Early 2011 Macbook Pro GPU Switch

Early 2011 Macbook Pro GPU Switch

April 11, 2011 19:28 0 comments
 
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Today I tried gfxCardStatus, an application that allows you to monitor whether you are using the integrated or the discrete GPU.

I have nothing to complain about how long lasts my battery, I just did it out of curiosity.

I discovered, on regular basis, that when I open Chrome and I go to a page containing flash video (such as Youtube) the application notifies me that the discrete GPU has been turned on. It is not a big deal. The tricky part comes when you actuallly close the page containing such player.
The application keeps telling me that the discrete GPU is still enabled.

As you can see, from the image below, gfxCardStatus says that there is a process asking for the GPU. This process is Chrome, indeed.

The real problem here is that the only solution to turn the discrete GPU off and switch back to the integrated one is to completely close Chrome. I guess this is because of the Flash Player staying in background even when you close the tab responsible for it.

Then I tried with Safari and the discrete GPU card is not turned on. Furthermore, the same things, for both the scenarios above, happen if I try with the HTML 5 player.

This makes me think that Apple is properly using the discrete/integrated GPU switch and, for third party developers, having set a low threshold (I don’t know on which kind of parameter) in order to turn on the discrete GPU even if it should be unnecessary.