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MacBook Graphics Card

8702 Views 71 Replies Latest reply: Jun 1, 2006 2:58 AM by missrising RSS
  • Dale_Nx26 Calculating status...
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    May 17, 2006 7:28 PM (in response to johnny_go_darkly)
    How well would the Sims 2 run on the Macbook?
    Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.4.6), 1GB Ram
  • Nick A Level 4 Level 4 (1,465 points)
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    May 17, 2006 7:39 PM (in response to Dale_Nx26)
     MacBook Pro 15.4", Mac OS X (10.4.6), 1.83GHz Core Duo, 2GB RAM, 100GB @ 7200RPM
  • ProdigalSon Calculating status...
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    May 17, 2006 9:30 PM (in response to johnny_go_darkly)
    Hello All,

    For those who might be interested, here's a simple, but fairly informative article I found via Google. It compares various integrated and stand-alone notebook graphic cards. Should be of interest for those who want to know if the MacBook integrated video right for their needs.

    http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2526

    From the article...


    INTEGRATED VS. DEDICATED GRAPHICS CARDS

    There's a very important primary distinction to make between GPUs: integrated and dedicated.

    An integrated GPU is built into the motherboard. As a result, it will not have its own memory (excepting the Radeon Xpress 200M) and its performance is generally severely crippled. The chip itself will be short several features in order to properly fit into the northbridge of the motherboard, and it will have to borrow memory from the system RAM. This leeches some memory bandwidth from the system itself and can be a very minor detriment to overall system performance.

    The flipside is that integrated GPUs run very cool and can substantially improve battery life. If you're not going to really be gaming on your notebook, these are usually preferable.

    A dedicated GPU is separate from the motherboard and generally has its own memory (excepting odd variants that can share system memory - see the HyperMemory and TurboCache section below for details). These frequently offer superior gaming performance but at the cost of battery life.


    Gaming (by which I mean 3D gaming) performance is not going to be good, but you gain battery life and avoid excessive heat. If you're in the market for a new laptop, and spend most of your time in Office or iLife apps, browsing the web, and checking email, don't worry.

    If you want a gaming machine in your backpack, you might need to save a few (quite a few) more pennies and consider the MacBook Pro.

    Here's Intels official page for the GMA950, by the way.

    http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/

    Hope this helps.


    20 G5 iMac   Mac OS X (10.4.2)  
  • Howard Chernin Level 3 Level 3 (855 points)
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    May 18, 2006 12:37 AM (in response to johnny_go_darkly)
    If you want to play games, but a Nintendo Wii. If you want to play games on the road, buy a Playstation Portable (PSP) or a Gameboy DS.

    For God's sake, it's a low-end portable Mac. It's amazing that Apple packed all these amazing features into such a small design, and at such a low price to match. Price, power and popularity probably played into the decision on Apple's part to go with integrated graphics.[Note: that was a lot of words beginning with "p" in one sentence]. The integrated graphics chip is cheap, like $9/chip I think for companies that buy in bulk as Apple does. They consume a lot less power than a dedicated card like the ATI X600 (and thus you get better battery life and less heat disipation, which is probably an issue when you have a plastic case as opposed to aluminum). Finally, most people buying iBooks and now MacBooks want to be able to manage their digital lifestyle. Kids who want to play games already have nintendos. Adults don't have time to play games. That just leaves college students, and god knows they're more interested in pirating music and movies than playing games. And if they're really serious about a computer that plays games, they'll just buy a PC anyway.

    Sorry, that was a bit cheeky. But I really do think a lot of folks are missing the point: the MacBook is about movies and photos. It's a $1000 studio! Finally you can get a portable computer for $1000 that lets you create your own Blair Witch Project or be your own Kodak lab. Heck, you can even be your own movie theater! That's really amazing! Adding a real graphics card, if feasible, would have driven up the cost, lowered the battery life, and made the machine run hotter. It wouldn't have made Star Wars Episode One look any better.

    Just my two cents.

