What's triggering 650M?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zachnelson, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. zachnelson macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    So, if I check "About this Mac" it shows me running the 650M, even right after a boot... :confused:

    Currently running Safari (macrumors only), Mail, iTunes, Terminal, Activity Monitor and System Preferences..
  2. polygoo macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    I've noticed this too, it seems a lot of non retina apps cause it to switch over to the Nvidia GPU as well, its seems to switch a lot and not stay on the intel when not even doing much on the computer, bug maybe?
  3. zachnelson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    You know I just went stupid for a second.

    Could my external monitor be triggering it?
  4. puke macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2007
    I hope you can force it to stay on the Nvidia one all the time?
  5. ProMod macrumors 6502a

    Dec 29, 2005
    Anytime an external monitor is connected, the discrete GPU will be triggered.
  6. polygoo macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
  7. zachnelson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    Ding ding ding, unplugged and it went right back to the HD 4000.

    Why though? The integrated on my old 13-inch MacBook Pro handled my monitor just fine.
  8. ProMod macrumors 6502a

    Dec 29, 2005
    I'm not familiar with the 13"; did it have integrated graphics only? If so, that was its only option of course.

    I'm sure your new machine could handle most tasks on the external monitor with the integrated GPU. Apple just does this to make sure there is never an issue. It makes sense to me. I've never encountered a situation where I plug my MBP into an external display and run it on battery power.

    I have a 2010 17" MBP. I've installed gfxcardstatus to have more control over my GPU switching. However, if I ever choose "integrated only" while using my external 23" ACD, the machine instantly freezes and a hard reboot is the only way to get it back.
  9. zachnelson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    Indeed integrated only.

    Oh well no issue, just wanted to make sure I wasn't buggering up somewhere heh.
  10. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    Not sure if this works with the Retinas yet, but this is the most convenient way to keep the integrated forced no matter what app tries to trigger discrete:

  11. catalyst6 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2007
    OpenCL calls will also trigger the discrete GPU. I believe this is why Google Chrome does (or used to) activate the discrete GPU whenever it was running.
  12. NetJunkie macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2010
    He has a beta build with Retina support. Not sure if it's on his page yet. Here is the link. He sent it to me publicly on Twitter so it shouldn't be a problem.


    Been using that app for a while. A lot of apps will switch to the discrete GPU for no good reason and kill your battery. Just remember..if you need to hook up an external display (like a projector for a customer meeting...) make sure to flip to discrete. Found that out the hard way the first time. :)
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It could but the logic board is wired in such a way that there is simply no connection from the Intel GPU to the external DP outputs. Apple automatic switching is just stupid and useless. I was hoping they'd switch to something like Nvidia Optimus which wouldn't have all these annoying shortcomings and practically force people to do manual switching with gfxCardStatus.
  14. zachnelson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    Downloaded the GFX Card status beta thing..

    After a fresh reboot, launching safari and browsing reddit/macrumors triggers the 650M...

    Flash ads?
  15. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    Download this for free, and you can set it to
    Force to:
    Integrated only
    Discrete only
    or Dynamic Switching
  16. Mr Walker macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2012
    Perfect! iTunes video doesn't play properly on my Retina MBP using the integrated graphics. This is a work around..
  17. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    forcing the computer to integrated while an external display is hooked up doesn't work - actually causes the output to stop working. I don't really understand why when the 13" MBP supports outputting to the external just fine. I guess something isn't hooked up on the PCB
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    As I wrote it is Apple's fault.
    It is annoying especially because you have a much hotter and therefore louder notebook when running an external screen than necessary, even if all you do is some 2D stuff that the HD 4000 can easily handle.
  19. thebritishguy macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2011
    if you game watch out for the steam client

    the Steam interface (which configures as load on startup) triggers the discrete graphics card, even before you load any game.
  20. outsidethebox macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    Is there any downside to leaving the setting on integrated graphics only? I've done this to minimize fan/heat.

    What happens if I encounter something gpu intensive but leave the dedicated graphics switched off? (is it safe?)
  21. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Yes it is safe it is just slower.
    The really bad thing though has that you really have to commit. Many applications need a restart to work fast after you switch. Switching while running and the 650M might actually be slower if you started with the Intel GPU.
    I suppose the frameworks need some reinitialization which only Apple in Safari really does.

    Basically everything that uses some GPU framework or theoretically might use it will trigger the 650M (if you let Apple handle the switching). It will stay on until the App ist closed.
    That naturally includes the Steam client because there is Flash in it. Spotify because it runs on AIR which is also Flash. Skype even if all you do is chat, because in theory you could start a video chat.
    Pretty much anything that ever uses some sort of animation or video.
    It doesn't matter than the Intel GPU is fast enough for handling a Musicplayer like spotify or all the other stuff.

    gfxCardStatus even shows you which Apps would you'd need to close for Apple to switch to Intel on its own.
    For me that is now
    Pathfinder (which is really just like Finder and doesn't even have any cover flow, it is a pure non fancy text only finder with more features but none that requires even the smallest amount of GPU speed)
    VLC (It is only not closed but currently not doing anything)
    Chrome, Opera every Browser that can use Flash will always trigger the dGPU except for specially treated Safari
    iPhoto (It works just fine on forced Intel if it is set already at launch, not happy with switching while it is running. Just try it. Used to work but slow now it just stop doing stuff. It doesn't crash or break anything.)

    those I can all ignore and stay with Intel force on Intel but
    external Display is in the list too and with Intel forced there is no external Display :( Not that I would do anything the a MBA Intel GPU cannot handle)

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