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Nvidia 320M GPU made especially for Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro

post #1 of 67
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While the GeForce GT 330M featured in the new 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros has already been found in competing notebook PCs, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro sports the Nvidia 320M, a graphics processor created just for Apple.

An Nvidia spokesperson told AppleInsider Tuesday that the new 320M was made especially for Apple, and is the successor to the GeForce 9400M, introduced in 2008. The 320M is an integrated graphics chipset for notebooks based on Intel's Core 2 Duo line of processors.

According to Notebookcheck.net, the 320M does not have dedicated graphics memory, but uses shared memory for the system for its graphics processing, giving it poorer performance than a GPU with dedicated memory. The 320M (not to be confused with the GeForce GT 320M) is based on the GT216 core, and offers 48 shader cores.

The report said the gaming performance of the 320M should be comparable to, but slightly better than, a 310M. The 320M also supports PureVideo HD for high definition decoding within the GPU. The processor can also be used to encode videos.

In announcing its new line of MacBook Pros on Tuesday, Apple revealed that the GeForce 320M GPU offers up to 80 percent faster graphics processing. It also helps the 13-inch MacBook Pro achieve 10 hours of battery life. Apple called the 320M the "fastest integrated graphics processor on the market."



The 13-inch model also includes faster Core 2 Duo processors, reaching speeds up to 2.66GHz and featuring a 1066MHz frontside bus with 3MB of shared L2 cache.

Featured on the 15- and 17-inch models is the 330M, which Apple said is more than twice as fast as the low-end 320M. Apple said the GT 330M "provides smooth, crisp on-screen graphics for the most demanding 3D games, creative software and technical applications."

The 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros also include automatic graphics switching, which Apple has dubbed a "breakthrough" technology. It allows the system to switch graphics processors on the fly, giving users performance when they need it and better battery efficiency when they don't. AppleInsider first revealed Apple was planning dual graphics technology in its future MacBook Pros in February.
post #2 of 67
I'd wager that for the average 13" MBP buyer the C2D w/ Nvidia 320M is better option than Core-i3 w/ Intel HD.
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post #3 of 67
I'd buy that for a dollar!
post #4 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I'd buy that for a dollar!

Nothing wakes me up like a Robocop reference in the morning. Thanks.
post #5 of 67
The reason for the Core2Duo Chips is soley the option for the "cheap" Nvidia GFX chip solution. If they used the Intel HD Chips, they would lose a lot of performance compared to the 9400 Chips in previous models. Damn you Intel Let's see how the lawsuit works out betrween NVidia an Intel about teh Chipset Market.
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post #6 of 67
It is indeed an interesting product.

Three times the shaders, yet only up to 1.8 times the performance.

This is probably down to using shared memory and running the chipset at a lower speed to reduce power consumption.

However the new low-end MacBook Pro 13" is distinctly better than yesterday's. Shame it doesn't have a low-end Core i5 or high-end Core i3 inside, but you can't have everything.
post #7 of 67
Anyone know why there's such a massive price difference between the two 13" models (£250 in the UK)? It certainly can't be down the HDD!
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad View Post

The reason for the Core2Duo Chips is soley the option for the "cheap" Nvidia GFX chip solution. If they used the Intel HD Chips, they would lose a lot of performance compared to the 9400 Chips in previous models. Damn you Intel Let's see how the lawsuit works out betrween NVidia an Intel about teh Chipset Market.

Definitely. I'm really pleasantly surprise Nvidia helped Apple by creating a new graphics card specifically for them that still runs on the older chipsets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

\\However the new low-end MacBook Pro 13" is distinctly better than yesterday's. Shame it doesn't have a low-end Core i5 or high-end Core i3 inside, but you can't have everything.

Well, if they wanted i3's or i5's, they would need the new chipsets from intel, which don't work with Nvidia's 9400M type system. So the new 13" would be stuck with Intel HD from the intel chipsets, which is worse than the 9400M. Thus this is a temporary solution while Nvidia can hopefully get Intel to stop preventing their processors from being used in Intel chipsets.
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post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

This is probably down to using shared memory and running the chipset at a lower speed to reduce power consumption.

Almost certainly the lack of onboard memory - it takes a huge hit having to deal with the shared RAM (the main bus, distance, extra glue hardware/code , etc).
post #10 of 67
Hi there, I am a college student and I would like to buy a new MacBook pro. I have my budget, so is the 13-inch: 2.4GHz good enough? What is the difference between dual core and core i7 or ..... I don't understand those terms at all. Can you please explain it to me in simple words? Thanks
post #11 of 67
Custom for the MBP?

Nice.
post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Anyone know why there's such a massive price difference between the two 13" models (£250 in the UK)? It certainly can't be down the HDD!

