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MacBook integrated graphics?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Apples says the MacBook comes with a 64MB graphics card, but if you look carefully at the tech specs it says Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB

Does that mean 64MB is used for displaying and the other 16+MB is used for managing/caching?

I also seem to recall reading there is a maximum amount of RAM the graphics card would use, but I am not able to recall how much. Does anyone know if there is a way for us to change how much RAM the graphics card uses? Apple's use of the word 'minimum' suggests to me that it can, unless Apple has done something special to reserve RAM for other purposes (i.e. Quartz 2D Extreme?).
post #2 of 63
My advice is stay away from any machine that has integrated graphics. Also its not a card, its a chip soldered on the board pretending to be a GPU.
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post #3 of 63
Integrated Graphics are sexy. Imagine only needing what your current apps need for video. Far more effective use of resources.
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post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
Integrated Graphics are sexy. Imagine only needing what your current apps need for video. Far more effective use of resources.

i dunno, reading this using Lynx (text based old school web browser) in a virtual Ubuntu instance on my Macbook is lame. Most likely needs a better video card? lol.
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post #5 of 63
Any bench will show Integrated graphics for what they are, freebies giving out by Intel. Integrated graphics are the cheapist made graphics you can get. How that equates to sexy is beyond me. A sexy GPU can run todays new games. Integrated graphics cannot plus they steal memory off your system memory. Integrated graphics = beware.
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post #6 of 63
It comes down to something pretty basic... which few people seem to understand... get what will suit your needs. Integrated graphics... especially the newest breed is absolutely and completely (if they don't mean the same.. but I'm making a point) adequate for many users. Unless you're playing games or rendering 3D for business purposes... you don't need powerful graphics. The average user that goes out and buys a PC today... still looks for the highest MHz... when they would likely be fine with something at half the speed... even a few years down the road. My 800MHz iBook was fine for me. I really just wanted a new machine... hence my new MacBook. A computer needs to do what you need it to do well... anything more is just wasted. Yeah... even a fairly low end dedicated graphics solution will out power the best integrated solutions... but why go out and spend $100,000 on a giant gas guzzling Hummer when all you need is a little Prius to get around town?
post #7 of 63
I wouldn't be too sure to pan Integrated Graphics.

Intel is announcing the new Media Accelerator 3000 based off of the 965 chipset. It contains many advantages over today's GMA950 like

Hardware Transform & Lighting, Clipping and rotation.

It does 16 sample anisotropic filtering now.
You get 32-bit Floating Point precision
It accelerates VC-1(WMV) and AVC(h.264)
It has an improved video scaler and adds de-interlacing
Add in OpenGL 2.0 support and up to DirectX 10 Shader Model 4 support

...your ideas about integrated graphics should change quite rapidly. If you're a gamer then of course you're looking for discrete graphics for more grunt but then again you'd be looking at a beefier computer anyways.
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post #8 of 63
as a gamer, i look at playing video games on a laptop as lame. no upgrade potential, too slow.

for web browsing, standard tasks...integrated graphics in a laptop is fine. anyone that buys even the SLI laptops for gaming is losing out since they don't have the speed of full size systems.

of course in the next few years this will change.

for now a laptop is just that.
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post #9 of 63
Interesting how the cheapist,slowest,least capable graphics have been spun into gold by the fan boys. If Apple put cat poo in a bag and put a Apple label on it you guys would telling everyone its steak and its better then steak.
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post #10 of 63
If the cheapest, slowest, least capable graphics chip is *STILL* capable of handling basic tasks for the vast majority of users, then you're damned right it belongs in a consumer class machine.

Cripes. This isn't rocket science.

I've got Blue Gene/L down the hall. Should I say that anything less is worthless for anyone?

If it meets the needs, then it is an *appropriate* solution. Not everyone needs to be a specwhore to compensate.
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post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Interesting how the cheapist,slowest,least capable graphics have been spun into gold by the fan boys. If Apple put cat poo in a bag and put a Apple label on it you guys would telling everyone its steak and its better then steak.

naw, it ain't gold and a good GPU would be waaaaay nicer but it IS sufficient in this thing for what it is used for (by me).

I'm also the guy that bought the lowest end Macbook and upgraded it myself. Didn't need black, or 2.0ghz or Apple Ram...all that is "Just Not Worth It".

