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I've a MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2010) running Mac OS X 10.6.5. I'm wondering why it doesn't switch back to the integrated GPU when running on battery and no external display is attached. The check box to automatically switch graphic modes in Energy Saver preferences is checked of course. I'm running no games, just productivity apps.

At least System Profiler lists the LCD display under NVIDIA and not under Intel HD Graphics.

How can I debug this?

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Quit your "productivity" apps. Is the NVIDIA GPU active when absolutely no applications are running? I think even VMware Fusion or iMovie cause use of the good GPU. – Daniel Beck Nov 22 '10 at 16:59
Doesn't help. None of those running, I even killed the Parallels background processes (prl_*) that are always running even when the app is not. – Ortwin Gentz Nov 23 '10 at 21:32
use @Username when replying to someone. Then they'll get notified. You have absolutely nothing running, like e.g. Menubar applications? How do you know it's not working? (I use gfxCardStatus) – Daniel Beck Nov 24 '10 at 17:30
@Daniel thanks, didn't know gfxCardStatus. Solves my problem somehow since it allows manual switching. Apparently, many "normal" apps cause the automatic switch to Nvidia. Regarding the notification thing: Does this even work with just the first name? – Ortwin Gentz Nov 25 '10 at 9:35
Yes it does. It's explained in detail here. If I understand your comment correctly, the issue is actually apps that you have running, and now use the gfxCardStatus to force the Intel graphics? In that case I'd post an answer, and would appreciate an accept. If you have unresolved questions, please ask away. – Daniel Beck Nov 25 '10 at 10:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's usually some applications you have running. Many simple "productivity" apps, or maybe even menubar applications, use fancy graphics functionality.

You can use gfxCardStatus for notifications which graphics device is active, and to force your machine to specifically use one.

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