Does turning on the discrete graphics card make applications faster?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Brandon263, May 27, 2010.

  1. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA

    Sorry for the incredibly stupid question, but I just got the gfxCardStatus application for my i5, and was wondering whether turning on the NVIDIA video card will make applications like Mail, Firefox, etc. faster?

    I read something about OpenCL, but am not really sure whether it works for all applications.

    I find that turning on the NVIDIA card, instead of using the integrated Intel one, makes my laptop hotter.
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Mail and Firefox will likely be just as fast with or without the discrete enable.
    On the other hand, Photoshop, Movie Editing, 3D apps and gaming will perform better on discrete.

    OpenCL is pretty new, I guess we'll see more of it soon.
    Yes, the nvidia graphics are more powerful, uses more power and runs hotter, if it didn't, why bother with both?
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No, only applications that need 3D type processing. Most regular apps like mail and the web browser will see no benefit using the discreet GPU

    An application must be coded to take advantage of the OpenCL API. To date very little (read none) have.

    Yes, discreet GPUs consume more power (less battery power) and produce more heat. I have a 2008 MBP that I have to manually set the GPU. I find that when I switch to the 9600m (discreet GPU), my MBP temps increase by 10c
  4. Brandon263 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA

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