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A Tech Question About Video Cards.


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My lap top is starting to show it's age, but I am not going to replace it for some time yet. It's an I7, albeit an older series, has SSDs and tons of ram. The issue is the video. I have two video adaptors, the Intel HD "onboard" graphics and an NVidia GeForce 2gb video card which is the upgrade. The problem is that the NVidia card is starting to struggle with some 3d or HD applications, I get a sort of scratching sound and in the worst case the screen hangs requiring a reboot. I have made sure all drivers are up to date. If I disable the NVidia the onboard grpahics work fine, though the quality is not so good, but it doesn't crackle or hang, I assume because it can call upon as much system memory as it needs. I thought there would be a setting to allow the NVidia to use system memory but I cannot find anything, in fact in the NVidia set up all there seems to be is "Quality / Balanced / Performance. Whichever setting I use makes no difference to the problem. 

Does anyone know if, and if so how I allocate system memory to the graphics card?

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I believe once you are using the graphics card, it relies on the memory built into that card, does the graphics card have removable memory cards, the only option may be to replace the nvidia graphics card, but once again as its a laptop, therein lies the issue, most are built into the mother board, if you use an external screen, an external USB or HDMI graphics card might be a possibility.

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It depends on the make/model but they're often integrated onto the motherboard for packaging reasons. Usually a discrete GPU will have its own fast RAM nearby for latency reasons and thus allocating system RAM isn't an option (and in any case would be very slow).

Does the discrete GPU have a cooling fan? You mentioned a scratching sound.. If there is a fan issue (or the thermal paste on the GPU has dried out) then it will fairly quickly get outside its happy temperature and cause stability issues.

I have Intel HD / discrete Nvidia on my old Thinkpad and it's a pretty painful setup. The idea was to reduce power consumption and seamlessly use what was most appropriate at the time but the reality is that you can't manually override it (other than to disable the Nvidia part) and so lots of software doesn't properly work with it.

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