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What is a MUX Switch in a gaming laptop?

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MUX Switch and disabling Optimus are two phrases you will have come throughout with growing frequency should you’ve spent any time researching gaming laptops, however what do they really imply? Read beneath for a full rundown of those phrases and why they’re crucial for getting essentially the most efficiency out of your gaming laptop computer.

What is Optimus?

Nvidia Optimus (generally generally known as MSHybrid) is a function which is designed to ship essentially the most optimum stability between your laptop computer’s energy draw / battery life and its efficiency. The identical expertise in AMD GPU laptops is called Dynamic Switchable Graphics or just AMD Switchable Graphics, however Optimus is the most typical shorthand for this function.

The majority of gaming laptops have two GPUs: the devoted/discrete graphics card (a.okay.a. dGPU), which is essentially the most highly effective and power-hungry GPU that’s wanted to run video games at the most effective FPS, and the onboard/built-in GPU (a.okay.a. iGPU) which varieties part of the processor, is way much less highly effective (in workload phrases), but additionally far more energy environment friendly (when it comes to its electrical draw).  

Optimus routinely selects essentially the most applicable GPU to course of a workload relying on its intensiveness. If you’re simply typing away / internet searching / watching YouTube movies, then Optimus will change to your iGPU to avoid wasting electrical energy utilization and lengthen your laptop computer’s battery life. If you’re gaming / rendering one thing in a artistic workflow / 3D modeling then the duty can be routed to your dGPU and better energy utilization will happen in consequence.

What is a MUX Switch? How to allow / disable Optimus

Enabling / disabling Optimus is the aim of a MUX Switch (a.okay.a. multiplexer change). “Why would you need to disable Optimus?” I hear you ask, given it purportedly promotes effectivity applicable to the workload? Well my wordy good friend, the principle situation with having Optimus turned on is that each one graphical output, even when it has been rasterized and rendered inside the dGPU, should first move by way of the iGPU earlier than reaching the show. This sadly signifies that the output may be bottlenecked by the iGPU, resulting in a discount in FPS efficiency.

The MUX Switch can disable Optimus, that means the output can bypass the iGPU and go instantly from the dGPU to the laptop computer’s show, eradicating the bottleneck. This may be finished previous to gaming to extend efficiency, then afterward Optimus may be enabled once more to avoid wasting on electrical energy.

In most instances, you possibly can allow/disable Optimus by utilizing the onboard software program of your gaming laptop computer, although some require you to enter the BIOS and alter the setting there. In each situations, you’ll need to then restart your laptop computer for the change to happen on the {hardware} stage and the connection between your dGPU and laptop computer’s show to be rerouted away from the iGPU.

MUX Switch efficiency distinction

How a lot further efficiency you get by way of the inclusion of a MUX Switch relies upon very a lot on each the laptop computer, and the sport, however it’s virtually at all times a big enhance. At a minimal, you possibly can count on a rise of 10-15% throughout most titles while you disable Optimus. As proven in our overview of the XMG Neo 15 although, we bought a median of round 25% FPS uplift throughout a variety of various titles, with essentially the most excessive examples being in Rainbow 6 Siege and CS:GO, the place we noticed as much as 50% efficiency uplift. In brief, MUX Switches make a giant distinction to efficiency, and it’s virtually at all times value having them.

Optimus on vs off battery life

As you’d count on, given the rationale for the function within the first place, enabling or disabling Optimus could make a giant distinction to laptop computer battery life. If you determine to make use of your MUX Switch to disable Optimus, you possibly can typically count on to lose round half of your battery life, although precisely how a lot relies on what devoted GPU you might be operating (what TGP it has i.e. how energy hungry it’s) and the effectivity of your laptop computer’s battery within the first place.

What is Advanced Optimus?

MUX Switch Advanced Optimus

Advanced Optimus is basically an automated MUX Switch, which not solely means you don’t must reboot your laptop computer each time you need to disable/allow Optimus, however (in concept) you don’t even have to modify it on or off each time you play a sport – the Nvidia Control Panel does it for you. If you will have Advanced Optimus you possibly can go into the Nvidia Control Panel in your desktop and both set it to at all times use the iGPU, keep away from the iGPU solely and at all times use the dGPU (i.e. disable Optimus), or provide you with an inventory of functions and determine for every which your desire is. Whenever these functions are loaded, Advanced Optimus ought to select the proper GPU.

Does Advanced Optimus work?

