Why you may want to enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling in Windows 10
Microsoft introduced a new graphics feature in Windows 10 version 2004; called Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling, it is designed to improve GPU scheduling and thus performance when running applications and games that use the graphics processing unit.
The new graphics feature has some caveats and limitations: it is only available in Windows 10 version 2004 or newer, requires a fairly recent GPU, and needs drivers that support the feature.Â The option becomes available only if the system meets all requirements.
You may check the system's graphics settings in the following way to find out whether Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling is available on your device:
- Make sure you run graphics drivers that support the feature. Nvidia customers need the GeForce driver 451.48 or newer for instance as the company introduced support for Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling in that version.
- Make sure you run Windows 10 version 2004, e..g by opening Start, typing winver, and selecting the result.
- Open the Settings application on the Windows 10 system with the help of the shortcut Windows-I, or select Start > Settings.
- Go to System > Display > Graphics Settings.
- The Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling option is displayed on the page that opens if both the GPU and the GPU driver support the feature.
- Use the switch to set the feature to On.
Microsoft reveals bits of the inner workings of Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling in a blog post on the Microsoft Dev blog. The company explains that the feature "is a significant and fundamental change to the driver model" and compares it to "rebuilding the foundation of a house while still living in it".
The company plans to monitor the performance of the feature and will continue to work on it.
Windows 10 users, especially those into gaming, may wonder whether it is worth enabling the feature, or if it is better to enable it at a later point in time when it is more mature.
The German computer magazine PC Games Hardware ran the feature through a set of benchmarks on Nvidia hardware. The testers followed Nvidia's recommendation and picked one of the fastest video cards, a MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Z, for the test (Nvidia revealed that the most powerful cards benefit the most from the feature).
Benchmarks were run on games such as Doom Eternal, Read Dead Redemption 2, or Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, with hardware accelerated GPU scheduling set to on and off.
One of the core takeaways of the published benchmark results is that Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling does improve performance in all cases. On average, testers noticed a gain between 1-2 frames per second while running the game in 2560x1440 resolution.
It is unclear if the performance improvements will be less with less powerful hardware but Nvidia suggests that it may be the case.
Still, as a gamer, it may make sense to enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling provided that no drawbacks are observed on machines on which the feature is activated.
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