The basic Macbook IS a decent deal.


And on a related note, the Macbook bootcamped with XP defaults to 128mb of ram and goes up to 244mb or thereabouts. Sure its shared but with 2gb ram that ain't shabby. Of course Apple crippled it in OS X but I'm sure that'll be overcome sooner than later.
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post #12 of 63
I don't think anyone is saying that there is anything great about integrated graphics at this point... just that what is being used in the new MacBooks is fine for many people... Integrated graphics is still the standard in entry level PC notebooks as well. It's hardly a fanboy issue... if you've read the post after post after post about it... there were plenty of fan boys complaining about the integrated graphics solution.
post #13 of 63
Exactly. Everyone wants a Cray in their pocket for $10, naturally, but this is the real world we live in, not Fantasyland.

Lower priced machines are going to have lower priced components and be aimed at less intensive tasks. That's just the way it is. Thinking otherwise is just delusional.

Integrated graphics truly did used to stink to high heaven, and weren't capable of handing much more than a Terminal window. The 950 is... decent. Pretty good for most tasks, actually. Shared RAM isn't a great solution for intensive tasks, but this isn't *aimed* at those. The 965 looks like it'll raise the bar quite a bit more, and hit performance levels that three or four years ago would have been on a mid-to-high dedicated card.

GPUs have progressed quite a bit faster than CPUs in the past few years. Assumptions based on evaluations made in 2000 have very little relevance any more.
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post #14 of 63
I currently have a 12" powerbook that I want to replace and I am torn between going for a macBook or the 15" macBook Pro and the main thing that concerns me is the integrated graphics on the macBook I need to use Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash for work, but I am worried about the performance. Does anyone know how the macBook handles these apps?
post #15 of 63
Once the UBs are out, they should run fine, IMO.
post #16 of 63
Let's be honest here, shall we. You do _not_ need more than what the intel chip provides *UNLESS* you want to play recent 3D games. Anything else, that chip'll do. If you _really_, _truly_ feel strongly about not having such a chip, simply don't buy the MacBook. But since the MacBook is aimed at the consumer market, they won't put too much energy in fulfilling all the gamers' needs out there with it. Gamers buy 300 USD PCs and replace the graphics cards every other month depending on when certain new games come out. If you want to play the odd older game, the MacBook's graphics is perfectly okay, too. So what's the fuss. Those iBooks may have had dedicated graphics chips, but they sucked at game performance as well. And Apple probably only chose those cards because nothing cheaper was available at the time.
post #17 of 63
Lots of Spin here again from the fan club, we have a $5.00 semi GPU being used and the fan club just loves it, then ignores a $100 upgrade and spins PC users getting new cards every month. What a load of crap. All macbook needs is a $50 or $100 option for a real gpu, not the we give em away free if you buy our CPU. Integrated graphics are the cheapist you can get, you just cant get less expensive because they own the bottom. Integrated graphics are the cheapist you can buy but hey throw a apple logo on it and all of sudden the P.O.S. becomes.........let me guess 99% of the world doesnt need anything better I wonder who has bought all those real GPU's if no one needs them
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post #18 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Lots of Spin here again from the fan club, we have a $5.00 semi GPU being used and the fan club just loves it, then ignores a $100 upgrade and spins PC users getting new cards every month. What a load of crap. All macbook needs is a $50 or $100 option for a real gpu, not the we give em away free if you buy our CPU. Integrated graphics are the cheapist you can get, you just cant get less expensive because they own the bottom. Integrated graphics are the cheapist you can buy but hey throw a apple logo on it and all of sudden the P.O.S. becomes.........let me guess 99% of the world doesnt need anything better I wonder who has bought all those real GPU's if no one needs them

Hmmmm funny that said fan club is almost universally against your statements or at the very least we realize that one solution doesn't fit all. Perhaps you should tell me why my mother needs a whizzband GPU if all she does is use the web and Office?

You're simply not going to win this argument. Just agree to disagree is likely your best option. It has nothing to do with being a fanboy and everything to do with common sense and matching your tools with an actual need.
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post #19 of 63
Exactly.

Who bought all the high end GPUs?

1) Gamers. They 'need' them.
2) Graphics rendering professionals. They actually need them.
3) Suckers.

