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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Linux dynamic hybrid graphics: Learning from Apple's mistakes

MacBook Pros with NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M silicon making questionable graphics switching decisions -- Engadget
But it gets worse. Viewing QuickTime movie trailers on Apple's site in Chrome (a buggy experience, by the way) bumps you up to discrete, but doesn't bump you back down after you're done -- only closing the browser and opening it up again seems to reset it. Firefox and Safari keep you on integrated graphics the whole time -- as does downloading 480p or 720p content to your local QuickTime player -- but pulling up 1080p video locally kicks you into high gear (this sounds closer to the correct behavior, at least).

The most egregious thing we've seen, though, has to be Tweetie. Yes, little ol' Tweetie, that innocuous applet that stays out of your hair and shoots you a Growl notification every once in a while: as long as it's open, it's going to be rockin' the discrete graphics. The bottom line is that this is a great opportunity to underscore something we've said before, which is that Apple needs to bring back an ironclad disable option for the discrete graphics like it does with the older unibody models -- especially when battery life is supposedly Cupertino's single biggest push with these things. Of course, failing that, we've got to hope that some third-party dev out there has the wit, courage, and spitfire to craft a simple toggle utility.