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Adobe Premiere, After Effects, etc . Optimus Technology
Settings for your Laptop


NVidia Control Panel Settings for using the NVidia GPU on a Laptop with Optimus Technology or Dual Video cards for Adobe Premiere, After Effects and other programs.


Optimus Technology


Article Updated on 06/03/13


Copyright 2013, Studio 1 Productions
Written by David Knarr of Studio 1 Productions

The NVidia Optimus technology is design to save battery life by automatically switching the power of the NVidia GPU off when it is not needed and switching it on when needed again.

However, the NVidia Optimus technology can actually prevent some programs, such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects CS6 and other programs from using or seeing the NVidia GPU.  Thus,  defaulting to the integrated video card.  This article will show you how to fix this problem and allow your program to use the NVidia GPU.

NOTE:  If you are using Adobe Premiere or Adobe After Effects CS6 you need to "unlock" the video card for either of these two program before going any further. Please click on the link in the above line for your program.  Then come back and continue on.


How to setup the NVidia Optimus Technology for Your Software

There are several methods of enabling the NVidia Optimus Technology to work with your program.  Depending on your laptop one or even all of these methods may be needed.  Let's start with the NVidia graphics card driver.

During this article, I will be using Adobe Premiere Pro as the program we will be setting up through the NVidia Control Panel.  Just substitute Adobe Premiere for what ever program you need to setup.

Go to the NVidia.com website and manually download the latest drivers for your NVidia Video Card.

  • DO NOT use the NVidia drivers that came with your laptop or laptop's video card.  They are NOT current enough.
  • DO NOT do an automatic driver update.  I had some problems where it told me my drivers were current, but they were not.
  • The NVidia driver MUST be version 301.42 or higher.  Dated May 22, 2012 or newer.

Step 1 - When install the NVidia drivers, you will be given the option for a Express Install or Custom Install.
You MUST choose Custom Install.  Then click on Next.



Driver for Optimus Technology



Step 2 - When you choose custom install, you will be given custom install options.  On this screen, just look to where Step 2 is pointing and check the box for Perform a clean install and then Next.



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Step 3 - While the NVidia drivers install, the screen may go blank once in a while during the install.  This is normal.   Also, if the NVidia driver program gives you an error message about new hardware has been found and it seems like it can't finish, just wait a minute or two.  It will complete the installation, it is just waiting on Windows 7 to find the new hardware which is your video card.

Step 4 - Once the NVidia driver software completes the installation you MUST REBOOT the computer.


Now to Setup the NVidia Control Panel for Premiere and After Effects

Right Click your mouse on your Desktop and a Window will pop up like below.

Left Click your mouse on the line that says "NVIDIA Control Panel"



NVidia Control Panel



The NVIDIA Control Panel will open.

First Method for enabling the NVidia GPU.

Step 1 - Click on the line that says Manage 3D Setting, like shown below.



Adobe Premiere Optimus Settings



When you click on Manage 3D Settings, the right side of the control panel will look similar to what is shown below.

Click on the Global Settings tab if it is not already selected.

Step 2 -  "Preferred graphics processor", change this to read "High Performance NVIDIA Processor" like shown below.  Then Apply your settings.

This will set ALL of your programs to use the NVIDIA GPU all the time.  Don't stop here, keep reading below.



Adobe After Effects Optimus Settings



NOTE:  With this method it will use more battery power since all of your programs will now use the NVidia GPU.  Now some of you may not want to do this,  in that case, leave the selection on Auto-Select and continue on to the next method.

If you do set the Preferred Graphics Processor to the High-performance NVidia processor setting, then exit the Control Panel and Reboot your computer.  Then see if you can set the Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere to GPU mode or the Ray Traced 3D Render Engine to GPU mode in After Effects  or see what ever program you are running if you can set it for GPU mode.

If you can, your done.  Otherwise, continue to the next step.


Second Method for enabling the NVidia GPU.

With this method you will just set Adobe Premiere (or what ever program you're running) to use the NVidia GPU.

Start with Step 1 above, skip Step 2 and start with Step 3 below.

Step 3 - Click on the Program Settings tab.

Step 4 - Under "Select a program to customize", select Adobe Premiere (or what ever program you're running).



Adobe Premiere Optimus Technology



Step 5 - Under "Select the preferred graphics processor for this program", set it to "High-performance NVIDIA processor"

Then click Apply.

IF you need to set another program, such as After Effects or any other program, then go back and select that program and follow the same steps.  Otherwise, continue.

NOTE:  With this method it will allow you to save battery power by using the Optimus Technology, except when you are running Adobe Premiere (or what ever program you're running).

Now, exit the Control Panel and Reboot your computer.

Then see if you can set the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere to GPU mode or the Ray Traced 3D Render Engine to GPU mode in After Effects or see what ever program you are running if you can set it for GPU mode.

If you can, your done.  Otherwise, continue to the next step.





Third Method for enabling the NVidia GPU.

Some laptops will require this extra step.

Start with Step 1, then skip Step 2 and continue with Step 3, 4 and 5.  However, do not reboot after step 5.

Make sure you have completed step 5.

Just below where you set the High-performance NVIDIA processor, it will say Feature.

Step 6 - Scroll down the features until you see CUDA - GPUs.  Click on the All as shown below.



After Effects Optimus Technology



This will open a window similar to above, but it will show you the graphics card in your laptop.

Step 7 - You need to select "Use these GPUs" and select the NVidia GPU as shown below.  Then click Okay and continue below.



Laptop Optimus Settings



Remember you will need to repeat steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 if you are running both Premiere or After Effects for which ever one you didn't set in Step 4, then go back and select that program and follow the same steps.  Otherwise, continue below.

After you click Okay, then click Apply.

Then exit the Control Panel and Reboot your computer.

Then see if you can set the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere to GPU mode or the Ray Traced 3D Render Engine to GPU mode in After Effects or see what ever program you are running if you can set it for GPU mode.

If you can, your done.

NOTE:  With this method it will allow you to save battery power by using the Optimus Technology, except when you are running Adobe Premiere or Adobe After Effects or what ever program you have set to run in GPU mode.

NOTE:  One of the above methods or a combination of the above methods should allow you to run Premiere and/or After Effects CS6 in the GPU mode.





Last Method for enabling the NVidia GPU.

Very few laptops all you to change the Optimus Technology setting in the BIOS.  But, you should check your computer's BIOS.

When you boot your laptop, go into the BIOS setup.

Look for anything in there that says something like, Enable Optimus or Graphics Device or NVidia Optimus.

If you BIOS has these settings, then try disabling the Optimus or On-Board Graphics.  You may have to also do the above steps too.



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