Interesting GPU observation with 2011 MBP.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by revelated, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. revelated macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    I disabled auto graphics switching as I wanted to see what the battery life impact would be. At the end of my test, I'm left wondering what the exact benefit of using the Intel chip really is.

    When using the graphics switching the temperature during basic web browsing is around 45 to 50 degrees. When using the Radeon only, it's between 42-44 degrees. That just seems odd to me.

    Also, on an up note, it seems like the battery life isn't even negatively impacted by using the Radeon chip. I got the same ~7 hours on basic usage.

    There also have been stories of the graphics switching causing issues again as with the 2010 line and the nVidia chips. At this point I don't know what to think. I mean isn't the Intel the one that's on the same dye with the CPU?
  2. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    disabling auto graphics switching in system preferences forces the use of the dedicated card.
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I believe that you see the higher temps with the intel GPU simply because it is on the same die as the CPU. (I assume you're looking at CPU temps). I'm sure you would see a bigger difference if you were doing anything graphically intensive between the two.
  4. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    Well considering the IGP is on the CPU die this makes perfect sense.
  5. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    Obviously. But I guess the root of my confusion is why the Intel should ramp the CPU's temperature, even by that much, when it's underpowered compared to the Radeon. I also question why/how battery life is unaffected using the dedicated GPU when Apple claims that the use of the Intel chip is where your power savings comes in.
  6. Stiksi macrumors regular


    Dec 7, 2007
    I get 2-4 hours with the discrete GPU and 5-6 with the indiscrete.
  7. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    The intel GPU changes the temp when it is in use because it produces a considerable amount of heat by itself. Add that to the CPU heat and you get a higher temp. While the discrete card is in use, it is off and not adding to the heat for the CPU. If you're not using a whole lot of power, the discrete card won't use a whole lot of power either. It will still use a little more than the intel, but probably not a ton.
  8. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    just a thought on your testing, people say that chrome and firefox automatically switch to the discrete card; if you're not already doing so, you might want to use gfxcardstatus (?) to verify which card is in use during your tests.

    can you point me to where you saw people making parallels between the 2011 graphics and the 2010 graphics problems (freezing) nightmare?
  9. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    I know for a fact that both Chrome and Firefox use the dedicated card. Firefox is what I use, and it's always used the dedicated card for whatever reason.

    As far as the graphics issues, just search the forum as well as the Apple forums. To start with:
  10. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    without the switching utility to control it, i was getting 2-3 hours less battery life running the dedicated graphics card just doing net surfing.

    The bottom of the laptop was also much hotter.
  11. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    F. * C. K. i waited out the 2010 model, having no production machine for over a year, because the i5/i7s were freezing! (and i refused to buy a C2D 13" @1280x800.)

    when the 2011s were released, i started checking them out and found the thermal paste issue:

    i was freaked, but, honestly, after waiting so long, i was gonna risk it; buy a machine, stress test it, return it if it seemed fishy; and a lot of people said their machines were fine, temps were normal.

    when i saw the thread you linked to, i was relieved and was just about to come back here and tell you to stop spreading unfounded panic; it amounts to only a handful of complaints.

    ... then i did a search, and found a link to this:



    (note: i have not read through these carefully yet.)

    i was possibly going to order a comp very soon. now, i have to READ and READ, AGAIN and AGAIN, and DECIDE again, what i am going to do. i wish there were something comparable to the Mac; Apple has really dropped the ball! I NEED A COMP!!!

    s:(rry, needed to vent.

    thanks for the info.
  12. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    They use the dedicated card because they call graphics power with WebGL and OSX automatically thinks they need the dedicated card. I just force (2010 model, I would assume the same works with 2011) the Intel card at all times except when I know I need the additional power. Chrome (Release and Beta) and Firefox (3 and 4 Beta) both run perfectly fine on the Intel GPU.
  13. DudeMartin macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2010
    Chicago, Illinois
    The dedicated probably runs cooler because it can scale to needs better.

    A guy that is really fit and works out a lot uses more calories by default, but when he has to actually do exercise, he will use less calories than the guy who is unfit but would use less calories doing nothing.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the dedicated ran cooler playing a game on low settings than the integrated did on the same settings.
  14. SPEEDwithJJ macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2008
    If you need a new MBP now, I would just go ahead & buy one. In the unlikely event that yours has got a problem, I'm very sure Apple will be happy & willing to fix it for you. :)

    Good luck. :)
  15. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    You're worrying too much. Don't forget the cardinal rule of web forums – it's generally only the people with problems who post them. The hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers generally do not.

    I've used over a dozen different Macs and never had issues on any single one of them. I would wager that's the same for most other Mac owners.
  16. nebulos, Mar 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

    nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    ... thanks guys; i know, and do i agree with you, in fact. i just panicked.

    sorry about the hijack!
  17. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    By all means don't let it panic you, just make sure you inspect it and run it through its paces. Make full use of your 14 days and MAKE SURE. Return it for another one if you find issues.

