Resolved Slow performance on external cinema display... Is this a graphics card problem?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tinselworm, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. tinselworm, Mar 24, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012

    tinselworm macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012

    I have a 2.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 15". A few months ago I purchased a refurbished 24 inch LED Cinema Display.

    I do a lot of music production using Ableton Live but I noticed I can't expand the Ableton window to the full resolution (edge to edge) of the cinema display because Ableton's performance becomes very sluggish (works fine on the MacBook Pro screen)

    Up until recently I assumed that this was a problem with Ableton, but I recently upgraded to Final Cut Pro X and found similar problems when expanding Final Cut Pro to use the full space of the cinema display.

    I'm now wondering ... is it possible the graphics card in my MacBook Pro isn't up to powering the cinema display? Although this doesn't quite make sense as the MacBook Pro is circa Jan 2010 and I believe the cinema display is too. It's unlikely Apple would have made a Mac that couldn't power a display of the same age... right?!
    By the way, the MacBook Pro has 8gb RAM, so this isn't a RAM issue.

    Any thoughts?

    EDIT: I can resize the windows of most applications without a problem
  2. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    It's possible I guess eh, is that the model that has to be logged out to switch graphics cards? What graphics settings do you have in energy saver in system prefs?
  3. tinselworm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Oooh, thanks. I never realised this setting existed. Yes it looks like I need to log out to switch graphics card settings in Energy Saver.

    It's an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB card by the way.

    Prefs are currently set to 'Better Battery Life' rather than 'Higher Performance' so I'll change this and try again.
  4. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    Sweet as, yeah it's good being able to switch those manually when you need them for sure. The higher performance card should be a good step up from the 9400
  5. tinselworm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Oh. My. :O

    Gobsmacked. Thank you!

    We've been trying to solve this on the Ableton forums for 3 months. No one thought to mention this. Your tip solved the problem instantly.

    One thing I'm confused about... you mention "the higher performance card". Are you saying there's a seperate graphics card in the display? (I know very little about this stuff!)
  6. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    Haha no worries, yeah your computer has two graphics cards in it not the display, most people never know that and just leave it on the factory setting which I'm pretty sure is the energy saving one. When you change to higher performance it logs you out and back in on the more powerful card. The new MBPs do this automatically now so people probably didn't think to suggest it on the Ableton forums
  7. tinselworm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Got it! I had no idea. I was genuinely considering upgrading to a new MBP to solve the problem ( I snapped off a headphone jack in the headphone socket after about 3 months of owning this particular mac, so I've been looking for a reason to sell it ever since. And yes — I've tried literally everything to get the little bugger out of there, nothing has worked)
    Oh well, looks like I'll be holding on to it for a while longer now anyway :D

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