How-to enlarge shared memory of MacBook's integrated graphics?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tray1234, May 18, 2006.

  1. tray1234 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    #1
    I've just ordered the new MacBook, although I am a bit bothered by the integrated graphics. However, it did not stop me from buying it.

    What I am wondering about is whether it is possible to enlarge the maximum shared memory from now 64MB to lets say 128MB? I think the integrated graphics chipset of the MacBook (the Intel GMA 950) is capable of using up to 224MB of the memory, but for some reason Apple has restricted the maximum shared memory to 64MB. Therefore, is there any chance to circumvent this restriction and to share more memory with the graphics than just the 64MB? Maybe with a firmware-hack or adjustments of the settings?

    If something like that is possible, it may at least mitigate the sole serious weakness of the new MacBook a bit , even though the graphics performance will then still be a good deal worse than those of dedicated graphics.

    I would appreciate some comments.
     
  2. FelixDerKater macrumors 68000

    FelixDerKater

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    #2
    It is a definite possibility. My last experience with integrated graphics dates back to the late 90's on a Compaq, and on that machine there was actually an option in the control panels to let you select how much memory would be allocated to the graphics processor.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
    Yeah, I've seen those options in BIOS and in Windows' Advanced Display Control Panel. I thought it was 80 MB was the minimum and not 64 MB though.

    http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs.html

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/whatsinside.html

     
  4. chrisgeleven macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2002
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    #4
    From what I understand, the integrated graphics (at least on the Windows side) start off with 64 MB of memory and if it needs more, it can go up to 224 MB. Windows automatically adjusts the amount of "video" memory it needs.

    I am guessing (just a pure guess, the Mac Mini guys might know for sure) that OS X can do the same adjusting automatically. No reason for Apple not to be able to do this.

    As for performance, in my experience integrated graphics (again, on the windows side) work alright for most games and will definitely be fine for everyday OS X tasks. Don't expect to be running Doom 3 or Call for Duty at top resolution and detail. However, at or near the minimum for graphics settings should make most games absolutely playable with good enough graphics that you will enjoy the game.
     
  5. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    Yep I thought 80mb too. Apples tech specs dont seem to match??:confused: :confused:
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #6
    It is 80MB minimum. I posted the links to Apple's specifications.

    Windows scales memory usage for integrated video dependent on the demand. I'm not sure there's an easy way to see if OS X does this as well other then monitoring total system memory - video memory to look for any changes.
     
  7. tray1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    #7
    80MB minimum or maximum?

    Yeah, you are right. It is 80 MB. 64MB + 16 MB for the system. As far as I understand from your replies 80MB is then the minimum (and not the maximum) memory which is shared with the graphics and depending on demand of the running applications it can go up to 224MB, right?

    It is quite confusing, since the Apple site says "Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory". I always thought that 64MB is the maximum then. And also in the post on the macmini forum someone says that shared memory is restricted to 64MB. (Here is the link: http://www.123macmini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5509&sid=610f41c5620506a0404b107a7a811c33 Scroll down to the post of "serpent")
     
  8. tray1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 18, 2006
    #8
  9. chrisgeleven macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2002
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    #9
    Interesting. Wonder why they are doing that.
     
  10. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #10
    I'd imagine to protect the rest of the RAM for user use on stock machines with only 512MB of RAM. It's a little crazy not to be able to change this though - I'd like my mini to be able to use much, much more.
     
  11. Josias macrumors 68000

    Josias

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    #11
    Listen and learn:
    Here we have an excellent MacBook with 512 MB RAM. When we boot it, the booting process somehow steals 16 MB of the RAM, and use it to keep the OS running. Then, you have your GMA/950. It can maximum draw 64 MB memory from the system, unless you regulate this yourself. Doing web, spreadsheets and stuff, it would usually draw 10-30 mb, but while watching HD movies, it would draw around 64. If that is not enough, it will hack and drop frames, you can adjust the amount of memory it can draw from the RAM, and thereby get a better graphics performance, yet less system memory. This is why I sacrifice $100 on getting 1 gig RAM so I in any case haven enough both graphics and system memory for my tasks.:D
     
  12. shadowmoses macrumors 68000

    shadowmoses

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    #12
    Good post that pretty much nails it down.....All these MacBook threads are getting me so excited about receiving mine!

    SHadoW
     
  13. bbrosemer macrumors 6502a

    bbrosemer

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    Jan 28, 2006
    #13
    The Intel GMA 950 is capable of taking up to 244MB of RAM
     
  14. tray1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    #14
    GMA 950's capabilities

    @bbrosemer:

    Yeah, the Intel GMA950 itself is capable of using more than the discussed 80MB of memory, but it seems that Apple has locked the GMA950's memory use to 64MB or 80MB respectively.

    I guess that this restriction only applies if you run MacOS X; if you run Windows XP via Bootcamp on your MacBook the GMA950 is (hopefully) able to unfold its complete potential (make use of up to 224MB shared memory and not just 80MB).
     
  15. afornander macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    #15
    why would apple downgrade the memory to 64mb, whats the point? if they didnt do that more people would buy it and there would be less (not much less) complaining about the intigrated graphics.:cool:
     
  16. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #16
    I think it was mentioned earlier. It is to stop people complaining that when they run the stock 512MB of RAM the machine is slow because the Grahics Card is hogging everything. Maybe if they had a setup which provides the Graphics Card with a percentage of total system memory...
     
  17. Josias macrumors 68000

    Josias

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    #17
    Please. The GMA doesn't draw 80 MB. The OS and boot steals 16 MB, whilst the GMA in any case maximum can draw 64 megs, unless you regulate this limit (if it is even possible). Look in my former post, this thread.:p
     
  18. chaz231 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    #18
    I found the following on the Apple UK site....
    So yes it uses 80MB of RAM unless more is required, although this will require more memory...
     

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