46142 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Apr 5, 2011 3:35 PM by oplix
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I'm looking at the new 13" and am wondering how graphics performance will be on the
new 2011 models vs. the 2010 model. I'll use it for photo and video editing so graphics
will be important. Will the Core i7 and the Intel HD graphics give me a $500 speed bump over
the Core 2 Duo and the NVIDIA GeForce 320M?
I don't know about video editing but for Photoshop work the processor will only affect processor-intensive tasks, such as applying filters. Overall speed will depend on other things, mainly available RAM and what storage you use. However, since Photoshop (since CS4, I think) uses the GPU better, that will also be a factor. But nevertheless, while the new Macbook Pros are significantly faster than last year's models (see [here|http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks> and [here|http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2011/02/macbookpro-benchmarks-early-2011> for Geekbench scores) that speed increase may not necessarily translate into real-world time savings. For instance I'm happily using CS5 on an "ancient" Macbook late 2008 and it is not much faster in Camera Raw, for instance, than my Mac Pro. Sure it is slower but not unbearably slower. Ultimately it depends on what you wish to spend but at least for photo editing you'll do quite well with the 2010 Macbook Pros. Plus you're likely going to have much better battery life.
Bigger issue is the 13" maintains the same max resolution (1280x800). There have been several sites running benchmarks Intel HD Graphics 3000 vs. NVIDIA GeForce 320M and the Intel is similar. This should not be surprising since it is unlikely Apple will release a new line with performance lower than the last Gen as well as the much improved CPU will make your overall experience better. If you have spare $$$ I would opt for the SSD upgrade!
If you are a gamer then of course you want to get the top of the line MBP if you have to play on a laptop. For me I get the top 13" w/ SSD for traveling and leisure time when I do not need my Uber PC.
I don't know if this helps anyone make a decision (because it's not photo editing), but I thought I'd share a real life experience with the Intel HD 3000. I just purchased the new 2011 MBP 13" to upgrade from a white Macbook 2008 running an Intel X3100
Specs: 2.1 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB ram, X3100 integrated w/144MB vs:
Specs: 2.3 Ghz Intel i5, 4GB ram, HD3000 w/384MB.
My girlfriend uses it primarily to play the Sims 3. While I know an integrated chip isn't the best for gaming, we were extremely disappointed with the difference in performance. We went from running all the settings on Low (barely meeting system requirements) to barely scraping by on Medium - a lot of the settings will have to be reduced to low to get a decent framerate, still working on that. Keep in mind, that's skipping from the X3100, past the 9400M, and the 320M. I have no doubt in my mind the nVidia 320M would be a better graphics chip for this because a 3 year old Macbook should not even remotely compare to a new MBP. Obviously, I'm thinking about returning this to the Apple Store and getting the previous gen with the 320M - even if it's just an "early driver" issue, it's just not good.
"There have been several sites running benchmarks Intel HD Graphics 3000 vs. NVIDIA GeForce 320M and the Intel is similar. This should not be surprising since it is unlikely Apple will release a new line with performance lower than the last Gen"
Unfortunately, this is not the case. A thorough analysis of the benchmarks reveals that the HD 3000 is far inferior to the previous-gen 320m for gaming. Most of the synthetic graphics benchmarks are skewed by CPU / HDD performance. In actual performance, the HD 3000 gives up 20-50% performance in graphically-intensive games. This is likely one of the reasons that discussion of graphics performance is conspicuously absent from the MBP 13 features page.
To the OP: All this being said, if gaming is not in your plans, the new MBP 13 should perform much better than the previous-gen in CPU-intensive tasks (video processing, Adobe PS filtering, transcoding, etc.).
In comparison to the MBA, The MBP images are no where near as details in grays and blacks. I went to the following site to as a double take to my observation:
and the new MBP disappointingly failed many of the screen tuning test while the MBA was fairly superb. Either this is a screen issue or a graphics issue; more than likely graphics...
I also noticed images and video were much darker and less natural than my MBA on the '11 MBP. I'm disappointed.
I'm thinking about returning the MBP. Although the processing power is great (especially with SSD), I would like the higher resolution and better image displaying screen. I didn't realize this until watching video side by side. Blacks weren't as black and all shaded colors ie. like grays coats with designs showed up more as solid colors while watching movies; I was quite surprised... What I'm saying is similar colors blur together while I can see variation/transition in shades with MBA.
I keep seeing on the web that the integrated graphics of the Intel HD 3000 are on par, maybe in frame rate quantity, but not much quality.
Just some thoughts...