I'm having severe performance troubles when I'm using the laptop's built in screen as opposed to an external display.

Whenever I stop using the external display, many of the OSX animations become slow and choppy.

I suspect what's happening is that my external display always uses the discrete graphics card for acceleration. I also sometimes work quite close to the limit of my physical RAM. This probably makes it hard for my integrated graphics card to work efficiently.

Any suggestions on how to force this machine to use the discrete graphics card EVEN when not using an external monitor?

Specs below:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro10,1
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2,3 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 8 GB

NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M

Intel HD Graphics 4000

  • in system preferences/energy saver is automatic graphic switching checked or unchecked? Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 9:49
  • It is checked. Will turning it off force the mbp to use the discrete card?
    – Nailer
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 11:43
  • It will, I described it further in my answer Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:15
  • Im getting the same thing. I think it may just be a 2012 graphics card struggles to power such a large screen. I have 16 GB of ram and 3GB is currently free (I'm a power user). Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


To force the usage of the discrete graphics card in your macbook you can uncheck the automatic graphics switching checkbox in the system preferences/ energy saver panel

automatic graphics switching checkbox
As the message states, this does drain the battery faster.

However, your mac should not behave as you describe, I suggest taking it to a service desk so apple can take a look at it, or call apple to ask why it is so choppy.

  • As I said, it's probably due to me working close to the RAM limit of the machine. Upgrading RAM later today, so we'll see how that goes :)
    – Nailer
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:37
  • The RAM on Retina Macbook Pros is soldered to the logic board. It is not user-replaceable. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .