Graphics not switching to Intel HD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sjwright, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. sjwright macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2008

    I purchased a Macbook Pro 15" i7 last month, and since doing the migration (using the migration utility) from my old black macbook my graphics are stuck on the Nvidia graphics and is not switching to the Intel HD graphics.

    This is eating battery power like no tomorrow! Help!

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. sjwright thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2008

    Thanks for your reply, nice bit of software! Its installed and set to 'dynamic' on battery and plugged in, but on battery it is showing my mbp is still using the nvidia chip.

    Any ideas why this switch doesnt take place automatically? I can manually switch to intel but thats not ideal!

    Thanks in advance! really appreciate this help :)
  3. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    I'm using a late 08 MBP so I don't have personal experience with the Intel IGP and the GT 330M. However, from what I've read, most of the time, the Intel IGP is sufficient for day to day tasks.

    Personally, while I do like the idea of dynamic graphics switching, I've read that Apple didn't exactly do a great job of deciding which programs do or do not require discrete graphics. Hence, I think if I had your machine, I'd generally leave it on Intel unless I know I'm doing something graphics intensive. But that's me, and I do like some control of my own system.

    That being said, you may want to try doing SMC and PRAM resets and see if that resolves the issue. It could also just be that something you have open (possibly a page in Safari) that is triggering the discrete GPU.

    Also, have you tried switching to Intel graphics, logging out and back in, then setting it back to dynamic switching? Maybe it just needs a restart?

    Good luck!
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    @slwright I am guessing you don't really know how it works.
    Unlike the usual way where the system switches to integrated on battery Apple does so if there is App running (background or not doesn't matter) that uses certain graphic libraries.
    Even Skype does that and pretty much any browser besides Safari. Unless you only open a pdf viewer, safari and text program, it will always switch to Nvidia.
    gfxCardStatus even shows you which apps are preventing it from switching to intel if you set it to dynamic.

    The switching is not flawless as you usually have to restart apps to work properly. E.g. iphoto works pretty well with intel gpu but if you switch while it is running all the animations seems as if they are done in software.
    Also I am guessing Apple just wanted to go the safe route that still looks good in marketing. Intel drivers aren't the best and many of their graphic libraries have been Nvidia optimized due to previous years chipsets and they simply wanted to kind of make the use of intel GPU officially unsupported.

    I usually just leave it at force Intel unless I want a little more GPU for some reason. It is a messed up system the way it is now. I am guessing this will change with the advent of Sandy Bridge. If they want to make use of Intels QuickSync and all those pretty awesome features they need to be alot smarter about this switching.
    I personally think manual works fine too.
  5. croooow macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2004
    I have the 15" i7 as well. I loaded gfxCardStatus the day I received it and have been pretty surprised to see the little "n" on my menu bar for so many programs, even web browsers.

    I'm going to try switching it to "Intel Only" to see how much more battery life I get out of it.
  6. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    With gfxCardStatus, check what programs are launching the Nvidia card and then seek replacement software for it. Or

    You can set gfxCardstatus to always enable the Intel GPU and when on battery power and enable dynamic switching or the Nvidia card alone when it's on the power cord. This way you safe battery life but not loose power when it's on a power outlet :)

    ( that's how I set it up. When it's running on the battery, it automatically goes to the Intel GPU strictly. When it's plugged it, it's allowed to choose which GPU it wants to use ).
  7. sjwright thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2008
    hi all

    thanks for your replies, i just leave it on intel, its the only way i get decent battery life. gfxCardStatus is a reakky nice bit of kit, I do think apple should have at least made an effort to put something similar in system preferences themselves, ie in the energy saver pane to choose the intel graphics whilst on battery - just seems a little half arsed that they didnt give the option!

    Ah well at least there is the software out there! What happens with Windows 7 in boot camp? is there a windows equivalent that works with the mbp? I ask because my book keeping software is windows based, and I tend to do my books on the train so decent batt is a must for me!

    thank all

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