Ridiculous Apple price point setting. A faster CPU and some hard drive space certainly shouldn't add up to £250 extra.

13": £999
13": £1250
15": £1500 (c.f. $1799 which translates to £1170, +VAT = £1375, a £125 price premium)
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

Well, if they wanted i3's or i5's, they would need the new chipsets from intel, which don't work with Nvidia's 9400M type system. So the new 13" would be stuck with Intel HD from the intel chipsets, which is worse than the 9400M. Thus this is a temporary solution while Nvidia can hopefully get Intel to stop preventing their processors from being used in Intel chipsets.

The low-end 13" is now "one-heck-of-a-deal." Why spend $300 more for the high-end 13", which essentially just gives you a slightly faster processor? (Getting the 320GB instead of the 250GB hard drive doesn't give you much; if the 250GB is not big enough, then better to spend about a $100 more and upgrade to a 500GB 7200rpm).

I wish they had kept the low-end 15" with Core2Duo and Nvidia integrated chip. Although I want to get a 15", I am hesitating because of the Intel HD graphics. If this is a temporary solution, I wonder how temporary. I also hope that Apple is putting pressure on Intel to straighten out this issue with Nvidia.
post #14 of 67
I think the difference between 2,4Ghz and 2,66 is definitely not worth it.
Core i7 or i5 are a new Nehalem based Architecture from Intel. The C2D in the 13" are still the old architecture that has been here for about 2 years now.
Corei iX are significantly faster in situations that benefit from a lot of cores since they have 4 logical cores. This gives you around 20% faster encoding speed. If you do a lot of video work or render stuff the new CPUs might be better for you if you're more the usual web surfer, gamer, office word user the upgrade to 15" is not worth it.
You can get significantly better performance Corei5 from much cheaper windows notebooks though.
Bigger diff. betweend 13" and 15" is the GPU which is supposedly twice as fast in 15". Compared to quite a few windows notebooks it still ain't that good and 256mb is just a little too less for many modern games at these resolutions and if you want AA.
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by tech specs

Intel HD Graphics with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

So if 320M and 330M are integrated graphics, how does the Intel chip fit in? That is, if you're integrated, you're usually, what, integrated with the memory controller or some such? Do the MacBook Pros dodge the Intel vs. NVIDIA lawsuit by having two of essentially the same thing in the box?
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven ong View Post

Hi there, I am a college student and I would like to buy a new MacBook pro. I have my budget, so is the 13-inch: 2.4GHz good enough? What is the difference between dual core and core i7 or ..... I don't understand those terms at all. Can you please explain it to me in simple words? Thanks

Depends on what your needs are. But, if you don't know the difference between Core2Duo and Core i7 (the latter is much faster), then my guess is that the 13" 2.4Ghz should be good enough for you.
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Anyone know why there's such a massive price difference between the two 13" models (£250 in the UK)? It certainly can't be down the HDD!

The more expensive model also has a CPU bump from 2.4 to 2.6.
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

Definitely. I'm really pleasantly surprise Nvidia helped Apple by creating a new graphics card specifically for them that still runs on the older chipsets.

What, as opposed to Intel pulling a tiny processor out of mothballs for the even more niche Air? I think Apple has some clout now. ;^)
post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctwise View Post

The more expensive model also has a CPU bump from 2.4 to 2.6.

While I don't agree with the complaining, according to Intel's price list, in sales of 1000 units the 2.4GHz chip is $209 while the 2.66GHz chip is $241.
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post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

Ridiculous Apple price point setting. A faster CPU and some hard drive space certainly shouldn't add up to £250 extra.

Sure it does.. you just gotta be using Steve's calculator.. then it adds up perfectly!
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post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

Depends on what your needs are. But, if you don't know the difference between Core2Duo and Core i7 (the latter is much faster), then my guess is that the 13" 2.4Ghz should be good enough for you.

Hmm. Thank you AppleGreen!

I am very confused with all the terms, but now that you have already enlighten me, I got a clearer picture.

I am just using it for the basic, like typing, online, and watching movies. So, you would suggest I get the 13 inch? I am tempted because I really like the fact that the battery could last until 10 hours. That would be useful if I am traveling.

Thanks again AppleGreen.
post #22 of 67
. . .
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post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

Ridiculous Apple price point setting. A faster CPU and some hard drive space certainly shouldn't add up to £250 extra.

Yep it's ridiculous but there's a certain group of people who will pay a big premium just to get the fastest. Apple takes advantage of it.

IMO, you're better off to get the low end and then buy a new computer next year, selling the old one.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Sure it does.. you just gotta be using Steve's calculator.. then it adds up perfectly!

