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Windows 7: Acer Laptop: Switchable Graphics using i7 & AMD Radeon

20 Sep 2011   #11
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tomwhatley View Post

I'm feeling too lazy to look for the link now, but I read about the way this "switch" happens and I think it's why passmark (and others) only see the integrated card.

Actually, TVeblen posted this link earlier in this thread:

Nvidia Unveils Optimus Switchable Graphics Technology | PCWorld

"....previous switchable graphics tech had to have a series of multiplexers connecting both the integrated and discrete graphics to the display...Optimus is a lot cleaner. When the discrete GPU is called for, it powers up in a split second and copies the results of its frame-buffer to the frame-buffer of the integrated graphics chip..."

In our case, the discreet card (6650M) is not directly connected to the display, only the integrated card (IntelHD3000) is. When the 6650M kicks in it does all the processing in the background and feeds that to the HD3000, which displays the results on your screen. So Passmark doesn't really know what's happening, it only sees the name of the display adapter connected to the display.

I don't know if that will cause problems with software that has a minimum graphics adapter requirement. If some software only sees the integrated card will it error out during installation saying that this computer doesn't meet the minimum requirements? Or run at lower resolution or performance because it's trying to adjust for the integrated card?
While the idea of a more transparent secondary GPU does seem to be incorporated in our machines, NVIDIA is not involved in ours. NVIDIA makes GeForce, it's AMD/ATI that makes our Radeon.

You raise an issue that I hadn't thought of, but does seem possible - installation misidentification. I don't install all that many graphics intensive programs (so far, WoW has been the only one), so I may not run into it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Sep 2011   #12
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tomwhatley View Post

I think they might be full of it. Unless your Acer has something special mine doesn't, there is no reason you cant upgrade your ram. Just make sure you match speed AND size in each channel.

The specs on Newegg and even Acer's website said the dimms were DDR3-1066/PC3-8500. They are not; they are DDR3-1333/PC3-10600. My laptop came with a 4GB Elpida dimm and a 2GB kingston.

I used CPU-Z to spec my system which is how I discovered they were PC3-10600. Naturally having two empty ram slots won't do, so I went to CompUSA and picked up a pair of generic 4GB dimms branded by PNY. I paid $50 for the pair.

Now with 14 gigs my laptop immediately started running really hot, really slow, and generally crappy. It was taking well over a minute just to get to the login. After some research I started to suspect that the oddball 2GB Kingston might be the cause, and yanking it out confirmed that suspicion. So I got a third 4GB dimm and it's been humming along nicely ever since. Been 3 months and I've had no problems. Even managed a 7.7 on the Windows Experience Index for Memory. Did I need 16GB of ram? Not at all. Could I stand having just 6 when I could spend $75 and have 16? Not at all.
Your train of thought about upgrading memory is identical to mine - which is why I bought the 8GB at the same time as the machine. But, I was careful to buy precisely what the specs said I needed - the PC3-8500. I may have to return them to Newegg for some PC3-10600's. Thanks for the info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #13
McDaniel007

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Hi,

I have the same laptop and a similar problem.

When I play this java game (wurmonline) the laptop will run it on intel HD.
I have tried everything i could think of to run it on the ATI card but it doesn't work.

I contacted acer and amd, acer points at amd, amd points at acer. (at least amd said they would inform the catalyst dev team)

But so far I am still stuck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Sep 2011   #14
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

I'm not 100% convinced it's NOT running on the Radeon.

From what I've read about the i7, the Intel graphics capabilities are burned into the CPU itself - it's not the integrated graphics motherboard like so many other systems. When the i7 detects that more assistance is needed and available, it may call upon this additional hardware without sending out any notification that it has done so.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #15
McDaniel007

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

well i have played the game with java on high performance and java on low performance in the switchable graphics option and I don't notice a real difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #16
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

I'm also not convinced that selecting "Power Saving" prevents the i7 from activating the Radeon if it feels it needs it. The setting may simply tell the system what mode to start out with... what happens after that being the runtime decision of the i7.

In other words, you may have told it to use low performance, but maybe it ignored you and used high performance both times.

I could be 100% wrong, I have no sources to cite - but these are thoughts I've had about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #17
McDaniel007

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

well this game runs terribly for me (even with all graphics to lowest), and other games like shogun2 i can run very smooth with everything on highest

I have a 3 year old laptop with just onboard ati hd 3200 card and it plays the game better
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #18
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

We definitely need more information from Acer, AMD and Intel about our machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #19
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

We are all going to need to watch and learn and do a lot of reading about these new technologies. As with all things new tech, it sucks being on the uphill side of the learning curve.

Please keep us all informed of what you find folks! We all can learn here. I do not have one of these new systems that I can play with .

Here are a couple of articles you may find helpful. I'm sure there are more and better ones as more of these systems come out and are reviewed.

Switchable graphics solutions duel it out, AMD ends up looking like a chump -- Engadget

AnandTech - Mobile GPU Faceoff: AMD Dynamic Switchable Graphics vs. NVIDIA Optimus Technology
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #20
search53

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thank you for the links, I'm watching the first one now. I noticed one difference less than 2 minutes into the video. like Engadget, I have Catalyst Control Center. My version, however, does not have the option "Switchable Graphics Method" the way his does. All I have is "Power Play" and "Switchable Graphics" (the other two options seen in the video)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Acer Laptop: Switchable Graphics using i7 & AMD Radeon




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