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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:15 PM   #1
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Retina MacBook Pro Pushes the Limits of its Graphics Capabilities




Just after the launch of the Retina MacBook Pro earlier this month, AnandTech provided a first glimpse of the machine's display performance, noting the various resolution options available to users and examining how its color and contrast compares to other notebooks.

After having more time to analyze the new machine, AnandTech last week published its full review of the Retina MacBook Pro, bringing its thorough and technically-detailed perspective to the report. While the whole review is definitely worth a read, the section on graphics performance bears special attention.

With the integrated Intel HD 4000 and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics units responsible for driving 2880x1800 pixels in standard Retina mode and as many as 3840x2400 pixels before downscaling to display 1920x1200 at its highest non-Retina resolution, Apple is clearly pushing the limits of the machine's graphics capabilities.
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At the default setting, either Intel's HD 4000 or NVIDIA's GeForce GT 650M already have to render and display far more pixels than either GPU was ever intended to. At the 1680 and 1920 settings however the GPUs are doing more work than even their high-end desktop counterparts are used to.
AnandTech goes on to assess this graphics performance, noting that the Retina MacBook Pro at times struggles to maintain a "consistently smooth experience".
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At 2880 x 1800 most interactions are smooth but things like zooming windows or scrolling on certain web pages is clearly sub-30fps. At the higher scaled resolutions, since the GPU has to render as much as 9.2MP, even UI performance can be sluggish. There's simply nothing that can be done at this point - Apple is pushing the limits of the hardware we have available today, far beyond what any other OEM has done.
Focusing on browser scrolling behavior, which also involves substantial CPU load, AnandTech notes that the resource-intensive Facebook news feed pages can display at over 50 frames per second on a 2011 MacBook Pro, but that the new Retina MacBook Pro struggles to hit 20 frames per second as it pushes so many more pixels.




Retina MacBook Pro at 21 frames per second while scrolling (See meter at top left)
The report notes that OS X Mountain Lion will help address some of these issues by leveraging Core Animation, but in AnandTech's testing it was still only able to achieve 20-30 frames per second under Mountain Lion. Further improvements in performance will have to wait for hardware capabilities to catch up with demands imposed by these new ultra-high resolution displays.

Article Link: Retina MacBook Pro Pushes the Limits of its Graphics Capabilities
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:18 PM   #2
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On the desktop front you are looking at a GTX 670/680 for this kind of power in 3D. I know this is on the 2D/desktop rendering side but going from 1356 shaders down to 384 and at lower clocks is going have a large impact.

1440 x 900 or 900p is going to be the native turf for a GT 640/650M
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Last edited by Eidorian; Jun 29, 2012 at 01:31 PM.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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This is why I feel like waiting for the 2nd revision really is a good idea.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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I hope in a couple years every tablet/phone/computer maker puts these high res screens on them. After using the iPad 3 and rMBP it's impossible to go back to something not retina.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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I'm really curious to see when external GPUS via thunderbolt will become available.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:20 PM   #6
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Pretty much what I thought would happen. Ouch! Apple needs to nitrous cool a GTX680m or something. Can't have both extra super thin and extra super fast. I'm sticking with the phatty 0.9" Ivy Pro.

----------

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Originally Posted by O and A View Post
I'm really curious to see when external GPUS via thunderbolt will become available.
Why? They wont help.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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Hmm... This is a little bit frustrating. I NEED a laptop for college this year (current is a 08 MBP on its last legs). I'm most likely going for the MBPR simply because it's barely cheaper to get the MBP with the specs I want. Frustrating knowing Apple decided to ship with hardware that isn't ready./sigh.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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So Apple released tech that wasn't ready yet. Awesome.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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Maybe this will shut up the people clamoring for retina on the new iMac.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tomtom2234 View Post
Hmm... This is a little bit frustrating. I NEED a laptop for college this year (current is a 08 MBP on its last legs). I'm most likely going for the MBPR simply because it's barely cheaper to get the MBP with the specs I want. Frustrating knowing Apple decided to ship with hardware that isn't ready./sigh.
Get the Air.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:21 PM   #11
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I want this computer really bad, but it looks like my MacBook Air will have to survive until Haswell at least. My bank account is breathing a sigh of relief.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Andy-V View Post
This is why I feel like waiting for the 2nd revision really is a good idea.
Yep. Time will solve these issues.