By Steve's calculator, $241-$209 = $300. His calculator made him a billionaire. We should all get one of those !!
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by rufwork View Post

So if 320M and 330M are integrated graphics, how does the Intel chip fit in? That is, if you're integrated, you're usually, what, integrated with the memory controller or some such? Do the MacBook Pros dodge the Intel vs. NVIDIA lawsuit by having two of essentially the same thing in the box?

The 320M is, I believe, a two-chip chipset solution like the old 9400M. It's an interface controller chip with an integrated GPU, linking the Intel C2D CPU to memory and peripherals on the 13", just like the 9400M did. The C2D processors don't have an integrated GPU, so the GPU on the 320M is 'on' all the time.

The 330M is a separate chip (or discrete GPU) on the motherboard, as Nvidia isn't allowed to integrate the GPU and chipset controller with the i3/5/7 processors (it uses an Intel controller chip). So the chipset is a three chip solution, of CPU, controller and GPU. In fact, with the hardware for the Optimus, it's probably a four chip solution. I think all i5/7 CPUs have an integrated GPU, so the 330M is only activated when required, and fortunately without the log off/on step required with the old 9600GT-based MacBook Pros.

Hope the above makes sense!

This must have been a lot of work for Apple, it's a whole CPU/chipset change for the 15" and 17", and a chipset change for the 13". I'm not surprised it took them so long.

Personally, with Steam coming online for Macs, I think Apple should have started upping their game with better graphic card options. The 330M is a mid-level solution, a tweaked 240 which itself was a die-shrunk 9600; I'd really like to have seen either the Radeon 5XXX series with something similar to the Optimus on-the-fly switching (ATi must be working on it), or a higher level Nvidia chip at least as an option. Though other top-end laptops eg Sony Vaio F Series use the 330M GPU. Even better, but very unlikely for Apple, would be to have the graphics cards as replaceable, for when they go wrong, or so they could be upgraded at a later date. But then I guess there are very few of us that actually like cracking the case on our expensive laptops...
post #26 of 67
Hmm, interesting that the 320 in the 13 inch and the 330 in the higher end models BOTH have 48 unified shaders. But then, the 320 is handicapped by system memory bandwidth, so I guess it works out.

Also interesting that despite having 48 shaders compared to last gen's 16, performance only doubled as a best case scenario. Again, limited by that system memory.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Yep it's ridiculous but there's a certain group of people who will pay a big premium just to get the fastest. Apple takes advantage of it.

IMO, you're better off to get the low end and then buy a new computer next year, selling the old one.

Apple's lowest end are usually always the better value as they charge a lot for upgrades. It's just artificial to maintain their price points. That upgrade should be £100 at most.

I'm pleased to see the 320M in the low end though rather than the 310M. It looks like it should be at least on par with the 9600M GT so it will handle pretty much any game that's out and 48 cores is decent for GPU processing. I'd imagine it will be close in performance to the following chip, which can just manage to run Crysis on high quality:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.17646.0.html

If these updates go into the Mini and Macbook, that will be a welcome update... eventually. Steam for Mac is coming this month and it would have been nice to have the entire low-end capable enough to give a great gaming experience. The 9400M is enough to tide people over though.

A 10 hour battery life is pretty cool and they don't exaggerate in this regard. I've seen a MBP last for 7 hours.

Core 2 Duo is a bit weak but at least they bumped the clock speed so it's not all bad. I'm definitely happier with Core 2 Duo + good GPU than Intel's junk with a Core i3.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Steam for Mac is coming this month...

Just what I said a couple of posts earlier!
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The processor can also be used to encode videos.

What?! Is there a single Program for OS X that enables me to encode Videos using my GPU? So far, I haven't seen one. Also, where are all those OpenCL-Programs?
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post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'm definitely happier with Core 2 Duo + good GPU than Intel's junk with a Core i3.

I suppose I am too. Since Nvidia aren't allowed to make chipsets for i5/i7 the alternative would have been an i5 with the Intel 4500HD which would have been a severe downgrade from the 9400M as it is meant to be twice as slow. The new 320M is meant to be 80% faster than the 9400M and uses 40% less power wow. I hope Nvidia win in the courts so we can see an i5 with 320M 13" soon.
post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Never mind that i5 or i7 stuff - the processor that Apple put into your machine is a very fast processor in its own right, and it is brand new and it is better than last year's model by a long shot.

Unless you will be doing lots of processor intensive stuff like editing video or crunching giant spreadsheets or spell-checking encyclopedias, the i5 will be fine for your needs.

And it is small and light, and the screen is pretty good. The ten hour battery life alone is astounding.

