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I was trying out the Magic Window timelapse wallpaper app and noticed that GfxCardStatus changed to discrete as soon as I loaded the application. It consumes 79.7mb of real memory. Does this mean there is a big impact on battery life ? How can I know for sure ?

rMBP Mountain Lion OSX 10.8

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Yes, I'm afraid it will have an impact, but not necessarily a big one. I'm in a similar situation, a seemingly-benign app (Postbox, a mail client of all things) forces my discrete graphics on too (same model, MBP Retina).

The authors are fully aware of it but say there's nothing they can do - ultimately the choice about whether to enable discrete graphics is up to Apple, it gets turned on automatically if OSX detects that heavy graphics processing is taking place.

Apparently in the case of Postbox it's due to font rendering or something. I've just learnt to live with it - if I was really desperate I can force it back to onboard graphics using the very tool you mention anyway.

How big the effect is really depends on what the application is doing, and only you can determine it, by trying it with graphics first on discrete and observing estimated battery remaining, then again on integrated graphics. This should be a reasonable clue.

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Thanks for replying. Apparently using Magic Window I get 40 to 50 minutes less battery duration .. Thats quite a jump to be honest =/ –  Render Aug 3 '12 at 11:58
    
Also, does this have an impact on the efficiency of the chip ?? Would it wear faster if its continuously used for such application ? –  Render Aug 3 '12 at 18:54
    
No, there isn't really a concept of overusing a GPU. Running it at extreme temperatures for prolonged amounts of time would possibly damage it, but the machine will shutdown automatically long before it gets to that point. –  Caesium Aug 3 '12 at 19:17
    
I see, and btw .. I have tried testing some more, disabling the app gives an extra 3 hours of battery duration ... Magic Window is insanely power consuming ! –  Render Aug 3 '12 at 22:58
    
"The authors are fully aware of it but say there's nothing they can do - ultimately the choice about whether to enable discrete graphics is up to Apple, it gets turned on automatically if OSX detects that heavy graphics processing is taking place." That's actually not true. :) Developers are fully capable of turning off this behavior if they wish. See the relevant Apple docs: developer.apple.com/library/mac/#qa/qa1734/_index.html%23//… –  codykrieger Aug 5 '12 at 5:06
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