Doubts on how the Haswell MacBook Pro handles video cards

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ITCentralPoint, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. ITCentralPoint, Jan 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014

    ITCentralPoint macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2012
    Hi forum, I am a new Apple user, switching after 17 years of painful Windows usage and support.
    I purchased the almost top of the line Retina MacBook Pro 15" with the Nvidia and the Intel Iris card.
    I had several issues with several applications consuming a lot of power so I installed a little app that lets me know when an app is using the Iris card and when it switches to the Nvidia card its called gfxCardStatus by the way.

    What I´ve noticed is that for example when using VLC player for example it triggers the Nvidia card on. And I would like to choose which applications can or can not trigger the usage of the Nvidia card. I find that reproducing a movie for example is not a graphics intensive tasks and should be properly handled without any trouble by the Iris card which I asume would consume less power and make my battery last longer.

    Then there are other applications like for example Devolo Cockpit that also triggered my Nvidia Card, and makes no sense at all because this is not even a graphics applications, so I reported them the problem assuming its a bug.

    The same strange behavior repeats for several applications. It would be cool to be able to define which applications can use the the Nvidia card and for the rest for them to use the embedded Iris card. Or at least be able to define that if you are on the road you want all applications to use Iris and if any application needs more power to ask you if you want to switch to Nvidia.

    My experience on my Windows desktop is that I was able to handle most of the applications with the embedded HD4000 intel graphics card I had on it without trouble.

    Thanks for your comments and advice.
  2. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    You can't define which program uses the dedicated GPU, the OS does that for you.
    As you said you can install gfxCardStatus, but you can only force the iGPU if all Apps that need the dGPU are closed.
    So if you want one problem that normally triggers the dGPU to just use the iGPU while another should use the dGPU you gonna have a bad time - it is either or.
    If you want to just work with the iGPU (Iris Pro) force it right after restart (or closing all Apps) with gfxCardStatus.

    I for myself think, that in most scenarios it is best, to just let the OS handle the graphic card switching
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    There is no magic way to keep the iGPU working exclusively. You wanted to save power? You should have gotten the non discrete GPU MacBook Pro.
  4. ITCentralPoint thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2012
    Thanks for your comments, is strange the lack of flexibility on this matter. I was thinking on getting this functionality without a third party app but it seems the only way to achieve it is with the gfx app. Thanks a lot!
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    AFAIK the flexibility is in the hands of app developers.
  6. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    Not true, and stupid advice. There's PLENTY of reason to want the choice, for example if the iGPU is just as capable of playing videos in VLC and doing light Premiere Pro / Photoshop work with less power consumption and better battery life, there's no reason you should defend an arbitrary script that activates the dGPU as absolute law. Heck, it calls for the dedicated GPU when I use DREAMWEAVER, as ridiculous as that is. No need to kill battery life so I can edit basic html/php on the go.

    And to top it off, gfxCardStatus works very well for the situation the OP needs. In my experience, I've gotten my work done and experienced significantly longer battery life by forcing "Intergrated Only" mode before opening the apps I need while on battery. Of course, if I'm doing something that specifically is going to be GPU-heavy, you'd want to use the dGPU to get the task done more quickly rather than drawing it out on the integrated, but most of the time, there's no need to activate it. As soon as you do, battery life plummets. So you can use the utility and have the best of both worlds, or you could be snippy about it and say that OP bought the wrong computer based on BS software calling the shots about the hardware you own and are smart enough to manage.
  7. NocturnalJazz macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2013

    Agreed. Before opening anything just force into integrated. Otherwise it will switch back and forth. Often mine would switch due to Chrome Extensions. Glad I have the dedicated for when I need/use it. Otherwise I run it integrated 80% of the time.
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, its sometimes a bit tricky. Take VLC - it does lots of it processing (and the final display) using OpenGL. For the OS it is complicated - when application explicitly tells it 'ok, now I will be using the 3D API', then the OS usually assumes that application needs all the power. Same happens with some 2D applications which use lots of animation effects - because most of the rendering on OS X actually happens using the 3D hardware. The application developer can though add some additional code to its program to inform the OS that its ok running on the integrated graphics. These takes only three lines of code for most programs and nowadays, there is NO excuse for developers ignoring this.

    P.S. I though that current versions of VLC have had that problems figured out and don't trigger the dGPU anymore?
  9. ITCentralPoint thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2012
    Always space for improvement

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I have exactly the same configuration you have for the rMBP and I find kind of strange that such a basic spec is not supported by OS X itself. Maybe they are going to implement it in the future?

    Lets see what happens...but there is always space for improvement, even for Apple.

Share This Page