How to Disable Integrated Graphics Card?

Disabling your integrated graphics card is pretty simple. However, in most cases, you do not have to disable the integrated graphics card yourself.

If you have a dedicated graphics card installed, the system automatically handles disabling/switching the graphics cards.

Alternatively, if you DO NOT have a dedicated graphics card installed, then disabling the integrated graphics card would result in a far reduced graphics processing performance.

In the following text, I will discuss how to disable integrated graphics, whether you should disable it, and how the system generally handles the switching if you have integrated and dedicated GPUs.

How to Disable Integrated Graphics Card?

There are two basic ways to disable integrated graphics cards on your PC.

  1. Through the Device Manager
  2. Through BIOS

Method 1: Disabling Integrated Graphics Card Through Device Manager

The first and the more intuitive method to disable integrated graphics cards is to use the Device Manager.

The following is a video tutorial for this method.

Here are the steps if you do not wish to watch the video above:

Step 1: Click Search on the Windows Taskbar.

Step 2: Search for “Device Manager.” You can also access the device manager through Control Panel -> Device Manager.

device manager search watermark png

Step 3: Once the Device Manager Window opens, expand the “Display Adapters” section and check what graphics card it displays.

device manager display adapters

Since I have both an integrated and a dedicated GPU, the section displays two graphics cards.

Step 4: Select the integrated graphics card and press the disable button. Ensure you have pressed the DISABLE button and NOT the Uninstall (X) button. 

How to Disable Integrated Graphics Card

Step 5: A prompt will appear with a warning. Select “Yes.”

disabling the device yes no

Subsequently, the screen may go blank for a few seconds.

When the display returns, you will notice a disabled icon next to the iGPU you disabled.

integrated GPU disabled completed

Also Read: Can You Replace an Integrated Graphics Card?

How to Tell Which One is Integrated and Which One is Dedicated GPU?

If you have a dedicated and integrated GPU installed, then for the newbies, it may be hard to tell which one of the two is integrated.

For instance, I have an Intel HD Graphics 630 and an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti on my system. But which one of the two is iGPU?

If you have basic knowledge regarding the graphics card market, you would be quick to tell that the Intel HD Graphics 630 is the iGPU, whereas the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti is the dedicated GPU.

All Intel GPUs, i.e., Intel HD graphics, Intel UHD graphics, and Intel IRIS graphics cards, are iGPUs. Whereas all NVIDIA GPUs are dedicated graphics cards.

With AMD, things can be difficult for the uninitiated as AMD makes both dedicated and integrated GPUs.

If you are new and unsure about which GPU is integrated, it is better just to Google the make and model of the GPU, as shown on the Device Manager online.

Also Read: Does Ryzen Have Integrated Graphics?

Would Disabling the iGPU in Device Manager Automatically Switch Your System to a Dedicated GPU Permanently?

Often people believe that disabling the iGPU through the Device Manager will permanently switch their system to the dedicated GPU.

That is hardly the case.

When you disable the iGPU (on laptops), your system switches to software-based video processing through the CPU via a Microsoft Basic Display Driver.

This results in a far reduced performance!

Microsoft Basic Display Driver
Microsoft Basic Display Driver takes over when the iGPU is disabled on a laptop.

To permanently switch your PC from an iGPU to a dedicated GPU, you must do it through BIOS.

Also Read: Do You Need Two Graphics Cards for Dual Monitors?

Method 2: Disabling Integrated Graphics Through BIOS

The other method of disabling integrated graphics cards is to use BIOS. This method is a bit more difficult for newbies.

For starters, note that the BIOS version may significantly differ from one PC to another; therefore, the BIOS menu on my PC may not be similar to yours.

Additionally, specific BIOS versions, particularly those on laptops, are so heavily stripped of basic settings that you may not find the menu for disabling the iGPU.

Step 1: Access BIOS

On PC startup, press the correct key for accessing BIOS. This key may differ for different PCs. Often it is “Delete,” “F10,” or the “F12” key.

Step 2: Search for Settings Regarding Display

Once in BIOS, you must search for settings regarding the Integrated Graphics, Integrated Video, Integrated VGA, or general graphics settings.

The settings may be under the label Onboard Devices, Built-in Devices, or something similar.

You may have to go into the “Advanced” settings for this.

Step 3: Disable the iGPU / Select Discrete Graphics

Once you have located the correct settings, disable the iGPU and save and exit BIOS.

In some cases, the settings may also give you the option to select between “Auto,” “Discrete” (Dedicated), or “Integrated” graphics card. Choose the setting “Discrete” graphics card.

Note that tampering with the settings in BIOS can result in unwanted results and issues. Therefore, it is not recommended, mainly if you doubt whether you have located the correct settings for the iGPU.

Also Read: Do I Need Integrated Graphics?

Is It Safe to Disable Integrated Graphics?

It is not recommended to disable the integrated graphics.

This isn’t much of an issue on desktops, as the iGPU automatically gets disabled when the dedicated GPU is plugged in.

