Are Macbook Pros the only apple computers that have “automatic graphics switching”?

CodySchrank

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 13, 2018
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If you're not sure what I'm referring to, macbook pros with dual gpus have an option in energy saver called "automatic graphics switching", and if that is on then the computer decides when to use the discrete gpu. And if it's off the discrete card is used all the time.

Are macbook pros with dual gpus the only apple computers that have this option? I'm asking because most desktop macs (iMac, mac mini) also have dual gpus but I don't believe they have this functionality? Do they just use the discrete card all the time?
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
If you're not sure what I'm referring to, macbook pros with dual gpus have an option in energy saver called "automatic graphics switching", and if that is on then the computer decides when to use the discrete gpu. And if it's off the discrete card is used all the time.

Are macbook pros with dual gpus the only apple computers that have this option? I'm asking because most desktop macs (iMac, mac mini) also have dual gpus but I don't believe they have this functionality? Do they just use the discrete card all the time?
Yes, I believe only the 15" MBP have that option. There's not much reason not to use the dGPU on the desktops because they are plugged in and not on battery.

I saw a post here where a iMac owner mentionned that the iMac was using the integrated GPU for some tasks. I don't remember what it was but I think it was streaming videos of a certain codec where it was more efficient than the dGPU.
 

CodySchrank

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 13, 2018
9
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Yes, I believe only the 15" MBP have that option. There's not much reason not to use the dGPU on the desktops because they are plugged in and not on battery.

I saw a post here where a iMac owner mentionned that the iMac was using the integrated GPU for some tasks. I don't remember what it was but I think it was streaming videos of a certain codec where it was more efficient than the dGPU.
Interesting. Yeah, obviously a desktop doesn't need to cater to a battery, but its still wasteful, and if the option is already there for some computers I wonder why they didn't keep it in? Also I thought some 13" macbook pros also came with a dedicated card?
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
Interesting. Yeah, obviously a desktop doesn't need to cater to a battery, but its still wasteful, and if the option is already there for some computers I wonder why they didn't keep it in? Also I thought some 13" macbook pros also came with a dedicated card?
I don't know but it might be because not all desktop CPUs they use come with a decent integrated GPU? Maybe the performance would degrade too much on the higher resolution screens. And if they start offering the option on some desktop but not all it'll create unnecessary confusion. I'm just guessing.

No, the 13" only has integrated GPU and so does the lower-end 15".
 

CodySchrank

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 13, 2018
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I don't know but it might be because not all desktop CPUs they use come with a decent integrated GPU? Maybe the performance would degrade too much on the higher resolution screens. And if they start offering the option on some desktop but not all it'll create unnecessary confusion. I'm just guessing.

No, the 13" only has integrated GPU and so does the lower-end 15".
Cool thanks so much! I'm writing a utility for gpu switching and I needed to make sure.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,536
2,304
Delaware
If you're not sure what I'm referring to, macbook pros with dual gpus have an option in energy saver called "automatic graphics switching", and if that is on then the computer decides when to use the discrete gpu. And if it's off the discrete card is used all the time.

Are macbook pros with dual gpus the only apple computers that have this option? I'm asking because most desktop macs (iMac, mac mini) also have dual gpus but I don't believe they have this functionality? Do they just use the discrete card all the time?
Can you help me out with which desktop Macs have dual GPUs? None, as far as I know (unless on a MacPro, where you might have more than one graphics card installed.)
Desktop Macs have had more than one GPU available, as an option, but as upgrade options when you purchase a new Mac --- not as an optional multi-GPU install. It's either THIS graphics chip, or THAT graphics chip. Not both. Some would be only upgradeable when you also order an upgraded CPU, which would also come with the upgraded GPU. It's NOT added to an already existing graphics card, but replaces it.
So, no graphics switching software will work, because there is no other graphics chip to switch to, just one graphics chip on desktop Macs.
Dual graphics chips on MBPro only, with automatic switching mostly as a battery-saving measure. There's no such need on desktop Macs.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,604
1,187
Georgia
Can you help me out with which desktop Macs have dual GPUs? None, as far as I know (unless on a MacPro, where you might have more than one graphics card installed.)
Desktop Macs have had more than one GPU available, as an option, but as upgrade options when you purchase a new Mac --- not as an optional multi-GPU install. It's either THIS graphics chip, or THAT graphics chip. Not both. Some would be only upgradeable when you also order an upgraded CPU, which would also come with the upgraded GPU. It's NOT added to an already existing graphics card, but replaces it.
So, no graphics switching software will work, because there is no other graphics chip to switch to, just one graphics chip on desktop Macs.
Dual graphics chips on MBPro only, with automatic switching mostly as a battery-saving measure. There's no such need on desktop Macs.
All Intel CPU in iMacs (not iMac Pro) have integrated graphics built in the CPU. That's how Intel builds their consumer grade CPU. Whether or not Apple makes it an option to turn it on is up to them.

Now as far as the dedicated graphics in the iMac vs the Macbook Pro goes. Whether or not it is technically feasible for the iMac to have switching would depend on how it was designed. I could not say whether or not the integrated graphics has any ability to physically output a signal to the built in display or any of the video outputs. As the Macbook Pro can. Given that the graphics outputs via Thunderbolt 3 externally. I'd think it would. Rather than a traditional desktop graphics card which has ports directly on the GPU.