Quick Review: gfxCardStatus v2.0


gfxCardStatus is an open-source menu bar application for the unibody, dual-GPU MacBook Pro.

Since the introduction of the unibody MacBook Pro in 2008, users of versions sporting dual Graphics Processors have had the choice of using the less powerful integrated GPU, or gaining better video performance at the cost of precious battery life by selecting the discrete high end GPU.

Simple enough you’d think, however on the Late 2008 and 2009 MacBook Pro the switching process entails the user logging out and then logging back in to activate the change of GPU. Now I know this isn’t much of a hassle in the overall scheme of things, but recently while travelling around with my MacBook Pro I went through this ritual six times within the space of a day.

How much simpler it would have been if I’d had gfxCardStatus residing in my menu bar.

The app allows quick and easy swapping between graphics processors without the log-off / log-on process.

Click on the app in the menu bar and select “Switch GPUs”. There then follows a few seconds of flickering blue screen then normality returns and the alternate GPU is engaged!

In the Preference pane you can choose to have gfxCardStatus automatically swap the GPU as you move from battery power to mains supply, with a Growl Notfication to let you know this task has been undertaken.

The menu bar icon handily shows either an “i” or a “d” indicating whether the integrated or discrete GPU is active.

A very handy little menu bar app.

gfxCardStatus is a free download from http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus


  1. I have the model of MacBook Pro where a full logout has to happen to switch the graphics card too. Moreover, I often have to unlock the relevant System Preference pane by entering a password to make the switch!

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Jane! It looks like a much more elegant solution for those times when I want more powerrrr. *cough*

    (The difference between the 9400M and 9600 GT in apps like iMovie is definitely noticeable!)

    • jane73
    • February 10th, 2011

    Hi Peter
    I’m glad you found the app useful. I can’t understand why Apple makes it so awkward to switch between GPUs if this app can achieve it so easily!

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