Your PC will have integrated graphics and may be defaulting to them even if you have a powerful graphics card installed. We show you how to set your graphics card as default, and make sure that your PC is using the correct graphics processor for the correct situation.

Inside, your laptop or PC will be a processor (or CPU) and this will probably have its own graphics capabilities – commonly known as integrated graphics because it's baked onto the chip. It means your computer can run a display without any help but for more demanding tasking like gaming a dedicated graphics card is more appropriate.

Most PCs and some laptops will have a dedicated graphics card and means that there's a choice of which to use. By default your computer should pick the integrated graphics for lighter tasks to save power and automatically switch to the full-blown GPU when needed.

Whether you don't agree with the automatic switching or think it's malfunctioning, you can take control of what happens by setting a default graphics card. Follow our guide to setting a default graphics card and you can manually choose which to use for individual program. Read: AMD Ryzen 5 review.

How to set a default graphics card

Step One

Open the Nvidia Control Panel. You can do this by right-clicking on the desktop or you can find the option within the notification area of the Taskbar.

How to set a default graphics card

Step Two

Select Manage 3D Settings under 3D Settings.

How to set a default graphics card

Step Three

Click on the Program Settings tab and select the program you want to choose a graphics card for from the drop down list.

How to set a default graphics card

Step Four

Now select the 'preferred graphics processor' in the drop down list (you can see what the automatic option is listed as global setting). If you want to use the dedicated graphics card, select High-performance Nvidia processor.

Note: For ATI/AMD graphics cards the process varies. Open the control center in the same way as above. You may need to open graphics then PowerPlay and set plugged in and/or battery to maximize performance. You can also try going to graphics then 3D and move the slider to performance. Your computer may also have a switchable graphics tab where you can change the settings for individual programs.

How to set a default graphics card