Dual Graphics: Increasing Performance in AMD APU Systems

AMD APU technology integrates a fully programmable, DirectX 11-capable graphics processor onto a powerful dual or quad core CPU chip, which provides great performance for games as well as photo and video editing. But there may be times when you crave a little more performance, perhaps for a better gaming experience or for faster GPU-assisted video transcoding. AMD Dual Graphics technology helps make that an easy proposition.

The technology combines a discrete graphics card with the built-in APU graphics processor. Adding it can substantially help improve overall graphics performance. In fact, the performance of the APU and the discrete GPU can even rival the higher end graphics cards. Only AMD offers this performance boost as competitive processors shut down on-die graphics when an AMD discrete card is added.

Monitor connections are also very flexible. Connecting the display to the APU or discrete graphics card output connector determines which GPU is the "master." If two monitors are connected so that one display is attached to the APU and another to the discrete graphics card, the master is user selectable, but defaults to the faster GPU.

The master GPU is critical in determining optimal performance in situations where the application may only recognize a single GPU. For example, older games may not have been written to take advantage of multiple GPUs, so will only use a single GPU for generating game graphics.

AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology supports up to six displays for an incredibly immersive PC experience. This technology is fully supported by AMD Dual Graphics but you will need to be sure the discrete graphics card you choose supports both of these technologies.

Achieving the best overall performance depends on finding the best combination of APU and GPU models. Relatively affordable cards, like the AMD Radeon HD 6450, HD 6570, or HD 6670 graphics cards will work quite well in concert with the onboard APU graphics using AMD Dual Graphics technology. High performance graphics cards like the AMD Radeon HD 6850 and higher, are so powerful that they do not benefit from the scaling of Dual Graphics; as a result the APU graphics processor shuts off, allowing the more powerful GPU to completely take over graphics tasks. Though the APU may not add significant performance to a high end graphics card, the right combination of APU and affordable discrete GPU can deliver a considerable performance increase.

AMD’s Dual Graphics technology helps users maximize their graphics experience with a low cost investment. You can begin with an AMD APU-based system, add a low-cost graphics card, then control your display connections making AMD Dual Graphics a great choice for the right mix of price and performance.

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