How To Switch A Video Card On A Computer

Modern computers and laptops, to the great surprise of users, can have on board two types of adapters installed together. And sometimes it becomes necessary to use them alternately. How to switch the card in BIOS and using some other means will now be considered. But first, we briefly give theoretical information.

Integrated and discrete graphics card: what is it?

So, today two types of graphic accelerators are actively used: integrated (Video-on-Board) and discrete.

With the first type, for sure, everything is clear. The chipset was originally built into the motherboard, and it is impossible to replace it without special tools. Another thing is a discrete graphics card. What it is? In fact, this is an adapter that can be installed on and removed from the motherboard at any time quite simply, however, provided that the motherboard and processor support this type of adapter.

As a rule, integrated cards have less volume in comparison with discrete cards. This is understandable, because for a discrete adapter, powerful graphics processors are used that require cooling. Therefore, almost all modern models use several coolers (coolers). And this is an additional place, and you just can’t put them in a laptop. In general, such a pair is more common in stationary PCs, but it is also used in laptops, the memory volumes and one and the other adapter are comparable in terms of performance.

Why can there be two graphics chips?

Before talking about how to configure a card in BIOS, you should understand why two types of adapters can be used. Apparently, this is rather a means of attracting a buyer than an urgent need.

For example, to work with office documents, a built-in chip is enough for a person, but if after a hard day he wants to relax and play some modern game, you can’t do without a discrete card (and if you need to combine the cards, you can even combine them).

On the other hand, the use of such a pair may be due to the fact that when one adapter fails, the second can be used. Setting up a card in BIOS may be necessary only if the computer or laptop itself is not equipped with the function of automatically switching or changing the card when changing user settings.

How To Switch A Card On A Computer

What is useful before changing BIOS settings?

Finally, the last important point. If an AMD or NVIDIA chipset is installed as one of the adapters in the computer system, as a rule, the corresponding control utilities (AMD Power Xpress, Catalyst Control Center, NVIDIA Hybrid Power, PhysX, etc.) are supplied with them.

And before puzzling over how to disable the card in BIOS, it’s enough to simply run such programs. It is with their help that you can make the appropriate settings.

In addition, many people forget that turning off the adapter and changing it to another can simply be done in the “Device Manager”, where from the context menu, right-clicking on the selected adapter you need to use the properties section, in which there is a button for disconnecting it. When replacing a card, the device can be completely removed from the system.

How to switch a card in BIOS?

Now directly about the settings of the primary system. The whole procedure looks quite simple, but at some stages difficulties may arise. How to switch a card in BIOS? The order is as follows.

When loading, we enter the BIOS or UEFI, using special keys or their combinations, and look for the section where the adapters and their current settings will be shown. This is where the difficulties begin. The fact is that the section names and the location of the parameter menu can vary quite a lot. The main sections are usually called Advanced Features Setup or Chipset Features Setup. But here are the subsections and the parameters necessary to change the priority can have the following notation:

  • First Display Boot;
  • Boot Graphic Adapter Priority;
  • PEG Port / Graphic Adapter Priority;
  • VGA Boot From;
  • Primary VGA BIOS;
  • Primary Controller;
  • Intergation
  • Primary
  • PCIi etc.

The integrated graphics card in BIOS is indicated by the term Integrated, and the discrete one refers to the PCI type. In any case, in the parameters you should set the priority for the particular graphics adapter, which will be used by default. After setting all the necessary parameters, you just need to save the changes and reboot the system. To do this, use the F10 key to confirm that the settings were saved by pressing the Y key.

Possible problems with the primary input / output system

And if now the question of how to switch the card in BIOS looks clear already, then it’s worthwhile to dwell on some problems that may arise during the process of changing the adapter.

In some cases, after switching or physically replacing the accelerator, a decrease in system performance may be observed. In most cases, this is not related to the adapters themselves or their drivers. The main problem is precisely in the BIOS. Here you will have to contact the manufacturer’s resource, look for a new firmware for your version of the BIOS, and then install it yourself. In the case of stationary computers, you will have to initially disable the BIOS caching in and RAM, write the installation distribution package along with the DOS-program to the disk and install it from the optical medium. In this case, it is advisable to agree with the proposal to save the old firmware.

With UEFI, such an operation is much simpler. The downloaded installation file can be run directly in the Windows environment, after which all actions will be performed without user intervention (it may be restarted several times).


In general, switching cards in the BIOS is not particularly difficult. But in the end, I want to give one piece of advice: it is better not to touch the settings in the primary system without the need. Switching can be done using control applications. In addition, their use is the most simple and safe method.