For many serious Mac gamers, having a computer with a dedicated graphics card is essential to locking in excellent performance on cutting edge titles. 2012 15″ MacBook Pros (and later) have both a basic onboard graphics card that comes in most of their laptops, the HD4000, as well as a dedicated graphics card that varies depending on the model, though many have the NVidia GT650M. This week we show you how to change the graphics card switching settings so you can maximize the performance of your games.
The default setting is to have automatic graphics card switching on, which means that your laptop will switch which card it uses depending on the graphical intensity of the task. This is an energy saving setting, ensuring the battery lasts longer and you’re not using the dedicated graphics card for simple tasks like running Office or web browsing. However this well-intentioned setting can wreak havoc on game performance, causing a game to chug unnecessarily because of rapid switching back and forth between cards. Turning this off while you game is ideal, and a pretty simple process:
Go into System Preferences>Energy Saver> and find the option for Automatic graphic switching.
Uncheck that box so the option for Automatic graphic switching is turned off.
Voila! Your Nvidia GT 650M (or other dedicated video card) is now being used exclusively and not your Intel HD 4000.
These are just a few of the titles that Aspyr Support has reported as showing performance improvements when this option is changed:
- Civilization IV
- Doom 3
- Star Wars Empire at War
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight Jedi Academy
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight Jedi Outcast
- RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum Edition
Don’t forget to change this option back when you’re not going going to be doing any gaming for a while. Leaving this option unchecked when you’re not gaming will drain your battery quicker and potentially puts unnecessary work on your video card when the HD 4000 is fully capable of simpler, day-to-day tasks and takes a lot less energy.
Have any questions about this process or other issues? Post something in the comments and we’ll help you out! And of course, for any serious issues regarding your hardware or game performance of the titles mentioned above and many more, please contact Aspyr Support.