My 15" MacBook Pro with Retina was getting quite hot while I was just browsing the web, so I opened Maverick's Activity Monitor to see what was using so much energy. I discovered that the discrete graphics card was active, and the apparent reason for this was Automator was open (but without any windows/documents open).

Why on earth does Automator need the discrete graphics card and not just the integrated graphics?

Activity Monitor screenshot

  • 1
    I think that the proper term is not 'dedicated GPU' - as Intel's integrated graphics is most definitely dedicated to that task - but instead is 'discrete GPU'. Oct 25, 2013 at 19:08
  • @RichardJ.RossIII, thanks I was trying to think of the word, but just kept coming up with dedicated.
    – Jonathan.
    Oct 25, 2013 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


Some of the Automator actions, such as those pertaining to Quartz, use the discrete GPU (if available). It may be a stability thing to require the discrete GPU on launch (similar to VMware Fusion). If you regularly use Automator and don't use the Quartz filters (or don't care about the performance gain) it should be safe to use gfxCardStatus. Just select Integrated Only before launching Automator.

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