete GPU, which consumes more power but provides better performance
    • Based on Power Source - Selects the integrated GPU when running on battery and selects the discrete GPU when plugged into a power outlet

Select a desired mode for the application and the change will take effect the next time the application is loaded.

If the desired application is not available in this view, click on the Running Applications option and select Installed Profile Applications to view all applications detected by the graphics driver, as shown in the picture below. 

Check that the desired application for configuring Switchable Graphics is listed on the page.  If the application is not listed, use the Browse option to locate and add the application to the list.

Tip! If there is a large list of application profiles, type in the name of the application into the Search field to quickly bring up the application profile.

If the Switchable Graphics mode for an application has been changed, a User icon will appear next to the name of the application profile.  These user defined application profiles can be removed by selecting Delete from the drop-down list, as shown in the example below.

To restored application profiles back to default settings, click the Reset option.

Note! This will reset all applications back to their default mode

Monitoring Integrated and Discrete GPU Usage

For laptop systems running Windows® 10 Fall Creators Update (Version 1709), GPU usage can monitored within the Performance section of Task Manager, as shown in the example below.

For systems not running Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, freely available third party tools providing detailed GPU monitoring can be found online.


Footnotes