How to configure AMD switchable graphics for Leapfrog

Setting up AMD switchable graphics correctly for Leapfrog

Many laptops with AMD Radeon graphics have the ability to switch between two graphics cards: the slower but more energy efficient Intel graphics on the CPU and the faster but more energy demanding AMD Radeon graphics.

By default, the AMD driver will be configured so that Leapfrog uses the slower Intel graphics. This can result in a significant loss of performance in our applications. This document explains how to configure the AMD graphics driver so that Leapfrog can use the faster AMD Radeon graphics.

 

Step 1 – update graphics drivers

The driver versions that are shipped with new laptops are usually very (sometimes more than a year) out of date.  These drivers have some serious bugs that can adversely affect the performance and stability of Leapfrog.  We recommend that users download and install the latest version of the graphics drivers that are available from the laptop manufacturer.

Step 2 – Install and run Leapfrog

Unfortunately there is no way to configure the AMD driver correctly before the user has installed leapfrog AND run leapfrog at least once. Also, if the user installs a new version of leapfrog, the AMD driver will not be correctly configured for this new version. So if a user upgrades their version of leapfrog they will have to complete the steps in the document so that the new version uses the correct graphics card.

After the user has installed and run leapfrog, a warning window will probably appear as shown in the screenshot. This warning window is shown because Leapfrog is using the Intel graphics card and this graphics card does not support some advanced features that are required to run Leapfrog in Full Acceleration.

 

Now if the user checks the information in the System info tab in help->about, two graphics cards, “Video card 1” and “Video card 2” will be listed as shown in the screenshot below. In this example you can see that both the AMD graphics card and the Intel graphics card are shown.

The graphics card that leapfrog is using is displayed further below in the “OpenGL” section, in this case it is the Intel card. This shows us that the AMD driver has not yet been correctly configured. We will look at the system info again later on to see that AMD graphics card is being used.

 

 Fig_2.png

 

Step 3 – Configure the AMD Switchable graphics

NOTE: All Leapfrog applications should be closed before proceeding with this step.

Now that we have run Leapfrog, we can configure the AMD graphics driver in a way that will allow Leapfrog to use the AMD graphics card.

Right click on the desktop and a menu will appear as shown in the screen shot below. In this menu, click on “Configure Switchable Graphics”.

 Fig_3.png

This will open the “Catalyst Control Centre” as shown in the screen shot below. In this window a list of recently run applications is shown. Because we had recently run Leapfrog Geo, “geo.exe” is on the list.  Note that to the right of “geo.exe” there is a green button with “power saving” printed on it. This shows that AMD driver will force Leapfrog Geo to use Intel graphics to save power. This button may also show “unassigned”, in this case the AMD driver will still force Leapfrog to use Intel graphics.

 Fig_4.png

To configure the AMD driver so that Leapfrog can use the AMD graphics card, click on this button until the button turns red and displays the text “High Performance”, then click on apply at the bottom of the window to apply these changes. This will configure the AMD driver to allow Leapfrog to use the faster AMD graphics. This is shown in the screenshot below:

 

Step 4 – Start Leapfrog again and check which graphics card is used

Now after having made these changes, we should check that they have worked. This is easy, start leapfrog again and open help->about. Open the “System Info” tab again and look at the “OpenGL” section. Now you should see that the AMD graphics card is being used.

 

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