Is 1Password forcing use of MBP dedicated video card unnecessarily? [OS X issue with some hardware]

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Karlos
Karlos
Community Member
edited August 2015 in Mac

Below is an email I was writing to Agilebits but not able to find an email contact shall post it here...

Hi.
I’m Running 1Password4 on my Macbook Pro [Mid 2010] i5 2.4 Ghz.

As you know, many Macbook Pros run two graphic cards, the integrated using much less battery power and a dedicated energy hog. In an effort to squeeze-out battery life many of us have installed gfxCardStatus so that we can attempt to use Apps that use the integrated card rather than the other.

Some apps **need the more powerful video card to run **but others force the Mac to use it unnecessarily which is a big issue. gfxCardStatus is telling me that your app **[ZBUA8C4S2C.com.agilebits.onepassword4-helper] **is forcing my Mac to use the battery consuming dedicated video card, when I force-quit [1Password-mini] in the Activity Monitor the Mac drops back to using the integrated card only while 1Password still is available in my browser. Additionally opening the 1password app does not force my Mac to use the dedicated card... which hints that the afore mentioned app [ZBUA8C4S2C.com.agilebits.onepassword4-helper] or [1password-mini] doesn’t really need to use the dedicated card in the first place???

The developer of gfxCardStatus suggests that if any believe that an app is forcing the use of the dedicated card unnecessarily, they should ask the developers of that app to consider reading this article.

Anyway, it maybe that 1Password needs to force my Mac to use the bayberry hungry dedicated card on my Mac, but if it doesn't... might the developer correct this in an update?

UPDATE
I just realised that when I force-quite the [1password mini] app with the 'activity monitor' it immediately reopens as My Mac drops back to the integrated card... proving that the app didn't need to use the dedicated card in the first place?

Specs.....

1Password Version: 4.4.3
Mavericks [recent clean install]
Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro6,2
Processor Name: Intel Core i5
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
RAM: 8GB


1Password Version: Not Provided
Extension Version: Not Provided
OS Version: Not Provided
Sync Type: Not Provided

Comments

  • AGAlumB
    AGAlumB
    1Password Alumni
    edited August 2015
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    Some apps **need the more powerful video card to run **but others force the Mac to use it unnecessarily which is a big issue. gfxCardStatus is telling me that your app **[ZBUA8C4S2C.com.agilebits.onepassword4-helper] **is forcing my Mac to use the battery consuming dedicated video card, when I force-quit [1Password-mini] in the Activity Monitor the Mac drops back to using the integrated card only while 1Password still is available in my browser. Additionally opening the 1password app does not force my Mac to use the dedicated card... which hints that the afore mentioned app [ZBUA8C4S2C.com.agilebits.onepassword4-helper] or [1password-mini] doesn’t really need to use the dedicated card in the first place???

    @Karlos: Thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry for the confusion! 1Password doesn't need a lot of GPU power at all. I know firsthand how frustrating automatic GPU switching can be...but unfortunately this isn't something AgileBits can "fix", as this is managed by OS X. Indeed, the article you linked illustrates this, and actually touches on some other aspects of this issue:

    Starting with OS X 10.7, you may choose to run your OpenGL application on the integrated GPU on the dual-GPU MacBook Pros shipped Early 2011 and after.

    This "feature" is simply not supported on many older Macs, including yours. Apple has made changes both in OS X and the drivers for GPUs themselves (which are primarily shipped with the OS, with a few receiving standalone updates) to improve how this is detected and also give developers some tools to express their intent, but there is no definitive solution, even for newer Macs. 1Password doesn't force any GPU switching. It simply doesn't care. OS X is ultimately the one making the call.

    Now, we have had reports from users that simply updating OS X has made this problem go away, but not in all cases. I suspect it depends on if the drivers for a particular GPU received improvements in this area in a newer OS X release. I know Apple has put a lot of effort into power management in general in recent releases, but they also don't necessarily port all of these improvements to work with older hardware — and the hardware has to be able to support it in the first place.

    That said, it's certainly worth exploring, as the only sure-fire way to take advantage of all of the energy-saving features in newer versions of OS X is to use hardware that fully supports it — i.e. buying a new Mac. Definitely ideal, but not a cheap fix by any means.