Unfortunately, the Automatic Select function, the place the proper Optimus configuration must be picked based on which sport you’re enjoying, has not at all times functioned correctly in laptops traditionally, although we think about these points can be ironed out in later fashions. Manually deciding on Optimus/Nvidia GPU solely although inside the Nvidia Control Panel does normally work simply positive.

No MUX Switch? Use an exterior monitor in your laptop computer

MUX switch use external monitor to disable optimus

If your laptop computer doesn’t include a MUX Switch, one other method you could possibly bypass the iGPU is by connecting an exterior monitor. For this to work, you want to have an acceptable port (HDMI, DisplayPort and so forth.) which connects on to the devoted graphics card (dGPU). Although most laptops do have a port that does this, some will as a substitute connect with the iGPU, which isn’t any good – you’ll must do some digging in your particular laptop computer mannequin to learn the way it’s related. 

If the port does connect with the dGPU, then the visible output to the monitor will bypass the iGPU bottleneck and will run video games at the next FPS. Note: you want to guarantee that your laptop computer’s display screen is disabled for this to work – both by closing the lid or utilizing inner software program / Windows settings in your machine.

The finest laptops with MUX Switch / Advanced Optimus

With annually that passes we’re seeing increasingly gaming laptops with MUX Switches coming onto the market, which is nice information. These are typically restricted to high-end or no less than higher mid-range gaming laptops at the moment, with the upcoming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti laptop computer and RTX 3080 Ti laptop computer releases in 2022 exhibiting the broadest help of the function.

Below is a shortlist of what we think about to be the most effective MUX Switch laptops at the moment obtainable, with a short description of every and a hyperlink to a extra detailed rundown. If these don’t tickle your fancy, an extended listing is offered additional down this web page.

Premium 17″ choose

MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider 12UHS

CPU

Intel Core i9-11800H or increased

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti (150W) / RTX 3080 Ti (175W)

Max Refresh Rate

300Hz/240Hz/120Hz

Whether you go together with the 2021 model of this MSI gaming laptop computer or the newer 2022 iterations with Nvidia 30-series Ti GPUs, the 17-inch MSI GE76 Raider is likely one of the most high-end, feature-rich gaming laptops available on the market, although it doesn’t come low cost. Still, for the worth tag you get an absolute monster performer in video games due to its excessive TGP graphics playing cards and highly effective CPU choices, to not point out the inclusion of a MUX Switch. There are a number of show choices starting from 240Hz 1080p with nice response instances to a 240Hz 1440p choice and even a 120Hz 4K display screen.

High-end 15″ choose

XMG Neo 15 E21

XMG Neo 15 E22 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (2022, i7-12700H)

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti (150W) / 3080 Ti (175W)

The XMG Neo 15 (a European model, however virtually an identical to the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance offered within the US) is one in every of our highest reviewed laptops of all time. This contains each the 2021 model with AMD CPU, and the newer Intel-powered laptops of 2022 that additionally include the newest 30-series Ti GPUs and non-compulsory liquid cooling. These are true gaming fanatic laptops with the very best TGP graphics playing cards one can find, they usually all include a MUX Switch. They additionally pack a terrific optomechanical keyboard, trackpad, gentle physique, and good construct high quality, and the newer variations include the next 240Hz refresh price on the 1440p show.

Mid-range 15″ choose

Lenovo Legion 5

Lenovo Legion 5 / Legion 5i (RTX 3060, Ryzen 7 5800H)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H / / Intel Core i7-10750H

Graphics Card

Nvidia RTX 3060 (115-130W)

The Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop computer (or Lenovo Legion 5i should you choose the Intel CPU model) with high-powered RTX 3060 graphics card is a good mid-range choice for these trying to sport with out breaking the financial institution. It is likely one of the finest performing RTX 3060 laptops on the market from any model in FPS phrases and comes with options corresponding to a MUX change to spice up efficiency, in addition to G-Sync/FreeSync relying on whether or not Optimus is disabled/enabled. Besides the marginally sluggish inventory RAM that it comes with, there aren’t actually many criticisms you possibly can stage at it.

Workstation choose

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16 (RTX 3070 Ti/3080 Ti)

Graphics

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (150W)/ 3080 Ti (165W)

Storage

Up to 2x “TB SSD

Max Refresh Rate

120Hz / 240Hz

Like its 15-inch predecessor the ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 (which additionally comes with a MUX Switch), the 16-inch ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16 is a strong workstation machine that has a few uncommon options. The most blatant of those is the secondary contact display screen which tilts up beneath the principle show and is nice for modifying timelines or different artistic workflows, or for streamers who need to view different info while they sport. The Zephyrus Duo 16 has a singular refresh price switching choice, permitting the consumer to modify between 1080p 240Hz and 4K 120Hz on the principle show, which is right for switching between gaming and artistic workflows. The Duo 16 additionally comes with the newest 30 sequence Ti graphics playing cards, the vastly highly effective AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU, and liquid steel cooling. It is, nonetheless, very expensive.

