Integrated graphics and the MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by leekohler, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #1
    I guess I need some questions answered. Many people here on these forums claim that integrated graphics on the MBs is no big deal and makes no difference to anyone but gamers. I must say though- I've tried many apps (such as Photoshop) on a MacBook and a MacBook Pro with similar specs and have noticed a huge difference in performance. The MacBook is just plain dreadful. I bought an iBook 2 1/2 years ago because it made more sense moneywise as there was really very little difference between it and the PB. I'm not seeing the same thing with the MB and MBP. I'm seeing glaring differences in performance.

    Now- it seems to me that this must be caused by the poor graphics on the MB. After all, isn't the point of Quartz and Core Image to use your graphics card and pull those processes away from other system resources making the computer faster on the whole? Look at iTunes album art cover flow view. That's 3D graphics, is it not? I think that Apple has made a huge mistake here. Is it just me?

    I never thought I would see a need for a MBP, but my experiences so far are pointing me toward it.
     
  2. DigitalN. macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2007
    #2
    Photoshop has nothing to do with the video card, so maybe you are having a false sense of speed over the macbook. And I would like to point out that all of the applications I have tried (Aperture, Final Cut Express, Photoshop etc.) have ran fine and only were limited to the screen resolution.
     
  3. NotFound macrumors 6502a

    NotFound

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    Nov 30, 2006
    #3

    There is a targeted customer base for each notebook. As goes with any product. The MacBook is targeted to the every day, non "Pro" user. Those who don't rely on applications such as Photoshop, or other video card intense programs. The MacBook PRO was meant for this.

    In saying this, I believe calling the integrated graphics of the Macbook a bad decision a false statement. For people like me who use their Macbook for every day Mail, Internet, iLife, Word Processing it is a perfect Apple product.

    I believe you are the one who poorly chose which product you were going to buy.
     
  4. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    I haven't bought anything yet. And I'm simply trying to understand why I'm seeing such a difference between the two, when otherwise they seem to have similar specs.
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    London
    #5
    Hard drive speed can have a massive impact.
     
  6. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    I hadn't even thought of that. You're absolutely right.
     
  7. DigitalN. macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2007
    #7
    even so, the Macbook Pro he probably saw was a 5400RPM.
     
  8. arcobb macrumors regular

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    #8
    RAM, RAM, RAM ...

    The biggest downside to the integrated graphics card is the fact it uses ram for the video memory, thus less memory is available to the overall system when compaired to a MBP of equal amount of RAM. Photoshop is a very ram hungry program, thus you will know it when it gets squeezed. Max the Macbook too 2 gigs and you'll be as happy as a clam, I know I am! (even using photoshop!)
     
  9. phungy macrumors 68020

    phungy

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    Dec 5, 2006
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    #9
    This is why I bought 2x1GB RAM 2.5 weeks before I even placed an order for my Macbook. I'm not sure how fast 1GB was cause immediately swapped RAM before powering on the MB for the first time.
     
  10. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

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    Apr 11, 2003
    #10
    Photoshop is not a video card intensive program. At all.
     
  11. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #11
    Thanks- that was kind of what I was looking for. I'll see what happens when CS3 comes out and try one again then.
     
  12. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #12
    Erm, just to correct some misconceptions, a discrete GPU has absolutely zero advantages when it comes to running Photoshop, apart from perhaps freeing up more system ram that would be made available for Photoshop.

    The extra cost of the Macbook Pro can be diverted towards a larger desktop monitor (ACD) and more ram.

    Apart from Firewire 800 which might come in handy for those who needs to hook up arrays of stripped disk for furiously fast scratch disks for video editing, by and large if you are into content creation that Macbook Pro has not much advantages over the Macbook.

    The larger display is useless for such work anyway (and I mean literally useless), the displays included with the Macbook Pros are 6 bits displays, capable of only 252 thousand colours, and for the 15" models they exhibit high degree of grain, very much like Jpeg artifacts that span across your screen.

    As I said again, the displays included on the Macbook Pros are absolutely worthless when it comes to serious content creation. One'd be insane to assume otherwise.
     
  13. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #13
    Moving from a G4 1.42 Mac Mini with 512MB RAM that had just begun to start showing its weaknesses to a 2.0 Blackbook with 1GB RAM, I was expecting a world of difference.

    Refresh rates were slow even with tasks like using Expose. Beachballs lasted minutes, applications had dozens of "bounces", if they opened at all. And dead pixels after a week of use!

    I just thought "this shouldn't happen, I put 1GB in you dammit!" It wasn't even on par with the G4 Mini which was worrying.

