Got a MacBook Pro with a dual GPU? gfxCardStatus is a free tool that enables you to not only see whether your system is currently using the integrated or discrete GPU, but also gives you the chance to manually switch whenever you want – all without the need to log out of your account or restart OSX. The latest version of the app adds support for the Retina displays sported by the newest additions to the MacBook Pro range.
A simple menu bar makes it easy to choose which your GPUs should be used, or to remain in dynamic mode so all of this is taken care of for you. There are various reasons why you might want to override the automatic settings. If you find that a particular app caused your discrete GPU to be used, you can get some extra life from your battery by opting to use the integrated GPU instead.
Conversely, if you want to ensure the best performance for an app that does not dynamically switch mode, you can force the discrete GPU to be used. The small icon that appears in the menu bar makes it possible to see at a glance which of your GPUs is currently in use, but there’s also support for Growl notification if you would like something more obvious to be displayed when switching takes place.
As well as providing you with the ability to choose between GPUs, gfxCardStatus is also a useful tool for finding out which apps are causing your MBP to switch modes. Whether you’re looking for balance between performance and battery life, or you just want to remain in control of how your hardware is used, this is a valuable piece of software that many would argue adds a feature to OSX that should have been included as standard.
You can find out more and download a free copy of the app by paying a visit to the gfxCardStatus review page.