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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Gizmodo spoke with NVIDIA representatives who confirmed a few interesting tidbits about the NVIDIA chipsets and GPUs that are found in the new MacBook Pro.

First of all, the new MacBook Pros are capable of switching from discrete to integrated GPUs "on-the-fly" without logging out. This should not come as much of a surprise, as there exists support for this real-time switching in Windows. So if and when Apple updates the drivers for the MacBook Pro, on-the-fly could be enabled. The benefit to this, of course, is when you move from word processing to playing a game, the GPU could switch from one to the other automatically without requiring a log-out.

More interesting, however, is the that the NVIDIA chipsets are capable of running both integrated and discrete GPUs simultaneously which would offer a large performance boost. There had been some debate about this capability before. Some of the confusion lies in NVIDIA's naming convention.

NVIDIA advertises two features under the marketing name "Hybrid SLI". The two features are:

Hybrid Power - which allows your to switch from one GPU to the other for better performance vs battery life. Apple's MacBook Pros do support this feature but presently require you to log out.
GeForce Boost - this is the feature that allows both GPUs to run simultaneously to provide even better performance (and presumably, even less battery life).

According to this most recent statement by NVIDIA representatives, the MacBook Pro's hardware is capable of both, but will need specific software support to be written by Apple.

Finally, NVIDIA confirms another interesting tidbit that had been circulating already. These new chipsets officially support 8GB of RAM. Prior to this, it appears MacBook Pros were limited to 4GB of RAM. This would be a welcome change for those who use their MacBook Pros for memory intensive tasks. This being said, we haven't yet heard of anyone who has successfully installed 8GB of RAM in their new MacBook Pro.

Article Link: MacBook Pro's NVIDIA Chipsets Can Support Dual GPU and 8GB RAM


macrumors member
Nov 1, 2003
OMG, i might just have to purchase a couple of these MPBs for my gaming rig.


macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
I think the on-the-fly switching will come. The current implementation clearly just seems like something they got working to get it out the door. I feel certain that will come in a future Mac OS X update.

The dual-GPU I would hope would come too, but that seems more up in the air. Maybe with Snow Leopard. Part of it depends on how common these NVIDIA chipsets become in Macs.



macrumors member
Oct 8, 2008
I figured this was the case. I'm still waiting for my new MBP to arrive (MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY!!!!). I'm sure the new version of OS will support this and we just need to wait for it to come out ;).


macrumors member
May 9, 2008
My guess would be right now Apple is obsessed with performance and stability. With these new chipsets, they could have been worried about either of these.

I would say that Snow Leopard will fully incorporate these methods sometime next year. It just seems to make way too much sense. With OpenCL and Grand Central, and the NVIDIA chipsets, Apple is planning on sending a HUGE performance boost all at once.

And I'll buy my MBP as soon as that happens.


macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2008
once again, it's a software update that will enable it. These features will definitely be available in snow leopard and possibly a point update for leopard. Nvidia and apple seem to have a good partnership. Interesting to see where the future leads.


Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
Twin Cities Minnesota
I like what I am seeing!

This makes me even more happy with being an early adopter, and trusting the company I have loved for over a decade ;) .

System still has it's less desirable components, but it is nice to know that this system "may" be more future proof than many gave it credit for. Now we just need to see if anyone can test 4GB DIMMs, and push manufacturers to make some affordable for these systems.

Thanks for the update!



macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
Seems like the iMac would be the ideal setup for using both an integrated GPU and dedicate GPU. Since battery life is not a factor, you could in theory gain significant improvements in both gaming and core-based applications (Aperture, Motion, etc).

Exciting times.


macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2008
Trinidad & Tobago
Awww Snap! :eek: Two at the same time! :eek: .....this one will shut PC users up for sure! :D

I really hope it turns out to be true! ....& do you'll realize how bad A$$ the new Mac Pros will be if they have "OpenCL and Grand Central, NVIDIA chipsets," plus 8 cores! dam*!!


macrumors member
Mar 21, 2004

I suspect that by June 2009, 4GB DIMMs will be as commonplace as 2GB sticks are now.

The amount of potential parallell processing in a NOTEBOOK that Apple might offer users with Snow Leopard kind of blows my mind.

Can't wait for my 2.8MBP to show up...!

Great info- thanks MacRumors!


macrumors regular
Awww Snap! :eek: Two at the same time! :eek: .....this one will shut PC users up for sure! :D

I really hope it turns out to be true! ....& do you'll realize how bad A$$ the new Mac Pros will be if they have "OpenCL and Grand Central, NVIDIA chipsets," plus 8 cores! dam*!!

Lol, there are sli (two gpu) windows laptops available for a couple of years already. Not to mention discrete + dedicated GPU were also available for some time on windows laptops bro.


macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2008
Curious why this feature wasn't ready to go on launch day:confused:

Ya i agree, this definately should have been out, but they are clearly behind, which was evident when they didn't release the 17 inch macbook guess quadcore processor baby!:D....Macworld 2009!!!!!!!!!
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