How to force rMBP to keep Iris Pro instead of 750M when using Photoshop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fs454, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. fs454 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'd normally search but it's currently down, I'm trying to not have the dedicated GPU turn on pretty much at all while I'm on battery, but I enough random work in Photoshop that I have it open more often than not. I've noticed, however, that whenever PS is running, I seem to get like, 2-3 hours of battery life no matter if I'm using it or not and I'm thinking its the dGPU being enabled (which it is, about this mac shows Iris Pro with PS not running and 750M with PS running and idling).


    I remember it being talked about before, but what's the tweak I can run to force the onboard graphics to stay active instead, and does it work with the Haswell models? I'm about to board a plane tomorrow for a family emergency across the country and need to finish up the work that I'm going to be displaced for while on the plane - 2-3 hours won't cut it for battery life.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. bravo.ftwftw macrumors member

    bravo.ftwftw

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    #2
    Unfortunately you can't force. I have tried to turn dGPU off using gfx to disable dGPU. It wouldn't let me.
     
  3. nealh macrumors 6502

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  4. fs454 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Seriously? I wonder if it will happen at some point with an update - what was the utility called?


    That's nearly a deal breaker for me and unfortunately I'm beyond the 14-day return window. I aaaaalways build/buy the most specced out computer I can because I do a wide range of tasks (After Effects, Premiere, gaming, some light 3D modeling are my heaviest) but if I can't run even Photoshop without the battery life dropping by two thirds, I'd rather have the Iris Pro-only model. Battery life is huge for me - I wish the 13" Air would get a Retina display already.


    What happens if I uncheck "Automatic graphics switching" in energy saver? does it just force dGPU all the time?
     
  5. bravo.ftwftw macrumors member

    bravo.ftwftw

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    #5
    Call Apple Customer Service and see what they can do. Tell them you misplaced the return label.
     
  6. Blue Sun macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Download gfxCardStatus, close ALL applications. Then using gfxCardStatus, force the Integrated GPU. Then open PS or any other application. The dGPU will remain unengaged.
     
  7. fs454 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7

    This seems to be working. I've got PS open on battery with "Integrated only" checked and it seems to be holding it from picking the dedicated GPU. Whether the system still powers it up or not is yet to be seen by how much runtime I get doing semi-light stuff.

    Thanks guys, I really would return this thing and wait yet another generation as I'm already not so impressed by the battery life. Hopefully this fix works for me long term.
     
  8. commac macrumors regular

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    #8
    If the Air get a retina it will likely get all the problems the retina machines are facing. Pushing that many pixels is intensive for the GPU which leads to choppiness (could also be software incompatibility) and weaker battery performance.

    Retina sure is pretty but seemingly not ready for prime time.
     
  9. c1phr macrumors 6502

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    #9
    You're going to get less battery life in general simply because the CPU doesn't get much chance to power down in Photoshop. That being said, the new Activity Monitor should canonically tell which graphics card is in use if you go to the Energy tab and look in the middle section at the bottom of the window.
     
  10. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    #10
    Yep. But you don't need to close all apps, just the ones listed as using the dGPU in gfxCardStatus.

    Also if it's not sticking for some people, I've noticed that you sometimes have to click on "Integrated Only" in gfxCardStatus more then once to get it to stick.
     
  11. fs454 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Right, but I shouldn't have to automatically halve my battery time just by having Photoshop open and inactive in the background on top of the increased CPU usage, which is what the auto-switch to the dGPU was seemingly doing.


    This is true, but at the same time, the rMBP 13" is 2560x1600 - i don't think it's unreasonable to ask a computer with hardware like the Air's to drive a display at that resolution. The choppiness is unfortunate but it's gotten a lot better as of late, and I think that's mostly software. It'll come in due time, I guess!
     
  12. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #12
    If battery life is such a huge issue for you, why are you leaving Photoshop open in the background? Even at idle, the more applications you have running, the more your CPU is being utilized. Quit everything you don't want specifically running.
     
  13. fs454 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    It's the principle of the matter, I want full control over when my computer fires up a power-hungy component so that I don't have to change the way I work. I realize that any extra application running is an extra CPU hit, but there's no reason for an idling photoshop to require a totally new component to be powered up and sucking extra power.

    If my 2010 Macbook Air can last nearly its full five hours with PS and a couple documents open (but not always being worked on), there's no reason my $2800 rMBP can't do the same. It's all a part of my workflow, I don't want to have to quit and decide whether I want to save the changes for 10 different documents or go and find them again when I start it up.
     
  14. c1phr macrumors 6502

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    #14
    GPU switching happens when certain graphics libraries get called, and Photoshop utilizes OpenGL to improve performance. The solution to this problem was Nvidia Optimus on Windows, and it never worked correctly. Apple chose to implement a solution that was simplest for average users, since simple is what they're all about.

