How to Set a Default Graphics Card

The extra capacity gained from multiple graphic cards will not only boost your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) power but will also give your central processor a break by reducing its workload. In Windows 10, you can choose which graphics card should be the default for handling your graphic-intensive apps.

How to Set a Default Graphics Card

This article will show you the steps needed to make your dedicated graphics card the primary resource for selected apps in Windows 10.

How to Set a Default Graphics Card in Windows 10

Follow these steps to ensure an app uses a particular graphics card in Windows 10:

  1. Open “Settings.”
  2. Select “System” then “Display.”
  3. Beneath the “Multiple displays” section, click on “Graphics settings.”
  4. Choose the app via the pull-down menu:
    • If you choose “Classic app,” you’ll need to click the “Browse” button to find the “.exe” file to specify the app.
    • If you choose “Microsoft Store app,” a second drop-down menu will appear for you to select the app.
  5. Once you’ve selected the app from the drop-down menu, click the “Add” button.
  6. Click the “Options” button, then set the graphics preference you want to use for the app:
    • Choose “System default” for Windows to automatically decide which GPU to use.
    • Choose “Power saving” to run the app on GPU using the least power, typically the integrated graphics processor. Your separate graphics card is also an option here.
    • Choose “High performance” to run the app on the discrete graphics processor (e.g., NVIDIA or Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]).
  7. Now hit “Save.”
  8. Repeat Steps 4 through 7 until you have set the apps you want to use with your dedicated graphics card.

How to Set Default Graphics Card in Windows NVIDIA

Here’s how to make your NVIDIA graphics card your default GPU in Windows 10:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and select the “NVIDIA Control Panel” option.
  2. Under “3D Settings,” select “Manage 3D Settings.”
  3. Select the “Programs Settings” tab, then choose the app you want to select the graphics card for via the pull-down list.
  4. Choose the “Preferred Graphics Processor” option via the pull-down list.
  5. To use NVIDIA, click “High-performance NVIDIA processor.”


What Is the Difference Between an Integrated and Dedicated Graphics Card?

The key difference is an integrated graphics card doesn’t have its CPU (Central Processing Unit or “processor”), and instead, it uses the processor it’s attached to and system RAM. A dedicated graphics card has its CPU, known as the GPU, and its RAM (VRAM). A dedicated graphics card can have thousands of cores to perform processing, which vastly improves performance at the expense of significant power, cooling, and budget requirements.

What Are the Disadvantages of Integrated Graphics?

The main drawback of integrated graphics is that when having a CPU and GPU on the same chip, either one or both processors will offer reduced processing power. Integrated graphics systems don’t have nearly the amount of processing power a dedicated graphics card offers. The integrated graphics also siphon some of the system RAM, reducing overall system performance.

How to Enable a Graphics Card

Follow these steps to enable your graphics card:

1. Sign in to your computer as admin and open the “Control Panel.”

2. Select “System,” then choose “Device Manager.”

3. Go through the listed hardware to find your graphics card.

4. Right-click it, then select “Enable.”

5. Exit and save changes if prompted.

Connecting Your Discrete Graphics Card

If you’re running multiple GPUs, Windows allows you to specify your preferred graphics processor a particular app should use to improve graphic performance or battery life. For each app, you can choose whether you want Windows to decide which graphics card should be used or to use the integrated or a dedicated graphics card.

Which dedicated graphics cards did you decide to go for and why? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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