Lightroom: Shouldn't use MacBook discrete GPU when idle and on battery power

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  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Lightroom uses the GPU to accelerate various tasks (editing controls, most notably), which is great. But my new 2016 MacBook Pro is suffering from unpleasantly short battery life (3 hours if I'm using Lightroom), so I get annoyed when LR uses the high-performance discreet GPU when it doesn't need to. If I'm editing photos, I get it, but when LR is is sitting in the background doing nothing, I'd rather it use the integrated GPU or maybe no GPU at all. This might be more of an issue now that all 15-inch MBP models have a discrete GPU, not just the higher-end configurations.

I expect there's a complexity and performance and maybe stability penalty to switching GPUs, but other software like browsers seem to manage. (Photoshop and Acrobat also turn on the high-perf GPU and keep it on even when they're idle.)
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Stephen Shankland

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Posted 1 year ago

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Carlos Cardona

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Stephen: you're not using Google Chrome by any chance? I noticed on the blogs that the majority of 2016 owners that are complaining about battery life are ALSO using Google Chrome, which is a YUGE resource hog. I often need to use Chrome, for certain sites, but I plug in first! Try using Safari or Firefox, if you can, and see if it improves?

Also, you know you can turn off using the GPU off, right? Preferences/Performance/Use Graphics Performance (Off).
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Stephen Shankland

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1. Yes, I use Chrome often, but it's not the culprit in this case (I've been doing a *lot* of testing in the last month). You can see with Activity Monitor and a handy utility (https://gfx.io) which GPU is in use and which apps are responsible for requiring it. Chrome is a problem, and frankly in my tests Safari is only a little better, but this problem is different and quite easy to isolate.

2. Yes, I'm aware I can turn the GPU use off in Lightroom, but I want the performance when I am using it. It's far easier to just quit the app when I'm not using it, in which case it releases its hold on the high-performance GPU. I just shouldn't have to. For the last decade or so, one of the main thrusts of hardware and software design is letting hardware go into low-power states during moments of idleness, whether that's measured in milliseconds or hours, and I'm of the opinion that Lightroom should be a better citizen with power demands, at least when running the computer on battery.