Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Apple Planning Smoother Transitions Between Graphics Processors in Upcoming MacBook Pros?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,001
12,540
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png

AppleInsider reports that it has received information that Apple is planning an enhancement to its next-generation MacBook Pros that will allow for automatic switching between integrated and discrete graphics processors based on whichever is the more optimal technology (power consumption vs. performance) at any given time.

Since October 2008, Apple has offered two NVIDIA graphics processors in its 17" and higher-end 15" MacBook Pro models, one discrete processor and one integrated processor. Users of these machines have been able use the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences to select whether they prefer "better battery life" with the integrated graphics or "higher performance" with the discrete graphics, although switching between the two requires users to log out of their accounts temporarily.

Apple's rumored plans appear to be based on NVIDIA's Optimus technology, which allows for seamless switching between graphics processors based on automatic software settings. NVIDIA reportedly developed the technology in response to a dispute with Intel over NVIDIA's ability to build chipsets for Intel's latest processors, a dispute that has led to NVIDIA exiting the chipset business. NVIDIA's Optimus technology offers computer manufacturers an enticing means to pair NVIDIA's well-regarded discrete graphics processors with integrated processors provided by Intel as part of its chipsets.

Today's report notes that the source is not 100% certain that the change will be made in time to appear in Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro, which is widely expected in the near future. Apple's pressing need for a solution to the situation presented by the Intel-NVIDIA dispute, however, makes it very likely that the technology will be included in the forthcoming models.

Article Link: Apple Planning Smoother Transitions Between Graphics Processors in Upcoming MacBook Pros?
 

gfiz

macrumors 6502
Dec 18, 2009
349
1
Virginia
Doesn't ATI/AMD have "ATI Switchable Graphics", which also switch between the integrated GPU or discrete on the fly? It would have to be updated to work on OS X I think, but then again, technically so does Optimus as officially it doesn't support OS X right now.
 
Comment

ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,392
3,116
Just stick a powerful GPU in there and have it be smart enough to throttle based upon needs. No need for two GPUs.
 
Comment

Robert M.

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2010
761
163
Sounds good to me! I wonder if the 13 inch models will have this option. I hope so, since that's the one I'll be buying. I'm ready to upgrade my Oct 2008 unibody Macbook. :cool:

As long as they don't have Core 2 Duo I'm in!
 
Comment

BlizzardBomb

macrumors 68030
Jun 15, 2005
2,537
0
England
Just stick a powerful GPU in there and have it be smart enough to throttle based upon needs. No need for two GPUs.

That's what I think as well. It's just hassle from a software point of view and is also something else to go wrong and given NVIDIAs recent track record, I'm not so sure.
 
Comment

guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
3,186
1,150
Wherever my feet take me…
This would make it a whole lot easier. Only thing better would be if we could use both at the same time, but I doubt that'll happen.

I really hope nVidia can make integrated graphics for Nehalem. Intel's offerings are pretty bad in comparison. Intel needs the competition.
 
Comment

NeuralControl

macrumors 6502a
Dec 3, 2009
919
33
I always felt the Unibodies should have head automatic switching. It's good that future generations will have this feature.
 
Comment

cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
20,251
21,834
California
Just stick a powerful GPU in there and have it be smart enough to throttle based upon needs. No need for two GPUs.

No way to make an external chip as energy efficient as internal (or at least in the same package), as communications off-package need to use bigger drivers that require more current.
 
Comment

BlizzardBomb

macrumors 68030
Jun 15, 2005
2,537
0
England
No way to make an external chip as energy efficient as internal (or at least in the same package), as communications off-package need to use bigger drivers that require more current.

Core i3s, i5s and i7s already have a GPU with them. Why do we need three or a custom design? Surely that would push up prices more than it's worth?
 
Comment

newdeal

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2009
2,397
1,521
...

Does this mean they won't be updated until 10.6.4 hits since noone has mentioned this change from the 10.6.3 betas
 
Comment

Michael73

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2007
1,081
39
I would like a status bar icon at the top that lets me switch between the two rather than having to go through the preferences panel.
 
Comment

diamond.g

macrumors 604
Mar 20, 2007
6,754
601
Virginia
We don't need three. We need two. Because the GPU in the Core i3/i5/i7 is horrible.

Now I am all for discreet GPUs, but for your average user that is probably overkill. Plus Apple seems to only boast the great battery life when running on the IGP.
My other pet peeve is Apple offering Pro notebooks without offering Quadro or FirePro graphics.
 
Comment

hob

macrumors 68010
Oct 4, 2003
2,004
0
London, UK
I always hoped some driver update would make this possible... I guess I'll have to wait till my next MBP for this functionality...
 
Comment

BlizzardBomb

macrumors 68030
Jun 15, 2005
2,537
0
England
We don't need three. We need two. Because the GPU in the Core i3/i5/i7 is horrible.

Yeah, it is "horrible", that's why for games and GPU intensive things you switch to dedicated. Chances are even if you were doing something remotely GPU intensive, you'd use the dedicated card, making the IGPs weakness a null point. Why pay NVIDIA twice for a GPU when one GPU is already included in Intel's processor price?
 
Comment

diamond.g

macrumors 604
Mar 20, 2007
6,754
601
Virginia
Yeah, it is "horrible", that's why for games and GPU intensive things you switch to dedicated. Chances are even if you were doing something remotely GPU intensive, you'd use the dedicated card, making the IGPs weakness a null point. Why pay NVIDIA twice for a GPU when one GPU is already included in Intel's processor price?

But they aren't paying nvidia twice. This new "tech" allows automatic switching between the intel igp and the nvidia gpu.
 
Comment

corduroygt

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2005
256
122
New York, NY
We don't need three. We need two. Because the GPU in the Core i3/i5/i7 is horrible.

The "GPU" in the Arrandale CPU also includes the memory controller for the CPU. There is no easy way to not include it. Not to mention it's been benchmarked to be about equal to the 9400M, and supports full screen video acceleration and other good features such as an audio output!
 
Comment

Scdavis23

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2009
4
0
The "GPU" in the Arrandale CPU also includes the memory controller for the CPU. There is no easy way to not include it. Not to mention it's been benchmarked to be about equal to the 9400M, and supports full screen video acceleration and other good features such as an audio output!

Could you (or anyone else) provide a link with the benchmark info for the Arrandale GPU?
 
Comment

rmbrown09

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
942
0
Seattle
well what ever these MBP's are powered buy, have in them etc, im blowing $2,200, so whatever that gets me. (in a 15 inch)

hopefully a 5 series ATI or a 3 series Nvidia card.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.