MUX Switch: all about this technology for laptops

Surely you have ever heard about the MUX switch or MUX Switch in English . This technology is present in the new gaming laptops , and with which an increase in performance can be achieved at the cost of consuming the battery more quickly. Here we are going to see how this works and how you can use it.

Index of contents

  • What is NVIDIA Optimus (MSHybrid)?
  • Does it create a bottleneck?
  • What is a MUX switch?
    • MUX Switch: additional functions
    • How do I know if my laptop has MUX Switch?
    • Advantages of the MUX Switch
    • I don’t have a MUX switch, can I bypass Optimus?
  • And here comes Advanced Optimus from NVIDIA…
  • Conclusion

What is NVIDIA Optimus (MSHybrid)?

Many gaming laptops have two GPUs. On the one hand we have the iGPU, integrated into the Intel or AMD processor, and on the other hand we have discrete graphics or dGPU , such as a dedicated graphics card such as NVIDIA GeForce, AMD Radeon or Intel Arc. ok this

The technology equivalent to AMD’s NVIDIA Optimus is called Switchable Graphics. This technology uses the graphics processing capabilities of a discrete graphics adapter and the efficiency of integrated graphics to achieve better performance/power consumption results.

Some operating systems allowed one or another GPU to be used depending on what tasks, as you well know. For example, using the iGPU for lighter workloads and the dGPU for heavier workloads like gaming.

Also, one thing needs to be made clear. And it is that the dGPU is more powerful than the iGPU, but it is also true that it consumes much more energy , so the battery life will be less if it is always used.

On the other hand, the iGPU has a lower performance, but also the battery consumption is lower. Therefore, the idea of ​​this technology is to use the iGPU to save and when more performance is needed to use the dGPU. That is, something similar to what happens with heterogeneous CPU architectures with E-Cores and P-Cores, or big.LITTLE .

So what NVIDIA Optimus or similar technologies do is that when you’re working normal it will use the iGPU, which is enough, and when you open a game, or some other GPU-intensive software, the system is smart enough to run this heavy load on the dGPU.

Does it create a bottleneck?

You should know that when you run a video game for example, the frames will be generated on the dGPU as we have said before, but they are first sent through the iGPU before reaching the screen. This means that the iGPU will act as a major bottleneck , which is why disabling technologies like Optimus results in improved gaming performance.

In some cases, the FPS boost could be up to 17% higher, which is a significant return.

What is a MUX switch?

Once you know this about these technologies that use one or the other GPU in systems with two graphics, now is the time to talk about the MUX switch or MUX Switch . As its name indicates, it is a multiplexer that allows you to manually enable or disable the integrated graphics, that is, the iGPU.

And it does this by physically changing the connection between the GPU and the screen . In this way, technologies like Optimus will not create those bottleneck problems. Although to obtain this improvement it is necessary that the laptop has this hardware switch physically implemented.

That is to say, it is not worth going to the device manager of your operating system and disabling the iGPU from there, since that does not change at all the way in which the images are passed to the screen through the iGPU, since it is physically connected to this iGPU inside your laptop. So MUX Switch is all about switching between the iGPU/dGPU and the display .

It is true that a reboot is required after enabling or disabling technologies like Optimus through the software for Windows. This is a small inconvenience added if you change frequently. For this reason, it is advisable to leave Optimus or similar permanently deactivated if you play frequently.

This way, using the MUX Switch, the integrated graphics, or iGPU, will no longer be available . They will not appear in device manager. Only discrete or dGPU graphics will be available. In this case, the image will go directly from the dGPU to the screen and will not have to go through the iGPU, so there will be no performance issue.

MUX Switch: additional functions

With MUX Switch you can also execute additional functions in some cases. For example, with Optimus enabled, technologies such as ShadowPlay or G-Sync could not be used, while without Optimus enabled and with the MUX Switch they will be available, since the dGPU is being directly connected to the screen without having to pass by the iGPU, which ace of these functions.

How do I know if my laptop has MUX Switch?

This is a question that many gaming laptop users ask themselves. Well, to find out, you should visit the official website of your laptop brand and search among the specifications or download the manual for your specific model. In this way, you will be able to know if there is a MUX Switch or not. Generally, it must be said that most of the popular brands of gaming equipment usually include it.

Advantages of the MUX Switch

Without a MUX Switch, the gaming laptop, no matter how powerful its dGPU is, will always be limited by having to pass through the iGPU , which is the one that is physically connected to the screen of your laptop. In other words, you only have to use technologies like Optimus with the performance problems that this implies, as I explained above.

Also, it is true that gaming laptops with Switch MUX used to be expensive, but these days they have become more common and cheaper year by year . However, it must be said that some high-end gaming laptops do not have this feature. For example, ASUS does not include it in some Strix or Zephyrus models.

But personally, I think it’s a great option if you can afford one of these kits. And it is that in this way you will be the one who has the choice of using one or the other, achieving the maximum performance in video games without bottlenecks. Of course, keep in mind that when you are using the dGPU, the battery will be affected, since autonomy will drop considerably, that is, you will have to charge more frequently. Although that is not a problem for those who have their laptop constantly connected to the adapter.

I don’t have a MUX switch, can I bypass Optimus?

Another frequent question from users is if your gaming laptop lacks MUX Switch if you have the possibility to disable Optimus so that it does not generate that performance problem and increase the performance in video games. Well, it must be said that the best thing in these cases is if your laptop has a video output, such as HDMI, to connect an external screen , and if it is connected to the dGPU and not to the iGPU, then you can enjoy maximum performance using an external monitor. But you should check the specifications of your laptop to find out which GPU this video output depends on…

And here comes Advanced Optimus from NVIDIA…

NVIDIA, faced with Optimus problems, released a new technology called Advanced Optimus, which is basically an automatic MUX Switch . Thanks to this improvement it will not be necessary to have to reboot to switch between the iGPU and the dGPU. Basically, it is smart software that when you use the laptop for internet browsing or other smooth workloads, it will use the iGPU-Display. Instead, when you use heavy graphics loads like video games, then it will use dGPU-Display.

Obviously this is preferable instead of having to manually reboot the system every time you want to change. Especially if you have some computers like the Dell G15, which means having to go into the BIOS/UEFI to make the change, since it’s only allowed from there, with no software interface for it.


Although NVIDIA Advanced Optimus seems to be the most practical solution, due to that dynamic switching, it is not yet present in many laptops, while MUX Switch is somewhat more widespread at the moment.


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