    Titanium G4 1GHz (and oh how it's showing its age)   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • missrising Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    May 18, 2006 6:37 AM (in response to Dale_Nx26)
    If you intend to keep this notebook for 2 years plus then you may run into some problems with this type of card. I am only speaking from what i have seen in the past with other family members whose systems use intel integrated graphics.
    Among other things their computers can no longer even handle simple modern games such as Bejeweled or Luxor. When trying to boot with them they will crash. Intel are not very good with updating their drivers but maybe Apple will eliminate some of these problems.
    Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • chadius Calculating status...
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    May 18, 2006 8:53 AM (in response to missrising)
    for goodness sakes people....apple has a notebook that's meant for gaming...it's called the macbook pro...the macbook is an entry level mac notebook and while I think the integrated graphics are slightly dissapointing as well I can totally understand apple's move to use integrated graphics on the macbook. For all you gamers out there (especially you pc types) since when have you ever expcected the latest and greatest games to run well on a budget machine? Every gamer I know spends tons of cash on their machine upgrading and upgrading and upgrading...in the name of being able to play the latest games. Am I going to whine that my entry level pc laptop can't play half life 2 at all...um...no, I can't expect performance like that from a budget machine. The macbook will be great for many customers, hardcore mac gamers on tight budgets (isn't this an oximoron?) are not one of them. Quit your whining....

    powerbook g4 12"   Mac OS X (10.4.3)   100gb, 1.25gb ram, DL Superdrive
  • missrising Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    May 18, 2006 9:15 AM (in response to chadius)
    If you read what i wrote i was not really referring to hard core gamers. Most people i know engage in light basic games like Bejewelled once in a while.
    I was just stating that my sisters computer which is around two years old cannot even now handle these simple new games like Luxor or Bejewelled and that the support from intel for these older models is poor in my opinion.
    Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • James Blackburn1 Calculating status...
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    May 18, 2006 9:21 AM (in response to Nick A)
    Nick, your messages seem to be overly negative - and you risk sounding like a Troll. First you said that the maximum memory allocated to the Intel Graphics chipset was 64Mb (it's not, it's 224 MB see: http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/), and now you say the old iBook's graphics card "is still much better".

    Have you actually performed benchmarks on this? Macworld has:
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/05/firstlooks/macbookbench/index.php
    and the MB performs better on UT 2004 than the 1.42Ghz iBook.

    This laptop is an iBook replacement and, as such, it performs better. Unless you have stats to prove otherwise, it's wrong to say so.

    James
    iMac G4 800Mhz, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • James Blackburn1 Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
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    May 18, 2006 9:27 AM (in response to Rick Bolton)
    Similarly, there's no Graphics Card on a MBP (the ATI is integrated on the mother board).

    It seems to me that a lot of people are complaining without fully understanding difference - integrated graphics is not necessarily a bad word. Without seeing benchmarks, it is wrong to pass judgement. Macworld, in initial tests (http://www.macworld.com/2006/05/firstlooks/macbookbench/index.php), have shown that UT 2004 performs better than on the previous iBook.

    Like everyone else, I'll be waiting for real benchmarks. However this useless "the MB graphics won't perform well/worse than an iBook" is, for the moment, nonsense.

    James
    iMac G4 800Mhz, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Nick A Level 4 Level 4 (1,465 points)
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    May 18, 2006 9:31 AM (in response to James Blackburn1)
    Plain and simple, from 3dmark05 database the GMA 950 on a Core Duo notebook 2GHz with 512MB got a total of 569. The Radeon 9550 found on the iBooks scores 800, so that's a 40% decrease is raw GPU power.

    If you have an account go to futuremark and access their database. The scores are all the proof needed. Also, I noticed in the link you sent me to the performance between the iBook and MB 2GHz in UT 2004 is 3 FPS. That is barely an improvement, and future game titles will struggle to run if at all on this book. However, as stated in my first post the core duo is super fast and the machine is nice. It's a major improvement for daily tasks, and the price is right. But, it's not a gamer's machine and it's sad the iBook had a better GPU. The reason the UT 2004 score is marginally higher is due to the core duo.

    Nick
     MacBook Pro 15.4", Mac OS X (10.4.6), 2GB RAM, 100GB @ 7200RPM
  • dwb Level 6 Level 6 (19,675 points)
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    May 18, 2006 9:57 AM (in response to missrising)
    Obviously I don't know what your sister's computer is, but I'm sitting in front of a 4 year old iMac that has no trouble playing the two games - or any other Gamehouse game. The white LCD iMac doesn't exactly have a premier graphics card - it only has 32 MB of VRAM - and neither did my G3 iBook and it also plays those game okay. Perhaps her problem is RAM?
    15 al PB / G5 Dual processor / Mac mini Core Solo, Mac OS X (10.4.2), WinXP (sigh) and iPod
  • Poké Joe Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    May 18, 2006 10:04 AM (in response to Howard Chernin)
    I bought this laptop for my wife. I truly hope I don't regret that decision. The reason I say this is...

