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How to choose which GPU is used by a game in Windows 10?

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So you finally bought that flashy new gaming laptop you always dreamt about. You boot it, fire up your favourite game, but the performance is not entirely as you would have expected.

This is an issue that has been pestering people with dual GPU systems, most notably gaming laptops, for as long as these systems have existed.

Dual GPU systems have a weaker integrated GPU which handles all basic tasks and a dedicated high-end GPU for more performance-intensive operations. This means that there has to be some sort of control system to tell which process uses which GPU.

The problem is, sometimes this control system fails and more demanding processes (like games) end up using the weaker, integrated GPU which results in decreased performance or at times games crash too.

While this issue is pretty much dealt with on modern systems, there are still many cases where it might arise. In this article, we show you how you can manually assign a particular GPU to a specific process so that optimal performance is achieved.

How to choose which GPU is used by a game in Windows 10?

A small note though, the machine we are using for this demonstration has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX 4GB. Therefore, we’ve also mentioned steps specific to Nvidia cards. Users running a different GPU can still read on though. Chances are, the steps will be somewhat the same for your card too.

Alternatively, you can also find steps to assign your higher-powered graphics card to a game or an app using Windows settings as mentioned below.

Also read: How to pause Windows 10 update? Here are 4 ways that might help

Choose GPU using Windows settings

For all of you who either don’t have a dedicated GPU or if you want to squeeze out some more power out of whatever GPU you’re running, here are some steps that you can follow to make sure you get the best possible performance out of your graphics card.

Step 1: Go to Windows Settings. To do this, press ‘Windows key + i’.

Step 2: Search for ‘Display settings‘.

Step 3: Scroll down and click on ‘Graphics settings‘.

Step 4: Click on browse and select the executable file of the game or program. Click on ‘Add‘.

Step 5: Click on the newly added program then click on ‘Options‘.

Step 6: Select ‘High Performance‘ then click apply.

There you go. Every time you run the chosen program, your system will dedicate all available resources to it. This should get you at least a slight bump in performance, if not a significant one.

Also read: How to find MAC address on Windows?

Choose GPU using your Graphics Card Utility

Step 1: Click on the Nvidia icon in your taskbar.

Step 2: The Nvidia control panel will open up. Once the control panel is open, click on the ‘Program settings‘ tab.

Step 3: Select your program/game from the drop-down menu. If you can’t find it there, click on add and browse to the program executable file.

Step 4: Once you’ve selected the desired program, select the desired GPU from the drop-down menu. In this case, as the program is a very demanding game (FIFA 18), we have selected our dedicated GPU as the default GPU for this program.

Step 5: Click on ‘Apply‘ and wait for the program to enforce your changes.

That’s it. The next time you launch the aforementioned program/game, it will automatically use the dedicated GPU by default.

Note: If you do this on a laptop, keep in mind that it’s going to drain your battery quicker.

Also read: 5 common mistakes that compromise your gaming console’s security

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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