    While it is true that "only the ones with issues post", the reality is, the 2011 seems even more prone to issues than the previous gen. This is the first gen where I've actually had to do an exchange, in my case due to dead pixels and uneven backlighting (it's still uneven, but not nearly as bad as the last one). It also was getting extremely hot, like up to 50 degrees C idling, where this one peaks at about 43-45 idling. A small change, but when talking about idling, I'd rather have a cooler computer than a hot one.
  18. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    agreed on the 14 days

    ... of course, problems can arise on the 15th day.

    honestly, i'm stuck. again. i was already stuck (because really i wanted a high res 13, but was forced into the 15 range, which easily becomes the high end 15, and twice the price of a 13!). the fact that these things are of uncertain build quality doesn't help, and after waiting so long because of the 2010 issues, is just really, really depressing.

    i can't bring myself to buy a non-mac.

    i can't bring myself to buy a mac.

    if i don't buy a computer soon, i will seriously begin to consider the possibility that i am crazy. (many others have already) ... the thing is, it makes perfect sense to me!!! (which is precisely when you know you're crazy.)

  19. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    I haven't read everything you posted, so I don't know the full details of your story, but if you're worried about the 2011, why not look for a 2010 refurb?

    Unless you REALLY need the extra power, the 2010 15" base model is still an extremely competent and awesome machine.
  20. revelated thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    If a problem arises on the 15th day, it doesn't mean you're stuck. It just means you can't get it swapped for a brand new one; rather, that you have to get it fixed. You still are under the 1 year AppleCare warranty. If it's bad enough they will exchange it. Just make sure not to spill anything on it.
  21. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    You know, for every day you wait we are all enjoying our fabulous new machines, right?

    Stop freaking out. Go shopping. Now.

  22. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    thanks for the suggestions and encouragement folks. i appreciate it!

    i didn't want to be a whiner when the 2011s came out, so i didn't get a tattoo on my face saying so, but: damn, i wish they made a high res 13!

    i would have bought one immediately, very happily, no sweat.

    i've said this elsewhere, and i mean no offense, but i can't understand how people can read on the standard res 13 and 15 screens. the ppi coupled with Apple's font smoothing makes text so fuzzy i feel like i can feel myself going blind while i (try to) read. many are happy with those screens, and i truly envy them; i've looked at the 13 a thousand times and decided i couldn't deal with it, then gone back a few days later, and so on, and so on. (i've gone so far as considering buying the 13 and using it mostly in clamshell mode.) (... i guess i'm still considering that saddest of plans.)

    as it is with the res, i really could only go 15" or Air. but i want to do music and also graphics stuff, so, as much as i have tried to delude myself into believing it, the current Airs are just not for me. (though the 11 wields some sort of dark magical cuteness power that almost convinces me it can do anything my little heart desires!)

    that leaves the 15, at a starting price of $1800 (student + high res). but if you're spending that much, why not go SSD, which means, why not go high end 15, which means $2200 plus tax = DEATHBYNUMBERSTOTHEBRAINANDHEART. (a high res 13 'would have been' a THOUSAND DOLLARS less. ... i know, without SSD, dedicated GPU, etc., but i could have very happily lived without that stuff.)

    long story short, i'm picky, but i'm cheap (and not exactly wealthy!); i know its an investment. and, truly, the 'every day i wait' argument is really the most convincing one; it almost worked on me just now! either way, it certainly added some of the last critical drops to the DO IT bucket. thanks.


    ... i'll get back to you with the verdict, etc.!
  23. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    There is just a lot to be said for taking internet reviews with grains of salt. The reality is that millions of these machines will be sold per year. The overwhelming majority of them will be problem free and people will just go about their day using their machines.

    The frustrated people who complain about problems are the vocal minority, but it can be scary if you spend a lot of time searching for problems and find those people's rants.

    Apple isn't infallible (though the fanbois would tell you otherwise). I've had problems on two of my Macs, including the nVidia graphic card failure on my 2007 MBP and the hinge problem on my 2002 iBook.

    Apple fixed both no questions asked... at no expense to me. I buy Apple products with no hesitation because of this.

    If I added up all the Apple products in my family, in my history, and in my circle of friends I'd say I've encountered problems less than 1% of the time. As I mentioned above, those problems were corrected with excellent customer service.

    Seriously, buy what you can reasonably afford and enjoy. :)
  24. 2Turbo, Mar 15, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011

    2Turbo macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2011
    I'm a little concerned about buying my first Apple too. One thing I always did with my PC's is fully stress test them with MemTest, Prime95, HDTune, etc. for at least a few days. Guess I'll have to learn which programs do this on OS X.

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