Skip to content

Should You Enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling?

Hey there! If you‘re wondering what hardware accelerated GPU scheduling is all about and whether you should use it, you‘ve come to the right place. I‘m going to walk you through everything you need to know about this feature.

By the end of this guide, you‘ll understand how to enable hardware accelerated GPU scheduling, its benefits and downsides, compatibility requirements, and most importantly – whether it‘s worth turning on for your system. Let‘s get started!

What is Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling?

In a traditional setup, the CPU handles pretty much all hardware resource scheduling for a computer. This includes deciding when the GPU gets access to resources and queuing up GPU tasks.

With hardware accelerated scheduling, some of these scheduling duties are offloaded from the CPU directly to the GPU hardware itself. This allows the GPU to manage its own memory requests without the CPU acting as an intermediary.

According to Microsoft, shifting scheduling work from the CPU to GPU improves latency in GPU operations by up to 27%. Latency refers to the time delay between making a request and getting a response.

Lower latency allows the GPU to work more efficiently. The GPU no longer has to wait for the CPU to process scheduling requests first.

How Does GPU Scheduling Work?

To understand the benefits of hardware accelerated scheduling, it helps to know what‘s happening behind the scenes.

Graphics operations require a lot of memory allocation and data transfers back and forth between the CPU and GPU. This includes textures, geometry data, framebuffers, and other resources.

The GPU driver handles the requests for memory access. Traditionally, these requests are sent to the CPU so it can schedule and queue them. The CPU then passes the queued requests over to the GPU.

With hardware accelerated scheduling, the GPU manages this scheduling queue itself. It processes the memory requests as they come in without the CPU middleman.

This reduces latency by removing the round trip between the CPU and GPU. The GPU gets direct control over the order and priority of its own memory operations.

What Are the Benefits of Hardware Accelerated Scheduling?

Shifting scheduling work from the CPU to the GPU provides several potential performance benefits:

  • Higher frame rates in games: By reducing GPU latency, games can achieve higher average and peak FPS. Nvidia claims up to 10% higher frame rates with hardware accelerated scheduling.

  • Faster performance in creative apps: Video editors, 3D software, and GPU-accelerated apps benefit from reduced GPU latency. The Creative App Performance Study by UL saw gains of up to 18% in such apps.

  • Lower CPU usage: Unloading work from the CPU to the GPU saves CPU resources. Microsoft measured up to 13% lower CPU utilization with hardware accelerated scheduling enabled.

  • Snappier UI interactions: Animations and transitions can appear smoother thanks to improved coordination between the CPU and GPU.

The impact varies across different hardware configurations and workloads. But in general, offloading GPU scheduling to the hardware directly improves efficiency.

Hardware Accelerated vs Software GPU Scheduling

Up through Windows 10 version 2004, all GPU scheduling was handled through the traditional software approach. The CPU receives scheduling requests and manages the GPU queue.

Hardware accelerated scheduling shifts this work to the GPU hardware itself rather than software. The GPU gets direct control over its scheduling queues and priorities.

Here‘s a quick comparison between software GPU scheduling and the newer hardware accelerated approach:

Software Scheduling Hardware Accelerated Scheduling
Scheduling handled by CPU software Scheduling handled directly by GPU hardware
GPU queues managed by CPU GPU self-manages its scheduling queues
Higher latency from CPU-GPU hand-off Lower latency since GPU controls scheduling
Higher CPU load Reduces workload on CPU
Default method through Windows 10 version 2004 Introduced in Windows 10 version 2004

As you can see, the hardware accelerated approach aims to improve performance by removing the CPU as the middleman in GPU scheduling.

Requirements for Enabling Hardware Accelerated Scheduling

This feature has specific requirements in terms of operating system version, GPU hardware, and driver support. Hardware accelerated scheduling is only supported on:

  • Windows 10 Version 2004 or newer
  • GPUs supporting DirectX 12 or higher
  • GPUs with WDDM 2.7 drivers or newer
  • Graphics drivers from March 2020 or newer

GPUs that don‘t meet those requirements will simply ignore the setting. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia have lists of supported hardware on their sites.

