Painfully Obvious DV6/7t Switchable Graphics for Dummies

Discussion in 'HP' started by andiron, Jun 22, 2011.

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  1. ArDarsh

    ArDarsh Notebook Consultant

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    Agree with the gambling part. If the 6000 series folks update their drivers and still are telling me that there is a manual switching option, well this issue seems more than driver based on the surface.

    Just return it, but before you do, complain like crazy that about this OpenGL crap and then ask if the issue is fixed in the upcoming weeks, am I able to purchase the same laptop again for the same price? I got a coupon extension which I'm sure they don't mind if you gonna be spending money.


    And what is the CEO's email address?
     
  2. dave1812

    dave1812 Notebook Evangelist

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  3. aaronw1986

    aaronw1986 Notebook Guru

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    Does Lightroom use OpenGL as well? Would the integrated graphics suffice for things like HD netflix streaming?
     
  4. mikecc6

    mikecc6 Notebook Consultant

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    I use VLC with the 6770M fine. If you have Hardware Monitor, just monitor the temps. If they are non-zero during usage, it is using the 6770m.
     
  5. bsoft

    bsoft Notebook Consultant

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    No, this is a driver issue plain and simple.

    The 6000 series uses the old mux-based switchable graphics. That means that both GPUs (the Radeon and the Intel) are connected to a mux, and the mux connects to the display. When you switch graphics you are changing which GPU connects to the display.

    The 6100 series uses a muxless design. This is the same basic design as NVIDIA Optimus. What that means is that the Radeon GPU renders into memory, but the Intel GPU is used for outputting the final image. This is the key here - the Intel GPU is always active, it's just that the Radeon does the rendering work when it's selected.

    Clearly the problem is that AMD hasn't gotten working OpenGL support with the muxless design. That's probably because they didn't have the software engineering resources to get it done right away. Since most games on Windows are Direct3D (not OpenGL), it makes sense to focus on that first. But rest assured that there is nothing intrinsic to the muxless design that makes OpenGL impossible. NVIDIA does it with Optimus, so it's not even an issue with Windows. It's just a matter of AMD getting the driver support right.

    You are never going to be able to switch purely to the Radeon graphics like you can on the 6000 series. The muxless technology doesn't work that way. You may at some point be able to force-select the Radeon GPU, but the Intel GPU will still be active.

    The downsides of the muxless design are driver issues (Optimus users went through this), slightly lower performance (a couple of percent - not really noticeable), and basically no support for the dedicated GPU under non-Windows operating systems (there are significant issues in Linux that make doing muxless designs harder, and the engineering resources are not there).

    The upsides of the muxless design are much quicker and more transparent switching, better driver support in the long term (the mux-based design is laptop specific and rely on hacks that Microsoft doesn't really support), and lower cost.

    If you use OpenGL programs or games (other than those which run fine on the Intel GPU), don't buy a dv6-6100 or any muxless Radeon graphics laptop. The driver problem will almost certainly be fixed, but it could be weeks or months before a new driver is available.

    If you use Linux and want fast graphics, don't buy any laptop with muxless graphics.

    Otherwise, if you are like most people and want better graphics mostly for Direct3D Windows games (which is almost all of them), the muxless design is better. It's easier to use, less annoying, and will be better supported in the future.

    The mux-based design sucks. I know, I own a ThinkPad T400 that uses it and for a year I had to reboot every time I wanted to play a game because the OS-based switching resulted in high power consumption.
     
  6. grtembey

    grtembey Newbie

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    Guys,

    I saw that AMD has released updated drivers for HD 64xxM on 15 June 2011:

    Catalyst Software Suit Rev.11.5
    Catalyst Control Center Rev. 11.5

    Do these update drivers solve the OpenGL issue?

    Thanks!
     
  7. LLStarks

    LLStarks Notebook Evangelist

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    bsoft, you may like this

    AMD Dynamic Switchable Graphics Technology

    i suspect this will come with the july drivers
     
  8. ArDarsh

    ArDarsh Notebook Consultant

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    The upsides are apparent especially driver support in the long run since this what sucks with new games on old laptops, but if the hardware is not being changed, why even get rid of a manual switch and disable dynamic option? Is there some inherent benefit? I'm saying keep the dynamic option for the everyday user, but keep some advanced options under say an advanced tab that we can force use of the dGPU especially when plugged in. Or I can just assume AMD and HP thinks they know better than me about which card I want to use and when... and then proved themselves wrong on the 6100 series.
     
  9. kevst3r

    kevst3r Guest

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    Hey I'm about to order the dv6t Quad Edition with

    -i7 2630 QM 2.0ghzquadcore
    -6gig ram
    -HD 6770m 1gb gpu
    -640GB 7200rpm

    After reading all these comments I'm scared to buy this computer.

    Can anyone try those driver updates and give me a heads up please.

    I need a new laptop by next week.

    Thanks guys. Suggestions would also be appreciated!
     
  10. dave1812

    dave1812 Notebook Evangelist

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    DUDE! there is no fix for the problem, at this time. there is a very telling caveat in the fine print of graphics-card selections, on HP's customization page of the DV6. Here's a snip from the DV7 page: Capture.JPG

    That should give you pause to get this, or the DV6, if you need full access to the Radeon chip.
     
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