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How To Force An App To Use The Dedicated GPU On Windows

An average PC comes with two graphics cards. The first, the default one, is called the ‘On-board’ graphics card and it’s usually an Intel chip. The second is the ‘Dedicated’ graphics card and Nvidia, and AMD are some of the best ones available. A dedicated graphics card is normally found on gaming PCs but it’s not uncommon to find a low end one on a non-gaming rig. When an application’s requirements exceed the capabilities of the on-board graphics card, your system switches to the dedicated GPU. This happens mostly when you play games. You can however force an app to use the dedicated GPU. Here’s how.

As mentioned earlier, there are two major GPU manufacturers that dominate the market; Nvidia, and AMD. We’re going to show you how you can force an app to use the dedicated GPU from both manufacturers.

Force App To Use NVIDIA Graphics Card

It’s worth mentioning that NVIDIA uses Optimus Technology. Whenever it detects that an app needs additional, more powerful resources, the dedicated GPU kicks in. That said, you can still force an app to use the dedicated GPU. With NVIDIA, it’s really easy.

Open the NVIDIA control panel. Right-click on an empty area on your desktop and select the ‘NVIDIA Control Panel’ option from the context menu.

Go to the Desktop menu and enable the ‘Add “Run with graphics processor” to Context Menu’ option.

Return to your desktop. Right-click the app you want to force to use the dedicated GPU. The right-click context menu will have a ‘Run with graphics processor’ option. Select ‘High-performance NVIDIA processor’ from the sub-options and the app will run using your dedicated GPU.

Force App To Use AMD Graphics Card

You can force an app to use your AMD graphics card but it isn’t as easy, or as accessible as the NVIDIA ¬†option. With AMD, you can select which apps will use the dedicated graphics card. You don’t have an option in the context menu. Instead, you add apps to the AMD Catalyst Control Center.

Open the AMD Catalyst Control Center app by right-clicking on an empty area on your desktop. Select ‘Catalyst Control Center’ from the context menu. From the list of panels on the left, select ‘Power’. Under ‘Power’, select ‘Switchable application graphics settings’.

Here you will see a list of apps that AMD already recognizes as needing better GPU support. On this panel is an ‘Add Application’ button. Click it and select the EXE of the app you want to force to use the AMD graphics card.

After you add the application, open the dropdown next to it for setting graphics options. Select ‘High performance’ and you’re done. The app will always use AMD graphics card.

We should mention that some options may differ depending on your driver version and the GPU model you have. These solutions will still work but the options may be found under a different menu.

Leave a comment

  • Antonio Mineiro

    CCC doesnt have that option for me.

    • What options do you see in the ‘Power’ section?

      • Antonio Mineiro

        Only AMD Start Now Tecnology and Usage Pattern.

        • Is there anything on the interface that says ‘Preferences’ ?

  • Gabor NAGY

    This NVIDIA menu option appears only with systems using NVIDIA’s power-saving GPU technology. This option is not exists e.g. with GTX 960