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grantcoll
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HP Probook Switchable Graphics don't improve graphics processing

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HP4540s
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)

I have a laptop, HP4540s, which I use to capture video from a USB external capture card. It works fine, but I noticed that the laptop seemed to be using the Intel graphics all the time. On reading, it seems the default is not based on video processing, but that the laptop decides to use the ATI Graphics when 3D Video is being watched.  I dont' do 3D, but wanted to get the value of the high performance graphics, after all that is why I bought this laptop. So I set the Switchable Graphics to use the High Performance by adding the Capture application in to Catalyst Control Center and setting it to High Performance. I saw no change in preformance, and the Laptop CPU Occupancy remained just as high as when using the built in Intel Graphics.

 

I had one occurance of a blue screen after a few hours running on the High Performance setting, and so have gone back to the default, and have lost my comfort in this so called High Performance setting. I don't know if it is even doing anything, and if so, if it is working correctly, due to the blue screen. (It was obviously rare, but I can't afford it to ever happen).

 

I am happy to buy a new laptop, but even new ones are like this, so have a level of concern about this facility, and don't know what to do, to achieve the best performance with the best stability.

 

 

Laptop Specs: Probook HP 4540s Intel Core i7 3632QM at 2.2GHz 8GRam Windows 7 Pro 64bit SP1

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Photoray002
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Hello grantcoll,

 

You have a loaded set of questions that I will "try" to answer as best I can but I need more details.

 

I have a laptop, HP4540s, which I use to capture video from a USB external capture card. It works fine, but I noticed that the laptop seemed to be using the Intel graphics all the time. On reading, it seems the default is not based on video processing, but that the laptop decides to use the ATI Graphics when 3D Video is being watched.  I dont' do 3D, but wanted to get the value of the high performance graphics, after all that is why I bought this laptop. 

 

What is the capture card and software you are using?

Dynamic Mode Switchable Graphics will switch card usage depending on overall GPU needs, not just for 3D video. But the reasons for switching do get misunderstood. Switching GPU’s does not mean higher quality video for everything. Gaming is usually the biggest improvement seen and then it depends on what game. It will not make your browser l look better (for example).

 

So I set the Switchable Graphics to use the High Performance by adding the Capture application in to Catalyst Control Center and setting it to High Performance. I saw no change in performance, and the Laptop CPU Occupancy remained just as high as when using the built in Intel Graphics.

 

What programs are you running during capture? Most likely, your USB capture requires more CPU computing than GPU to start with. If so, switching GPU’s won't matter. Same as if you were rendering a video in a graphics program like Adobe/Corel.

 

That model laptop is around 5 years old now. The 3rd gen i7 series is still a powerful CPU, the GPU maybe not so much depending on what its used for. Those business models came with various hardware choices, so I don't know which video card is installed.

 

What is the purpose of the video capture? If you are doing it from home to begin with, perhaps you should consider a much more powerful desktop?

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grantcoll
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Hi Photoray, 

Thanks for responding. I am using an external capture item that connects to USB, and includes software. I am not trying to improve graphics quality as such, but am just trying to have the most stable and reliable video capture in operation. I have 3 different types of these USB devices, and use them all. The common point of concern is how the Switchable Graphics actually work in my HP Laptops.

 

Since this posting, I did a test on one of my laptops, where I disabled Switchable Graphics in the BIOS, and then ran one of the USB devices. There was an immediate drop in the video responsiveness. Even just dragging windows around on the desktop became jagged and clunking. I re-enabled Switchable Graphics and the normal performance returned. So this tells me that there seems to be 3 states of graphics. The built in Intel, the powersaving and maxpower. The built in Intel seems to be very slow. The powersaving and maxpower while switchable graphics is enabled, seem to be best, but I am still confused about when one is being used over the other, and how you can simply reassure yourself that you are using full power in the GPU. My perception is that powersaving and maxpower seem to be the same, and you don't know when you are using one over the other, and that neither are anything like the Intel graphics.

 

Btw, I use these laptops out onsite, at events etc, so laptops are best for portability.

 

It might be best if I bought a new i7 laptop. How can I tell how much more power the different gen ratings are in the i7's ? I had always assumed one i7 was much like another.

 

Grant.

 

 

 

 

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Photoray002
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Well, what you are doing now (setting the program statically) is the best way to know if you're using full power of the dedicated video card in CCC.

 

How will you know if one i7 will work better than another? I have no way of answering that since I'm not there to see what you're doing.

But since your model has been out, i7 is 4 generations ahead now and yes they will render faster than what you have now.

But if your application is utilizing the whole CPU now, it will probably utilize the whole newer CPU, but it will be doing so faster also.

Only you can specifically compare them side by side though. :Wink:

 

But the key here is not so much the i7 but the newer video card upgrade you would be getting.  With the benefit of more video card memory also.

Dedicated graphics is obviously what you need, so you might want to look into the new gaming machines also. They will have the most powerful graphics installed over anything else. Those cards do well with more than just gaming... with the exception of a workstation card specifically for 3D work with Autocad and similar 3D programs.

The fact that the new machines are using SSD technology will improve overall speed also! That will be the biggest improvement you will see. But the new machines only have Windows 10 so make sure your software is compatible.

 

HP's Omni Gaming Machines are HP's top of the line for GTX 1000 series cards. I would not consider anything less the 16 GB of ram and 2/4 GB dedicated video card memory.

