2014 rMBP with or without a graphic card = better battery life?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Moshe1010, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010

    Wondering if purchasing the rMBP 2014 without the nVidia graphic card (I don't really need it) would:

    1. reduce the weight of the laptop?

    2. Give better battery life? Since I use Chrome a lot, I know it uses the nVIDIA graphic card quite a bit, and this drains the battery much quicker than using the Iris PRO on the chip itself.

  2. mcarling macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2009
    It would only reduce the weight a few grams. It would be difficult to measure and one certainly would never notice it.

    Battery life would be measurably better, but I'm not sure one would notice it.
  3. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Get the one without the iGPU. Chrome would drain your battery if you had the dGPU. Even with iGPU only it is plenty powerful.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    There is no weight difference, nor any changes in battery life.

    This is because you can use gfxcardstatus to disable the iGPU when on battery power. Just make sure you force it to integrated only twice upon startup (it's a bug in gfxcardstatus, where the first time forcing it into integrated returns an error). The second time you force it immediately after the first attempt, it works.

    The errors are shown in my screenshot of Console, attached below.

    And to be honest, is it really that hard to change to Safari? At least Google wouldn't spy on you.

    Attached Files:

  5. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Unlike earlier mbp, the current rmbp does not activate the dgpu when using chrome. In fact, it only activates for me when playing games. So, unless you actually are doing something that activates the dgpu, there is literally no difference.
  6. Moshe1010 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    I have 2012 rMBP and half of the time it's on dPGU mode and kills my battery to death.
  7. 100thMonkey macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2014
    I have mid-2014 15" rMBP.

    I posted a couple of things here before buying because I was coming from a late 2013 13" rMBP. Before moving to 15" I was curious about discrete vs. integrated vis a vis battery life as well as running cool and quiet. I really, really loved the 13"'s battery life and always running cool and quiet.

    However, I love the larger screen. I got the integrated graphics with 2.2 processor, easily get 9 hours of battery life, doing generally simple stuff, Word, email, Safari, iMessage, Evernote. Stays cool and quiet the whole time. I made the right choice for me. Its exactly what I wanted and runs exactly like I want. it's really perfect with the big screen
  8. Moshe1010 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    I want to change my crappy 2012 rMBP because I received a lemon from day one and hate it. It has many problems and I've already replaced most of my laptop except the battery. I also have 15" and would never go 13" since it's very limited working space. 13" would be good for people who travel a lot, although I most of the day outside with my laptop and I don't feel any restrictions with my 15" (I do carry a backpack all the time, so that's probably why).
  9. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I have the 15" late 2013 with Nvidia750. The choice was simple given that I wanted the upgrades making the discrete card basically free. I don't use Chrome because I can't stand it, but I am under the understanding that it will not activate the discrete card under normal use. Same with VLC, update the software and it will use Iris Pro. If that is your only concern then maybe use a different browser.
    My 750 gets activated these days only when using Aperture and when plugged into my external monitor. Obviously if you are hooking up to an external monitor then you have wired power and want more performance. The extra batter drain you speak of will be entirely up to your usage, ranging from 0% difference to ~40% loss if hammering it.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Odd. I have a late 2013 with 750M. What programs do you run?
  11. Moshe1010 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Nothing major: Acrobat reader, Sptify, Word, Powerpoint, Chrome, Dropbox, and minor things like Fantastical/Wunderlist/Filezilla. Sometimes I use xCode and its emulator. Usually it's activated 50% of the time I use Chrome.
  12. Freyqq, Oct 5, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I highly doubt that the dGPU would ever activate for those tasks. I don't know about xCode though, but I doubt for that either.

    Here's a list of things that activate the dGPU for me:
    -silverlight (netflix) - but OSX 10.10 does netflix with html5, which never activates the dGPU
    -Starcraft II and other games
    -external monitors

    That's it so far. I use Chrome all the time, and it doesn't use the dGPU.

    However, on my older 2010 MBP, the dGPU comes on way too often. Chrome, adium, and a few others I use often all engage the dGPU.
  13. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    The iGPU?


    And that's possible?

