Knowledge Base

Configuring NVIDIA Optimus and AMD Switchable Graphics for High Performance on your Alienware System


Alienware Arena Description

Some Alienware systems have the option to switch between an integrated graphics card and a discrete card to save power by using the right card for the right application. This is possible through NVIDIA Optimus Technology and AMD Switchable Graphics Teconology

Table of Contents :

  1. Configuring NVIDIA Optimus
  2. Configuring AMD Switchable Graphics

Supported Systems:

Alienware M11x R2 Alienware M17x R3 * Alienware X51 R2 Alienware 17 R2 Alienware 13 R1 Alienware 15 Alienware Aurora R5
Alienware M11x R3 Alienware M17x R4 * Alienware X51 R3 Alienware 17 R3 Alienware 13 R2 Alienware 15 R2 Alienware Aurora R6
Alienware 14 Alienware X51 R1 Alienware 17* Alienware 17 R4* Alienware 13 R3 Alienware 15 R3* Alienware Aurora R7
Alienware 17 R5 Alienware 15 R4



* M17x R3, M17x R4 and Alienware 17 equipped with the built in 3D screen and Alienware 15 R3, 15 R4, 17 R4 and 17 R5 equipped with the GSYNC Technology.

Configuring NVIDIA Optimus

By default the NVIDIA Driver will determine which video card will be used depending on the aplication, for example, Internet Explorer will use the integrated graphics card as it does not require heavy video processing but if you open a game, the discrete card will take over and do all the work

Important: Your Video Card drivers (Intel HD and NVidia) must be up to date to have the latest profiles for games and video intensive applications. You can check NVIDIA Optimus Technology Website for more information on Optimus.

If you have installed the latest NVIDIA driver for your system and have slow performance issues with your games do the following:

  • Set the discrete card as the preferred graphics processor:

    1. Right Click on your desktop
    2. Click NVIDIA Control Panel
    3. Click Manage 3D Settings on the left menu
    4. Click on the Preferred graphics processor drop down menu under the Global Settings tab
    5. Select High-performance NVIDIA processor from the list

  • Make sure your game has the right settings selected:

    1. Right Click on your desktop
    2. Click NVIDIA Control Panel
    3. Click Manage 3D Settings on the left menu
    4. Click on the Select a program to customize drop down menu under the Program Settings tab
    5. Choose your game or application from the list

      If your game does not show on the list uncheck Show only programs found on this computer

    6. Click on the Select the preferred graphics processor for this program drop down menu
    7. Select High-performance NVIDIA processor from the list

    Repeat these steps for each of your games

  • Click Apply
  • Exit the NVIDIA Control Panel

Newest games or some older games may not have a profile in the NVIDIA Control Panel, if you have updated your driver and your games does not show up try the following steps:

  1. Right Click on your desktop
  2. Click NVIDIA Control Panel
  3. Click Manage 3D Settings on the left menu
  4. Click on the Progam Settings tab
  5. Click Add
  6. Select a program from the list.

    If your game is not on this list either do the following:

    1. Click Browse
    2. Look for the executable file of your game and double click on it

    If you do not know the location and/or name of your game's executable do the following:

    1. Right Click on your game's icon
    2. Click Properties
    3. The Target field shows the location and name of the executable

If you want to use a program with an specific graphics processor only one time do the following:

  1. Right Click on the game icon
  2. Click Run with graphics processor
  3. Choose the graphics processor you want to use

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Configuring AMD Switchable Graphics

Important: Your Video Card drivers (Intel HD and AMD) must be up to date to have the latest profiles for games and video intensive applications. You can check AMD website for more information on Switchable Graphics.

By default the operating system will define the best graphics processor for each application based on preloaded profiles. Applications with specific GPU requirements show a Lock icon beside the application name and cannot be changed, these applications always run on the Integrated GPU, Power Saving Mode.

Install the latest AMD driver to have the latest support for your games

If you already have the right driver for your system and still have performance issues, try the following steps:

  1. Right Click on the desktop
  2. Click AMD Radeon Settings from the menu.
  3. Cilck on System.
  4. Click on Switchable Graphics.
In the Switchable Graphics menu, the Running Applications view will be displayed by default. This view lists recent and current running applications and their assigned Switchable Graphics mode.

For applications that are not locked by the operating system, the following Switchable Graphics modes can be selected from the application drop-down menu:
  • Power Saving - Selects the integrated GPU, which consumes less power but provides lower performance
  • High Performance - Selects the discrete GPU, which consumes more power but provides better performance
  • Based on Power Source - Selects the integrated GPU when running on battery and selects the discrete GPU when plugged into a power outlet

Select a desired mode for the application and the change will take effect the next time the application is loaded.

If your game is not on the list do the following:

  1. Right Click on the desktop
  2. Click AMD Radeon Settings from the menu.
  3. Cilck on System.
  4. Click on Switchable Graphics.
  5. Click on the Running Applications option and select Installed Profile Applications to view all applications detected by the graphics driver.
  6. If the application is not listed, use the Browse option to locate and add the application to the list.

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Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN146534

Last Date Modified: 06/21/2018 03:04 PM


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