14″ choose

Razer Blade AMD

Razer Blade 14 (RTX 3080 Ti, 1440p, 165Hz)

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (16GB)

The Razer Blade 14 is the one choice obtainable should you’re after the very best SKU Nvidia graphics in a 14-inch machine. The decrease TGP model of the RTX 3080 Ti this skinny, small, and moveable gaming laptop computer comes with shouldn’t be essentially the most highly effective, and won’t match different 3080 Ti laptops for FPS efficiency in video games, however that is the sacrifice that comes with these ergonomic limitations, and it stays by far essentially the most highly effective laptop computer of its dimension. The 2022 model does no less than include the complete 16GB of VRAM which is superb for future-proofing, and this newest iteration lastly comes geared up with a MUX Switch. In basic Razer type, you get a colourful and vibrant show, with top-notch distinction and brightness, which is sweet sufficient for color-based workflows within the sRGB area.

A listing of laptops with MUX Switch / Advanced Optimus performance

The beneath listing contains all laptop computer fashions that we undoubtedly know have a MUX Switch. This shouldn’t be an exhaustive listing – there could also be fashions not listed right here which even have this function – these are simply laptops we all know undoubtedly have it. We can be including to this listing over time as new fashions are launched.

Note: if one of many fashions listed beneath has particular specs then this implies the MUX Switch is restricted to solely this loadout. Avoid shopping for the identical mannequin of laptop computer with totally different specs (together with show decision/refresh price measured in Hz) and assuming a MUX Switch can be included.

  • Alienware m15 R5: (Ryzen 7 5800H, RTX 3070 model & above)
  • Alienware m15 R6: (i7-11800H, RTX 3080 model & above)
  • Alienware m17 R4: (RTX 3080 model & above)
  • Alienware X14 (2022)
  • Alienware X17 (2021) (RTX 3080 1080p, 360Hz solely)
  • ASUS ROG Flow Z13: (i7-12900H, RTX 3050 Ti model & above)
  • ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15: (i9-10980HK, RTX 2080 Super model & above)
  • ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16 (2022): (i9-10980HK, RTX 2080 Super model & above)
  • ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2022): (Ryzen 9 6900HS, RX 6800S)   
  • ASUS Zephyrus S17: (i9-11900H, RTX 3080, 1440p)
  • Dell G15 5515: (RTX 3060 model & above)   
  • Eluktronics MAX-17: (Intel i7-10875H, RTX 2060 model & above)
  • Eluktronics Prometheus XVII: (Ryzen 9 5900HX, RTX 3080)
  • Lenovo Legion 5: (Ryzen 7 4800H, GTX 1660 Ti model & above)
  • Lenovo Legion 5i: (i5-11400H, RTX 3060 model & above)
  • Lenovo Legion 5 Pro: (RTX 3060 model & above)
  • Lenovo Legion 7: (RTX 3060 model & above)
  • Lenovo Legion 7i: (Intel i7-10875H, RTX 2070 model & above)
  • MSI GE66 Raider 10SGS: (Intel i9-10980HK, RTX 2080 Super)
  • MSI GE76 Raider 10UH (RTX 3060 model & above)
  • MSI GE76 Raider 11UH (RTX 3060 model & above)
  • MSI GE76 Raider 12UHS (RTX 3060 model & above)
  • MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG: (RTX 3070 model & above)
  • MSI GS76 Stealth: (RTX 3060, RTX 3070, RTX 3080)
  • Razer Blade 15 Advanced: (Intel i7-10875H, RTX 2080 Super)
  • Razer Blade 14 (2022)
  • XMG Neo 15 / Eluktronics Mech-15 G3 (2021): (RTX 3070 & 3080)
  • XMG Neo 15 / Eluktronics Mech-15 G3 (2022): (RTX 3070 Ti & 3080 Ti)

Final Word

This has been our MUX Switch information. We hope any questions you had on find out how to disable Optimus and what a MUX Switch is and does have been answered, and also you are actually experiencing an extra enhance in your gaming laptop computer’s efficiency for completely free! Be positive to take a look by way of our greatest gaming laptop computer web page and different gaming laptop computer guides if you would like to check out different machines that aren’t listed right here.

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