How do I switch between discrete and integrated GPUs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mynewromantica, May 28, 2010.

  1. mynewromantica macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    #1
    I know the Macbook Pros have 2 GPUs but how do I choose which one to use? Or does it choose on it's own?
     
  2. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #2
    It chooses on its own depending on the needs of the program...
    There are apps available to force the use of either chip...
    gfxCardStatus is a good one...there are others...
     
  3. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    #3
    It chooses on its own and I'd personally leave it that way.
     
  4. dsprimal macrumors 6502a

    dsprimal

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    #4
    theres a reason why apple installed automatic switching :rolleyes:
     
  5. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000

    wirelessmacuser

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    Planet.Earth
    #5
    While I might not like or agree with the way auto switching chooses which graphics subsystem to use. I trust Apples design & engineering expertise.
     
  6. Nexcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    Can someone please tell me where I can see, which GPU is in use?

    Thanks. :)
     
  7. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #7
    GPUInfoMenu, gfxcardstatus or any other addons
     
  8. Nexcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #8
    Thanks!

    I've installed GFX Card Status. However, i dont get it.. It tells me "N" for the 330GT GFX and all i am running is a browser and some streaming music. Even if i close it all down, it remains on nvidia.. Whats up with that?

    I can tell that you can switch between the GPUs yourself via GFX Card Status, is that recommended or should i leave the system to do so?..

    I find it quite anoyning that it wont run on HD graphics when i just surf the web and make other small tasks.. :eek:
     
  9. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #9
    Switch to battery power and see if it switches to the integrated.
     
  10. patrixl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #10

    That means you have another application running that is activating the nVidia card. Tweetie, Kiwi, Clips, RapidWeaver, have all done it for me. There are many more that do it. Not to mention using an external monitor.

    Hey even Google Chrome, as soon as you download something it will activate the nvidia to display the fade-in-fade-out arrow to show you the download bar, and the nvidia will stay active until you quit Chrome.
     
  11. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #11
    So how can this "auto switching" be a Feature, from what's been written on the topic it sounds more like a flaw?
     
  12. patrixl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #12
    It's a feature because the Mac will automatically chose the high-performance video card when needed, and use the low-power card otherwise. This is great!

    The only flaw comes from the fact that it switches too often to the nVidia card, which eats up the battery life, so we either have to force it to the Intel card manually, or monitor our app usage, or live with the poorer battery life..

    As a feature it's great, just needs some tweaking to how it choses which card, I suppose. Right now it's as soon as some core APIs that deal with graphics are accessed, the switch happens. Maybe that's too extreme lol.

    Patrix.
     
  13. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #13
    Agreed, the concept is great. I wonder if Apple will put out an update to either correct the problem of it choosing the discrete card more often than necessary or allow the user to control which card, for example: On / Off / Auto - that would be the best!
     
  14. mingoglia macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    #14
    If you're using gfxcardstatus it will tell you when you click on it (and the "n" is showing) what's keeping it on "n". Sometimes you didn't actually close the application and it's running in the background. I've seen sometimes it take up to 30 seconds to switch back to Intel as well.

    With regards to auto-switching I personally think Apple did a pretty good job. I think it works well. There are some things though that when I'm on battery and will be using them for awhile that I'll force it to Intel. For example, I use VMWare Fusion ALOT. If I have to be in it for an extended period of time disconnected I'll switch it to Intel. It works fine on Intel, it's just a bit less smooth if you're dragging around a Unity window but works fine in every other way.
     
  15. patrixl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #15
    Yeah, right now in power saving you can either set it to auto or not auto, but it doesn't say which one it chooses when it's not auto.

    Enter gfxcardstatus, as the previous poster just explained, which is great!

    Patrix.
     
  16. Nexcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #16
    I found out, that Microsoft Messenger is the one calling for nVidia GPU. As soon as i close it down, it changes to Intel HD GPU. After installing Adium instead, i stays on Intel HD.

    Microsoft.. :eek:
     
  17. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    #17
    You can't. Steve Jobs and his engineers are smarter than you and will do it for you when they believe you need it. Just sit back and let them drive.
     
  18. patrixl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #18

    As soon as an application uses one of OpenGL, OpenCL, Quartz Composer, Core Animation and Core Graphics (IIRC), it will activate the nVidia GPU. Even MS Office 2004's background updated daemon will activate it! I think anything using Rosetta (for PPC code) will use them and activate the nVidia GPU.. So it's not really MS's fault, they're just using the nice APIs Apple provided, as they should!

    Patrix.
     
  19. Nexcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #19
    Thanks for clarifying that. ;)
     

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