MacBook graphics card question… I know, I know

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Qoxiivi, May 23, 2006.

  1. Qoxiivi macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Ok, I bought my iBook about three years ago and am thinking of replacing it with one of the new MacBooks. The thing I want people’s opinion on is, do you think a later iteration of the MacBooks is likely to have a half decent graphics card with it – instead of integrated graphics?

    If it helps, I’m not desperate for one right now and am willing to wait for a later version if people more ‘in the know’ than myself think the graphics ‘issue’ is likely to be better addressed in a later MacBooks (perhaps preceded with a bump-up in the iMac and MacBook Pro graphics cards – therefore making ‘market space’ for Apple to improve the MacBook’s card without it encroaching on MacBook Pro territory).

    And before people start whinging, I’m not complaining about integrated graphics or anything and I know that Macs aren’t the best games computers – I’m just wondering if anyone thinks an upgrade of the type I’ve suggested it likely. Partly because I felt a little burnt when I bought my iMac. I love it and I’m really happy with it but seeing as it’s not upgradeable, I was a little peeved that the Intel version had a much better graphics card with the option to double the VRAM to 256meg – the amount I ideally wanted in my iMac until I decided to just settle for the G5 128meg machine. I know this situation’s different, but, I’m sure you all know what I’m getting at.

    If people think a dedicated graphics card isn’t likely the that’s cool, I’ll just buy one sooner rather than later – fairly confident I won’t be surfing the internet two weeks later only to find a brand new MacBook on show with fancy schmancy graphics and a special column dedicated to slagging off the product I just paid the best part of a grand for…

    Once again, I’m not bitching, just asking :)

    Thanks a lot

    Qoxiivi
     
  2. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    they macbooks and mini will only get proper graphics when intel dumps the fsb, so it does not need so many massive chips on the logic board so apple has the room to put proper graphics on their, but by that time intel graphics may become half decent so who knows.


    i'm a gamer and i bought a macbook, just use the money saved from a MBP to buy a 360.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    It seems much more likely in the near term future that they will get an improved Intel integrated chipset, than a return to dedicated third-party video card.... For what it's worth. :(
     
  4. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #4
    edit: i'm retarded a replied in the wrong thread had multiple windows open.
     
  5. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816

    ImNoSuperMan

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    #5
    I m sure that must be coz of you watching your AVATAR for too long:p :D :D :D :p :p
     
  6. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    #6
    Dude, unless you're trying to do heavy work with your current ibook, I would say just upgrade the RAM for now and wait for another rev or two of the macbooks. I'm not the kind of guy to say "ooh, avoid rev A", but you know that the next rev or two will bring plenty of extra goodies and only add to the value of the laptop. For instance, from the rev A to rev B imac G5s, they added Tiger, standard bluetooth and airport, more RAM, a better graphics card, etc. Rev C got even more with an even better video card, isight, frontrow, etc. Imagine similar upgrades to the macbook, and you'll see why it makes sense that if you CAN wait, you should.
    I don't think that it'll get a dedicated video card anytime soon if at all, but it will at least get an upgrade to the integrated chip.
     
  7. Qoxiivi thread starter macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Cheers guys. The iBook I have is the one in my signature. I'm all for upgrading my RAM, but apparently all I can go up to is 512meg (I'm thinking that won't make much of a performance difference) which, on the Apple site, costs £100. Does anyone else think that's an unbelievably fecking ridiculous price for 512meg of iBoook RAM? Anywhere else I can get RAM for my signature iBook? Does anyone here have any I can buy? I promise I'm honest. Honest... ;)

    At the moment, I think I'm looking for the next rev - any ideas as to when that'd be? September?
     
  8. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    you can put a gig of pc2700/2100 200 pin DDR in their, just at the time apple said you couldn't to make the powerbook look good.

    just look for ram with those specs and it should work, if your paranoid use crucial.
     
