Inside Apple’s automatic graphics switching technology
Apple’s 2010 MacBook Pros, based around Intel’s Core i3, i5, and i7 CPU’s are more efficient than ever. Specifically, the integration of the CPU and GPU into the same processor die requires less bus-handshaking, and results in better battery life than separately compartmentalised units. But the new MacBook Pro’s integrated GPU, IntelHD, while much faster than prior Intel graphics chips, is hardly sporty. 15-inch and 17-inch models have sported two, discreet GPU’s since 2008. But yesterday’s debut of the 2010 MacBook Pro changed formulas, this time allowing new MBP’s to automatically switch between the integrated IntelHD GPU and the discreet nVidia chip. Users no longer have to log out to switch to the higher-performance GPU. Apple’s automatic graphics switching is “breakthrough technology”. It also differs from Optimus, nVidia’s automatic graphics switching system which runs both GPU units at all times. Arstechnica explains the difference without getting too technical and while cultivating more love for Apple’s technology.