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I've always been curious how my laptop switches seamlessly to its graphics card when it needs it, and then switches back to the integrated chipset when I am not doing anything graphics intensive. How does that work? How did they make it not cause interruptions while it switches?

asked Oct 30 '12 at 07:49

josephLtech's gravatar image


I'm pretty sure that it automatically switches depending on the load. For instance, if you load up a game, it senses that the Intel graphics can't handle the 3D rendering well, so it passes the load over to the NVIDIA or AMD graphics. The switching could be at a hardware level, but you might be able to control it through the power saving options.

answered Oct 30 '12 at 11:11

catchatyou's gravatar image


I know it's controllable in settings. I was just wondering how it worked. I think your hypothesis is correct that it would be load sensing, good answer

(Oct 30 '12 at 11:20) josephLtech josephLtech's gravatar image

At first I thought it used the integrated chipset only if its on battery mode and the discrete graphics card when is plugged in or the application you're about to use requires it, but I'm not really sure if that's the case or how does that work.

answered Oct 30 '12 at 10:40

Eggaro's gravatar image


As catchatyou said, it is partially load sensing. I don't know if this applies to Macs too, but some times there is a list of software that it knows needs the extra power of the discrete chip. When the computer senses that you've opened one of these programs, it switches to the discrete chip

answered Oct 30 '12 at 15:24

Tim%20Fontana's gravatar image

Tim Fontana

Like every machine that haves 2 GPU's. To save battery its gonna use the Intel (integrated) and when you play games and edit 3d stuff or some assimilar the Nvidia kicks in

answered Oct 31 '12 at 02:04

Razvan%20Coroama's gravatar image

Razvan Coroama

Well, i'm not %100 sure about this, but I think it switches depending on what you're doing. Say for example, browsing the Internet, it would be using the integrated Intel graphics. But if you were doing something like gaming for video editing, it would use the descrete card.

answered Nov 06 '12 at 12:15

mrgeekgnome's gravatar image


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Asked: Oct 30 '12 at 07:49

Seen: 784 times

Last updated: Nov 06 '12 at 12:15