Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Mac OS X hosts.
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Joined: 22. Jul 2012, 20:07

Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by amagrude »

VirtualBox is activating the discrete GPU in my MacBookPro (15" Retina) even before I have a single VM started. Per gfxCardStatus, just launching the VirtualBox Manager causes my discrete GPU to be turned on which in turn results in a substantial reduction in my battery life. I've been through the user manual, bug tracker and have searched the forums, but haven't seen any way to configure VirtualBox to always use the integrated graphics on my Ivy Bridge CPU instead of the discrete nVidia GPU also present in my MacBookPro. Given what I'm running in my VM's, I do not need my GPU's horsepower and would greatly prefer the increased battery life.

Is there some way to set VirtualBox to always use integrated graphics instead of my MacBook's GPU?

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Re: Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by rpmurray »

I don't think it's VirtualBox doing the switching. This seems to be something that Is built into OS X.

You could try installing gfxCardStatus and see if that will work for you.
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Re: Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by skim »

gfxCardStatus shows VBoxSVC depending on discrete graphics, so it's forcing the OS to switch to discrete.

I use VirtualBox explicitly via SSH. Is there a way to turn off graphics completely?
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Re: Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by djf_jeff »

I can confirm that I have the same problem here. As soon as I launch VirtualBox (no VM, just the manager), my graphic card switch to the NVidia and stay that way. As soon as I close VirtualBox, it goes back to the Intel one.

The thing is I only run text based Linux VM, so I don't really need to use my 3D card for that.

Macbook Pro Retina 15"
Mac OSX 10.8.1
VirtualBox 4.1.20
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Re: Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by cap10morgan »

I created a bug report about this: Ticket #11111 (I just created my account, so it won't let me link directly to it.)]

Last edited by Perryg on 23. Oct 2012, 22:45, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Link added.
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Re: Discrete vs. Integrated GPU Control

Post by newtonick »

I check on the status of this ticket every few weeks. I'm very interested in seeing this feature/bug added to virtual box. Being able to use my integrated graphics card instead of the descrete one would give me an extra 3 hours battery life on my MacBook Pro Retina. Thanks for opening the ticket. If I was familiar with the source I would take a crack at it myself.
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