Question on Automatic Graphic Switching

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Yaboze, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Yaboze macrumors 6502a

    Yaboze

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    The Garden State
    #1
    I did a search here and on Google and I couldn't find the answer I was looking for (because I know someone is going to chide me for it). :eek:

    Anyway, I have a Late '11 MBP and it's using the Intel right now, but it's supposed to switch to AMD when a graphics program needs it? How does this work? I know I can go into the Energy settings and make it use the discreet, but I'm not understanding how this works.

    If I run WoW, will it switch? What is the threshold for it kick in?

    I'd almost prefer if it used descreet on AC and integrated on battery, but I haven't seen how to do this.
     
  2. Mersailios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #2
    Mac OS X will switch to the discrete graphics processor in your MacBook Pro when an application relies on a specific graphics framework.

    For example, applications which use OpenGL will cause the computer to switch to the discrete graphics processor -- such applications include (but are not limited to) World of Warcraft, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

    To find out more information on automatic graphics switching, please see http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4044.

    There is a third party application called gfxCardStatus which allows you to force the computer to use a specific graphics card, however it can cause crashes in some cases depending on the applications that you are using.

    Hope that helps, have a great day!
     
  3. chenks macrumors 6502a

    chenks

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Does that mean if I use Google Chrome (v15) as my primary browser (which I do), that I will always be using discrete graphics?
     
  4. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #4
    Ah wait, that's interesting. Does this mean that if you run Chrome as main browser, you will always have reduced battery life?

    Does this mean in general that Chrome will reduce battery life compared to Safari, even on my old MBP that only has a discrete graphics?

    Does Chrome run on the MBA or 13'' MBP?

    This would be a reason to wait for Ivy, since it's integrated graphics is supposed to support OpenGL
     
  5. tusctodd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #5
    "There is a third party application called gfxCardStatus which allows you to force the computer to use a specific graphics card."

    Use this utility. You can set it to use your AMD GPU when plugged in and your Intel GPU when on battery.

    I've used it for years, never had a crash/problem with it.

    Regards
     
  6. Mersailios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #6
    That is correct, Google Chome will cause your computer to switch to using its discrete graphics processor due to the use of OpenGL.

    1. Google Chrome can reduce battery life on MacBook Pro computers that have both integrated and discrete graphics processors due to forcing the use of the discrete graphics processor, whereas Safari tends to use the integrated graphics processor.
    2. Yes, Google Chrome will run without any issues on the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
    3. The integrated graphics processors that ship with Macintosh computers do support OpenGL, however on models that have discrete graphics processors (such as the Mid 2010 and Early/Late 2011 MacBook Pro), applications that utilize frameworks such as OpenGL will cause the computer to switch to the discrete graphics processor for better performance.
     
  7. Yaboze thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Yaboze

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    The Garden State
    #7
    Thanks, some really good info. I just checked, as I am running Chrome and it was using the AMD.
     
  8. chenks macrumors 6502a

    chenks

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    So is this an issue with Chrome? If so, should it be using discrete or could it easily get away with using integrated?
     
  9. chenks macrumors 6502a

    chenks

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    The official Twitter app for OSX also forces a switch to Discrete as well!
    FFS! At this rate there's no point in me even having the benefit of on-board GPU as it'll never switch to it !
     
  10. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Location:
    Alabama
    #10
    pretty much huh?! the ONLY time I use my AMD GPU is when I'm running final cut pro, OR lightroom. Other than that, I ALWAYS use the intel card.
     
  11. Mersailios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #11
    I'm not 100% certain as I've never seen the actual code for Google Chrome, however I'd imagine that it should be possible for it to use the integrated graphics processor. That being said, I believe it has been designed specifically to use the discrete graphics processor for better rendering performance.
     
  12. chenks macrumors 6502a

    chenks

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    i assume you are manually switching though?
    user interaction shouldn't be required to override apps that force discrete when they shouldn't be.
     
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #13
    Sometimes I don't get why people think everything is so complicated.
    Premise -> You know Chrome runs fine on the 13 MBP/A.
    conclusio -> it doesn't need high end AMD graphics

    Always force the Intel GPU unless you run some game or rendering software, or similar intensive GPGPU/OpenGL stuff, or an external screen. For everything else the AMD GPU is not needed and only creates a lot of heat and makes the notebook louder.

    HTML5 acceleration in Chrome for videos is even better with the Intel GPU, while the decode path for AMD and Nvidia GPUs is still too much in software. For the faster GPUs Flash is the better optimized option.
    Use the Intel GPU it will yield you better or equal performance in just about any scenario you use a browser in.
     

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