So I work from two machines on an ongoing basis:

The Macbook I use in the office at CURE, and when traveling, and the tower I use at my home office. I typically have to do any heavy lifting (ie print design and web designs with more than 200 - 300 photoshop layers) on my tower.

But there's plenty of times when I'm in the office and I just can't get to the tower, so I have to make do on heavy lifting with my Macbook.

It craps the bed plenty.

If I have a large file open in Photoshop, and InDesign and Illustrator open (which I almost always do), as well as a handful of other applications, the machine will become all but unresponsive.

Now I've proven that I'm clearly on the extreme end of power computing use-cases. I've even had issues escalate to Apple's engineering department (when four Applecare advisors and a Sr. Applecare Advisor have been stumped by my issue).

But recently I had a little glimmer of hope when a friend gave me this tip. If you need more processing power on your Macbook, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences (Apple > System Preferences...)
  2. Under "Hardware" category, select Energy Saver.
  3. At the top of the dialogue box, make sure that "Automatic graphics switching" is disabled.

Changing this setting means that your machine will always operate at maximum graphics performance, although it will drain your battery life a little faster. For me, it's worth the trade off by far - especially since I normally have my machine plugged in throughout the day.