11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2007 8:39 AM by iMQ
iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi

I currently use a Windows XP computer and I have 2 laptops, one which is almost 4 years old and slowly coming to its last breath and another 2 years old. I have started looking around for a new computer to replace them both. The first main issue here is the reliability and security of the Operating System which is top of my list.

I have decided to opt for a Mac. The spec I require should be good for music and video editing/copying. I would like to edit homemade movies. In general most computers are good for these but one thing that many lack is the power to handle gaming. One of my favourite game is Halo and I would like a computer that is able to handle the game without any problems.

I would have liked to purchase a Macbook (White) but one element that puts me of is the graphics card (Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB). Personally I dont really understand much about how a shared graphics card would handle a decent game.

First question would be would the Macbook with its Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB be able to todays game and how would it fair in the next 3/4 years?

I believe the anwser would be that Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB would not be recommended or capable to handle games like Halo but still would like your opinion on this and if someome does use it for games.

The Macbook Pro and Imac 20/24 inch models have good graphics card. My preferred spec would be

(Processor) 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Ram) 2GB (Hard Drive) 120GB+ (Optical Drive) DVDRewriter.

I have one option missing which is the Graphics Card.

IMAC 20 inch
ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 of GDDR3
ATI Radeon X1600 with 256 of SDRAM

IMAC 24 inch
NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 128MB of GDDR3
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT with 256MB SDRAM

MACBOOK PRO 15 inch
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM

MACBOOK PRO 17 inch
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM

First question here would be what is the difference between GDDR3 and SDRAM?

Second question would be what is if there is any difference between ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 of GDDR3 and NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 128MB of GDDR3?

And difference between

ATI Radeon X1600 with 256 of SDRAM and NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT with 256MB SDRAM?

Thnaks for reading and hope to recieve some feedback from you.

iMQ






  Windows XP  

Windows XP
  • Anthony Donnelly Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    First question would be would the Macbook with its
    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB be able to
    todays game and how would it fair in the next 3/4
    years?


    It won't handle gaming well now and certainly not well in 3/4 years. The fact that memory is shared isn't even the only issue. Much lower clock speeds, fewer pixel pipelines etc. are also a factor here.

    Mobility and power efficiency are really the forte of these cards, not gaming.

    First question here would be what is the difference
    between GDDR3 and SDRAM?


    I don't know why Apple states the specs the way they do on the site. Both options (128MB and 256MB) use GDDR3 SDRAM. They are not different things, GDDR3 is a type of SDRAM.

    Second question would be what is if there is any
    difference between ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 of GDDR3
    and NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 128MB of GDDR3?


    From what I have seen in benchmarks between the two it is fairly significant. The X1600 turning in more than double the performance in 3D Mark benchmarks. I will provide a link to a comparison chart at the end of this post.

    And difference between

    ATI Radeon X1600 with 256 of SDRAM and NVIDIA GeForce
    7600 GT with 256MB SDRAM?


    Surprisingly not much based on the same test results. At least not as much as I would have thought.

    Thnaks for reading and hope to recieve some feedback
    from you.


    As far as whether to go with 128MB or 25MB that can be a tough question and often comes down to future proofing. How long do you plan to keep your new computer? Apps are using more resources every year and this is particularly true in gaming. Games store textures in VRAM. Some games like Doom 3 for example I believe will not let you choose the highest texture settings without 512MB.

    You can always purchase with less RAM and upgrade that if needed or have a larger Hard Drive put in, but upgrading your video RAM is something you can't do after purchase. Something worth keeping in mind.

    And the comparison link starting with the Intel 950 so you can see where it sits in terms of performance:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Graphics-Media-Accelerator-950.2177.0.html
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello Anthony Donnelly

    Thankyou for the reply. The reason I am asking the question regarding the graphics card is that Apple are not known to be made for gaming. I have spoken to a few people and when I say its for gaming I get the response Macs are not for gaming.

    I wanted to understand more about the graphics card the Macs have and the sort of games they can handle.

    I am expecting my next Computer (Be it Imac or Macbook Pro) to last for at least 4 years. One downside about Macs is that you cannot upgrade as with a Windows computer which is why I would try to get the highest spec that really would make a difference a few years down the road.

    The Macbook is at a decent price (I believe its a bargain) but not for gaming and the Imac is great value for money. Macbook Pro does seem way too pricey and to be honest the only thing I believe I am expected to pay double the price of a Macbook would be for a graphics card (+2 inches extra screen) which I find very hard to understand the huge price difference.

    Any help from Mac gamers would be helpful regarding this issue.


      Windows XP  

      Windows XP  
  • Anthony Donnelly Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    "I have spoken to a few people and when I say its for gaming I get the response Macs are not for gaming."

    I don't know how true that is any more, at least from a hardware standpoint. Macs are now using much the same hardware as their Windows based cousins.

    I don't think it can be argued that Mac owners don't have the same selection of games that is available for the Windows OS.

    A lot of what is available seems to be ported and much of it isn't Universal Binary so play isn't that great on the Intel machines.

    Halo is Universal so it should play well..very well. I play WoW on my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro and it plays very well on both of these. My wife plays on her iMac and it plays very well on that as well.

