How can you tell if a laptop discrete graphic card is working?

This probably a dumb question, but I'm missing an obvious answer.

I have a new Asus N76VZ 17" games/entertainment laptop. It has both integrated Intel graphics, plus an Nvidia Geforce 650M GT graphics card. In theory, the Intel graphics are supposed to handle normal tasks, and the Nvidia should kick in for games and applications with demanding graphics load.

When I install and set up any game, the graphics quality always auto-detects the Intel graphics and set to "low quality". Clearly the game auto-detect does not activate the Nvidia card.

If I manually reset the games graphic quality to "medium" or "high" or some other demanding setting, the games run at fairly low frame rate, and the PC gets red-hot - which seems to indicate that the Intel graphics are the ones active, and struggling under the load. The typical games (World of Tanks, Empire:Total War, etc) should be easily within the capability of this 650M card.

I can't see any setting in the Nvidia control panel that might control the point at which it kicks in. Nor is there any apparent indication such as a tray icon to reveal when the card is active. I know the card is functional, as all of the system indications are just fine.

Has anyone got a similar dual-graphics laptop and understand how the switching process operates?


Gallery Guru
You could try looking in Device Manager and disabling the onboard graphics.....might be risky though. For the sake of being shot down in flames by the ARSSing trolls, did you have a manual with the laptop???

ASUS - Notebooks- ASUS N76VZ
Are you sure the integrated 'graphics card' is actually a proper graphics card? I think (as you do) that it will be part of the chip set handling the basic graphic apps, and your NVidia is the only 'real' graphics card.

I am also pretty sure that you cannot control the point at which information switches from one to the other.

Have you tried right clicking on the desktop and accessing the NVidia control panel and playing with the settings? Is the anti alias switched off? Is the resolution too low? and what about the 3D settings for example.

I am not a games player, but I do use fairly high end NVidia cards for my video work, and they never seem to work as fast as advertised, and there lies my bottom line answer. (For what it's worth.)
I would say if a game was running on the integrated gfx then you would be idling around sub 10fps, they are usually extremely poor for anything bar basic tasks. What game is it by the way?

Check this link (NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M - Tech) and compare what fps you are getting to their list at the bottom.

A further thought, you mention the PC is running red hot - I would suggest downloading something to monitor this and see if it increasing is linked to lowering of fps. I find with my laptop that my fps can drop from around 60 fps at start up to around 25-30 after an hour or so running. If you are running above 85ish Celsius I would consider buying a Laptop cooler.
Also get your vacuum cleaners tube and suck the lint out of the fan exhaust area, any blockages may affect the performance
Thanks all.

- The user handbook of course does not mention anything useful. Neither can I find an answer in Nvidia forums (I see lot of other people ask the same question);

- The laptop is brand new, and sat on a coolerstand with extra fans - so the heat is down to the graphics work;

- I'm getting about 20 fps on World of Tanks, set at "medium". Looks a bit slow against the benchmarks, but I guess its not "integrated graphics" slow!

- Haven't found any games settings where the card is recognised and can be selected (e.g.Empire:Total War)

- PC is currently running Russian Win7, and Nvidia control panel in Russian is difficult to decipher, even with a (non-tekkie) Russian wife translating!

(The Russian/English OS is a whole different saga. Briefly, only a limited number of English language apps will install, as they don't "see" the account names written in Cyrillic. Changing the account name to Latin then fnucks the native apps in Russian, as they can't "see" that version! Current plan is to make system disks, install Win7 Ultimate in Russian, then switch to English. Unfortunately I can't get the system disks to burn - as somewhere there is a Cyrillic/Latin conflict causing the ISO recording to fail.... LOL... The PC suppliers here make PC World look knowledgeable, efficient and helpful.)

I guess the card is working as intended. I think it would be useful if the manufacturers included in their bloatware some sort of control panel that at least informs when graphics cards and/or processor turbos are actually working.


Gallery Guru
Would it be worthwhile trying to install dual boot/os? You might have better chance of seeing what's what in an English install?
Would it be worthwhile trying to install dual boot/os? You might have better chance of seeing what's what in an English install?
I need to crack the OEM recovery disks problem first - local warranty conditions stipulate that the warranty is invalidated if the PC is not completely OEM. Plan was then to use Win7 Ultimate to change system language, or do a fresh install with English Win7 (unfortunately can't buy locally) and English Asus drivers.


Book Reviewer
why cant you select english as a language option?


Book Reviewer
I cant see why a warranty would stipulate 100% oem unless it was leased as that would stop you upgrading ram or the OS. changing the OS or tinkering would only invalidate any software issues you might have where they would remote access your machine to try and fix it.

most machines come with a recovery partition which is set for restore the original layout and all that bloatware they like to put in to annoy you.

you could put a bigger drive in it and format it to how you want with whatever OS you like. no reason why the windows key shouldn't work on an english install as long as its told that the machine isn't in england as some keys are region specific. you can usually get around that though by ringing microsoft.

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