Very weird problem. About 3/10 times the discrete GPU on the Retina MBP (Nvidia GT650M) does not engage when I launch a game. The performance for the game drops to as if only the integrated GPU was engaged i.e single digit FPS.

This happens when previously the game would work just fine on the same settings. This also happens under the Windows 7 partition under Boot Camp so I know it is not a software issue.

The first time it happened I was completely flummoxed and simply could not find a solution. Just as a last resort I tried resetting the SMC and it started working fine after that.

Another thing is this problem may be occurring a lot more frequently but I can only get to know when I launch a game and it refuses to work properly. For almost all other tasks there is barely a difference when the Nvidia is working. (Guess that's why they let the 13" retina be with just the integrated chip).

Now this problem is occurring frequently enough to really bug me. I have been using a Mac since 2005 and I haven't had to reset the SMC this much in the last 6 years as I've had to in the last 5 or so months of using this machine.

Should I get it checked at the store, ask for a replacement, or is there a more permanent solution that I'm not getting?

Edit Can a mod please change the 'power-management' tag to SMC?

  • I would definitely get it checked at store and ask for a replacement.
    – Anonymous
    Nov 28, 2012 at 7:03
  • Is your Mac is from 2005! I need to know since I found a how to manualy switch graphics card solution but need to know the year.
    – Ruskes
    May 18, 2013 at 7:21

2 Answers 2


Instead of resenting the SMC (a painful procedure) try this free software.

gfxCardStatus It is an unobtrusive menu bar app for OS X that allows MacBook Pro users to see which apps are affecting their battery life by using the more power-hungry graphics and

Manually switch to Integrated Only or Discrete Only mode to force one GPU on or the other.

Since I am not sure of your model year, it works on:

OS X Lion (10.7) or newer
2008-2012, 15-17" dual-GPU MacBook Pro

Have you tried resetting the NVRAM-PRAM?

See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379 for instructions.

I think I would also re-seat my RAM chips, were that my machine. Almost any amount of googling and home diagnostics and fixes is easier than taking the machine in or going through replacement.

  • Yeah, that's why I've been trying to find a better soln. I did reset the PRAM, just before resetting the SMC for the first time. Unfortunately, without a fix, resetting the SMC everytime I want to play a game is very tiresome especially coz I have to restart the machine and reload tens of safari tabs :P
    – Ankit
    Nov 28, 2012 at 17:43
  • I understand, and unless you own or want to invest in an expensive disk utility (I can only recommend Disk Warrior, but this sounds beyond that) time to take it in. Or call - you have AppleCare, I assume. ... Unless it's a cable/power adapter problem.
    – Zo219
    Dec 1, 2012 at 10:29

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