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Suppose you have two identical ultrabooks but one uses dedicated graphics instead of using the one in the CPU, if you execute the same office tasks on both machoines (i.e., not gaming) will the battery life of the Ultrabook with dedicated graphics perform noticably worse?

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The dedicated solution will most likely have a higher power draw compared to an on-board chip, even if it's not being taxed. –  Karan Jan 1 '13 at 20:22

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Most notebooks new enough to have a processor with integrated video use GPU switching to power down the discrete GPU during trivial use. In those cases, there is almost no power penalty for having a dGPU.

This switching solutions make the drivers more complicated, however, and so you may find that you need to disable switching and force the dGPU enabled. In that case your battery life would suffer considerably. (Consider that GPU switching is a complicated technology -- no one would use it unless there was a big power savings)

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In what way are the complicated? For the user or for the driver programmers? In the latter case the enduser (i.e., me) doesnt care –  Wuschelbeutel Kartoffelhuhn Jan 1 '13 at 20:31
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@raegadfsgfsdg: Complicated because the video card and capabilities change while your computer is running, and many programs are not written to account for that. The drivers have to figure out which programs should be told about the iGPU and which about the dGPU. You care if you have an application that for whatever reason is incompatible with switching. (Probably the same apps that are incompatible with docking stations) It's mostly of concern to application developers, but end-users care when the developer didn't do it right and you have to force dGPU mode in settings. –  Ben Voigt Jan 1 '13 at 20:34

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