No need to lie to the guy. The 2.4Ghz has been used in Macbooks since 2007 it's hardly new!!!! But it will do him fine its a decent machine. Just ordered the 2.4 13" for my dad too actually.

Edit: oh you meant the i5 is new, yes, but he was asking about the 2.4ghz core 2 duo in the 13".
post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denmaru View Post

What?! Is there a single Program for OS X that enables me to encode Videos using my GPU? So far, I haven't seen one. Also, where are all those OpenCL-Programs?

Edit #2: Quicktime X does use GPU acceleration in encoding H.264 (only with 9400M, at this point). It's not done through OpenCL, however. OpenCL is for GPU computing.
post #33 of 67
Stop whining: http://translate.google.de/translate...hl=de&ie=UTF-8

Shows no real difference except i3 uses more power.
post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Sure it does.. you just gotta be using Steve's calculator.. then it adds up perfectly!

That about sums it up,

What apple has done to make it even harder,as we know memory and HDD upgrades are simple, but they always tied the faster processor and video performance to HDD and memory Upgrades.

In this case going form a 250GB to 320GB assuming same RPM is only a $3 or $4 cost difference to Apple, possible less and the processor increase may only be a few dollars more too. Believe it or not the slower speed may cost apply more or there could be no cost difference. They could be buying the slow speed at the exact same price as the higher speed depending on a number of factors. However, you can not upgrade the processor so if you want the higher speed you have to get the larger drive and pay lots for it and Apple knows many people will make this trade off.
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denmaru View Post

What?! Is there a single Program for OS X that enables me to encode Videos using my GPU? So far, I haven't seen one. Also, where are all those OpenCL-Programs?

Elemental is working to bring their GPU encoder to the Mac:

http://www.badaboomit.com/node/47

They have a product for the Quadro card already. Although you don't see OpenCL apps advertised yet, there are apps that rely on the GPU heavily. Apple's Motion is the most prominent but FCP uses it too for FxPlugins.

Consumer apps won't see it much until the GPUs are powerful enough that a lot of consumers will see the difference. Apple's low-end is still on the 9400M, which is only 54GFlops. The 320M should be 3x that. If the entire lineup gets to that performance all the while having 2 GPUs, then it gets interesting as they can do something to compute on the dedicated chip while running the display off the Intel chip - in fact balance processing between the CPU and dedicated chip.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgbwnet View Post

Edit #2: Quicktime X does use GPU acceleration in encoding H.264 (only with 9400M, at this point). It's not done through OpenCL, however. OpenCL is for GPU computing.

None of the IGPs and GPUs in the new MBPs have H.264 GPU encoding?
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post #37 of 67
Do you think the new 2.4 MBP13 is worth upgrading from last year's 2.26?
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post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nautilus. View Post

Do you think the new 2.4 MBP13 is worth upgrading from last year's 2.26?

No. Unless you can sell your 2.26 for more than you paid for it.
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'd wager that for the average 13" MBP buyer the C2D w/ Nvidia 320M is better option than Core-i3 w/ Intel HD.

Why is it an either or proposition?

Sony is able to put i5 cpus and Nvdia 330m gpus in their 13" Z series. A 13 " MBP with an i3 and the 330m like on the 15" and 17" would have been very attractive.

The 15" and 17" MBPs got a real update. The 13" 'update' is a joke, IMO.

An unnecessary joke at that.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Why is it an either or proposition?

Sony is able to put i5 cpus and Nvdia 330m gpus in their 13" Z series. A 13 " MBP with an i3 and the 330m like on the 15" and 17" would have been very attractive.

The 15" and 17" MBPs got a real update. The 13" 'update' is a joke, IMO.

An unnecessary joke at that.

You're claiming a faster processor, faster IGP and 3 hours more battery for the same price as yesterday is a joke. But if they included Core i chip all of a sudden wouldn't be a joke?

As for the Sony Z, it starts at $1,899, which more than the highest priced 13" MBP. It only comes with SSDs which uses less power and produces less heat thereby making the internal engineering easier than with HDDs. Despite that it only has a 6 hour battery, not the 10 hours that Apple lists (you can trust both Apple and Sony's battery claims). SSDs certainly have their benefits, but as the only option for the Sony Z it makes this a completely different class of machine than the 13" MBP.

Also, at that price, you only get a 128MB drive, which is pretty low for even basic users with moderate multimedia needs. And don't think that price includes Blu-ray, that will cost you another $500 on top of that because thin durable Blu-ray burners aren't cheap, despite technically being able to find blu-ray drives for under $100.

The fact is, Apple has a solid focus on who they are selling these machines. They aren't trying to stuff it full of HW just so nerds can impress people with pictures uploaded to Twitter or supply geeky masturbatory spec sheet material.
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