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 Post subject: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Hi there,

I'm trying to play F1 2011 on an XPS L501X that has an Nvidia GT 420M GPU. Gameplay is horrible, benchmarks with all graphics set very low yield around 24FPS tops. I have recently realised that selecting "Run with graphics processor > Integrated graphics" gives the same benchmarks as choosing "Run with graphics processor > High-performance NVIDIA processor"...does this mean the Nvidia GPU is never actually being used?! If so, does anyone know how I might fix this?

Thanks,

Toby


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:14 pm 
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The L501X has Nvidia Optimus, which automatically switches from the integrated GPU to the dedicated Nvidia GPU when 3D Rendering is detected.

The GPU is working fine. The Nvidia GT 420M is not a powerful GPU, so you won't be able to put the settings any higher or expect any better performance. Its not really meant for gaming.

If you have the 1080p screen, dropping the resolution in the game settings to something like 1366x768 will help improve the performance.

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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:53 pm 
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m3th0d1c4l wrote:
The L501X has Nvidia Optimus, which automatically switches from the integrated GPU to the dedicated Nvidia GPU when 3D Rendering is detected.

The GPU is working fine. The Nvidia GT 420M is not a powerful GPU, so you won't be able to put the settings any higher or expect any better performance. Its not really meant for gaming.

If you have the 1080p screen, dropping the resolution in the game settings to something like 1366x768 will help improve the performance.


Thanks for the reply, sorry, I should have been clearer. Graphics all set very low (details, anti-aliasing etc), resolution is 800 * 600 for example. Using the Nvidia control panel and switching to 'Integrate GPU' on the game's profile results in exactly the same benchmark results.

Toby


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Have you tried another game to see if there is a difference in performance when using integrated vs. dedicated GPUs?

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Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:52 am 
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I haven't yet (not much of a gamer), I'm going to though. I've just noticed that dxdiag.exe only shows the integrated GPU, on my work laptop (also a Dell XPS) there are two tabs, one for the integrated GPU and one for the Nvidia one...this seems significant, I don't know what to do about it though?!


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Here is what you should do:

Download the latest Nvidia drivers from Nvidia.com for the GT 420M here:

GeForce 400M 306.97 Drivers

Next, download the latest Intel HD Graphics 3000 Driver here:

Intel HD Graphics 3000

Once these are downloaded, do not install them yet (just leave them on the desktop), but instead download and install Driver Fusion here:

Driver Fusion 1.2.0

After that is installed, go to your control panel, and uninstall any Nvidia Drivers/Software present, starting with Nvidia Physx, and then the Nvidia Display Driver. When prompted to reboot, do not reboot yet. Do the same for the Intel Graphics Controller. Again, don't reboot when prompted.

Once they have both been uninstalled, run Driver Fusion, and check the boxes for Nvidia Physx, Nvidia Display, and Intel Display and click the clean/run button. During completion, it will ask for a reboot. Now, go ahead and reboot.

After you are back on the desktop, install the new drivers, starting with the Intel, followed by the Nvidia drivers. That should solve any driver related issues and everything should be working properly (hopefully).

If it isn't , then you might want to give Dell a call if you have warranty and have them check it out. I know the L501's had quite a handful of issues and the graphics switching was one of them, but drivers usually fixed it.

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Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:51 am 
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Hey there,

Thanks for the detailed reply. I had actually tried some of that - only for the Nvidia GPU, not the integrated one - although I did allow Driver Fusion to reboot.

However, I had a small breakthrough yesterday. I discovered the Nvidia graphics start working fine when the laptop is connected to my TV via HDMI. This is encouraging, in that I know the GPU can function, but frustrating in that I rarely connect the computer to my TV!

So now I'm wondering if I need to change something in the Nvidia control panel, to make the GPU available via the laptop screen?

Cheers,

Toby


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:07 am 
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I am not sure what else to try to be honest. There are only two things that will cause this issue. One is a driver/software issue, and the other is hardware based (less likely case).

The last thing I would resort to is a clean install of the operating system. But I would strongly suggest trying a couple different games first to see if the issue is just with that particular game.

The Nvidia GPU will be forced (most of the time) when a TV/monitor is connected to the computer externally, which is why that is probably working.

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


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 Post subject: Re: XPS L501X - Nvidia GPU completely unused?
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:10 am 
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Yes, that (re-install) is looking more likely, I really want to avoid if I can though! I've tried many driver re-installs so far, using Driver Fusion to try to clean up in between (and selecting the 'clean install' option in the Nvidia setup program) and various drivers (from Dell, From Nvidia, even some beta ones Nvidia support recommended), but so far nothing works...

Thanks for helping though,

Toby


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