    Various sites told me the video card, RAM and hard drive combined could account for these shortcomings. I believed the video card part was true because in an Apple Store I ran Photo Booth side by side on an MB and MBP otherwise simlarly specced but for the graphics card, and the MBP handled the video much faster while the MB had significant delay.
    Apple offered me a replacement but I was a little jaded and asked if I could exchange it for an iMac.

    I did experience slowdown in Photoshop CS2 when moving the cursor. There was a noticeable delay between my motions and the cursor's interpretation on screen. I'm a tablet user and I was already having problems which I should factor into the equation, but I do not notice this problem subsequently using the iMac.

    Maybe I just got a "bad one" but I wouldn't think to buy another MacBook again.

    However, I'm still Mac faithful, now I just realise - it's all about the Pro model baby :) It has the same graphics performance as my iMac so I'm hoping to not be disappointed this time round.
     
  14. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
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    Chicago, Illinois
    #14
    I think a previous poster addressed this problem earlier as being a definite RAM issue with the MB. Since RAM is being used as VRAM and Photoshop is a memory hog, we're seeing significant differences in perfomance between the MB and MBP (not to mention Rosetta is running as well, EEK). I guess the answer is maxing out the RAM on the MB.
     
  15. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    Aug 6, 2006
    #15
    the slowdown in Photoshop CS2 is because it does not run on intel-chip natively, u can try CS3, which is universal version, and its fast as hell.

    PS, photoshop is CPU heavy app, not really telling how good GPU is.
     
  16. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    But I've noticed a huge difference running Photoshop on a MB and MBP. I think what we've established is that it is a RAM issue, being that MBs use RAM for VRAM. Refer to previous posts.
     
  17. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #17
    Then why does CS2 run just fine on my iMac with 1GB ram? The MacBook was also a 2.0GHz Core Duo with 1GB RAM, the only difference being the graphics card...
     
  18. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    Aug 6, 2006
    #18
    huh, i totally NOT against the finding of the effect of RAM. I was just saying when you update from G4 to Intel, cpu would be a problem for CS2.

    I sure agree the increase of memory is always the best update u can do for you machine.
     
  19. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    #19
    Im not sure about that, i will do some search when i got time and post back then.
     
  20. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #20
    The MacBook's Integrated GPU can share a maximum of 64MB of RAM...so the MacBook effectively has less and slower VRAM than the MacBook Pro.

    So I would say that Photoshop performance between the two will differ, especially as file size increases.

    However, Barefeats benchmarks show a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook outperforming a 2.16GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro. Even so, RobART concluded that the GMA 950 was too underperforming for his taste.

    For many tasks, the GMA GPU won't make a big difference, but IMHO someone planning to do a lot of Photoshop should go for a MacBook Pro if possible.
     
  21. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
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    #21
    Yeah, that's where I'm leaning at this point. I probably will buy a refurb in the next few months.
     
  22. Gosh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    #22
    Recent Macworld (UK) test gave MBP C2D 2.16GHz speedmark of 209 and the MacBook C2D 2.0GHz was 173.

    Adobe Photoshop (testing a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file) was 1 min 16 sec and 1 min 25 sec respectively.

    Biggest difference was Unreal Tournament test with frame rate 63.9 compared to 17.8.

    Some speed difference but mostly apparent on 3D/Games.
     
  23. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #23
    The MacBook Pro is quite superior with 3D apps such as Motion and games, but Photoshop is more concerned with the amount and speed of a GPU's VRAM.

    CPU-intensive apps will not show big differences between the MacBook and MacBook Pro, but any app that relies on the GPU or VRAM will be significantly faster on the Mabook Pro in most cases
     
  24. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #24
    That is not true, Photoshop needs minimal amount of VRAM if at all. At least no more than a 2D graphics card.

    Workstation cards in a long past era (like the Matrox cards) do not ship with lots of VRAM, nor have strong 3D capability. See the correlation?

    If all you are doing is Photoshop, you do not need a discrete GPU.
     
  25. 10-Dee-Q macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Bandung, West Java, Indonesia & Singapore
    #25
    i used to have MBP (see my sig)
    and now i'm using MB C2D

    my MBP was 2.0 CD
    and my new MB is 2.0 C2D

    when i launch Adobe CS2
    i can feel the MB is faster but only a little bit
    both are about the same .

    so i think MB can run CS2 as okay as the MBP
    the reason i said Okay is caused CS2 is not a universal applicasiton that made specially for the intel mac.
    so loading it may take a little while.

    but i just got my MB less than a week, so i haven't really use it that much.

    anyway hope it helps :p
     

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