If you’ve had a gaming laptop, you’ll know that it runs two types of graphics cards: integrated graphics cards and dedicated graphics card. An integrated graphics card is powered by the CPU while a dedicated graphics card is an independent hardware that provides graphics processing power.
Gaming laptops aren’t the only ones with integrated graphics. Most modern CPUs have integrated graphics capabilities. Your desktop computer will also run on integrated graphics cards if you don’t have a dedicated card.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with running on integrated graphics cards. But if you have a dedicated graphics card and your PC is still running on integrated graphics card for some unknown reason, then you have a slight problem.
In this article, we’ll be talking about how to disable integrated graphics cards so you can maximize your dedicated GPU when needed.
Some caveats to consider:
- Your gaming laptop will always run on integrated graphics if it’s running in battery mode. Gaming while unplugged will reduce your battery life by almost 50%. If you’re averaging 3 hours on battery mode, then playing games might have you running 1 hour and 30 minutes or so, depending on the demand.
- Depending on your computer hardware, running on integrated graphics isn’t all that bad. For this article, we’ll be running on the assumption that you have both a dedicated graphics card and integrated graphics card.
How Do You Know Which GPU is Currently in Use?
Our monitors are connected to the motherboard if integrated graphics card is available. But when we have a dedicated graphics card, you’ll need to connect your cables to this card instead.
If you have a dedicated GPU, you can determine what card is in use by doing these steps:
- Press Windows + I to access Settings
- Go to System then Display then Advanced Display
- Under Display Information, you’ll see which GPU that monitor is using, as seen below:
From this example, my first monitor is connected to the dedicated GPU which is the GeForce GTX 1050Ti. My second monitor can be accessed through that dropdown menu and it will show the same thing.
How Do You Know Which One’s Being Used?
Through Task Manager, you’ll find out more about your GPU’s details, both for integrated and dedicated graphics.
- Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE simultaneously
- Select Task Manager
- Click on More Details on the bottom side of the Task Manager if you’re only seeing a small window
- Go to Performance Tab
- You’ll see GPU o and GPU 1 on this section, which will show you usage for either.
Using my system as an example, you’ll see that GPU 0 is currently in use while GPU 1 is currently unavailable. This means that I have disabled integrated graphics.
And even if integrated graphics is enabled, it will show that dedicated graphics card will have a higher usage percentage.
How Do You Disable Integrated Graphics?
There are two ways on how to disable integrated graphics: through the Device Manager or through BIOS.
How To Disable Integrated Graphics Card Through Device Manager
Disabling your integrated graphics via the Device Manager is the easiest thing to do.
- Press Windows + X simultaneously
- Go to Device Manager and click Display Adapters to expand it
- Right click on the Integrated Graphics Driver then click Disable Device
However, you should know that if your dedicated graphics card malfunctions for some reason and your integrated graphics card is disabled, then your system won’t be able to display anything. But for laptops, the OS will automatically turn on the default Integrated Graphics driver on again if the dedicated GPU fails.
You can do the same steps for enabling your Integrated GPU via the Device Manager.
How To Disable Integrated Graphics Through BIOS Settings
For this section, you’ll need to make sure that your dedicated GPU is set as the primary graphics adapter.
- Access the BIOS Settings by pressing either Delete or F2 key as soon as you boot the PC. This depends on the brand of your motherboard.
- Once you access the BIOS settings, go to Advanced and then look for “Primary Graphics Adapter”. Other motherboards might have a different name for it.
- Then set the Primary Graphics Adapter to PCI/PCIe instead of Auto or IGFX and VGA. This will allow the system to prioritize the dedicated GPU when it comes to running graphics-intensive apps.
Should You Really Disable Your Integrated Graphics Card?
Whether on a desktop or PC, the question to disable integrated graphics cards is a legitimate one. You see, a dedicated video card will always be prioritized by the system when it comes to playing video games or any graphically-intensive apps. It’s rare for integrated graphics to take up the bulk of the graphics processing unless the dedicated GPU malfunctions.
Practically speaking, you really shouldn’t disable your integrated graphics. The main reason is that the integrated GPU will act as your backup if your dedicated video card is broken or malfunctions at some point. When your dedicated GPU breaks down all of a sudden, the integrated GPU takes over immediately thanks to the operating system.
For laptops, it will automatically switch between the integrated video card and a dedicated card. If the laptop is unplugged, the laptop will use the integrated video card for all its graphics processing. This will allow the laptop to run on battery mode and efficiently save up energy at the same time.
Running on an integrated GPU with an unplugged laptop will allow you to do basic web browsing, run Discord, and other office tasks. It’s not recommended and ideal to play video games with an integrated GPU and on battery mode.
How To Prioritize The Dedicated GPU For Apps On A Laptop
If you’re a laptop user and you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to make sure that your laptop uses the dedicated video card for all graphically-intensive apps and tasks even when it’s plugged in.
Laptops are built to use both integrated graphics and dedicated graphics when it’s plugged in. If you’re using an old laptop with an old GPU, then it will probably use the integrated GPU to pick up the bulk of the graphics workload.
For example, let’s say I’m using a laptop with a GeForce GTX video card and I’m doing some video editing. The laptop should remain plugged in if I want to make sure that the dedicated GPU will be used for the entirety of the editing session.
At any time during the video rendering process or even during the editing process, my laptop may use up the integrated GPU so it has more graphics processing power. You should be able to see the usage percentage in your Task Manager window.
If you really want to make sure that a certain app or video game will always run on the dedicated GPU, then you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Press Windows + I to open Settings.
- Go to System then Display and then Graphics.
- On the dropdown menu, select the application or video game that you want to run at high performance always.
- Then select Options and select High Performance.
- Click Save.
You may repeat these steps for the rest of your apps. This will allow your laptop to continuously enable the dedicated GPU whenever these apps are being used and provided that the laptop is plugged in.
The Wrap Up
Now we know how to disable the integrated graphics cards. It’s fairly easy to do and also undo. Take note that you should only disable integrated graphics card when needed. This allows your system to have a backup display adapter in case the dedicated graphics card malfunctions.