Unfortunately, advice like Aurora's is what grows market segment #3.

(And please, use a spell checker. It's cheapest with an e, not cheapist.)
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post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Exactly.

Who bought all the high end GPUs?

1) Gamers. They 'need' them.
2) Graphics rendering professionals. They actually need them.

I'm actually slightly unsure over agreeing with 2). For rendering, GPUs are usually only used for preview purposes (due to their performance benefits), not for the final results (due to their quality/precision disadvantages). As such, arguably, the GMA950 might be more than good enough even for their needs. The main weakness of the GMA950 is not the actual chip's capabilities, but the inherent low-bandwidth design due to shared memory; bandwidth, however, doesn't matter such much during live previews (like in rendering) as it does while continuously rendering new images in real-time (like in games).
post #21 of 63
That actually weakens Aurora's point even more. C'est La Guerre.
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post #22 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by sandau
And on a related note, the Macbook bootcamped with XP defaults to 128mb of ram and goes up to 244mb or thereabouts. Sure its shared but with 2gb ram that ain't shabby. Of course Apple crippled it in OS X but I'm sure that'll be overcome sooner than later.

I thought I saw the graphics RAM had a minimum and maximum.
post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
The main weakness of the GMA950 is not the actual chip's capabilities, but the inherent low-bandwidth design due to shared memory.

This used to be a serious problem with integrated GPUs, making them painful to use for anything. However, with dual-channel DDR2 system RAM, the graphics bandwidth of the current MacBook is, I believe, higher than the G4 iBook it replaced.

Aurora, if you want people to take you seriously, try spelling correctly, using good grammar and sentence structure, and provide solid reasons why, apparently, everyone needs dedicated graphics. It would also help if you demonstrated that you are actually reading and comprehending what everyone else is saying. If you fail to do these things, you are simply trolling and everyone will rightly ignore you.
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post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
This used to be a serious problem with integrated GPUs, making them painful to use for anything. However, with dual-channel DDR2 system RAM, the graphics bandwidth of the current MacBook is, I believe, higher than the G4 iBook it replaced.

But the G4 iBook just had a MR9550, with AGP. Not exactly top-notch anyways.
post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Interesting how the cheapist,slowest,least capable graphics have been spun into gold by the fan boys. If Apple put cat poo in a bag and put a Apple label on it you guys would telling everyone its steak and its better then steak.

I hear lots of people say that but given the choice, I would take the intel graphics in a heartbeat over the 9200 that came in the old minis and the 9500 in the iBooks, 64 MB ram V 32, faster GPU, fully supports the neat whistls and bells of the OSX GUI, and given the choice, I would rather spend an extra $100 on RAM than have the thing cost $100 more with 512 and 64MB discreet VRAM.
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post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
For rendering, GPUs are usually only used for preview purposes (due to their performance benefits), not for the final results (due to their quality/precision disadvantages). As such, arguably, the GMA950 might be more than good enough even for their needs. The main weakness of the GMA950 is not the actual chip's capabilities, but the inherent low-bandwidth design due to shared memory; bandwidth, however, doesn't matter such much during live previews (like in rendering) as it does while continuously rendering new images in real-time (like in games).

I do 3D stuff and you're right the GPU isn't used much at all for rendering unless you use say Maya's OpenGL preview or hardware rendering engine for certain things. However, it is used all the time for modelling the scene in the first place. If that isn't capable of handling enough geometry then you have to render in layers.

Now, I tend to use low res scenes because I prefer it that way but even at that, I can get a 2000 poly model up to level 2 subdivision (about 62,000 polys) on my G4 Mini 32MB Radeon 9200 but beyond that it's struggling. Now the GMA has benchmarked slower on some apps than the 9200. If it's faster it's not by much. Actually, I have access to a Mini with a GMA, I've been meaning to test it out.

The issue I have is not so much that the integrated chips are bad but yet again Apple leaves no middle ground.

Macbook: £749 - low end chip
Macbook Pro: £1399 - good chip
Where the hell is the £999 middle of the road chip?

Mac Mini: £449 - low end chip
Intel Imac: £929 - good chip
Where the hell is the £699 middle of the road chip?
post #27 of 63
Quote:
provide solid reasons why, apparently, everyone needs dedicated graphics.