    She doesn't need a MBP. It's got way more than she'll ever need. It has more than I might need but I definitely find ways to tax it. Since when has a pro model of anything been equated to the model of laptop required to play your daily dose of warcraft? I think Apple missed the boat when they went with integrated video. Even a simple 32mb dedicated video processor would have smoked this integrated solution.

    If it's terrible I'll be sending it back. It will burn the wallet but it will be better than getting a POS.

    I have a Sony VAIO that has a 64mb ATI 9700 in it for cryin' out loud. The machine is a 13.3" almost identical to the MacBook (save that it's a year old and has a different processor). It's a solid 3d video card and plays Warcraft with no issue at all. The VAIO only cost roughly $1500. If Apple would release a general version of OSX I would scrap the idea of getting her a MacBook with crappy integrated video and install OSX on my VAIO for her to use.

    What most of the "get a MBP if you want to game" people don't realize is... it's not about gaming - it's about casual gaming and if the machine can't even play WoW as well as her old Sony VAIO with a 32mb ATI 9200 she's going to see the new MacBook as slow and not as good as her old laptop. She is by no means a gamer and would never fit the category of a power user either. She's the target audience for the MacBook but it's going to look bad to both of us if it can't play WoW.
  • missrising Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    May 18, 2006 10:09 AM (in response to dwb)
    Hi well the laptop that she had which had Intel integrated graphics was a Toshiba 3000 model and she 768MB ram with it and it could not load Luxor.

    I used to have a PC notebook before i bought a Mac and that had 32mb of dedicated VRAM and the performance on that was ok.

    She has a Packard Bell desktop which is around 2 years old or maybe a little over that with integrated graphics and i have tried to load Luxor onto her machine but it will not take it. I don't think that ram is the problem going by what happened with her old laptop even though she has 256mb of ram on that.
    Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • James Blackburn1 Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
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    May 18, 2006 10:23 AM (in response to Nick A)
    I agree the the Radeon 9550 may be a better chipset - after all it has dedicated video memory, clever shaders, etc. However as you have noted, the system specs on the MB are significantly better. Importantly the AGP 4x on the iBook provides a max video bandwidth to the card of 1 GB/s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AcceleratedGraphicsPort). The Integrated Intel Graphics is capable of 10.6GB/s memory throughput. Undoubtedly not as good as the built-in memory of a dedicated graphics card (just look at the MBP), but overall better than the iBook before it.

    Yes the MB is not a gamers machine. Neither was the iBook. Integrated graphics appear not to have made the laptop any worse, and probably saved Apple a bucket by buying everything from Intel. I suspect a gamer is not going to want a Radeon 9550 in their laptop either (or a 13" screen), and Apple needs to have some way of forcing people to buy MBPs. If you think there should be a smaller form factor MBP, then I would agree with you, however I think it's faulty logic that expects the MB, Apple's bottom of the range consumer laptop, to peform as well as its more expensive MBP cousin.

    James
    iMac G4 800Mhz, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Nick A Level 4 Level 4 (1,465 points)
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    May 18, 2006 10:33 AM (in response to James Blackburn1)
    I totally agree. I never expected the Macbook to do what a mbp does. That'd be silly. And as I said three posts ago:

    Sure it'd be nice if Apple made a small laptop with all the trimings, but they don't. So if you need to play the latest and greatest games at an acceptable level, or if you wish to play future games at all you'll need to get a macbook pro. And if you want a small laptop and think the MBP is too big then you better start hoping and writing apple (http://www.apple.com/feedback) and ask them to make a 13.3 pro model or you could buy a sony vaio SZ series which is identical to the macbook, in screen camera included, with real graphics and 1 pound lighter, but it'll run you $1850. The downer is it will run windows.

    We can agree that the MB is spec'd out for the price, that the MB and iBook are not gamer's machines and that a small MBP would be nice.

    Nick
     MacBook Pro 15.4", Mac OS X (10.4.6), 2GB RAM, 100GB @ 7200RPM

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