A 13" Air with Retina display is probably still a ways off, but what I'm looking forward to.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GREEN4U View Post
Get the Air.
I NEED a dedicated GPU also. I'm not sure. I may try using my current laptop or maybe my ipad 3 and just bring my desktop to college. I really wanted to leave it at home though.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:24 PM   #14
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At least they're pushing the envelope, although doing so at the expense of user experience isn't very Apple-like. Fortunately it seems as though it isn't that large an issue for most users.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
Maybe this will shut up the people clamoring for retina on the new iMac.
Why? A larger device will be able to suck up more power, have a more powerful CPU, GPU, and RAM. It will also be able to more efficiently cool everything.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #16
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I'm just trying to figure out why MR is posting a week old review from Anandtech. This isn't news... or rumors...
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #17
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This is why I feel like waiting for the 2nd revision really is a good idea.
Maybe with RAM slots of some sort.

(Probably not.)
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #18
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"Whereas I would consider the rMBP experience under Lion to be borderline unacceptable, everything is significantly better under Mountain Lion. Don’t expect buttery smoothness across the board, you’re still asking a lot of the CPU and GPU, but it’s a lot better."

ML is very important when it comes to this.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by tomtom2234 View Post
Hmm... This is a little bit frustrating. I NEED a laptop for college this year (current is a 08 MBP on its last legs). I'm most likely going for the MBPR simply because it's barely cheaper to get the MBP with the specs I want. Frustrating knowing Apple decided to ship with hardware that isn't ready./sigh.
I wouldn't worry about it too much - actual users aren't complaining just people that are trying to get all analytical about it - none of the reviews I recall mention a bad experience due to lag - reviews mention Diablo 3 runs at native resolution lag free - many have mentioned you can run 2 thunderbolt displays without any noticeable lag - this is not a problem
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:26 PM   #20
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I wondered why they went with that GPU.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:26 PM   #21
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I wonder how my sli 680s would cope with this. I imagine very well
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:26 PM   #22
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Give the new Mac Pro a 27" Thunderbolt Retina Display, and a killer graphics card to power it. I'll buy that in a heart beat.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:27 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by derbothaus View Post
Pretty much what I thought would happen. Ouch! Apple needs to nitrous cool a GTX680m or something. Can't have both extra super thin and extra super fast. I'm sticking with the phatty 0.9" Ivy Pro.

----------



Why? They wont help.

Why not?
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:27 PM   #24
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There's no reason to believe this couldn't be sorted out through software.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 01:27 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Peace View Post
"Whereas I would consider the rMBP experience under Lion to be borderline unacceptable, everything is significantly better under Mountain Lion. Don’t expect buttery smoothness across the board, you’re still asking a lot of the CPU and GPU, but it’s a lot better."

ML is very important when it comes to this.
My thoughts from another thread on this very issue

Quote:
I tested a rMBP today in the store for the first time. Having read nothing at all about these issues, I noticed the unit having a hard time keeping up with many animations (swiping between spaces seemed to be the worst).

Minor issue due to fixes present in Mountain Lion? Perhaps to us folks that are in the know. To a general consumer, they could see this and think, "gee, for $2200 you'd think it would be smoother than my POS Dell at home."

I don't get why Apple didn't just hold onto the rMBP until ML is ready if it is that big of a difference. It would've been easy to say, "Available July 20th" (or whatever the date is for ML) and move on. Instead they sacrificed user experience to meet an artificial demand that they manufactured. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

-http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...6#post15117606
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