  9. Arbiter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    #9
    I think it will stay with integrated graphic chip, atleast this entire year. Also ATI has options for integrated graphic chips aswell... Another thing worth mentioning is that the GMA 950 can most likely address the 256 Mega Bytes with a firmware update. There is nothing in the logic circuits that says that it can only operate at max 64 Mega Bytes. Hopefully Apple will realise that a fair amount of people want the extra memory that the GPU can address and release a firmware where we can check amount of memory thru an application dedicated to the GPU.
     
  10. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    #10
    Go to datamem.com, crucial.com, or macsales.com
    All of those sites have search engines that you can put your ibook model into and they will show you guaranteed compatible RAM upgrades. And they'll be MUCH cheaper than Apple's RAM. Including the built-in RAM which I think is only 128 on your model (with another 128 chip installed), you can get at least a max of 640MB into your ibook, possibly 1.1GB. 256MB is a very low amount to be running OSX on. Any upgrade will help you considerably.
     
  11. Qoxiivi thread starter macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    So, let me get this straight, the one at the very top of this page will work in the iBook in my signature – which apple say is only upgradeable to 512meg:

    http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listmodule.asp?family=DDR&tabid=DDR+PC2700

    I'm just asking to be sure - as I know next-to-nothing about this kind of thing but you seen to know what you’re talking about. I don't want to buy some RAM and then have it turn up only to be told by someone that I wanted 4007 KF type RAM with added jam-filters instead of the 4007 KF3a type RAM with lemon-edges that I’ve just spent the best part of my Saturday afternoon attempting to bang into my machine’s RAM receptacle with a shoe.

    As you can probably tell, it’s all just nonsensical numbers, acronyms and abbreviations to me…

    Thanks again :)

    Qoxiivi
     
  12. Qoxiivi thread starter macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    Oh, and, on a related note, my iBook’s running OSX 10.3.9 and I have just been informed by someone in my department (a designer) that I can install the OSX (Tiger) I got with my iMac (also in my sig) on it and everything will be hunky dory. So, if I get new RAM and an operating system upgrade, it’ll attenuate my MacBook lust – for now, or at least long enough to wait for a rev or two before upgrading.

    However, while that’s all fine and dandy (and I’ll make sure I back everything up if I do it) I was just thinking one thing, do I have enough storage space on my iBook for Tiger? It’s got a 40gig hard-drive (as in my sig) and I don’t want to install it if it means I’ll only have about 10gig of space left – that’d be no use to me at all. So, how much space does Tiger take up compared to the OSX (Panther?) I'm currently running?

    Once again, thanks again… again :)

    Qoxiivi
     
  13. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    #13
    I've got a 40 gig HD in my ibook runnning Tiger and only have 12 gig left HOWEVER I have all of the original applications installed, upgraded to ilife '06 with all of the fixings, have 4-5 gig of music on here, have Logic Pro 7 and all of its goodies installed (at least a few gigs right there), etc. you get the idea. Tiger is very doable on 40 gigs. If I only had 30, then I'd have a problem.
     
  14. Qoxiivi thread starter macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    I'm thinking it might be a bit much for me. I've got about 20 gigs of music on my iBook. I am having a few problems with my OSX though - World Book doesn't work at all - it just bounces up and down in the dock and then 'unexpectedly quits' before ever launching. And Safari keeps on quitting 'unexpectedly' too. So much so that pretty soon I thik the error message will dispense the 'un' part. Will simply re-installing it all with the disk I got with the machine (back in December 2003) solve this?
     
  15. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #15
    My 12" iBook G4 has died, and I replaced it with a MacBook I got early this week. I bought a 512MB stick from Crucial for the 12" I'm not using now. If you want to buy that from me, send a message and we can work out a price.

    As for updates on the MacBook, I expect Rev B to be a faster processer and $999 price tag. Other than that there isn't much to upgrade with the MacBook, it has everything now. I see the graphics card being used as a differentiator with the Pro. MacBook will probably always have a integrated graphics card. In the future, it will probably just have a better integrated card.
     
