Configuring Laptop “Switchable” Graphics for ANSYS Applications

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A lot of laptops these days come with “switchable” graphics.  The idea is that you have a lower capability but also lower power consuming ‘basic’ graphics device in addition to a higher performing but higher power demand graphics device.  By only using the higher performance graphics device when it’s needed, you can maximize the use time of a battery charge. 

A lot of the ANSYS graphics-intensive applications may need the higher end graphics device to display and run correctly.  In this article, we’ll focus on the AMD Firepro as the “higher end” graphics, with Intel HD graphics as the “lower end”.  We will show you how to switch to the AMD card to get around problems or errors in displaying ANSYS user interface windows.

The first step is to identify the small red dot graphics icon at the lower right in the task bar:

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Figure 1 – AMD Catalyst Icon

 

Next, right click on the icon to bring up the AMD Catalyst Control Center, if you don’t see the switchable option as shown two images down.

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Figure 2 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Right Click Menu Pick

 

Right click on the same icon again, if needed to select “Configure Switchable Graphics,” as shown here:

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Figure 3 – Select “Configure Switchable Graphics” via Right Click on the Same Icon

 

In the resulting AMD Catalyst Control Center window, click on the Add Application button.

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Figure 4 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Window

Next browse to the application that needs the higher end graphics capability.  This might take a little trial and error if you don’t know the exact application.  Here we select ANSYS CFD-Post and click Open.

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Figure 5 – Selecting appropriate executable for switchable graphics

Finally, select the High Performance option from the dropdown for your chosen executable, then click the Apply button.

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This should get your graphics working properly.  Again, the reason we have the two graphics choices is to allow us to better control power consumption based on the level of graphics that are needed per application.  Hopefully this article helps you to choose the proper graphics settings so that your ANSYS tools behave nicely on your laptop.