Friday, 23 March 2012

Graphics Cards - Optimus technology

Some of the newer laptops that are coming through often have a feature called Optimus technology enabled. More details can be found here on what Optimus technology is.

Whilst this is great technology, it can play havoc with your design software, often using the wrong card to driver the software. So what can you do to ensure that your software is using the better graphics card in your laptop? Whilst you could use the drivers to manage the software, often the results are not what you expect. Therefore, you need to boot into the bios and turn off the Optimus technology feature; this will disable the Intel card and force the Nvidia card to be used instead.

The Optimus technology acts as a switch between the 2 video cards. One screen would use Intel and the other Nvidia. When the laptop is not docked in a docking station, the Intel card is the preferred card to save on power consumption. Unfortunately, we don’t care about the power savings and want Revit to perform. Disabling the Optimus switching mechanism forces the computer to use the Nvidia card in all hardware profiles. It’d be nice if Optimus could auto-negotiate which card to use based on the power needs, but sadly is doesn’t.

Once you have disabled the Optimus technology you will need to do a couple of restarts to get windows to reinstall the Nvidia drivers. It should be noted that not all of  laptops have these dual card installed, but where you do have them, disabling Optimus, without doubt helps.

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