Why such weak video cards in the new macs?

resres
Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apples has chosen the radeon 9600 to ship in their new Powermacs and iMacs, which is a step up from what they were using before, but a very small step. (The 9600 is about the minimum they can get away with for Core Image/ Quartz Extreme)



I really wonder why apple chose the 9600 and not the XT version. There is a huge difference in performance between a 9600 and a 9600XT as you can see:



Pixel Fill-rate

9600 - 1.3 Gpixels/sec\t

9600XT - 2.0 Gpixels/sec



Geometry Rate\t\t

9600 - 162.5 MTriangles\t

9600XT - 250 MTriangles



And there is only a small difference in price:



from pricewatch.com



$99\t - \tRADEON 9600 XT 256MB

$98\t - \tRADEON 9600 XT 128MB

$89\t - \tRADEON 9600 Pro 256MB

$78\t - \tRADEON 9600 Pro 128MB

$78\t - \tRADEON 9600 256MB

$64\t - \tRADEON 9600 128MB





I would have happily paid the extra $35 for the 256MB XT version in the new iMac (or the powermac for that matter).



When you look at the cost of video cards it really makes you wonder -- why does Apple always uses the weakest cards available?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    let's whine some more. seriously, these updated iMac's are the best deal I've seen at Apple since I switched 3 or 4 years ago. Be happy for once.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Because Mac is "not" the platform for gaming. Apple was better off using the $20 or so dollars to bump the memory and add Airport and BT 2.0 IMO.



    It is what it is.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    The 9650 in the 2x2.7 and available BTO on the others is XT according to order conformation email:



    ATI Radeon 9650 XT w/256MB



    Doesn't matter that much to me as I don't game anymore, I'm sure it'll be great for Photoshop/After Effects/Combustion etc for me!



    VanT
  • Reply 4 of 37
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ipodandimac

    let's whine some more. seriously, these updated iMac's are the best deal I've seen at Apple since I switched 3 or 4 years ago. Be happy for once.



    It is not whining, it is a question: why did they choose the 9600? I would really like to know the marketing reasons for not going with the XT version when it is much more powerful and only a few dollars more.



    Humm, I see by your sig that you have an 9800XT in your mac, so I guess you were not happy with the stock card either...
  • Reply 5 of 37
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Res

    Humm, I see by your sig that you have an 9800XT in your mac, so I guess you were not happy with the stock card either...



    No, the reason I upgraded was because I do professional video work and I need high-end performance from my machine, particularly for motion graphics. The iMac is a consumer machine.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quote:

    No, the reason I upgraded was because I do professional video work and I need high-end performance from my machine, particularly for motion graphics. The iMac is a consumer machine.



    What kind of "professional" video work can be done with 9800 series that can't be done with 9600 series?

    Go kid around somebody else.



    Quote:

    The 9600 is about the minimum they can get away with for Core Image/ Quartz Extreme



    And you know this how?
  • Reply 7 of 37
    hardheadhardhead Posts: 644member
    Res, a good, well thought out post. However, you're going to get very little love here at A.I. when it comes to PC-competitive, play-your-games-at-high-settings graphics cards.



    First off, these new iMacs are freakin awesome! Almost perfect. Excellent price, modern mobo, outstanding software package. As I said, almost perfect.



    All Apple has to do is offer a BTO iMac with a high-end XT graphics card. Even a 9800Pro. That would make the iMac perfect for me. I'd happily pay the price for that option.

    I don't fathom why that isn't offered as an option for those willing to pony up the dough...
  • Reply 8 of 37
    leighleigh Posts: 2member
    Hi, I'm with Res & Hardhead on this one. I'd happily pay extra UK £'s for a better graphics card in the iMac. Not for games but for video editing in iMovie HD. Quite simply the ATI 9600 is an old card which is not that much faster than the FX 5200 ultra it replaces - just take a look here at the graphics card reviews at Tom's hardware - see web addy below - you'll find the 9600 just above the FX5200 in pretty much all test's bar one. Had it been the 9600XT then this would have been somethings to 'really' be pleased about. That said these updates are saving me £300 in upgrades! Just wish I could have given apple back some of those £'s for the 9600XT.Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Review
  • Reply 9 of 37
    hardheadhardhead Posts: 644member
    Welcome on board Leigh.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    What kind of "professional" video work can be done with 9800 series that can't be done with 9600 series?

    Go kid around somebody else.




    The 9800XT is 256MB, the 9600 is 128MB. That makes a huge difference for me in Motion, After Effects, Final Cut, and Photoshop. You don't have to believe me though.



