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I have a 15-inch MBP, Mid-2010, 2.66GHz i7, with Intel integrated graphics and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M. Since I installed Lion, it seems my battery life has gone down to just 2 or 3 hours. After reading various things on the internet, I found out about the gfxCardStatus app which I used and noticed my machine is using the discrete graphics card. It appears the following apps are requiring discrete graphics:

  • the Google Talk plugin (because I keep gmail.com open, even though I'm not signed in to chat)
  • Twitter for Mac
  • both Droplr and CloudApp

Should I be concerned about these? Will it affect my battery life if my machine switches to discrete graphics even though these apps may not actively be using it?


And, as a follow-up: is resetting the SMC (another thing I read people have been trying) a good thing to try to improve my battery life?

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Absolutely ! http://codekrieger.com/gfxCardStatus allows you to lock your graphics card to use only the Intel integrated graphics. It makes a big difference when you need to squeeze every last hour out your battery.

The other thing that helps if you have a ton of startup items for everyday use is to hold down shift when you log in, so there are not extraneous processed running in the background.

And also keep the screen brightness at the minimum acceptable level.

This way I can get 9 hours out of my 17 macbook.

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Do you have any idea why Lion would have changed my battery life so much? I don't see anything unusual in Activity Monitor. When I switch to integrated graphics the estimate shows only about 4.5 hours. –  jtbandes Jul 27 '11 at 15:39
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