gfxCardStatus app, recommended for new i5/i7 MBP owners?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by entatlrg, May 17, 2010.

  1. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #1
    Is this app working well enough now to switch from integrated to discrete mode without problems.

    If so, are people experiencing better battery life and/or running cooler?
     
  2. mgacam2 macrumors regular

    mgacam2

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    #2
    I absolutely love it. Just knowing when the 330m kicks in and then having the ability to switch it back down if I need to is very very useful.
     
  3. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    It's great; an excellent reference.

    I don't know about increasing battery life though.
     
  4. BrianMR macrumors regular

    BrianMR

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    I didn't install it for quite awhile, around version 1.6. I like having the information. I also like having the ability to kick it down to Intel graphics when I am on battery, especially when I am running apps that don't seem to need it (e.g. Tweetie).
     
  5. djasterix macrumors 6502a

    djasterix

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Location:
    Paradise City
    #5
    I'm using it right now, and it's really usefull, specially for me because my nVidia GPU is always on, and with it I'm able to switch to the Intel HD and save some power when on battery.

    Temp is the same, but I get 1 more hour from the battery when switched to Intel.
     
  6. TxMacAddict macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #6
    +1 for gfxcardstatus. Using it to keep hulu on intel graphics.. keeping heat down and saving battery while watching in bed.
     
  7. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #7
    I didn't know this app allowed you to switch the GPU.

    Would it ever be dangerous for the MBP for you to manually switch back to intel? For example, if I use a separate display with the minidisplay port (which tirggers the nVidia 330), would it be bad for the MBP to tell it to use intel?
     
  8. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #8
    I'll answer that!

    Unfortunately, due to the way that the new MBPs are physically designed, it's actually not possible to use the Intel GPU with an external display. The Mini DisplayPort output is literally wired to the 330M exclusively. You can only use the Intel graphics in a situation where the MBP's LCD is the exclusive display in your configuration.

    But...gfxCardStatus will allow you to switch in any other situation! Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think if you decide to try it out. :)

    Cody
     
  9. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #9
    I will definitely try it out! Thanks for the answer. But again, can you foresee any other situation (using the MBP LCD) where using the intel graphics could actually harm the MBP? Also, is it correct that the first version of the app was just a status indicator, and not a graphics switcher?
     
  10. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #10
    Whoops, my bad. Skipped that part of the question.

    I have not seen any situation in the 12k+ downloads of gfxCardStatus where it has caused any major issues. Plus, I'm using it myself rather heavily, and have also had no problems. The disclaimer is there on the about screen, but the likelihood of something bad happening is very slim according to testing and results so far. If there was even the slightest chance of something like that I'd push out an update disabling any harmful features until they were fixed and proven to be harmless. So in that respect, you're covered. No need to worry. :)

    And yes - the first version was a status indicator only, with GPU switching added in a later update. The entire history of how it was all fleshed out can be viewed a waaaays back in this thread if you're interested: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=901521&page=27 :D In fact, that thread is still (mostly) about gfxCardStatus and its development. 27 pages and counting!

    Cody
     
  11. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #11
    Haha, I remember the thread, but I guess I stopped following it before you released the update that allowed switching :)
     
  12. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

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    Jun 16, 2007
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    San Jose, CA, USA
    #12
    Indeed. Haha. Well, let us all know what you think when you give it a whirl! :)
     
  13. nconnella macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #13
    I'm currently using GPUinfomenu. Is there a difference between these two programs? They seem to do the same thing. Is there a reason to switch?
     
  14. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #14
    It's all preference, really. But, gfxCardStatus is open-source. (http://github.com/codykrieger/gfxCardStatus) Transparency is great in situations like these, because that way you know exactly what you're getting. GPUInfoMenu is not open-source, and I believe it uses similar (but not quite the same) techniques to achieve the same-ish results. In recent updates (by my benchmarks) gfxCardStatus has become faster at performing things like the generation of the dependency list, and the GPU switching seems more reliable. It has also been around a little longer (read: a few days). gfxCardStatus also subscribes to a more minimalist philosophy in terms of the icons and amount of information in the Growl notifications.

    Plus...I wrote gfxCardStatus, so of course I'd recommend it over everything else. :) But like I said, it's all preference.
     
  15. dom.mason macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    #15
    I use it for a mid-June 2009 MBP with the nVidia 9400 and 9600GT. I used to find it a pain having to log out then back in to switch GPU but now I dont have to :).

    Probably the best app ive downloaded for ages. Found it just in time for when steam was released (don't have to log out to try portal :))

    Do you know when the above mentioned MBP model will be fully supported?
     
  16. Rithem macrumors 6502

    Rithem

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #16
    Great app Cody. Keep up the good work. I really like the small amount of space the app takes up and it pretty much tells me everything I need to know.
     
  17. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #17
    Thanks! :) I'm loving the whole Steam for Mac thing too...been waiting for that for absolutely forever. It's "fully supported" at this point, but I'm going to change the "n" icon for users of said systems to a "d" for discrete. Then the "i" will mean "integrated," rather than Intel as it does now. Power source-based switching is currently working in the prerelease version for these systems as well. Should be out in the near future!

    Thanks! :) That was the goal from the start - minimalism and staying out of the user's way. I'm glad you like it!
     
  18. Stepint0sh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #18
    I just downloaded this, the 9400 to 9600 is still experimental but very useful. Hopefully this will be out of experimental soon! Keep up the good work Cody!
     
  19. Dozerrox macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Location:
    Exeter
    #19
    As the developer is active and friendly on the boards, I'd say that's reason enough. He'll be aware of any problems quickly and looks eager to iron any issues. Easy win for me.

    PS Thanks Cody!
     
  20. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #20
    The main reason for the "(experimental)" tag was because I didn't know if it would work or not on said 9400M/9600M GT systems, as I don't have one to test with. That will be out of the next release, as I haven't had any reports of it not working or causing issues. So you can consider it basically complete. :)

    No problem! I like your reasoning. ;)
     
  21. Stepint0sh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #21
    Well I can confirm that it works, but there may be a note about the speed of which it switches. It's also best not to do any fast clicking or work while switching (even though you have to wait 5-10 seconds for it to switch). Maybe a future in-application notice/warning about this might be good.

    A very decent app (hell I even downloaded the source and adjusted some settings to make it even a more small application for personal needs!).

    Excellent works Cody!
     
  22. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #22
    I'm thinking about posting a FAQ soon to eliminate some of the more long-winded answers I have to give time and time again in emails that I'm sent regarding gfxCardStatus, and the GPU switching lag may be worth putting on there as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

    I'm glad you were able to customize it to your own specifications - that's one of the reasons I made it open-source. Happy hacking! :D
     
  23. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    I'm in a library at the moment where all the desks have all been taken so now I have to use my MBP on my lap. Thanks to the app, I've been able to knock the graphics down to the Intel and now my legs aren't cooking.

    Thanks Cody for saving my legs! Tiz a marvellous app!
     
  24. bitninja macrumors regular

    bitninja

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA, USA
    #24
    Glad I've saved you from some unneeded pain and discomfort! :)
     
  25. patrickf666 macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2010

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