  14. Moshe1010 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    I did some testing. Looks like Google Maps is the major cause that activates the dGPU. Youtube as well (sometimes).
  15. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I just tested it myself with google maps. Firefox and Chrome activate the dGPU with google maps, and it persists until you restart the program. However, safari does not activate the dGPU at all. So, I'd use safari for google maps from now on.
  16. jont-fu macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    Here is one thing I have been wondering:

    I have the late 2013 rMBP 15" with discrete 750M. Whenever I want to use the HDMI out port, I need to turn on the discrete GPU from gfxCardStatus. That means whenever I'm connected to a projector/tv my battery life gets a significant hit. Obviously the integrated-only model will also work with HDMI out but with way better battery life?..

    Usually I need graphics power only when I'm running my shader-based visualizations and have not noticed much difference between the integrated or discrete GPU's. So in my use case having the discrete GPU does not seem to bring much benefit, on the contrary - when using the HDMI out it forces to use the power-hungry dGPU and take a hit on battery life.

    Of course your mileage may and will vary. I haven't tried any games for example.
  17. hannan8v8 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2014
    Hey man. Good to see someone having exactly the same issue as me haha.

    I will be going for the 2.2ghz model with 256gb and 16gb ram, (I will be upgrading the cpu to 2.5 and the HD to 512gb). The overall cost will almost be the same as higher end model but I really dont need an extra GPU card since Iris Pro is good enough, and Ive heard the discrete GPU card cause trouble sometimes later on.

    Without the discrete GPU card I wont have to worrt at all for the battery and keep wondering whether this or that application will switch on the discrete GPU card or not.

    Well thats my choice, suggestions for and against are welcome


    I do have a question though. Do we have to switch off the discrete GPU every time we switch on the macbook? Or just once using gfxcardstatus?


    I dont have any use of discrete gpu card, probably once in a blue moon.
  18. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    This is the one downside to the dGPU models. On the dGPU models, ALL external video ports (Thunderbolt/MiniDP and HDMI) are physically connected to the dGPU *only*. If you have a dGPU and you plug in an external display, the dGPU will be forced on. gfxCardStatus can't do anything about this as it is a physical/hardware engineering issue. On iGPU-only models, of course, the iGPU is driving all external displays.

    Another similar issue exists with Boot Camp on dGPU. If you boot a non-OS X operating system on a MBP with discrete and integrated GPUs, the MBP's EFI will only expose the dGPU to the operating system. So when you are running Windows, for example, on a dGPU MBP, the dGPU is the only graphics chip you can use in Windows. Windows won't even see the iGPU. Again, obviously, on an iGPU-only model, Windows uses the one-and-only GPU that is present, the iGPU.

    Other than those two circumstances, on a dGPU model, gfxCardStatus allows you to override the GPU setting rather than leave selection up to OS X, so assuming that you 1) never hook up an external display and 2) never use Boot Camp/Windows, you can, in theory, get the same kind of battery life out of a dGPU model by simply turning the dGPU off completely, which still gives you the freedom and ability to engage the dGPU when you absolutely need it. Odds are good that if you are in a position to plug an external monitor in that you are also in a position to supply AC power to the laptop, so I imagine that for most people, the external display restriction is generally not a big deal. The Boot Camp issue, though, seems to me as though it is more likely to be a problem.

    -- Nathan
  19. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    The iGPU actually is present if you install Windows in EFI mode. I never really played with it though since audio doesn't work in EFI mode on the 2012 models
  20. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    Oh, so the iGPU is only "blocked" if using the Mac EFI's BIOS emulation? That's very interesting! Thanks for the clarification.

    -- Nathan
  21. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    If you don't use the GPU for apps like I do for photoshop or gaming etc get the integrated, the iris pro is Intel's best ever gpu and doesn't eat anywhere near the watts of the Nvidia.

    As for boot camp - Apple have always seemingly knee capped the windows boot features on purpose when they haven't needed to for years already.
  22. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I have the late 2013, and the iGPU does not show up at all in device manager (windows 8.1 in EFI mode). I wonder if it is just the 2012 version that can see the igpu.
  23. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Weight wise there is little to no difference. Battery wise, that one depends entirely. You can either get great battery life assuming you don't use anything that turns the GPU on, or get 'meh' battery life due to programs triggering the GPU.
  24. 100thMonkey macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2014
    Ding Ding Ding!!!!! I went with iGPU and great battery life. Really enjoying it
  25. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    Interesting. I guess it is the 2012 and early 2013 that show the iGPU in EFI mode. I'm not sure how I would go about switching the GPU, but it definitely showed up. Too bad audio doesn't work in EFI mode on the 2012 models

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