Originally Posted by jragosta
You're missing the entire point.
I don't think anyone suggested that an integrated GPU would ever be faster than a dedicated GPU. That's just not going to happen. People who need the ultimate in performance will always benefit from a dedicated GPU like that provided by Nvidia or ATI/AMD.
Somewhere earlier in this thread the question was raised if anyone would care about the lack of a discrete GPU, if it turned out the HD 4000 is 'about as good as a mid-range discrete GPU'. Also, the current 15"+ MBP's have a discrete GPU, and the 13" models used to have one before the current generation. So I think it's a perfectly valid discussion to compare IGP's to discrete GPU's when talking about what Apple should use in the MBP's. Another thing to keep in mind when evaluating the Ivy Bridge IGP is that AMD's IGP's absolutely wipe the floor with Intel's, to the point that for some applications, the HD4000 will likely barely keep up with e.g. the GPU in AMD's E350, which is already almost a year old.
The issue, though, is whether an integrated GPU is good enough. And the answer is that, for many users, it is. For example, I never do anything on my laptop that would require the power of a dedicated GPU.
You never transcode or edit video? You expect to never browse websites with WebGL content? You expect to never hook up your MBP to a HiDPI monitor somewhere in the future? You're not going to use any image editing software that can use the GPU for real-time previews of image processing effects?
So, for me, the Intel 4000 graphics would be fine.
That remains to be seen, but maybe for you, an IGP could be perfectly fine. Maybe a C2D CPU from 2009 would also be fine since most people rarely if ever tax their CPU's. Or 4GB of RAM or more, why would you need that if you just browse the web and do some word processing every now and then?
Probably you are better off with a MacBook Air if this is the case, but we were talking about the MBP here.
There are certainly some people who need a dedicated GPU.
Anyone who wants to play games, anyone who wants to run heavy GPGPU tasks, anyone who wants to get decent desktop performance at the 4k2k resolutions you can expect within a year or 2, anyone who out of principle doesn't want to buy a new laptop that has worse graphics performance than their 3-year old old MBP. Seems like it's not too hard to come up with some valid use cases for a dedicated GPU.
If Apple's assessment is that the latter group is large enough, then they will continue to offer a dedicated GPU. If they believe that the latter group is not large enough, they might not.
Well, I've always been very forgiving in the design choices that Apple makes, even if that means a small step back so they can make 2 steps forward on some other attributes of their products (now or in the future), but in this case I'm simply not going to accept just an IGP in a laptop that costs $1500 and upwards. I don't mind paying more for quality, but in that case I expect quality. Graphics performance that is on par or even worse than a 2008 model in the premium laptop of a premium brand, is inexcusable. For design + power/weight vs. specs we have the MBA. The MBP is supposed to be a top-of-the-line machine.
Personally, my guess would be that they would continue to offer a dedicated GPU at least for the 17" MBP, and probably for the 15", as well. To me, it makes sense to have MBA without dedicated GPU in sizes of 11, 13, and 15" and to have MBP with dedicated GPU in sizes of 15 and 17". That's only a guess, though.
If Apple doesn't put a discrete GPU in the 15" MBP's, their MBP sales will tank. It would get hammered on the graphics in every review except the most biased ones, since you simply cannot defend the value proposition of a MBP with graphics performance on par with a cheap-ass laptop from 3 years back. They might get away with a 13" model that doesn't have a discrete GPU, but for me, it would be a show-stopper. I would have to reconsider whether I'd want to get an MBA instead, or just give up on the idea of buying an Apple laptop altogether, for the simple fact that I refuse to pay $1200 for a laptop I want to use for at least 3 or 4 years, with graphics performance that is worse than a $400 Windows laptop from last year. There are limits...