MacBook integrated graphics?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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?).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Integrated Graphics are sexy. Imagine only needing what your current apps need for video. Far more effective use of resources.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 62
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    joeyjoey Posts: 236member
    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?
  • Reply 6 of 62
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 62
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    joeyjoey Posts: 236member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 62
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 62
    Once the UBs are out, they should run fine, IMO.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    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
  • Reply 17 of 62
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    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.)
  • Reply 19 of 62
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    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).
  • Reply 20 of 62
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    That actually weakens Aurora's point even more. C'est La Guerre.
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