The impact of dedicated GPU on MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CookieFlow, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. CookieFlow, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016

    CookieFlow macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #1
    Hello !

    Like many of us here, I'm waiting for the 2016 MBP and I am currently having to borrow a friends MBA or else I would have no computer for university. I am scared that if I don't order the new models right after their announcement I will have to wait 4-8 weeks to get one and I have to order via Apple to get my student discount.

    Obviously there is a lot of speculations since we don't know much about the 2016 model but from what I read in previous versions, the dGPU kicks in for very basic tasks like Office, a couple of tabs on Chrome, video streaming like twitch or 4K Youtube etc tasks that the Iris would have no problem dealing with.
    Resulting in a lot more heat and much lower battery life. I read about gfxCardStatus but it doesn't seem to always work properly and feels like a clunky solution.
    I wouldn't need the dGPU 95% of the time, but I would really like the 512 GB SSD and those 5% of time I would really like to be able to play some games.
    But if that means more fan noise, more heat and lower battery life I am not sure it's worth it.
    On the other hand, paying 250€ more and the difference between the speculated Iris vs RX480M is pretty huge but after hearing about all the "horror" stories of the dGPU I have having second thoughts...

    If anybody wants to share their opinion, it would be greatly appreciated !
    Thanks !!
     
  2. jdasikainen macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    Mar 4, 2016
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    Bald Knob Arkansas
    #2
    i had a 2012 macbook pro with the gtx m 1gb and it was fine only kicked in when i opened like final cut, photoshop or somthing otherwise demanding like a video game. now if you install bootcamp it will always use the dedicated gpu and will ignore the intel card
     
  3. dk808 macrumors 6502a

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    May 13, 2015
  4. jdasikainen macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #4
    ya but with the cost of upgrading to the 512 you might as well get it with the dedicated gnu after you add it its pretty close in price so id still say go dedicated gpu. i bet the rx480m will be a nice gnu
     
  5. dk808 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    If you don't need the gpu why even get it? It's just gonna be annoying when it constantly switches fans
     
  6. jerryk macrumors 68040

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    SF Bay Area
    #6
    I hardly ever hear the fan on my 2015 15" rMBP with dGPU. I only hear the fans running when i am doing something heavy duty like training models or running 3D models.
     
  7. JackieInCo macrumors 603

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    Colorado
    #7
    I bought the 2015 15" MBP with the dGPU just for the 16GB RAM and the 512GB SSD. I rarely have it switch to the dGPU but when it does, the fans spin up to the maximum and it can be annoying.The only app that I have that uses the dGPU is the photos app. For some reason it uses the dGPU and I have noticed it switches back to the built in one as soon as I close that app.

    Other than that one app, it never uses the dGPU for my uses.
     
  8. CookieFlow thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #8
    Alright thank you very much guys !
    It seems the dGPU wasn't an issue with recent MBP.

    @dk808 As others said, the cost after having upgraded SSD to the dGPU is not that much, and I would really appreciate the dGPU sometimes but since I would need it for less than 5% of my usage if it gets in the way then I would forget about it but if recent MBP have no issues with it might as well enjoy a bit of games from time to time !

    @JackieInCo When you say you have it switch to the dGPU and when you "notice" it changes to the iGPU do you do that with gfxCardStatus or is it only because you can hear the fans? Because the fans kick in to the max on my MBA when I load twitch for example.

    @JackieInCo and @jerryk so you can confirm that having like 4-5 tabs in Safari//Chrome opened, one of them being like twitch or youtube and having something like Office opened at the same time will not kick in your dGPU?
     
  9. maflynn, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #9
    If you want to play the occasional game, then the dGPU is definitely the one you want, Macs specifically MBPs are not gaming machines and so if you can help the performance along with a dGPU then go for it.

    It seems the GPU issues are now behind apple, 2012 models and beyond seem solid and problem free (knocks on wood)
     
  10. jerryk macrumors 68040

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    SF Bay Area
    #10
    I don't use twitch, don't use chrome or safari much, use firefox. But I often have multiple tabs open and one is often YouTube. Also use Office. And some development tool like R Studio. No real issue with the fans.
     
  11. CookieFlow thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 4, 2015
    #11
    @maflynn Thanks for the info ! Lets knock on wood for the 2016 version then !

    @jerryk Thanks for the confirmation ! That would be my main use having a couple of Tabs opened, an IDE and maybe Office or something in the background.

    Ready to spend all my money on the maxed out model then !
     
  12. JackieInCo macrumors 603

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    Colorado
    #12
    Browsing the web won't make the dGPU switch on. The only time I have noticed the MBP use the dGPU is when I opened an app that needed it such as Photos. Safari won't use it, Firefox won't use it and Chrome won't. There was a bug in Chrome once that was making it use the dGPU but that was quickly fixed.

    It took me several days to realize that the photos app was using the dGPU. I couldn't figure out why the fans were at full RPM constantly for those few days. I would exit out of my open browsers and any open apps and then after awhile, the fans would spin back up again. Activity monitor will show you what graphics card the MBP is currently using.

    many times using Safari and when I am scrolling down a very long page or a graphics heavy page such as Instagram, the fans will spin up but again, that does not use the dGPU. Certain videos will also make the fans spin up.

    If fan noise bothers you, this MBP may not be the one for you.

    I use my MBP to convert videos that I download from the web using iFlicks so that I can watch them on my ATV and the fans will spin up on maximum RPM then as well and again, the dGPU is not used for that.

    In the screen cap below, I opened the photos app just to show you what activity monitor shows when the dGPU is being used.

    Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 9.27.34 AM.png
     
  13. JackieInCo macrumors 603

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    Also, the fans are always spinning on the 15" MBP. Usually they are quiet and you won't start to hear them until they get around 2900RPM. I use iStat Menus which displays the fan speed next to the clock at the top of the screen. The drop down in iStat Menus will show this:

    Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 11.01.33 AM.png
     
  14. CookieFlow thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #14
    @JackieInCo Thank you so much for taking the time to do this <3

    That is good to know! I was mostly concerned about the dGPU kicking in during basic tasks because I would really like to have my 8 hours of battery life for a full University day and heard that when the dGPU is on it cuts down the battery life drastically, which would mean having to take the charger with me.
    As far as the fans goes, it's more I was always surprised how loud they get (at least on the MBA) during light weight tasks. When playing like Hearthstone on my 2014 i7 MBA I can cook eggs on it and dry my hands with the fans...
    Same when watching an HD stream, the fans tend to kick in very loudly which can be a bit annoying.

    Well in any case, with the redesign and probably different heat dissipation system things will probably be a bit different, but as long as the dGPU doesn't suck my battery life on basic tasks I will be happy !
     

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