How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

It seems that a lot of GPU problems revolve around specific versions of drivers. Though NVidia has their own support structure, you can often learn from information reported by others who fold.

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How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

Postby Helio_Centra » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:45 pm

I've run into this a few times now on my laptop and on a couple members of my family who wanted to fold on their laptops. I searched the forum but couldn't find any tutorial of how to solve this issue so I decided to write one to have it all in one place with a step by step tutorial, and maybe others will benefit. :)

Symptoms: When you install the FAHclient it only sees your CPU. :(

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Problem: mobile nVidia GPUs use a tech called Optimus where they switch the Higher power nVidia GPU on and off depending on the needs of the laptop. For instance when you launch a game it will turn on, but at idle it will only use the awful Intel shared GPU that can't fold because it would be too slow.

Fix:

1. Update your drivers to the latest driver from nvidia.com. Or in the case of a bad driver update use a known good version found elsewhere on this site.

2. Uninstall the FAHclient. If you are currently working on a CPU work unit let it finish before uninstalling.

3. Go into the nVidia Control Panel (accessible from a right click on your desktop).

4. In the left hand sidebar choose "Manage 3D Settings." Go to the "Global Settings" tab. From the Preferred Graphics Processor dropdown menu choose "High Performance NVIDIA Processor". Click "Apply"

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5. Install the FAHclient and check to be sure both your CPU and GPU are detected. :D

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Steps 6, 7, & 8 are for returning your laptop to power saving mode and aren't necessary, but are recommended for reducing heat and increasing battery life.

6. Return the the nVidia Control Panel and this time under "Manage 3D Settings" go to the "Program Settings" tab. Add a new rule for the FAHclient to use the "High Performance NVIDIA Processor" and apply.

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7. Go back to the "Global Settings" tab and set the "Preferred Graphics Processor" back to "Auto." Hit "Apply."

8. Verify that the FAHclient still sees your GPU by pausing and exiting, then reopening checking that the GPU is still shown.
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Re: How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

Postby MeeLee » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:46 am

I think the step isn't necessary.
Perhaps your first driver didn't have opencl or CUDA installed.
Once these are installed (often with a driver update), and fah is reinstalled, it will find the GPU.
The GPU via OpenCL/CUDA is always used as a compute engine.
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Re: How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

Postby PantherX » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:05 am

Welcome to the F@H Forum Helio_Centra,

Please note that by default, if the client detects that the laptop is on battery, it will automatically pause folding. This can be changed by the Donor but out-of-the-box, it shouldn't fold when the laptop changes to battery power
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Re: How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

Postby Helio_Centra » Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:52 pm

MeeLee wrote:I think the step isn't necessary.
Perhaps your first driver didn't have opencl or CUDA installed.
Once these are installed (often with a driver update), and fah is reinstalled, it will find the GPU.
The GPU via OpenCL/CUDA is always used as a compute engine.


The problem probably has nothing to do with updating the driver, that step is only included just in case the user has a very old driver installed. The problem is that while FAHclient is installing it checks your hardware and only sees that you have Intel HD Graphics running since Optimus wouldn't turn on the nVidia GPU just for installing a program. So you manually turn it on for the install and after set it to auto turn on just for the FAHclient.
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Re: How to make the FAHclient see your mobile nVidia GPU

Postby Helio_Centra » Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:55 pm

PantherX wrote:Welcome to the F@H Forum Helio_Centra,

Please note that by default, if the client detects that the laptop is on battery, it will automatically pause folding. This can be changed by the Donor but out-of-the-box, it shouldn't fold when the laptop changes to battery power


That's true but if you don't turn it back to "auto" after the install the nVidia GPU will be using more power than the Intel iGPU would for the whole system, not just the FAHclient.
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