How to work switchable graphics on Alienware M17X R4

adarryladarryl No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help a Child. Icrontian
edited May 2012 in Hardware
I just bought a new Alienware M17X R4 notebook with switchable graphics: Intel chipset and AMD Radeon HD 7970m discrete card. When I install a new game, the game wants to configure itself for the Intel graphics and not the discrete card. I have Googled this topic and found varying results. Does anyone know the definitive procedure for enabling the discrete card over the integrated chipset graphic? Some say use the CCC; others say disable the integrated graphics in the BIOS. However, I also read that doing that can interfere with getting updates. If you have worked with an M17X, I would like to hear your suggestions. I have been able to run games on the 7970m but I just sort of stumbled into it rather than having exact steps. BTW, the game graphics from the 7970m on the 1920 X 1080 display are bone-crunching!


  • NiGHTSNiGHTS Icrontian San Diego Icrontian
    edited May 2012
    I'm not quite clear on what issue you're having, exactly - are you having issues with the game recognizing the discrete graphics upon install, or having an issue enabling the card for play?

    Are you installing the game with the discrete card enabled?

    I've not had trouble installing games with the same hybrid solution, FWIW, on an m11x.
  • adarryladarryl No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help a Child. Icrontian
    I think I've got it sorted out now. The problem I was having was in STEAM games. I was not getting video options within the games to select anything higher than standard quality Intel graphics. For whatever reason, STEAM games weren't automatically recognizing the 7970. Games installed off a DVD did not have this issue and showed all the necessary graphics options in the initial setup. What worked to resolve this was to go to Catalyst Control Center, Power, Switchable Graphics, Other Applications and then browsing to and selecting the STEAM game .exe for the game in question and then applying the High Performance setting over the Power Saving setting. So I am good to go now. Thanks for the reply!
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian Icrontian
    You can also (probably) go into your BIOS and switch off dynamic switching. This makes it so you can switch back and forth between the two GPUs, instead of running individual applications on each. It's not as cool as the dynamic switching, but it often works better especially for older games. I switched to doing things that way within a week of getting my laptop, I have hotkeys set up for switching between the Radeon and the Intel card. Works much better than dynamic mode.
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