gfxCardStatus Allows Easy Control of MacBook Pro Graphics Cards

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    gfxCardStatus allows users to control which graphics card is enabled -- integrated or discrete -- on MacBook Pro models with multiple graphics cards. By more precisely controlling when each graphics card is enabled, users can improve system performance or battery life. gfxCardStatus is a menu bar application for OS X that allows MacBook Pro owners to view which GPU is in use at a glance, and switch between them on-demand.


    Ars Technica has much more, including the fact that the Retina MacBook Pro can be pushed to nearly 10 hours of battery life with some minor battery saving techniques:
    gfxCardStatus is a free download from creator Cody Krieger's website.

    Article Link: gfxCardStatus Allows Easy Control of MacBook Pro Graphics Cards
  2. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    I have been using this for a while now on my early 2011 MBP. It works good, i only wish it could somehow force the integrated HD3000 when connected to an external display. Because now it always goes to the discrete with an external display.
  3. AriX macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2007
    I've been using this for years on my mid-2010 MBP... I think I first found it in a thread on this site.
  4. kockgunner macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    This app saved me when by 2010 MBP with the 330GT graphics card's display kept turning black only solved by a reboot. The problem didn't appear on the Intel chip so I used this program to keep it on Intel until I had the chance to go to the Apple store to replace the logic board.
  5. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I'll try this out on my mid 2009 mbp, where you have to log out, back in to switch cards... not hoping for much, but it'd be very nice!

    edit: Wow! It works! Or at least claims to, will have to do some testing. Why can't apple make it work this easy??????
  6. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    You can't physically do that IIRC.

    Makes sense too, as if your at a desk your likely to be plugged in to the mains so why does it matter the dGPU is running or not?
  7. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    I installed this program about 2 months ago. Love it when traveling as it helps to ensure that I save battery life!
  8. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I've found that using the integrated card can sometimes lower battery life if there's graphic intensive things going on.

    Would this make sense? The discrete would do the same using less power, but draws more power when doing near idling graphics tasks?
  9. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Yes I have found that too. Its because when on the integrated, the CPU will do more work and that needs to work much harder than a GPU for the same result. When on the dedicated GPU the CPU is just resting there and the discrete GPU does the graphics work. I tested it ages ago, cant remember with what, and the CPU usage went from 5% to 40% when keeping on integrated, and down to 5-10% when back on dedicated.

    I have been using gfxCardStatus since it was released and recommending it to users here on the forum, excellent tool, I am able to get 8-9 hours from my 15" MBP with minimal usage, integrated GPU only, low brightness.
  10. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011

    This is very useful for me when I'm on my 2008 MBP.
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Because most of the time the dGPU runs hotter than the integrated GPU hence my computer spends more time sounding like a jet engine.
  12. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007

    Your fans don't suddenly go to 4000+RPM just because you've turned the dGPU on.

    In-fact, I've just turned my dDPU on for 5 minutes and the fan speeds didn't change one bit. :confused:
  13. D.T. macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Yeah, I believe the DP/TB port is only connected to the dGPU (so the iGPU is effectively “isolated”).

    Love the new[er] version of gfxCS with the popup mode switch indicator. It’s interesting to watch when it’s on dynamic switching, and you fire up some apps and it switches back and forth a few times.
  14. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    Love the app, although it seems to cause some issues with my retina Macbook Pro not sleeping properly. The dev said he has heard similar reports, but doesn't have one for him to test.
  15. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Well when an external screen in hooked up, the GPU runs at max frequencies the whole time to keep stuff cool. My 15" 2010 hooked up to a screen and doing some work, over 4000rpm the entire time, fans sin up to 4000 within a couple minutes of plugging in the screen. Usually my fans are at max.
    When u just turn the dGPU on and dont do anything with it then it wont need to ramp up the fans. No work to do = no heat, simple.
  16. MasterHowl macrumors 65816


    Oct 3, 2010
    North of England
    I have a mid-2009 MBP... thanks for posting! This is going to be very useful if it works...
  17. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    What an amazing app! Works great on my Late 2008 Unibody MBP! I can now switch to the 9600M, do some work, and then quickly switch back to 9400M before my system Kernel Panics! Before I would have had to log out each time, so I never switched to the 9600M to save time.

    It's amazing how much faster Photoshop's Liquify is with the discreet GPU!
  18. beez1717 macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2007

    I'm trying this on my new Retina MacBook Pro. I think that now that I have the option to control how my graphics are being processed, I should be getting WAY more battery life, and better gaming performance when I need it. This is just an amazing little tweak for all MacBook Pros that should have come standard with the OS.
  19. negativzero macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2011
    No way to do this though. The Thunderbolt port is hardwired to the discrete card so you're forced to run discrete when plugged into an external :(
  20. Stevamundo macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2008
    I absolutely love this application! With me turning on my intel 3000 graphics card and putting my MBP 2011 in sleep mode when I'm not using it, I can work literally all day with just my laptop battery EASY.

    I sure hope that this application is mountain lion compatible. If not, I won't be upgrading to mountain lion until this application is compatible. That shows you how much I love this application.
  21. macpeach55 macrumors 6502


    Aug 26, 2010
    Germany, & the Rest of the known World

    Just installed it on my late 2008 MacBook Pro. Works perfectly! It was so frustrating before being in the middle of work, finding the battery was getting low, and having to log out to switch!
    Will be sending a donation today for sure!:)


    According to the Website, the latest version of this app IS Mountain Lion compatible! :D
  22. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    It doesn't run at full 3D clocks with an external monitor hooked up, it just doesn't.

    It'll probably jump between 2D and low 3D clocks, neither of which suddenly produce the 10-20W of power required to continuously run your fans at 4000+ RPM.

    Secondly, why are you assuming that your iGPU wouldn't be working harder than the dGPU and therefore using almost the same amount of power to drive the external display?

    Having just plugged my 2560x1440 screen in for 10 minutes (whilst browsing), my fans are barely above 2000RPM :confused:
  23. doctor-don macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2008
    Georgia USA
    For YEARS?


    How many people have multiple graphics cards?
  24. randomhkkid macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2010
    Been working great for me for the past year, I get around an hour longer with the integrated 9400m compared to the 9600m GT. Saves me from stupidly logging out and in that Apple's switching requires.
  25. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    On my 2010 MBP, switching to integrated graphics causes the system to freeze for several seconds at a time, and eventually a black screen with only the mouse pointer visible, necessitating a reboot.

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