gfxCardStatus, a tool initially designed to display which graphics subsystem is active in MacBook Pro (Mid-2010) models via ”i” and “n” icons that signify Intel HD Graphics, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics, respectively, has now been updated to allow on-the-fly switching between the cards.
MacBook Pro (Mid-2010), Core i5 or Corei7, 15″ and 17″ models automatically switch between integrated Intel (lower power) and NVIDIA (higher power) graphics. Unfortunately, although there is a built-in option to keep the higher-power NVIDIA card on at all times, there is no option to keep it off at all times. This has resulted in significant reduction of battery life for some users, whose MacBook Pros engage the higher-power-usage NVIDIA graphics during seeminly non-GPU-intensive applications.
gfxCardStatus solves this problem by allowing the user to switch between graphics subsystems at will. However, the developer notes that the switching functionality has been “found to cause a few minor temporary issues upon use at times.”