    Some of the lack of games for Mac can be address through Bootcamp and Windows, but I am hoping more games become available for multi-platform like WoW.
  • tbirdparis Level 5 Level 5 (5,500 points)
    One downside about Macs is that you cannot upgrade as with a Windows
    computer which is why I would try to get the highest spec that really would
    make a difference a few years down the road.


    and yet you're looking at a notebook.. I don't think that windows notebooks are a whole lot more upgradable down the track than mac ones are. you can add more RAM, change the hard drive.. perhaps on some windows laptops you can change the graphics card as well, but really the point about windows PCs being more cutomizable is really talking about towers, not notebooks.

    in any case, as the previous poster said: current mac notebooks really are the same hardware as their PC counterparts nowadays. yuo can just think of a top spec macbook pro as a high spec notebook PC.. because that's exactly what it is. so when it comes to gaming, there's really not a whole lot of difference anymore, especially as you can now install and run windows totally natively on macs. plenty of people on this forum have described the performance of their MBPs running windows via bootcamp for playing games like WOW or halo, and the results are uniformly positive.

    for what you want to do, a macbook is not the right choice. the intel integrated graphics won't do games justice. a macbook pro or a good spec imac will be excellent for that purpose.

    re the price of macbook pros.. I've done a lot of price comparison and they really aren't that expensive. when you compare what you get, point for point feature for feature, with a dell or HP or sony, you find some interesting things out. I found a few PC notebooks that were a couple of hundred bucks cheaper than a macbook pro, and they were advertised as high end performance laptops. the specs seemed good etc, but then you saw that they had the 2Ghz core 2 duo chip, not the 2.33.. and they had less RAM, smaller hard drive, a lower spec optical drive etc etc. by the time you upgraded the specs on these machines to match the equivalent MBP, some were quite a bit more expensive.
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Bonjour tbirdparis

    Thanks for the input.

    I want to purchase a 24 inch Imac to go in my bedroom and use it to listen to Music and view DVD and TV (I dont think Imac has a TV Tuner but can be added). Basically instead of having a TV plus Desktop computer I want to get both into one and with the 24 inch screen playing games and wathcing movies would be great. I also want to replace my Laptop. Which is why I am trying to compare how good are Imac and Macbook Pro and would be looking to purchase an Imac and Macbook Pro with similar specs. Imac is no problem regarding price for what it is but the Macbook Pro Im not too sure about becuase it does feel pricey or that I have never bought a computer that expensive. Think of it this way Wii is cheap as peanuts and Xbox 360 is decent but the PS3 is slightly off the mark. This is how I feel about the Macbook Pro.

    I am still looking and trying to compare it to other computers and hopefully someone here will help me make a decision regarding its price+spec.
  • tbirdparis Level 5 Level 5 (5,500 points)
    again, you've got to compare things side by side for what they actually are. if you've never seen a computer that pricey before, then you also haven't looked at a very top of the range PC notebook either, because that's the price range for that kind of thing.

    in any case, it doesn't sound like it's the way to go for you. the 24" imac would be a great choice. it'll run games really nicely. you should go into a store and ask to see some games on that machine. call ahead to make sure the store you go to either already has one set up with some graphics intensive games, or that they're willing to install some on a machine to demo for you.
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Just to add

    Im from UK and the price of a Macbook Pro is £1899 which I think is about $3700/3850

    Im thinking of flying to New York and then pick up one which is cheaper than to ship them over. its about £160 $315/340 to fly there and back which is much safer and cheaper compared to International postage plus insurance and the fact that Apple will not ship it over. I know that some people pick one up when they are on holiday/business trip.

    I need to find out if I go to an Apple store can I pick up one straight away or will they take a few days and how long it will take.

      Windows XP  
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi tbirdparis

    Actually I was looking at the desktop and not really at the notebook when I said that I was looking at the upgradable options in the future. Laptops are one thing that you cant really upgrade and desktops can be upgraded but the Imac is more like a laptop than a desktop or like a tablet pc whiich is why I am looking at the max spec so that in 3/4 years time it still is a decent machine. Mac Pro is a great machine for desktop but not something Im interested in.

    Imac ticked on shopping list as for Macbook Pro Im not sure.
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I need to find out if I go to an Apple store can I pick up one straight away or will they take a few days and how long it will take


    This takes us to the Question are US Macs different than UK?

    And if so in what way would it really effect me or anyone for that matter?
  • Anthony Donnelly Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    "I need to find out if I go to an Apple store can I pick up one straight away or will they take a few days and how long it will take."

    Stock configurations you should be able to pick up from the Apple Store with no problem. Custom BTO (built to order) upgrade configurations will have to be ordered and will take a few days.

    The difference between the UK and US models as far as I know is in the keyboard layout. Someone else may have further input to that.

    You may want to consider an educational purchase if you are attending university etc. as I believe the UK educational discounts are similar to those in the US.

    I believe the issue with picking one up in the U.S (aside from keyboard layout) is that you have to pay VAT don't you?
  • iMQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    is that you have to pay VAT don't you

    Even then I dont think it would be close to $1000

    Overall I would be saving about £700 with which I could possible even squeeze in a normal macbook