For example, Nvidia requires an RTX, GTX 10 or 16 series GPU at a minimum. Older cards and laptop integrated graphics generally won‘t work.

The feature is currently enabled for Nvidia and Intel GPUs and still pending for AMD. Make sure your graphics drivers are fully up-to-date before trying out hardware accelerated scheduling.

How to Enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling

Enabling this feature is simple and only takes a few clicks:

  1. Open Settings > System > Display
  2. Scroll down and select "Graphics settings"
  3. Choose "Change default graphics settings"
  4. Toggle "Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling" to On
  5. Restart your computer

Once your system boots back up, hardware accelerated scheduling will be enabled. Repeat these steps but choose Off to disable the feature.

A restart is necessary since this setting fundamentally changes how the CPU and GPU interact. The reboot lets hardware reinitialize with GPU scheduling active.

Should You Enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling?

Now, the big question – should you actually turn this setting on? Here are some things to consider:

Consider your hardware first – Enabling this on unsupported or integrated GPUs won‘t help. It‘s primarily beneficial for modern discrete GPUs like Nvidia RTX/GTX cards.

Check for compatibility issues – Some apps may have problems with hardware accelerated scheduling enabled. Test games and applications you use often before leaving it on full-time.

Benchmark your system – Quantify actual performance gains by running benchmarks before and after enabling the feature. Don‘t just assume it will speed up your PC.

Factor in CPU vs GPU usage – Shifting load between components may or may not improve total system performance depending on bottlenecks.

Evaluate your workloads – This benefits gaming and GPU-heavy creative work most. Everyday tasks likely won‘t see a significant difference.

Watch for crashes or bugs – Some users report crashes or instability in games with this feature enabled. Disable it if you run into issues.

Use Nvidia Control Panel – For Nvidia GPUs, leaving this at Auto in Windows but Enabled in the control panel is recommended.

As always, your mileage may vary. Do some testing to determine if hardware accelerated scheduling improves performance and stability for how you use your PC.

Why Hardware Accelerated Scheduling Can Cause Problems

Although hardware accelerated scheduling sounds universally beneficial in theory, there are some potential downsides:

  • GPU driver bugs – Vendors are still working on optimizing drivers for this new feature. Buggy implementations may cause crashes.

  • Conflicts with GPU software – Some utilities like MSI Afterburner don‘t play nice with Windows‘ built-in scheduling.

  • Compatibility issues – Games and apps will need updates to work seamlessly with hardware accelerated scheduling.

  • Increased GPU load – Offloading work to the GPU can negatively impact systems that are already GPU-bound.

  • Overheads in certain workloads – Certain GPU parallelism scenarios perform worse with hardware accelerated scheduling.

  • Stability problems on flawed hardware – Faulty GPUs and unstable overclocks are more prone to fail when stressed by scheduling.

Most problems can be fixed by toggling the setting back to disabled. Vendors and developers still have some kinks to iron out for this relatively new feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about hardware accelerated GPU scheduling:

Does this work on laptops?

Yes, high-end gaming laptops with new discrete GPUs can benefit from enabling this. Integrated graphics likely won‘t see improvements.

What happens if I turn this off after enabling it?

Disabling hardware accelerated scheduling removes the changes and shifts scheduling back to the CPU. This can be toggled freely without issues.

Will this speed up my games?

Some games will see higher FPS with this feature. But performance gains depend on your specific hardware and the game‘s optimization.

Can I enable this if my GPU or drivers don‘t meet requirements?

If your hardware or drivers don‘t meet the requirements, enabling the setting will simply do nothing. It doesn‘t cause problems on unsupported configurations.

Is this beneficial for content creation apps too?

Yes, GPU-accelerated creative programs like Photoshop, Premiere, Blender, Unreal Engine, and more can see performance improvements from reduced GPU latency.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this guide has helped explain what hardware accelerated GPU scheduling is all about and whether it can benefit your system. Don‘t feel that you must enable it on every PC. Take time to test for compatibility and real-world performance gains.

When configured properly on supported hardware, shifting scheduling work to your GPU can definitely help achieve snappier response times and better efficiency. But approach this feature as an optional experiment rather than a magic bullet upgrade.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat more about optimizing your system‘s performance. Enjoy the rest of your day!