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bo_mortensen
Paper Tape
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-17-2015
Location: Denmark
Views: 4,981
Message 1 of 5

W541 thunderbolt display using intel graphics

Hi all,

 

Just recently got my hands on a shiny new W541 and it's hooked up to my Apple Thunderbolt Display using the Thunderbolt port. While this works, the fans are really loud when i.e. opening programs, new tabs in browser etc. I figured that it's because it uses the built-in Intel graphics GPU.

 

Is there any way to "tell" it to use the Nvidia GPU for the thunderbolt port instead of the built-in one? :-)

 

Thanks in advance.

 

All the best,

 

Bo

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,293
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 4,941
Message 2 of 5

Re: W541 thunderbolt display using intel graphics

Take it up with Lenovo, or buy a dock (apparently that's the solution Lenovo had in mind)!!!

 

In theory, if the BIOS of the W540 behaved like the BIOS of the W530, then it should allow you to choose whether you want to use built-in Intel HD Graphics exclusively (W530 "integrated") or nVidia Graphics (W530 "discrete graphics"), or some dynamic performance-dependent combination (i.e. W530 "Optimus Mode").  This should be true (and IS true for the W530) no matter whether you're talking about the laptop screen, external monitors connected directly to ports on the W530 laptop, or whether you use external monitors connected through a dock.

 

The only "wrinkle" for the W530 is that if you have Optimus specified on the W530 then all external monitors are always 100% managed by the nVidia graphics (no matter whether connected directly to the laptop or connected through a dock). So with the W530 in Optimus mode it is actually only the laptop screen which can be controlled by either Intel or nVidia graphics.  For most uses it will be the Intel graphics that controls the laptop screen, unless program graphics performance requirements (as determined by the firmware) find that nVidia is required.  Additionally, you can use nVidia Control panel to theoretically "force" nVidia graphics for specific program windows, but in my experience that doesn't seem to work consistently.

 

But this very precise choice in the BIOS where the machine actually behaved exactly as you'd expect it to behave per the intuitive meaning of these three BIOS options was only last seen on the W530.  It is NOT the way the BIOS works on W540 and newer machines, where Optimus Mode has pretty much been forced onto the user.  And in particular, in this "new Optimus Mode" for W540 and newer, the Intel Graphics are now ALWAYS USED FOR THE LAPTOP SCREEN AND FOR EXTERNAL MONITORS CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO THE LAPTOP.  For some reason, nVidia graphics are only 100% used for external monitors connected through a dock!!!  Of course since this really is Optimus Mode, the nVidia graphics will also "kick in" for the laptop screen or external monitors connected directly to the laptop if program graphics performance requirements (as determined by the firmware) justify it.

 

It is unfortunate (in my opinion) that all Thinkpad laptops W540 and newer have had their BIOS engineering revised to ELIMINATE the ability for the user to specify "discrete graphics" so that the nVidia Graphics is 100% used and the Intel built-in graphics is turned off completely... for the laptop screen, external monitors connected directly to the laptop, and external monitors connected through a dock.

 

 

NEVERTHELESS... according to the following description of how graphics works in W540 and newer machines (which is that Optimus Mode is always active, although you can select "basic mode" or "advanced mode"), you simply MUST use Optimus Mode and cannot disable Intel Graphics as you could with the W530.  In theory you can use nVidia Control Panel (3D settings) to specify which programs you want to get nVidia graphics for when those programs' windows have focus), but my experience is that this is really buggy.  My experience is that nVidia graphics kick in (and take over for Intel graphics) reliably only when the firmware determines that graphics performance requirements justify it.

So apparently by design Optimus is always active on W540 and newer machines. You can´t disable the integrated GPU at all. Here is the description of Optimus Drivers for W541, which describes Standard vs. Advanced mode:

 

 

STANDARD and ADVANCED MODE

  In Standard mode, all dock displays uses Integrated Graphics as display output
  and is limited to a maximum of 3 displays including Computer's LCD.
  While in Advanced mode, all dock displays uses Discrete Graphics as display
  output and it increases the maximum number of displays to 6 including Computer's LCD.

ThinkPad W540, W541 (Standard Mode)
      Intel HD Graphics
          - (Computer's LCD)
          - Computer's analog VGA connector
          - Computer's DisplayPort connector
          - Docking Station's analog VGA connector
          - Docking Station's DVI connector(s)
          - Docking Station's DisplayPort connector(s)
          - Docking Station's HDMI connector
      NVIDIA Quadro K2100M or NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
          - No display is connected to this display adapter.


  ThinkPad W540, W541 (Advanced Mode)
      Intel HD Graphics Family
          - (Computer's LCD)
          - Computer's analog VGA connector
          - Computer's DisplayPort connector
      NVIDIA Quadro K2100M or NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
          - Docking Station's analog VGA connector
          - Docking Station's DVI connector(s)
          - Docking Station's DisplayPort connector(s)
          - Docking Station's HDMI connector

 


 

K-Mart
What's DOS?
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-04-2016
Location: USA
Views: 3,534
Message 3 of 5

Re: W541 thunderbolt display using intel graphics

OK so I followed this thread.   

I have a W541  with the Intel HD and the  Nividia K1100M  GPU

For a monitor I use a LG 29' widescreen monitor running out of the Displayort / Thunderbolt.

I do NOT have a dock.   

For 95% of the work I do the intel HD works fine for my needs.   But for gaming it fails.

 

Per the thread below.... This configuration will always use the HD Intel graphics and not the Nividia   unless I buy a docki and switch Optimus to Advance mode in the bios?  is that correct?

 

I have a game   (Falcon BMS 4.33)  That will NOT run using the Intel HD Graphics.  This game will run if using the Nividia.    

I already went into the Nivida control panal and explicitly  assigned the game to Nivida.. but it currently ignores this setting when the program launches. ( using the Display port to external monitor)  Does Not work on laptop screen either.

 

Note I did have The game was working on the laptop when I was using an older monitor run out of the VGA port.   In that case it was actually using the Nividia.    When using intel it would crash.  So I know its possible to force optimus to use the nividia.

 

When I switched to the new monitor off the displayport     (all other setting stayed the same...  The game no longer uses the Nividia.   Furthermore, when I went back to old monitor.  it now still tries to use Intel HD.

 

So I know its possible....

How can I force this  game (or any game) to use nividia on an external monitor (using any port)

 

And te answer should not be to buy a $200+ dock that I dont  need to just hook up 1 external monitor.

 

Thanks for any help, ideas

 

 

 

 

frenner
What's DOS?
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-23-2016
Location: CH
Views: 3,030
Message 4 of 5

Re: W541 thunderbolt display using intel graphics

Same issue here, it's a bloody pain... Thanks for your support.

iamnotann
What's DOS?
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-23-2016
Location: US
Views: 2,147
Message 5 of 5

Re: W541 thunderbolt display using intel graphics

Hi Bo,

 

Don't know if you are still active.. how did you connect w541 to apple device? I bought thunderbolt 2 connectors but it did not work...

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