Sorry if my info seems rather generalized, but without being there to see what you have exactly, I can only speculate.

Hope it helps.

 

 

 

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grantcoll
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That is a good thought about the gaming laptop types, as I have always considered the business type, but my thinking was incorrect, when you consider the required outcome.

 

Just to clarify, I am running the laptop in default mode, which appears to be not Max Power in CCC. I have to say appears as there doesn't seem to be any way to see when or if it actually switches.

 

I did try setting the capture application to Max Power in CCC, and it seemed to perform the same as the default settings. But when at an event, once during the whole day it blue screened. It did this while nothing was being touched, except it was capturing video as it does all day. This is very bad for me. All I can find is that it is reported in Event Log as bugcheck 0x00000116. I went searching, and generally this tended to point to drivers (graphics or similar), but couldn't find any solution. As it only happened once, I chose the safe approach, which was to just leave CCC as default. 

 

Regards

Grant

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Photoray002
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I'm afraid I don't have a Probook to test with. I assume If you right click on the desktop, you're not getting an option for "Configure Switchable Graphics"? If you do, it should show which card is in use at that moment. You would have to open it during video capture to see which is in use.

If it does not have that, I don't know of any other way to find out.

 

Also, HP has not come out with a Graphics Driver Update since May 2012. That might be the reason for the BSOD.

Which video card is installed?

You can try manually updating the graphics driver from AMD directly for your model of GPU, but I cannot guarantee the driver will install.

Be sure to create a system restore point before doing this, in case you have to revert back.

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grantcoll
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Hi Photoray,

The configure switchable graphics is particularly annoying, as it shows Recent Applications and Other Applications.  See image following. The application that is most important is called gamecapture.exe. It shows in here as Recent, even though I have it open when doing this screenshot. It shows as powersaving, but it performs the same as when I have set it to High Performance, but that is when I had the BSOD, so set it back to powersaving. It appears to perform the same whether it is set to powersaving or High Performance, as I said previously. Neither option performs as slow as when I turned Switchable off in BIOS. That was noticeably slow, which is why I feel I don't really know which graphics card it is using.

 

This is also an option called Powerplay, which I have set to Maximize Performance. 

 

In Device Manager, it shows the AMD Radeon HD 7650M as the installed graphics card. The driver is AMD Version 8.951.6.0 29/03/2012.

 

Ideally what I want is to have stability and graphics that are using the best performance on GPU, so that other functions, eg disk and cpu are working optimally and don't interfere with the video capturing. Btw, during normal capture, the CPU is running around 50%.

 

ccc.JPG

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Photoray002
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Where you find PowerPlay, you should also see Switchable Graphics Application Monitor.

That will show you the real time process of which card is running which program at that moment.

High Performance = the AMD card.

Power Saving = the Intel GPU.

ccc switchable graphics.JPG

 

And as I said earlier, you can try updating the driver via AMD's website manually which might help with the driver crash.

If you try Bluescreen View from Nirsoft Utilities, you might be able to more specifically find which driver caused the crash.

Also take a look at your memory performance in the Task Manager to get an idea of how your memory is getting used up.

 

Did you say you tried running the AMD card full time (not from Bios)?

If not...these instructions should enable the AMD card full time. Disregard the links to update your drivers on that page, its not your model.

Re: Disabling switchable graphics or setting global default. - HP Support Forum - 1727181

 

IF updating the AMD drivers and either setting the card to run full time, or making only certain programs run on the AMD card do not work as you would like, then all I can say is - that system is just not going to suit your needs and I don't know what else you can do to make it do so. So I would take a new system into consideration.

 

HP does have a 30 day money back guarantee if you want to give one (the OMEN?) a test drive.

HP.com returns & refunds

 

 

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grantcoll
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Hi Photoray,

 

Since my last posting, I have downloaded and installed the most up to date amd catalyst driver 15.7.1 for win7 64bit. It would not recognise the AMD Radeon HD 7650M even though amd listed this driver for the HD 7600 series. So did a system restore to put it back to 8.951.6.0. (Btw, I tried unstalling previous and also installing over top of previous, but both methods failed to work with the new version).

 

My CCC does not have the monitoring options. See below image for my screenshot. 

cccp.JPG

 

That other posting about making the AMD permanently on is what I was wanting as well, but looking through the posting,  those CCC screenshots are different to mine. That persons problem wasn't solved as at the last entry.

But, I have downloaded the links for latest CCC and driver, but with the driver, and will give them a go.

 

I did mention that I tried disabling switchable graphics in BIOS and it then ran on the Intel, and was noticeably slow. So I re-enabled switchable graphics.  I have only tried running specific applications in High Performance, but could not see any difference between Power Saving and High Performance while watch video.

 

 

I looked at using Nirblog, but it can only read Minidmp, and by default HP have Kernal dmp set in the OS. So there is no Minidmp available until/unless it does another BSOD. 

 

 

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Photoray002
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I havent had to read a kernal dump on an HP wind 7 system, but if needed, you can enable Small or Complete memory dumps with a settngs adjustment (do this before the system crashes of course).

 How to generate a complete crash dump file or a kernel crash dump file by using an NMI on a Windows-...

 

If your CCC UI does not have the features I listed and it will not update to a newer driver, then you wont be able to use that. Sorry.

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