  16. Qoxiivi thread starter macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    About the MacBook, from www.barefeats.com:

    "It provides impressive performance for the money except in one area: the GPU - same integrated Intel GMA950 that's in the Intel Mac mini. It supports Core Image and OpenGL graphics but a lot slower than the Radeon X1600 in the iMac and MacBook Pro. It not only borrows its 64MB of video memory from the system memory, but it does not support vertex shaders or transform and lighting effects.

    I wish Apple would upgrade the MacBook Pro 15" and 17" to use the GeForce Go 7800 and use the Radeon X1600 in the MacBook 13"."

    This is what I would be hoping for in a future MB version :)

    That's a very kind offer and I may well take you up on it. What I'd like to do first however is confirm that I'll be able to put a gig or ram in it. Also, being in the UK I'm not sure how much the postage will be. I'll get back to you :)

    I'd prefer the option I found on barefeats.com above, but, I'm sure you're more likely to be right.

    Qoxiivi
     
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #17
    I am with the crowd saying not to expect dedicated graphics in the macbook. Considering that every revision of ibook and mini had the cheapest dedicated chip possible that could still run. It seems that Apple would have always used integrated graphics except the northbridges would not support it. So the switch to intel finally meant that they could finally use integrated graphics.

    This really isn't new almost every single mac except for pro machines had integrated graphics before the G3 came out. Actually I think most of the graphics in those pre-G3's were handled by the CPU, but I am not completely certain on this point.

    Anyway just buy the Macbook now and enjoy:) . If I am wrong and their next revision has dedicated graphics (SLI 7900GTX Mobile:cool: ) then Ebay the Macbook and upgrade. If you upgrade at every release and sell the previous machine or upgrade every three years and sell the previous machine your net loss is approximately the same. Except you stay ahead of the game with the latest and greatest technology.
     
  18. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    #18
    Where do you get this firmware update? Does it even exist? Because when I get my Macbook, I wouldn't mind maxing out the RAM to 2GB, and having 256MB of graphics memory, along with about 1.7GB RAM!:)
     
  19. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    UK
    #19
    yeah that'll work.
     
  20. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #20
    I'm sure that it will take a Gig of ram.
     
  21. Arbiter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    #21
    There is none. But technically it can be "upgraded"... however that is up to Apple themselfs or/and hackers... I can see why it does not support it by default. However it does puzzle me of why we cant change it thru an application if we want to.

    That said, one more thing worth noting is that while the GPU does not support vertex shaders in hardware, it does support pixel shaders in hardware, and up to 4 of them. Pixel shaders are by far more important in modern games. I am not too worried about it doing its vertex shader operations in software.
     
  22. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #22
    There isn't one because one isn't necessary. It cannot be upgraded. By default, the GMA950 uses 80MB of system RAM and can scale up to the limit--specifically the 224MB ceiling of the chipset. This is handled dynamically by the OS and the drivers and no intervention is needed on the user's part. Any "hack" to force the GPU to consume more RAM would simply waste that RAM, since the current design allows for the computer to determine whether the system or the graphics subsystem needs the memory aside from the 64MB guaranteed to the graphics at all times.
     
  23. Arbiter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    #23
    Ok, I was under the assumption that it could not dynamically allocate more than 64MB of RAM, a firmware lock that is. Good to hear then.
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #24

    Yeah, just wait for the next revision, and then the revision after that, and after that, and after that........
     
  25. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    #25
    I guess my point was just that especially with a brand new design, the value of the computer will likely be significantly higher in the next revision, once they figure out how to make it cheaper and refine the design. But you guys are right- the macbook already has just about everything, so all we're likely to see in further revisions is speedbumps, RAM bumps, and newer integrated graphics chips. The price will surely go down, right? :)
     

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