Auto Graphics Switching and the 2010 i7 15" MBP - I can't beleive it.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by entatlrg, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #1
    Fact: The new MBP's have this new auto switching graphics system and they advertise 8-9 hours of battery life.

    Please help me understand.

    The purpose of the auto switching graphics is for the laptop to know when to switch to discrete or integrated graphics based on what you're doing and also whether or not you're running on battery or AC, right?

    Therefore when doing minimal tasks it 'should' run on the Intel graphics, same if you're running on battery, correct?

    My 15" 2.66ghz, i7 MBP, (from reading here many others as well), chooses to stay in Discrete mode most of or should I say all the time. I've checked the Activity Monitor, and I'm only running with Firefox, 4 tabs open, no flash, nothing running in the background.

    Since it's most often in discrete mode that's maybe the reason I'm getting nowhere near the advertised battery life either.

    Once I installed gfxCardStatus I'm able to run in Integrated mode, but let's forget about third party software and pretend it doesn't exist for a moment.

    With my '09 MBP I'd log out and in again and I'd know what was going on. If I'm using the machine on my lap and didn't want to burn my legs I'd switch to Integrated... if I wanted better battery life, I'd switch to Integrated ... no problems whatsoever.

    Now we have the new 2010 MBP's with this new/better Auto Switching.

    What's better about it? My 2010 runs hotter, noticeably warmer than my '09, C2D, 2.8 ghz, the 2010's battery life is nowhere near what's advertised. And, without third party software you don't have any idea what's going on.

    People are satisfied with this? Why Auto Switching, is it hype, sugar coated bullsh*t or am I missing something?

    I believe now more than ever than the Intel / Nvidia dispute took things a step backwards. It's a mistake/band aid approach on Apple's part, is it not? How can this be an upgrade? More heat, no where near the advertised battery life.....

    When you're using a new 2010 machine sitting there thinking your '09 machine ran better it's a disappointment. I'm not sure what to do now, return the 2010 and go back to my '09 or stick with it because it's probably just something I'm missing and this new machine with the i7 and auto graphics really is a step forward.

    Right or wrong I can't believe there hasn't been more of an uproar about this. Perhaps one reason is not a lot of people upgraded from an '09 to a '10 notebook, therefore don't see the difference, for many they're upgrading from older hotter running mac's?

    Beats me, but I'd sure like to see a benefit from my new notebook instead of warmer than normal legs and the same battery life that I get from my '09 15" MBP :confused:
     
  2. aiqw9182 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #2
    Err... just disable auto-switching and switch manually using gfxcardstatus? How would that be worse than having to log out every time you want to switch?

    I do think Apple should put something in the preference pane that lets you do this without third party software though.
     
  3. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #3

    "Once I installed gfxCardStatus I'm able to run in Integrated mode, but let's forget about third party software and pretend it doesn't exist for a moment."
    ........
     
  4. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #4
    I think that there's a silent group which includes myself hoping that 10.6.4 improves the graphics switching. Right now the criteria it uses to decide when to switch is too broad, resulting in the discrete card being used when it's not needed at all.
     
  5. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #5
    I wish the group wasn't silent.

    Apple has the benefit of 99%+ of their Customer base having no idea about this.

    Does anyone think this is really an improvement over how the '09 MBP's handled graphics? *Again, forget about the third party software which almost no Mac owners know about except those who hang out here ...

    Just like the Magic Mouse, you shouldn't have to rely on third party software to run something properly.

    I don't know whether to go back to my '09 MBP or keep the i7 and be happy there is third party software, and/or hope Apple addresses the problem in a (near) future update?
     
  6. Tanto macrumors member

    Tanto

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    I think that relying on an advertised battery life is something of a joke. Obviously your desire to get what you paid for is well deserved since we obviously don't want to get cheated on a substantially priced product that we use everyday but I think you have to consider a few things here.

    For one, Apple locks its engineers in a room and says, "Don't come out until you've gotten every seconds of available juice out of our new MBPs so the marketing guys can tout it in our new ads". Saying that, the engineers could very well have just loaded up a bunch of music in iTunes, turned off the display completely, and watched as the hours ticked by with hardly any drain. Since I have seen nothing from Apple that details exactly how they came up with the 10 hour battery life figure, it doesn't mean a whole lot because unless you know exactly how they tested it, you can't replicate it and therefore benchmark your own MBP to the same standard.

    Secondly, real-world usage is a myriad of many different things that you are asking your MBP to do. One minute you're listening to iTunes and surfing the web and the next you decide to play a graphics-intensive game, then you decide you just want to watch a DVD and each thing wears down the battery charge at different rates.

    Anyways, here's a link to a site that provides a reasonable benchmark for the new MBPs and tells you how they arrived at their figures. Note that they only got 6 hours, but that is more than plenty for me considering how powerful my MBP is.

    Linky
     
  7. Lola M macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Location:
    California, USA
    #7
    Did your battery life improve after you manually switched with gfxCard?
     
  8. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #9
    To my surprise not that much. From reading other posts here others didn't expect to see much difference in battery life when switching cards ... but why then do the '09's have quite a bit better battery life when in integrated versus discrete mode.

    My post wasn't meant to complain so much about the battery life as it was to suggest this new Auto Switching technology is a farce so far.
     
  9. runebinder macrumors 6502a

    runebinder

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #10
    I think you need to get your MBP checked. While I agree that the selection of what needs the 330M is a bit heavy handed, found the auto switching on mine works as advertised and I've got the same model.

    Opened Firefox after reading your first post and mine stayed on the Intel. Possibly try a SMC reset and see if that improves things?
     
  10. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    #11
    Apple lists the testing procedure on their site. It's basically screen at 50% and wifi on, browsing some unnamed web pages. Still, even doing this same test, many people aren't getting the advertised battery life.
     
  11. Tanto macrumors member

    Tanto

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    I'm actually impressed that Apple decided to do a real usage test for their numbers. Still the point remains with the battery charge life, as you pointed out.
     
  12. Excluse macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #13
    i'm not expert in this area, but from what I read, I figure that automatic switching is there to eliminate the hassle of logging out and back in to switch cards?
    IDK how bad it was but it sounds like a hassle to me.
    Just my .02.
     

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