Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

17" i5 MBP GPU Switching Observations

14922 Views 60 Replies Latest reply: Jun 15, 2010 6:20 AM by l.aluffi RSS
1 2 3 ... 5 Previous Next
dougjacobs Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 21, 2010 7:11 AM
This is a culmination of my posts from another forum, I wanted to post my observations on here as well to see if I can get an 'Official Response' of some sort..

I noticed that you can see which GPU is active in System Profiler and started watching which one the system was using.

Some really strange observations...

Launching Tweetie, even when it is the only application open, makes the computer use the 330M. As soon as I quit it, it switches back to the Intel unless of course Aperture or something like that is open..

Right now with Firefox and a few tabs, Mail, Adium, Terminal, Calendar, Address Book, Word, Power Point, Excel and system profiler open (Just started launching random stuff to test), I am on the Intel. The second I launch Tweetie - 330M.

I am also noticing more weird instances of switching to the 330m, and in my opinion unnecessarily.

For instance, in Firefox, I can have a bunch of tabs open (Right now - Facebook, Macrumors, TUAW, Gizmodo, Engadget) but as soon as I go to my iGoogle page the 330m kicks in. As soon as I close it's tab, the Intel goes back on. My 2007 white Macbook was able to handle iGoogle without a problem, is it really necessary to use a discrete GPU for Google??... NO

It's also interesting to watch the battery while doing this. Right now, at 96% it says 7:22 remaining, upon opening a tab with Google, it goes down to about 6:00 remaining whether the tab is in the foreground or not.

Note - I am only referring to iGoogle - the classic Google page does not force the use of the 330m.

And my next observation may be even more annoying!

It also seems like I am getting 'stuck' on the 330m after a bit of usage. I noticed that after closing Aperture (on battery), I am still using the 330m. Figured it may be some other application requiring it so I quit everything that was running, including System Profiler and then relaunched just System Profiler, and I am still on the 330m.

Right now the only way I can get back over to the Intel GPU is by logging out (I think) or rebooting.

I hope other users are willing to look at their systems and see if what I am observing is 'normal', because I doubt I am the only one experiencing it. This all comes at a sacrifice to battery life and Apple really needs to address it quickly...

I hope that someone comes up with a way of giving the user more control over which card is active, be it Apple or someone else.
17" 2.53 i5 Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • capper Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 4:17 PM (in response to dougjacobs)
    I would also like to add MagicPrefs to the list of apps that cause the 330m to always be on.
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.3), Mid 2010, i7
  • William Brawley Level 2 Level 2 (215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 5:06 PM (in response to dougjacobs)
    I seem to have this issue as well. I noticed I was using the 330M on battery power with Tweetie opened. Closing all apps didn't switch me back to the IntelHD. I did have some menu bar apps running. Perhaps they are using some Core Animation or Core Image that forces the 330M to be on all the time?

    I've even noticed this in System Profiler while on battery power: http://i.imgur.com/V08yx.png

    It shows the same GPUSwitch setting for AC Power as it does for Battery - a setting of "2". If the setting of 2 for AC Power means that the 330M is on, wouldn't the default for battery power be something other than 2?
    17" MBP, 2.53GHz Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Anti-glare., Mac OS X (10.6.3), 32GB iPhone 3GS White, 16GB iPod Touch, 2G 1GB iPod Shuffle, 4G 20GB iPod
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 5:45 PM (in response to dougjacobs)
    The very widely used Skype is another application that appears to cause this, regardles of what it is actually doing.

    Looks like third party software and OS "add on" producers are going to have their work cut out producing updates over the next few months if they don't want to find their products being talked of as being "battery hogs"!

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • m51r50s Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 5:56 PM (in response to dougjacobs)
    I also seem to be having a problem however, my MBP also seems to be stuck on using the 330M. I have graphics switching enabled and have tried logging in and out as well as rebooting several times. No applications running and no startup items. I have checked activity monitor and everything seems normal yet it never switches to integrated graphics. My battery life is much shorter than Apple claims ever since I bought it last week but I didnt think much of it until I came across some threads on this issue. I saw some other people were having this problem. Any suggestions?
    15" MPB i5, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:03 PM (in response to m51r50s)
    Have you checked in System preferences / Energy Saver that autoswitching is actually turned on, m51350s?

    see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4110

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • William Brawley Level 2 Level 2 (215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:09 PM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    yep - auto switching is enabled.