However, disabling the integrated graphics on laptops will result in software-based video processing using Microsoft Basic Display Driver. 

Since Microsoft Basic Display Driver uses the CPU for video processing, you will see a far reduced performance.

However, if you have a working, dedicated GPU installed, disabling the iGPU on a laptop is generally safe if it is done through BIOS. It is often not necessary, though.

Also Read: Is Integrated Graphics Card Good Enough?

Do You Need to Disable Integrated Graphics Card if You Have Dedicated Graphics?

As mentioned earlier, disabling the iGPU on a laptop isn’t necessary if you have a dedicated graphics card because the system automatically switches the graphics card on laptops.

Again, this isn’t a concern on desktops, as the BIOS disables the iGPU when a dedicated GPU is plugged in. There is no dynamic switching of GPU on desktops.

On laptops, for instance, in the NVIDIA Control Panel, you can select one of three “Preferred Graphics Processor” settings:

  • Auto-Select – Default Option / Recommended Option
  • High-Performance Nvidia Processor – for using dedicated GPU only for all applications
  • Integrated Graphics – For using iGPU for all applications.

nvidia control center selection

Here you can see that with the “Auto-Select” option, the system automatically decides when to use the integrated GPU and the dedicated GPU depending upon your workload.

So, for instance, when doing less graphics-intensive work like browsing, watching YouTube videos, and writing reports, the system would use the integrated graphics card.

However, when gaming or using heavier editing and designing software, the system automatically switches to the dedicated graphics card.

This arrangement helps save up on your energy bills. Particularly on laptops, it also helps in saving up on essential battery life. Having the iGPU disabled and the dedicated GPU running constantly can tax the battery. 

The Motherboard I/O Ports Will Not Work with iGPU Disabled (Applicable to Desktops)

It would be best if you had guessed it already, but the I/O ports on your motherboard’s back are connected to the iGPU.

If you disabled the iGPU, the motherboard’s I/O ports would NOT work.

Do Motherboards have Integrated Graphics
The back I/O ports on any motherboard are powered by the iGPU, as the motherboard has no graphics processing chip. Image: Asrock AMD A320M-HDV R4.0

It is also worth mentioning that when you have a dedicated GPU installed, the I/O ports located on the motherboard get automatically disabled on desktops.

There is a good reason for this. A monitor connected to the motherboard’s video out port receives graphics processing juice from the iGPU. Therefore, if you were to game on this monitor, it would seriously lag even if you have a powerful dedicated GPU installed separately.

To experience the power of the dedicated graphics card, you need to have the monitor connected to the video output ports of the dedicated graphics card.

Also Read: Can I Upgrade My Laptop Graphics Card?

You Can Also Have Both Integrated and Dedicated GPUs Enabled At The Same Time on Desktops

It is also possible to have both iGPU and the dedicated GPU working simultaneously on desktops.

This would allow you to use both the motherboard’s video ports and the graphics card’s video ports at the same time.

This method is excellent for multiple monitor display setups for office work. However, for gaming and an intensive professional career, you will face the same issue as highlighted above, i.e., the monitors connected to the motherboard’s video ports will have a far reduced performance compared to those related to the dedicated graphics card’s video ports.

In other words, if you are a gamer, you will have a much higher frame per second on the monitor connected to the dedicated GPU compared to the motherboard’s video port.

To enable both dedicated and iGPU at the same time, I have written a comprehensive tutorial here:

How to Use Motherboard HDMI with Dedicated Graphics Card?


Does Disabling an Integrated Graphics Card Improve Performance?

On desktops, disabling the iGPU often has no effect – since the monitor is connected to the dedicated GPUs output port anyways.

On laptops, disabling the iGPU may offer some improvements, such as more vibrant colors, sharpers, visuals, etc. Sometimes the upgrades can be minor and can go unnoticed. The downside is that it’ll cost you battery life. Dedicated GPUs consume more power and can thus drain your battery quicker.

Hence it is not recommended to disable integrated graphics cards on laptops.

What Happens if You Disable All Of Your Graphics Cards?

On laptops, if you disable both the iGPU and the dedicated GPU (if you have one), then your screen will NOT go blank. Instead, the software-based rendering done through the CPU will take over.

Software-based video rendering is far weaker and may result in unbearable performance lags.

The software-based rendering will also take over on desktops, but your monitor must be connected to the motherboard’s video output port for it to work.

Also Read: Does Your PC Need a Graphics Card If It’s Not For Gaming?

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Ojash Yadav is the lead technical writer and resident tech guru at PCGuide101. He is a computer science graduate with over 8 years of experience in the IT field and a wealth of knowledge about computer peripherals. He has a passion for breaking down complex technical concepts and his goal is to make sure that our readers understand the technical details of the products they're interested in without getting lost in jargon. Ojash has over a decade of experience writing about the latest and greatest in the tech world, his articles have been featured in many popular tech publications and he's known for his thorough and unbiased reviews. He conducts extensive research and testing on the latest products to ensure our readers always get the most reliable information possible.

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