Wishing for just a bit more...

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hey guys, I hope all of you are doing just fine. It has been a long time since my last post but I wanted to see if anyone else is in the same situation as myself...

I am a University student looking to buy an Apple laptop with a total cost of under $2000 Canadian.

When Apple released the new MacBook, I was stoked! It looks amazing and seems to incorporate every feature that I could want except... Duh duh duh...


Yes, yes, you knew it was coming. I don't want to come off as more whiny than I have to, but when I buy a notebook computer this summer, I want to make sure that I will still be satisfied with it in 3 years to come.

The problem that arises is that, I want to be able to play some games (like WoW with at least the level of performance of my old 9800 Pro), dabble in photoshop (image manipulation etc.) as well as other media style apps and I am worried that in the long run IG won't cut it.

The perplexing thing to me is that while looking at intel specifications on its GMA 950 chipset (found here: http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950), it looks to be more than capable of decent hardware acceleration. It supposedly has specs almost on par with my radeon 9800 pro (without the dedicated VRAM and 4 pixel pipes instead of 8 on the 9800 Pro) currently residing in my 6 year old G4 tower.

It seems to me that the problem isn't necessarily hardware limitations but more so inefficient drivers. While reading more about Intel's stance on their IG chipsets they seem to have a set it and forget it attitude, unlike Nvidia and Ati that routinely optimize their drivers for even older hardware (I have seen steady improvements in performance every time Ati, through Apple updates my video drivers).

Now, let's say I want some kind of dedicated graphics card, I have to turn to the MacBook Pro which after AppleCare and taxes comes to approximately 2620 Canadian dollars. In comparison, the high-end white MacBook with AppleCare and taxes comes to about 1830 Canadian. This is a difference of almost 800 dollars! It isn't that the price difference is not justified, but I love the 13.3 inch form-factor.

I simply wish that on the high end MacBook they could have included even something as low as an Ati X300. Better yet an Nvidia 6200 Turbocache. These bottom of the barrel, el cheapo chips totally humiliate the GMA 950 in all tasks... AND THEY ARE INTEGRATED CHIPSETS!!! Check out http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2427&p=5 for their article comparing various integrated graphics solutions. Another thing to note... The above article is from almost a year ago. What does that tell you?

In other words, it isn't so much the IG that I am not liking it is the fact that for just a miniscule cost to apple (probably in the <$10 range considering the large quantities) we could have had a much better chipset, albeit integrated running in the MacBook. Even a BTO option would have been nice.

There would have been no clash between Pro and consumer lines, and many consumers would have been willing to pay even $100 extra on top of the Black MacBook's (already inflated) price to get that feature... I know I would.

It just surprised me that Apple could not think just a little differently in this regard and gave us top notch value/performance in every other area...

Another way that I might be convinced to buy a MacBook would be if some hack came out that allowed you to set the amount of shared ram to 224MB (the maximum allowed by the GMA 950 chipset). It might have enough of an effect to sway me.

Lastly, I just hope that those MacBook gamer rumours are true because if not, I will have to wait until some MacBook whatever iteration comes along with a better graphics solution, even if it is still IG.

Any thoughts?


  • Reply 1 of 5
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member

    Originally posted by macaddict74

    Any thoughts?

    Yes: you should come and join the discussion in this thread.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    You also have to look at what the graphics card was made to do.

    In Intel's paperwork on the GMA 950 they clearly state its made for media playback. Its not a gaming card.

    The fact that you can drive a 1920x1200 screen from the DVI port in the MacBook is amazing.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Apple probably agreed to give Intel the integrated graphics business in exchange for something - maybe lower prices or priority shipment on the CPUs? Who knows.

    It's a good bet that agreeing to getting the whole chipset and CPU from Intel had to be worth something to Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Isn't the Intel Integrated Graphics inexpensive? Does anyone know how much it cost?
  • Reply 5 of 5
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member

    Originally posted by backtomac

    Isn't the Intel Integrated Graphics inexpensive? Does anyone know how much it cost?

    It's free with the chipset.
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