Which of these apps will use the dGPU?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by johngwheeler, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...

    I'm weighing up whether to get the base or mid-level rMBP 15. I'm trying to find out whether the dGPU will be of any use to me, and would appreciate any input on which applications actually use the dGPU to good effect.

    Can anyone tell me whether the following apps will use the dGPU:

    1) Any of the standard Apple apps included with a new MBP, e.g.

    Safari, iTunes, Maps, iPhoto, iMovie etc.

    2) Final Cut Pro X (I have heard it does, but don't know to what extend it is better Iris Pro). I only use this very infrequently (for editing holiday videos once a year!)

    2b) Xcode

    Are there any optimisations to use the dGPU for application processing? (GPGPU).

    3) Microsoft Office for Mac

    4) Media players such as VLC or QuickTime

    5) VMWare Fusion and its guest VMs

    Can Windows or Linux VMs benefit from the dGPU?

    6) Windows 7 under BootCamp

    I'm pretty sure that Windows has drivers for the dGPU - however, is this always active, or can it be disabled to save battery life when booted into Windows?

    Note: I do not intend to play any games on this computer.

    Thanks for any information you can provide!

  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Short answer: you will not benefit of the dGPU
  3. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    Short & sweet! I appreciate the answer.
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    iphoto, imovie, 2) and 5) and 6) while activate it.
    But not a single one actually needs it. iPhoto just plainly doesn't need as performance is no different. iMovie would even work better on Iris Pro if Apple uses the quick sync encoding path. Afaik Apple doesn't use much Cuda and tries to stick to OpenCL/GL.
    Final Cut is the same as iMovie just that there is more GPGPU use but I doubt there is a big difference and less and less with updates which lean more towards openGL/CL. I doubt you'd notice much of a difference and if it is not because of raw processing power difference but difference in software optimizations.
    People overestimate the dGPU impact. Sadly Apple uses the slow old 750M which is basically only a 650M because it works without Nvidias 15% Turbo and is slightly underclocked. If Apple used the 850M (almost twice Apple's slow 750M) which was released months ago, the dGPU would be a serious upgrade. The 750M is only faster if the software optimizations are nvidia geared and with most of Apple's lineup being Intel only there is little special optimizations.

    Short answer you don't really need it. The single biggest difference is in all things gaming in which Nvidia just has much better optimized drivers. It doesn't hurt though for the occasional lan party.

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