If your computer has a dedicated GPU, you can choose to use GPU instead of CPU. i.e., force an application or program to use the GPU instead of the CPU.
Generally, Windows is pretty good at automatically detecting and assigning GPU to a program that needs it. To do this, Windows takes into account the power settings, program requirements, and more. Additionally, a program can also request Windows to give access to the GPU as and when needed.
However, Windows can sometimes misjudge program requirements, or the program itself is poorly optimized or old, resulting in an overall poorer user experience.
For example, let’s say you are a gamer and trying to play an old game. However, when you launch it, you see downgraded graphics quality and overall terrible performance because it is using the CPU. To fix it, you can force the game to use the graphics card on Windows. i.e., change the default graphics card for a specific program.
So, without further ado, let me show you how to configure Windows to use the graphics card instead of the CPU.
Table of contents:
Use GPU Instead of CPU on Windows
To make Windows use GPU instead of CPU, you have to modify the graphics options in the Settings on a per-app basis. For example, if you want to force a game or some other application to use the GPU, you have to modify its graphics option in the Settings app.
Let me show you how to do it:
- Press “Windows key + I” to open Settings.
- Select “System” on the sidebar.
- Click on the “Display” option.
- Scroll down and click on “Graphics.”
- Select “Desktop app” or “Microsoft Store app” from the “Add an app” dropdown.
- Click the “Browse” button.
- Select the exe file or store app.
- This action will add the app to the list at the bottom.
- Click on the app and then click “Options.”
- Select the “High Performance” option.
- Click the “Save” button.
- With that, the application uses GPU instead of CPU.
Steps with more details:
Since the option can only be managed from the Settings app, open it with the “Windows key + I” keyboard shortcut. You can also press the “Start” key on your keyboard and search for “Settings.”
In the Windows Settings app, select the “System” option on the sidebar. This takes you to the page where all the system-related settings are located. From here, click on the “Display” option.
As you’d expect, this page lets you configure different display-related settings such as screen rotation, refresh rate, DPI scaling, screen resolution, etc. Scroll down on this page and click on “Graphics” under the “Related settings” section.
Depending on what type of app you want to force to use GPU, select “Desktop app” or “Microsoft Store app” from the “Add an app” dropdown menu and click the “Browse” button. For instance, if you are trying to force a game, it is most likely a Win32 app. So, you have to select the “Desktop app” option. On the other hand, if you are trying to force an app that is downloaded from Microsoft Store, select the “Microsoft Store app” option.
When prompted, select the program’s exe file or app from the list and click the “Add” button.
This action will add the app to the app list below the dropdown menu. Click on the app and then click the “Options” button.
Next, select the “High-Performance Mode” option and click the Save button.
That’s it. From now on, that app will use GPU instead of CPU. You can follow the same steps to force other Windows apps to use the graphics card.
Why use GPU Instead of CPU
Now, you might be wondering why you might want to use a GPU when programs are working with a CPU. There are quite a few reasons why you might want to do it, depending on the use case and program. Here are a few of them:
- Better Gaming Performance: If you’re a gamer, using the GPU can help improve the performance of your games by providing faster rendering times, smoother animations, and better graphics. This can help you enjoy a more immersive gaming experience.
- Faster Video Editing: If you’re editing videos at home, using the GPU can help speed up the rendering process, resulting in faster video exports and a more efficient workflow.
- Better Graphic Design: If you’re a graphic designer, using the GPU can help improve the performance of graphics-intensive software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, resulting in faster rendering times and smoother graphics.
- More Efficient Energy Usage: GPUs are generally more energy-efficient than CPUs when you consider how much work they can do in the same amount of time. So using the GPU instead of the CPU can lower energy consumption and save you money on energy bills.
Forcing an app to use GPU instead of CPU — Conclusion
In conclusion, optimizing your computer’s performance by using the GPU instead of the CPU can lead to faster processing times, better graphics, and a more efficient computing experience. While Windows 11 is generally good at automatically assigning the GPU to applications, there may be times when you need to force an application to use the GPU manually.
In that case, I hope my guide on forcing an application to use the GPU instead of the CPU via the Windows 11 Settings app helps you. Since it’s such a small and reversible change, try it out and see how it fits your workflow.
That is all. It is that simple to use GPU rather than the CPU.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, email me, and I will try to help as much as possible.