    Incidentally, I also find it fascinating that you're having this problem only with 1Password mini, as typically I've seen that 1Password's unlock animations cause some discrete GPUs to activate. At any rate, some Macs going back to 2007 even can run Yosemite (and El Capitan), so there's a good chance that yours can as well. And if Apple has improved this for your particular hardware that could be a free solution for you — including 1Password 5 for Mac, which is a free upgrade from version 4. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

  • Karlos
    Karlos
    Community Member
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    Hey, thanks for taking the time to reply Brenty.

    My Macbook Pro [Mid-2010] will update to Yosemite, which as you point-out will also allow me to upgrade to 1Password 5... so I might just do that and who knows... it might just sort this issue. I purchased my Macbook as soon as this model came out and back then, there was loads of us complaining as almost every App triggered the dedicated card, things have got much better since then but God willing, shall get even better with Yosemite, though I'm not holding my breath.

    Before I update there are a few Apps I need to check will work with Yosemite, but again... thank you for putting me straight on this issue, it is appreciated.

  • sjk
    sjk
    1Password Alumni
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    Hi @Karlos,

    On behalf of Brenty, you are most welcome. I'm glad his explanation helped you better understand this issue!

    I've got a Mid 2007 MacBook Pro currently running El Capitan beta, the oldest MBP capable of running it (and Yosemite, which I also still occasionally run on it). Has only the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (128MB) GPU, before integrated GPUs were available, so 1Password and other apps don't even have a choice of which to use. :) While no speed demon (especially with the original HDD) it's still quite capable… and more reliable than my newer Macs. ;) Haven't wanted to part ways with it as long as it still runs, with the added bonus of having been able to upgrade to the latest versions of OS X. Although not my primary system I haven't noticed any significant performance differences or degradation after upgrading. I can't say from direct experience and don't know your type of usage or requirements, but think your Core i5 based MBP could run Yosemite comparably to Mavericks and eventually El Capitan even better. Maybe giving it a test drive running from an extra internal volume or external drive is a possibility.

    We'll be here to help if anything else comes up. Cheers!

  • Karlos
    Karlos
    Community Member
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    Hi Sjk.
    By far the main App I use is Scrivener, but there is something in the back of my mind that tells me I'm going to lose another useful app if I upgrade to Yosemite, thus I need to double check first. My current version of Parallels is out without another expensive upgrade, but having had enough of the milking their customers every time Apple updates its OS... I didn't bother reinstall it after a recent clean install, thinking to use Bootcamp instead.

    Once I have rechecked what I 'may' loose under Yosemite, and thereafter do upgrade... I'll get back and tell you the result ref the card switching issue. This mid-2010 MBP is a great machine, the only thing I hanker for is a Thunderbolt connection for testing other OS's on external hard drives, as though the FW800 works it is a little frustratingly slow at times.

    Again, thanks for your reply.

  • sjk
    sjk
    1Password Alumni
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    Always a pleasure to help, @Karlos.

    Don't know which version of Scrivener you've got, but the Literature and Latte - Scrivener Writing Software page for version 2 says "10.10 Yosemite Ready" and there are Yosemite changes mentioned in the Scrivener Change List History specifically for version 2.6.0 (currently the latest).

    I ran Windows 7 with VMware Fusion 2 on my 2007 MBP, which ran surprisingly well. Have never used Parallels but it can get pricey keeping up with upgrades for it (and Fusion), which is harder to justify if usage is light although not paying for the operating system does help.

    My main desktop Mac is an Early 2009 mini. Like my old MBP, it's also the oldest model of its type that'll run the latest OS X. Got lucky being right at the upgrade cutoff edge with both those Macs. I've probably most hankered for faster external drive access with it. Still's a great system such as it is.

    Looking forwarding to hearing from you again sometime, maybe sooner if you do go ahead with the Yosemite upgrade. :)

  • AGAlumB
    AGAlumB
    1Password Alumni
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    It ain't cheap, but for me Parallels is indispensable. I justify the cost by telling myself I am spending the money I would have spent anyway on OS X, had Apple not opted for free updates in recent years. But always best to double-check the support of all must-have apps before an upgrade. Cheers! ;)

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