What is a MUX switch for and does your gaming laptop need one?

If you’ve ever checked out the very best gaming laptop and questioned what on earth a MUX switch is, you’re not alone. It’s really one of the essential parts you’ll discover in trendy machines, and opting for a mannequin with out one might go away you scratching your head when the extent of efficiency from your new system is considerably decrease than you anticipated.

If you’re unsure what a MUX switch is for and whether or not you should purchase a gaming laptop with one, or if yours has one already, we’re right here that will help you higher perceive this essential little bit of {hardware}.

A 3D render of a MUX Switch

What is a MUX switch for?

A MUX switch, or multiplexer, is an inner element discovered on the motherboard of some gaming laptops that permits you to disable the CPU’s built-in GPU (iGPU) in favour of the system’s more-powerful devoted graphics (dGPU).

Normally, all data rendered on a laptop’s dGPU passes by way of its iGPU earlier than making it to the built-in display, which helps extend battery life because the system can toggle between the 2 graphics chips as wanted. However, this method has a damaging impression on efficiency and latency.

This is the place the MUX switch is available in. When enabled, it modifications the bodily connection between the laptop’s show and dGPU, permitting them to speak instantly with each other with none involvement from the iGPU. Now, the system could make full use of its graphical capabilities, leading to greater body charges in video games and an improved expertise in lots of purposes.

Battery life does take a hit when enabling a MUX switch since a dGPU consumes extra energy than an iGPU, however you’ll wish to play plugged into the wall to get essentially the most efficiency out of your gaming laptop anyway.

An AMD Radeon laptop with a MUX switch

Is a MUX switch essential?

While discovering a gaming laptop with a MUX switch isn’t fairly as essential as finding one with the very best specs for your wants, it ought to nonetheless be excessive on your checklist of priorities. There’s little level spending more money on a mannequin with the very best graphics card in the marketplace in the event you received’t have the ability to use the GPU to its full potential.

In truth, a few of the costliest gaming laptops can’t increase fps fairly as excessive as their equally specced competitors, owing to the truth that they merely lack a MUX switch. According to Asus ROG, this may trigger common efficiency variations of 9%, with some video games like Rainbow Six: Siege seeing body charges leap by as a lot as 30%.

It’s additionally value noting that a MUX switch opens up the flexibility to make use of applied sciences like Nvidia G-Sync and Nvidia Reflex, which each require direct connections between the GeForce GPU and show.

Should you end up with a laptop with out a MUX switch, you should still have the ability to circumvent any potential GPU bottlenecks by connecting it to an exterior gaming monitor. This is, after all, offering that your system’s show inputs join on to the discrete graphics card moderately than the built-in resolution on the CPU.

A diagram showcasing how a MUX switch works

How do I do know if my laptop has a MUX switch?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one measurement matches all resolution to search out out if your laptop has a MUX switch, however the very best place to begin is within the system’s gaming software program, as it’s best to familiarise your self with it anyway. It’s unimaginable to definitively say what try to be wanting for, as the outline of the toggle will differ throughout fashions and producers (if there’s one in any respect).

General rule of thumb is to look for any ‘graphic switch’ or ‘GPU mode’ choices. However, you may additionally discover the MUX Switch toggle listed underneath ‘hybrid mode’ or ‘Optimus’ (which you’ll wish to flip off for the best degree of efficiency attainable).

Depending on your laptop’s graphics card, you might be able to establish whether or not it has an automated MUX switch of kinds by whether or not it helps AMD Smart Access Graphics Technology or Nvidia Advanced Optimus. You can often discover this out by visiting the mannequin’s product web page.

Failing that, in the event you really feel comfy navigating your laptop’s BIOS you may discover your laptop’s MUX switch controls there, as is the case in some Alienware and Dell gaming laptops.

An Nvidia GeForce RTX laptop equipped with a MUX switch

Can you put in a MUX switch?

No, you can’t set up a MUX switch. Manufacturers need to resolve whether or not to incorporate one when designing their gaming laptops, after which they’re both omitted or soldered on to the system’s motherboard.

There’s no method to mimic one by way of software program, both, so proceed with warning when buying gaming laptops that don’t explicitly state whether or not they have a MUX switch or not.

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