How to Make Games Use Your Dedicated Graphics Card

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How to Make Games Use Your Dedicated Graphics Card

If you have a gaming computer, it most likely has two graphics cards: an integrated onboard graphics card and a significantly powerful standalone graphics card. Some games utilize the onboard graphics card instead of the dedicated one by accident, and since the onboard graphics card isn’t strong enough to handle games, you’ll get extremely low frames and visuals. That is, if your game doesn’t crash first.

Fortunately, you may instruct your computer to use the specialized graphics card just for certain apps and games. This is how.

Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics Cards

The primary distinction between integrated and dedicated graphics cards is that integrated GPUs lack their own CPUs and RAM. Instead, the integrated graphics card makes use of CPU and computer RAM resources. So, if you have 8GB of total RAM and 1GB of shared graphics RAM, your accessible RAM will be 7GB. All of these disadvantages diminish an integrated graphics card’s processing capability and render it unsuitable for playing intensive video games.

In contrast, a dedicated graphics card has its own CPU, RAM, and cooling system. This allows the specialized graphics card to run high-end video games smoothly, but it also makes the dedicated graphics card big and much more costly. If you want to learn more, check out our article on the distinction between integrated and dedicated graphics cards.

The majority of current CPUs have an onboard integrated graphics unit. So, if you have a dedicated graphics card and a contemporary CPU, you have two working graphics cards. In this situation, the software on your computer determines when to utilize each graphics card to provide greater performance or longer battery life.

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This software sometimes gets confused and selects the incorrect graphics card for an application. If the software is a high-end video game, and your computer is attempting to run and draw it using the integrated graphics, you will receive poor performance. In such cases, the remedy is to manually direct the program to utilize the specific graphics card for that video game.

Related: The Best Budget Graphics Cards for Cheap Gaming

How to Set a Video Game to Use the Dedicated Graphics Card

The program in charge of switching graphics is determined by your specialized graphics card. If you have an NVIDIA, it will be NVIDIA Control Panel; if you have an AMD, it will be AMD Radeon Software. In this post, we’ll go through the processes for each of these programs. The first step, though, is to identify the software.

1. Identifying the Executable for Your Game

The executable or.exe file that plays the game is normally evident since it looks like GAMENAME.exe, however this is not always the case. The Task Manager is the only way to determine which process is in charge of operating the game.

  1. Launch the video game.
  2. Once the video game has completely loaded, minimize it. To accomplish this, press Win + D to access the desktop.
  3. To open Task Manager, use Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard. You may also look for Task Manager in the start menu.
  4. Locate the game process and right-click on it.
  5. Select Open file location from the menu.
  6. An Explorer window will appear, displaying the executable file at its location. This is the file in which you must inform Windows to utilize the dedicated graphics card.
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Related: Do You Really Need a Powerful GPU?

2. Changing the Settings in NVIDIA Control Panel

Now that you know what the file is and where it is, you can add it to your graphics card’s control panel and configure it to always utilize the dedicated graphics card. As previously stated, this is done using the NVIDIA Control Panel for NVIDIA graphics cards.

  1. Right-click on your desktop.
  2. Select NVIDIA Control Panel from the menu. If you’re using Windows 11, choose Show more choices, then NVIDIA Control Panel.
  3. Select Manage 3D settings from the bar on the left of the NVIDIA Control Panel.
  4. Click Program Settings.
  5. Select Add under Select an application to modify. This will display a subset of your programs.
  6. Click Browse in the Add box.
  7. Select the game file from the file location you identified in the previous stage.
  8. Click the Open button. Your game will now be shown in the program list.
  9. Select High-performance NVIDIA CPU under Select the recommended graphics processor for this software.
  10. Finally, in the bottom right corner, click Apply.
  11. Your game will now make use of your dedicated graphics card to provide much improved performance.

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3. Changing the Settings in AMD Radeon Software

If you have an AMD graphics card, you must add the game to the AMD Radeon Software and then choose the Gaming profile.

  1. Right-click on your desktop.
  2. Select AMD Radeon Software from the options. If you are using Windows 11, choose Show more choices, then AMD Radeon Software.
  3. Select the Gaming tab from the top of AMD Radeon Software.
  4. Click Add A Game after selecting the three vertical dots on the right.
  5. Click Open after selecting the game file. This will install the game and transport you to the game’s settings page.
  6. Click on Graphics Profile, then Gaming, under Graphics.
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That’s all! When you open that video game again, it will be your AMD graphics card performing the heavy processing work and earning you extra frames per second.

Dedicated to Performance

Though integrated graphics have advanced significantly in recent years, with some capable of running demanding games, they are still nowhere near as fast as dedicated graphics cards. Your games should run smoother and perform better now that you’ve learnt to switch to your dedicated graphics card.

However, if your dedicated graphics card is incapable of handling the games, it may be time for a GPU update.

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