    But this pisses me off. This thread was started because someone was upset that the iMac *only* has a 9600 in it, and I was saying that it's not a big deal for consumers to *only* have the 9600. Now all of a sudden I'm being called out for saying there is a performance gain seen by having the 9800XT over the 9600.
  • Reply 11 of 37
    thereubsterthereubster Posts: 402member
    People, its all about 2 things

    1. HEAT! THe iMac does not have the luxury of having room for a fan for the graphics card. I realise the Radeon 9600 XT in the G5 doesnt have a fan either but I'll bet the tollerances are pretty fine for using this in the iMac.

    2. PRICE. Apple is trying to get the iMac produced at the lowest possible price, esp. with all the quality problems they have had with bursting caps, that will have cut into margins a bit. ATI must not be selling many R9600's on the PC side any more so I bet Apple got a great deal on buying a few million R9600 GPU's
  • Reply 12 of 37
    altivec_2.0altivec_2.0 Posts: 995member
    Just OC the video card. ATI Accelerator, can be found at versiontracker.com
  • Reply 13 of 37
    scavangerscavanger Posts: 286member
    ATI is definately not selling any 9600's anymore on the PC side, usually the last generation of video cards is pretty much done when the new generation is in.



    What I think is pathetic is the fact that Apple is still using last generation cards in their boxes. I can understand a low end card, but can it atleast be from the current generation.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    scooterboyscooterboy Posts: 69member
    I agree. Apple tends to be miserly when choosing GPU's for their computers. That's fine in a PowerMac, but the GPU's in iMacs and portables are not upgradeable. And Apple does like to advertise how "good" their computers are for gaming. Still, the 9600 is an improvement and a new iMac G5 just might end up on my desk before a PowerMac, unless there are some major PowerMac updates.



    Sometimes, rarely, they splurge on the latest hardware, like when the 9700 Mobility showed up in PowerBooks. That was what, 2 years ago? And what's in the new PowerBook? The same 9700 (with the optional 128 MB vram now standard). There are times I wish my PowerBook had a 9800 or x700 with 256 MB, not often, but those times are happening more and more.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    wrong robotwrong robot Posts: 3,907member
    I would definitely not object if apple had BTO upgrades for the video cards in the iMacs, even if it was only a fairly modest bump. But ultimately, the radeon 9600 is a very good card, just because there are better doesn't meant that what is there is actually incapable of handling the majority of what you throw at it.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    squozensquozen Posts: 66member
    I think the iMac is an excellent consumer machine myself. Games are not important overall - you're better off buying an iMac and a console instead of upgrading hardware every 12 months. Most gamers have already worked this out and moved to consoles, of course. The PC gaming market is shrinking due to a combination of this migration and piracy.



    Apple are right on the money with this revision. I'm going to recommend an iMac to my girlfriend's parents this weekend.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    scooterboyscooterboy Posts: 69member
    It's not only games that use the GPU. With Tiger and Core Image, much more is being thrown at it. GPU's are becomming more important, not less, regardless of where gaming is going.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ipodandimac

    The 9800XT is 256MB, the 9600 is 128MB. That makes a huge difference for me in Motion, After Effects, Final Cut, and Photoshop. You don't have to believe me though.



    But this pisses me off. This thread was started because someone was upset that the iMac *only* has a 9600 in it, and I was saying that it's not a big deal for consumers to *only* have the 9600. Now all of a sudden I'm being called out for saying there is a performance gain seen by having the 9800XT over the 9600.




    Actually the thread was started by someone who is curious why Apple is using the 128MB 9600 in both the iMac and the Powermac instead of the 256 MB 9600XT which is only $35 more. I am not upset about it at all, it just does not make much sense.



    And as to your earlier pro vs consumer comment: the 9600XT is a consumer card. We are not taking about x800s here.



    If given a choice I think that the vast majority of users who are buying a new tower or iMac would spend the extra $35 dollars for the 256 MB 9600XT. Who is actually making the decision about the video card going into the new Powermacs and iMacs, and what is it based on? I would really like to know the reasoning behind Apples choice.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    Quote:



    The 9600 is about the minimum they can get away with for Core Image/ Quartz Extreme



    And you know this how?





    Because Core Image requires a 9600 or better. Quartz Extreme requires any Radeon.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    scavangerscavanger Posts: 286member
    Just becuase Apple makes a very clear distinction about Pro and Consumer, not everyone else does. the x800 is a consumer card... pro cards are the Fire GL's and Quadras, those are Pro cards, I'm sorry but there is no excuse not to have the option to BTO cards... I mean if they can put high end desktop cards in the Dell laptops, Apple must be missing something here...
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