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Old 03-29-2011, 12:53 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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How do I know what graphic card my computer is currently using?

Recently, I bought a laptop. With a Nvidia graphic card. I use it for gaming. But it appears that recent products by Nvidia have serious issues, related to their "Optimus" technology. In particular for many games and videos.

It appears that the issues are numerous, Nvidia unresponsive and according to some posters who state they know what they're talking about, those issues can't be fixed, being hardware problems that no pilot can solve. There might be right or wrong, I wouldn't know, I don't even understand most of what those people write. Look by yourself on the Nvidia forums or elsewhere.

Sorry for this long introduction, but I wrote all this to warn people who would intend to buy a laptop with an Nvidia card. Look it up closely, since many laptops are affected.




Anyway, here's my personal problem. Basically, the computer has two graphic card. A basic one and a GeForce XXXwhatever (In my case 235m). When you're using, say, excel, or just browsing on the web, the basic card is used. When needed, the Optimus technology is *supposed* to switch automatically to the advanced graphic card. Problem is that it doesn't do so for a number of games or other applications. So, your computer freeze, or crash, or your game is incredibly slow or you just get a black screen.

I have a black screen problem with a couple games I own. And I would want to know which one of the two graphic cards is being used when such a thing happens in order to determine if it's related to this "not switching to the proper graphic card" issue. How can I figure it out (knowing that I'm mostly computer-illiterate, so no big words please )?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by clairobscur; 03-29-2011 at 12:55 AM..
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:59 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
and a GeForce XXXwhatever (In my case 235m). .
Sorry, I meant 325m . Not that it matters much, though.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:05 AM
Hennessy Hennessy is offline
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use this program to see which one is active i guess...

http://www.cpuid.com/ Cpu-Z

Not knowing any better, I would stick with the Nvidia card.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:33 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
use this program to see which one is active i guess...

http://www.cpuid.com/ Cpu-Z

Not knowing any better, I would stick with the Nvidia card.


Thanks. According to this tool, the laptop keeps using the default card when the game runs.

I understand it's possible to "instruct" my computer to always use a given card (in this case the Nvidia card) when a particular programm is launched. How could I do that?
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:41 AM
TNWPsycho TNWPsycho is offline
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There was a program i had on my last computer (Evergreen? Everclear?" something of that sort. But that program basically would tell you every detail of your computer set-up. I think it was mainly used for video editing so you would know what your card was, what the aspect ratio was, blah blah blah.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:32 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Thanks. According to this tool, the laptop keeps using the default card when the game runs.

I understand it's possible to "instruct" my computer to always use a given card (in this case the Nvidia card) when a particular programm is launched. How could I do that?
Sorry, this is going to be vague, because the options are different for every computer. Basically, you'll want to go into the BIOS if you know how to do that. Restart your computer, and there should be a prompt that comes up quick about "Push X to enter system setup," or similar, or its French equivalent. Here, X usually = something like Del, F1, F2. Push that until you go into a different screen (blue often). If you screw up, you will have to restart again. In the BIOS, go into video options, and set it so that it ignores the onboard video card and always prefers the add-on card.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:44 AM
Hennessy Hennessy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNWPsycho View Post
There was a program i had on my last computer (Evergreen? Everclear?" something of that sort. But that program basically would tell you every detail of your computer set-up. I think it was mainly used for video editing so you would know what your card was, what the aspect ratio was, blah blah blah.

Your referring to Everest. The link says it has been canceled but they have a successor.

I've read on one gaming laptop there is a switch on the side or somewhere to switch video cards. What model is yours?
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:09 AM
Panurge Panurge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Sorry, this is going to be vague, because the options are different for every computer. Basically, you'll want to go into the BIOS if you know how to do that. Restart your computer, and there should be a prompt that comes up quick about "Push X to enter system setup," or similar, or its French equivalent. Here, X usually = something like Del, F1, F2. Push that until you go into a different screen (blue often). If you screw up, you will have to restart again. In the BIOS, go into video options, and set it so that it ignores the onboard video card and always prefers the add-on card.
This is only possible if the machine allows for a selection of "On-board", "Discrete (nVidia)" or "Optimus" setting in the BIOS. Most newer machines don't do that, unfortunately.

The Optimus systems use the onboard video card to communicate to the display - the "Discrete" card cannot communicate directly with the screen on its own, but sends the signal through the onboard card. If you disable the onboard card, you'll end up with a black screen.

The reason I know this is that I recently bought an Optimus powered laptop myself. And since I'm on Linux - which only supports one GPU at a time, I am stuck with using the onboard one. Sigh.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:25 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
I've read on one gaming laptop there is a switch on the side or somewhere to switch video cards. What model is yours?
ASUS Notebook N61Jv
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2011, 04:40 AM
Hennessy Hennessy is offline
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[Solution] New laptop - NVidia Optimus may be incorrectly using on-board graphics
Quote:
Instructions: If you're using a newer laptop that you know has an NVidia graphics card, try checking your Optimus settings. Open the "NVIDIA Control Panel" from your start menu. On the lefthand side, under "Select a task...", open the "3D Settings" tree, and select "Manage 3D Settings". Now on the righthand panel, click the "Program Settings" tab. Under "1. Select a program...", click "Add", navigate to your \Steam\steamapps\common\magicka directory and select "Magicka.exe". Under "2. Select the preferred graphics...", choose "High-performance NVIDIA processor", then (VERY IMPORTANT) click "Apply" in the bottom right.
In your case, use the game's main .exe file.
If you don't know which file that is, tell me the game and I will tell you how to find it.

Note: I reach my Nvidia Control Panel by right clicking an empty spot of the desktop, not by the start menu.

After this you could update all your drivers. Note that this site is for Windows 7 64bit, if you have 32bit(simply Windows 7) change it in the drop down box.

If your still having issues after trying that, perhaps the new drivers are buggy and causing Optimus to not support your games. In this case you would need the older drivers. I'm not sure how that works with Optimus, I assume you would just update each graphic card's driver and install them both. Older drivers can usually be found here. Requires registration

Finally, I'm willing to bet there is a way to choose a default graphics card or disable use of the integrated graphics all the time. Google is your friend, or you may find a solution in that thread, there are a couple.

Last edited by Hennessy; 03-29-2011 at 04:41 AM..
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