Inside Apple’s automatic graphics switching

Inside Apple’s automatic graphics switching

Apple’s approach in the new 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pros differs from Optimus in two key ways. The first is that the switching is all handled automatically by Mac OS X without any user intervention (though there is actually a System Preference to deactivate it, if you choose). Apps that use advanced graphics frameworks such as OpenGL, Core Graphics, Quartz Composer or others will cause the OS to trigger the discrete GPU. So, when you are reading or writing Mail, or editing an Excel spreadsheet, Mac OS X will simply use the integrated Intel HD graphics. If you fire up Aperture or Photoshop, Mac OS X kicks on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.

The second way that it differs from Optimus is that the integrated graphics are powered down when the discrete GPU is active. This saves even more power than Optimus does, leading to a stated battery life as long as nine hours.

Apple credits its solution to the company’s attention to detail when it comes to user interaction (though its original solution with its login/logout missed this mark), and because Apple is unique among PC vendors in that it controls both the hardware and software. That level of integration is much more difficult when multiple vendors control different parts of the system.

Και αυτό εξηγεί κατά πάσα πιθανότητα τον λόγο της καθυστέρησης της κυκλοφορίας των αναβαθμισμένων φορητών υπολογιστών της Apple.


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