I have an Inspiron 17R SE 7720 but this is a general question about laptops that have Intel HD4000.

Right now I have windows 8.1 and it seems to be running on the HD4000. I didn't install any specific drivers for the nvidia gpu. But maybe windows did? But anyhow I don't have the branded nvidia tray icons.

Since I don't play games, I was thinking it is not necessary to download the 300 mb drivers and install them for nvidia.

I know there is something installed by default from the windows installation in the device manager. But the point of this question is this... is it ok to do what I have done? Just install windows 8.1 and not install any specific video drivers from Dell or Nvidia?

I know that if I install all the drivers properly, they will auto-switch to nvidia when necessary. But my understanding is intel HD400 is quite powerful for regular windows operations and even watching videos, and that nvidia discrete gpus are really just meant for games or other high performance graphics applications.

oops, I keep meandering here... the question is... will, without nvidia drivers from their site or from dell, my computer behave itself (i.e. nvidia lay dormant)? or will nvidia still eat battery unless there is specifically a driver that can autoswitch between gpus installed?

  • Win8.1 can/will install nVidia drivers in the same way the Intel drivers were provided. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 26 '14 at 16:33
  • I do have the nvidia drivers from windows installed, but they lack the options to do this hot switching. At least I haven't seen this option anywhere to turn it on. Whereas if the actual nvidia downloaded drivers are installed, you can even select which apps will run on the GPU... I guess I might as well download and install the NVIDIA drivers from DELL (or nvidia site?) ... my thinking in avoiding them was that the ones from Windows would be much more stable, and anyhow HD4000 Intel was good enough. My concern was that latest NVIDIA from nvidia or dell would be less "vetted" than from Windows – Mikey Oct 26 '14 at 22:21
  • Why don't you want to use your OEM drivers if you want to support hot switching between the Nvidia GPU and the Intel GPU? – Ramhound Oct 26 '14 at 22:38
  • Hi, no you misunderstand me... I don't really care about that feature. I just wanted to make sure that by not installing the OEM drivers that the nvidia gpu (using win8.1 default drivers), would not be running at the same time as my HD4000 and consuming battery and giving off heat. I just wanted to confirm it would stay "dead"/inactive. I have had problems with nvidia drivers in the past, so I wanted the extra stability of Windows-approved drivers.. for me HD4000 is good enough, the important thing is just that the computer doesn't crash – Mikey Oct 27 '14 at 11:18

Yes what you've done is fine. Since Win7, windows has become very good in finding automatically working drivers.

The things that you lose without downloading the official NVIDIA drivers are:

Optimization - With NVIDIA drivers, you get in-depth configurations options which can gives you much higher frame rate (no extremely important if you don't play games)
Updates - NVIDIA probably release an update 1-2 times a month, these updates are hotfixes, software improvements, optimization and additional features
100% utilization - By not having the official NVIDIA software running, your system won't get the full use out of the graphics cards (however, this eats your battery)

They are the main points, but if your not experiencing any problems, then I wouldn't worry about it.

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