New MacBook Pros have dual-GPU, no SLI

October 17, 2008 // 9 a.m.

Tags: #apple #geforce #geforce-boost #hybrid-sly #macbook #macbook-pro #sli

If you were hoping that Apple's latest dual-GPU sporting MacBook Pro would give you ultimate performance in the latest games, think again: the system does not support the GeForce Boost SLI technology required to get both chips working at once.

According to the guys over on MacRumours, although the new MacBook Pro units feature both an on-board Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU for low-power graphics processing on the go and a beefier GeForce 9600M GT discrete card for better performance when hooked to the mains, there's no possibility of combining the two in a hybrid SLI rig.

Instead of the performance-boosting GeForce Boost functionality many were expecting from this latest top-end laptop, the two chips are used purely for energy saving purposes – dubbed HybridPower by Nvidia. While anything that gives a boost to a laptop's battery life is welcome, it is somewhat galling to know that at any given time there is a chunk of GPU horsepower that is sat inside your exquisitely designed hunk of metal doing absolutely nothing.

The lack of GeForce Boost is described by MacRumours as a “hardware limitation” of Apple's current design, which means it's unlikely we'll be seeing a MacBook Pro capable of dual-GPU graphics performance until the next hardware refresh cycle. Rather embarrassingly, the site has also revealed that the process of switching between high-power discrete graphics and energy-saving integrated graphics requires that the user logs out of MacOS X – which makes moving between battery and mains power during a single session rather less convenient than you might expect.

Any Mac fans out there hoping for more from this latest revision, or is the inability to chain the two GPUs together for ultra graphics grunt a minor issue? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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