    The only other thing that you can try is to go to Preferences > Performance in Photoshop. In the bottom right corner (in CS6), there are some graphics settings that you can try playing with. Unfortunately, that will move the processing to the CPU rather than the Iris Pro. Hopefully Adobe can address that themselves.
     
  15. leman macrumors 604

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    #15
    You could petition Adobe to implement an option of choosing the iGPU instead of the dGPU. It is literally five lines of code.
     
  16. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

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    #16
    this is right. A retina 13" macbook air IS a retina macbook pro. I don't know why logic flies out the window here.
     
  17. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #17
    You're correct that it makes logical sense for PS not to require the discrete GPU to be active if its only idling. From what I understand, though, it's not as easy as that. The application in question must initialize with whatever GPU it's going to use. Photoshop relies heavily on the GPU, so it makes sense for it to use the more powerful one. It can't switch between GPUs as it is running, so it MUST use the more powerful one every time. If I am incorrect, someone please correct me, but this is how it works as I understand it. Thus, it actually makes perfectly good sense for Photoshop at idle to require the 750M to be active.

    That's like saying if your $20k Civic can get 30 mpg, your $90k Ferrari should too. The MBA is built specifically for long battery life, while the rMBP is not. You can't expect the same thing from both. Otherwise, why are there different products? As to saving changes, you shouldn't have to make that decision either since you should save it anyway if you know you'll be done with it for a while. Recent items takes care of you needing to find the document again.

    I understand you have a workflow to work with, and that makes sense. However, you can't expect that if your workflow is inherently not energy efficient that the hardware should be able to do things it can't to make your workflow more energy efficient.
     
  18. fs454, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013

    fs454 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18


    ..Then why am I seeing much improved battery life by controlling it myself? The Iris Pro alone is fine for 90% of my tasks while I'm away from an outlet, even in Photoshop. If it wasn't, Apple wouldn't be selling a $2000 15" model with just Iris Pro. I keep the dGPU for gaming and for AE work.

    It's more like having a Civic and a Ferarri built into one that uncontrollably transforms whenever it sees fit between Civic and Ferarri. All I want is control, and gfxCardStatus seems to be doing the job.

    I've more recently discovered that Dreamweaver calls the dedicated GPU as well. Dreamweaver, a web coding application that's not even retina-ready, wants me to use the dedicated GPU at all times. All the more reason to want control - and if I need it for heavy HTML5 animation, pop the dGPU on.
     
  19. luffytubby macrumors 6502a

    luffytubby

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    #19
    I don't think broadwell will fix this. at all. All that has happened with battery saving features is that they have gotten better at saving power when your not doing much. the battery havent been improved when playing games or running adobe applications like photoshop for many years. just like in 2005 you still burn through a battery in an hour or two at high usage. the battery savings come from light work loads.
     
  20. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a

    SomeGuyDude

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    #20
    The thing is, at higher resolutions it requires more power as well as more energy consumption. So you'd need beefier hardware, which leads to a drop in battery life. At that point, what's the difference between the MBA and the MBPr?

    To my understanding, the MBA was always the laptop to get when you need the ultimate in portability and longevity, which means less oomph to the hardware.
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #21
    Disabled graphics switching would mean discrete only. The 3D modeling and any 3D paint work would arguably make far better use of the 750m. Photoshop just need much from the gpu, and I'm a little surprised Adobe didn't provide a plugin or framework to help with this. They have handled other issues like that in the past.
     
  22. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

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    #22
    i'm so frustrated by posters who keep wishing a macbook air has a retina display. THIS PRODUCT ALREADY EXISTS. IT'S CALLED THE rMBP 13"

    jeez.
     
  23. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Because you're forcing it to use a less power hungry component, but it still can't compare to an air. To go with the analogy I'm using, it's like disabling half the cylinders on a Ferrari. You'll get better gas mileage (and less power) than with all cylinders firing, but the Civic still wins in mileage.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, far from it.

    Yes, it's a good solution to your problem. My main point was that you were saying your Air could last so long, so why can't your Pro, and that's what I was talking about. You can clearly extend your battery life by forcing the integrated card to be used.

    I do find it odd that Dreamweaver calls the 750M. Must be a library it uses.

    ----------

    Have you held an Air and a 13" rMBP in each hand? The Air is still much thinner and lighter.
     
  24. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #24
    Yeah I do this on my early 2013 rMBP all the time...I either have it selected as Discrete Only or Integrated Only as I like to have control over it, sometimes I forget and I'll accidently open a massive Photoshop/FCP/AE file with the iGPU and wonder why its lagging, I just close the app and switch it back...but the iGPU is fine for basic adjustments. I noticed with gfxCardStatus you have to select Integrated Only twice, so select it in the menu then open it again and select it again to make it "stick", maybe a bug but its not that bad.
     
  25. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    #25
    Well, it is Dreamweaver. :p It's a super outdated app and it's made by Adobe who has never been known for their good UIs or OS integration.
     

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