OS X Lion is quite demanding for old Macs. Even though I own a 15'' MBP early 2011 with the 'powerful' Intel HD 3000 for integrated graphics, some animations just don't feel right (low fps).

This is especially very noticeable with Mission Control: It's choppy.

When ever discrete graphics are being used (e.g. QuickTime movie with GPU acceleration, Win7 in VirtualBox...) Mission Control is much smoother and easier on the eye.


  • Is it possible to force discrete graphics to be used when the MBP is connected to a power source?

gfxCardStatus (free)

I found the link to it on EveryMac along with some other info about graphics switching.

  • fast access via menu icon
  • auto/manually switch between discrete and integrated graphics
  • power source-based switching
  • growl support
  • open source

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  • THIS IS AWESOME! – gentmatt Feb 15 '12 at 8:43
  • No problem. Glad I could help. And thanks for editing my answer to make it better! :-) – binarybob Feb 15 '12 at 8:48
  • 1
    This program has helped many get better battery life, better performance and more importantly achieve a more stable system in the case where a specific program has issues (crashes) when the graphics card switches or is one mode over the other. A great tool to have in your toolbox if you like optimizing things. – bmike Feb 15 '12 at 13:53
  • 2
    This feature has been removed. – magma Oct 22 '14 at 23:41
  • This does not appear to work on 10.10 – Kieran Andrews Jul 15 '15 at 2:36

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