    I read some other posts on this issue at other forums, and there's some speculation that the MacBook Pro tend to use the 330m since the Intel integrated graphics is not powerful enough (compared to the nvidia 9400M) to hand even some basic Mac OS X technologies like OpenCL. So, the 330m tends to get activated a lot more even for some seemingly basic stuff.

    Thanks Intel - stupid dispute against Nvidia.
    17" MBP, 2.53GHz Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Anti-glare., Mac OS X (10.6.3), 32GB iPhone 3GS White, 16GB iPod Touch, 2G 1GB iPod Shuffle, 4G 20GB iPod
  • m51r50s Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:13 PM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Yep the settings are correct in energy saver. I have it set to automatically switch which should prevent it from always staying on the 330. I understand apple's reasoning but it is frustrating that we cannot just turn off the 330 all together if we desire.
    15" MPB i5, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:25 PM (in response to William Brawley)
    William, doug and m51etc,

    Out of interest, did each of you migrate stuff across from an earlier MBP or other Mac? I'm wondering whether such a process may have brought across older system stuff (perhaps kexts from third party software or add ons) that might be involved here in some fashion.

    It is clear that some apps (like those mentioned earlier in the thread) provoke this problem directly themselves, even on a machine with a "clean" OS installation, but it may be that less obvious processes could also be involved, especially after a migration.

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • m51r50s Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:34 PM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Very interesting thought, Rod. I did in fact use migration assistant to transfer about 30GB of data from an older mac. (PowePC for that matter. I know it took me a long time to upgrade haha) That would be very disappointing if that was in fact the reason that it is always on the 330. I guess worse case scenario is to start with a fresh install and just transfer my necessary files and documents manually to see if I still have the problem although I hope there is a fix or update before I have to result to that.
    15" MPB i5, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • William Brawley Level 2 Level 2 (215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 7:42 PM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    I did not migrate anything from my previous Mac. All I did was MobileMe syncing.

    However, I took a look in my /Systems/Library/Extensions folder, and see that I have a "AppleIntelGMAX3100FB.kext" in there that was added today. Why would this be there? I see some other kexts in there that were modified at around the same time, like IOGraphicsFamily, and System.kext. However, I did run System Update at some point this afternoon, so some original kexts could have been update, I assume.

    However, why would there be a AppleIntelGMAX3100FB.kext in there? These were the graphics cards from the earlier MacBooks, correct? (My previous Mac was a black Santa Rosa MacBook).

    I wonder if I could safely delete this kext, and would it have any effect on this issue?
    17" MBP, 2.53GHz Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Anti-glare., Mac OS X (10.6.3), 32GB iPhone 3GS White, 16GB iPod Touch, 2G 1GB iPod Shuffle, 4G 20GB iPod
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 7:54 PM (in response to William Brawley)
    Not sure what came on my MBP 13 (June 2009) version originally, William, but it also has the AppleIntelGMAX3100FB kext installed (along with a lot of other GPU drivers). I'm pretty sure it is just part of the standard OSX installation process. (Having the various "families" of drivers in all installations makes it easier , for example, to use the HD in the computer in TD mode to boot a different model of Mac in an emergency)

    It is non-Apple kexts that I'd be most curious about.

    When you say it 'added today" , though, do you mean, rather, that it has a "date modified" date of today? This seems more likely and may point to the matters pertinent to the issue, especially if the modification time does not equate with the time when you ran System update. On my own computer this particular kext was last modified on the 30th March, when I updated to 10.6.3.

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • William Brawley Level 2 Level 2 (215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 8:01 PM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Yes, I now see other families of drivers, including a AppleIntelGMAX3100.kext with a Date Modified of March 3, 2010.

    Yes, "added today", I meant Date Modified, in which case it was at the same time as I was running System Update according to my Console system log. So perhaps that isn't part of the issue here.

    The only kernel extension that was Modified after running System Update was LittleSnitch.kext.
    17" MBP, 2.53GHz Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Anti-glare., Mac OS X (10.6.3), 32GB iPhone 3GS White, 16GB iPod Touch, 2G 1GB iPod Shuffle, 4G 20GB iPod
1 2 3 ... 5 Previous Next

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.