EXACTLY! Too often, the "OMG it needs a decent video card" crowd is allowed to get away with complaining that the video chip isn't "decent".

Yet they never define what fill rate, etc. would be "decent". And they don't specify how the "non decent" chip fails in ordinary use.

I still challenge any of the video-card complainers to tell the difference between the two video chips (integrated vs discrete) in a laptop without opening System Profiler or running something that requires high-end 3D transformations.

I'm tired of the "decent video card" obsession. Most of the people chanting about it don't even know how the thing works anyway.
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post #28 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
Hmmmm funny that said fan club is almost universally against your statements or at the very least we realize that one solution doesn't fit all. Perhaps you should tell me why my mother needs a whizzband GPU if all she does is use the web and Office?

You're simply not going to win this argument. Just agree to disagree is likely your best option. It has nothing to do with being a fanboy and everything to do with common sense and matching your tools with an actual need.

Hey genius, grandma doesnt go for the option
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post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Hey genius, grandma doesnt go for the option

In English please. Thank you.
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post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Hey genius, grandma doesnt go for the option

Least useful and comprehensible post of the week.
post #31 of 63
At least everything is spelled right this time.

Oops, missed the period at the end...
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post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
At least everything is spelled right this time.

Oops, missed the period at the end...

And the apostrophe in the middle.

And regardless of that, I still don't get the underlying message, if any, of the post.

If, for whatever unimaginable reason, someone can't be bothered to write in proper English, the least they can do is make themselves clear.
post #33 of 63
Hey, be nice. English might not be his native language.


Nope, he's from SC. Definitely not his native language.

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post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Interesting how the cheapist,slowest,least capable graphics have been spun into gold by the fan boys. If Apple put cat poo in a bag and put a Apple label on it you guys would telling everyone its steak and its better then steak.

I think people like integrated graphics because they allow the computer to be cheap. If you don't need high end graphics, then it ends up being an effective way to save some dough. Extra dough is always sexy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
I'm actually slightly unsure over agreeing with 2). For rendering, GPUs are usually only used for preview purposes (due to their performance benefits), not for the final results (due to their quality/precision disadvantages).

The Mac display layer is actually decent at handling OpenGL, and having a nice card allows your previews to be much nicer. Previews are a big part of 3D modeling and rendering. Interestingly, you need a much more insane GPU to get good 3D previewing in Windows, or some sort of uber-expensive proprietary card+driver. I assume this is due to Quartz Extreme.


Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Hey genius, grandma doesnt go for the option

This would require two motherboard designs.
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post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Interesting how the cheapist,slowest,least capable graphics have been spun into gold by the fan boys. If Apple put cat poo in a bag and put a Apple label on it you guys would telling everyone its steak and its better then steak.

I think people like integrated graphics because they allow the computer to be cheap. If you don't need high end graphics, then it ends up being an effective way to save some dough. Extra dough is always sexy.

To abuse a metaphor: If I want a romantic dinner, I'm definitely springing for the steak. But when I need to fertilize my garden, a sack of poo works just as well and costs a whole lot less. Only a very crazy and/or very rich person would use steak; even though steak makes a slightly better fertilizer.

My old, beloved iBook was great for writing stories, creating planing document and surfing the web. I had a machine at work to render video and other high-end tasks. I prefer consoles for gaming. My old iBook was a perfect cheap extension of my work computer.

For those who do not want integrated graphics, you do have the option to upgrade. It's called the MacBook pro.
post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Hey, be nice. English might not be his native language.

Nope, he's from SC. Definitely not his native language.

South Carolina?
post #37 of 63
I don't know about any of the technical stuff. I just know that in the short time I have had my MB, it has performed every task to perfection. Absolutely zero complaints even with the stock 512 ram.

At the Apple store, the iDVD demo runs horribly. I have a number of guesses but not enough knowledge to make the speculation worthwhile. Still, I would be interested to know what people who actually own these things feel they can't do.
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post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by blackbird_1.0
South Carolina?

Yes. I lived in NC for 10 years until just a couple of months ago.
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post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Yes. I lived in NC for 10 years until just a couple of months ago.

I speak English very well.
post #40 of 63


It's a joke, ferchrissakes.
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