Is it safe to disable Intel HD Graphics card from the BIOS ?

Feb 11, 2018
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I got a new laptop, Lenovo Ideapad 330. It has integrated Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630 and also Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 2GB. I went to the nvidia control panel and set the global used GPU to be nvidia. I haven't tried any games yet to see what happens, while using google chrome the Intel GPU is at 1-3%, while the Nvidia is at 1-2%. I wanted to only use the Nvidia GPU but I see that the Intel one is still being used. Disabling it while using it ( from the device manager ) will, of course, make the screen go black. So should I disable it from the BIOS if I can? Is it safe to disable it from the BIOS?
 
Laptops with switchable Intel/Nvidia graphics (Nvidia Optimus) will always use the Intel graphics. The way Optimus works is the Nvidia GPU acts as a co-processor. If you assign a game to use the Nvidia GPU, it renders a complete frame on the Nvidia GPU. Then transfers that completed frame to the Intel GPU. The Intel GPU then displays it on the screen (full screen or in a window). So the Intel GPU is always working even if a game is using the Nvidia GPU. It's like having vsync always on, with the two GPUs acting as the two framebuffers.

If you disable the Intel GPU on an Optimus laptop, all of this will break. Your laptop will revert to basic VGA graphics mode (800x600 resolution, though I think Win 10 uses a higher resolution) until you reinstall Intel drivers. There are a handful of gaming laptops which have true hardware-switchable GPUs (there will be a BIOS option to use the Intel or Nvidia GPU). And a few which hook up the Nvidia GPU to the external display port, so games running on an external display will use the Nvidia GPU with no assistance from the Intel GPU. I highly doubt the Ideapad 330 is one of these.

But your question implies the BIOS option is present. If it is, it's worth trying. Be prepared to take a big hit to battery life. Normally the only time you need to use this option is if you don't want vsync (which is impossible to disable with Optimus). Or for a few games which are either very old or poorly programmed. These games assume a computer only has one GPU. When the game starts, it searches for the GPU, and finds the Intel GPU first. Thereafter, the game will only ever use the Intel GPU. Even if you assign the Nvidia GPU to use it in Optimus, the game will still run off the Intel GPU. The only way to force it to use the Nvidia GPU is to disable the Intel GPU in the BIOS.
 
Laptops with switchable Intel/Nvidia graphics (Nvidia Optimus) will always use the Intel graphics. The way Optimus works is the Nvidia GPU acts as a co-processor. If you assign a game to use the Nvidia GPU, it renders a complete frame on the Nvidia GPU. Then transfers that completed frame to the Intel GPU. The Intel GPU then displays it on the screen (full screen or in a window). So the Intel GPU is always working even if a game is using the Nvidia GPU. It's like having vsync always on, with the two GPUs acting as the two framebuffers.

If you disable the Intel GPU on an Optimus laptop, all of this will break. Your laptop will revert to basic VGA graphics mode (800x600 resolution, though I think Win 10 uses a higher resolution) until you reinstall Intel drivers. There are a handful of gaming laptops which have true hardware-switchable GPUs (there will be a BIOS option to use the Intel or Nvidia GPU). And a few which hook up the Nvidia GPU to the external display port, so games running on an external display will use the Nvidia GPU with no assistance from the Intel GPU. I highly doubt the Ideapad 330 is one of these.

But your question implies the BIOS option is present. If it is, it's worth trying. Be prepared to take a big hit to battery life. Normally the only time you need to use this option is if you don't want vsync (which is impossible to disable with Optimus). Or for a few games which are either very old or poorly programmed. These games assume a computer only has one GPU. When the game starts, it searches for the GPU, and finds the Intel GPU first. Thereafter, the game will only ever use the Intel GPU. Even if you assign the Nvidia GPU to use it in Optimus, the game will still run off the Intel GPU. The only way to force it to use the Nvidia GPU is to disable the Intel GPU in the BIOS.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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10
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I see, thank you very much, so there aren't any downsides to this GPU sync, except for the case of an "old or poorly programmed" game that could happen to only check for 1 GPU and use it (the intel in my case) ?
 
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