Macbook Graphics Card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by G99, May 20, 2006.

  1. G99 macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2006
    I'm considering getting a Macbook, but one feature that is making me think is the Intel GMA Graphics card. It's only 64 MB, which I don't think will be enough for my gaming needs. Is it a good idea, therefore, to upgrade it? To my knowledge, Apple doesn't do this, so I'll probably have to do it myself. My concern is the difficulty of doing this. Is installing graphics cards very difficult, and if I were to, which card would you reccomend?
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    It's integrated can't upgrade it. There's no separate graphics card.
  3. TexBiker macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2006
    It's not upgradable. There is no slot for a graphics card on a Macbook. The graphics unit is integrated.

    The Macbook Pro has a graphics card if you need extra muscle for 3D gaming.

    EDIT: WildCowboy was quicker on the draw. :)
  4. G99 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2006
    Oh great. I think the Macbook Pro has too much stuff that I don't need, and it costs £1000 more :p
    Maybe I should wait for a while before buying then. Also, I've read about too much thermal paste being applied, so I think it would be wise to wait for that to be fixed.
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    You cannot upgrade the GPU on any current Mac, except the PowerMac which includes an actual graphics card, PCI slots, and an emptry drive bay.

    If you want to upgrade in the future, a PowerMac is your only choice.

    The GPUs on everything else are actual chips soldered to the motherboard, and in the case of the machine using Intel Integrated graphics (inside the Northbridge chip itself.)

    Basically it's sell the machine an buy a new one to upgrade, which isn't too bad since Mac have carried a higher resale value than PCs.
  6. Spartacus macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2004
    Here is a pic from the official service manual showing the recommended thermal paste amount. I laughed at length when I first saw this. Then I cried, because Apple is making a stupid stupid mistake by recommending so much! That much paste actually starts to act as an insulator, making the computer HOTTER!

    (From Apple service manual...)

    Step One:

    Step Two:

    But to stay on topic, I was wondering if that little GPU chip next to the CPU could be swapped? Does anyone have an idea on this?
  7. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'd remove those service manual pics if I were you.

    Someone on SA posted stuff from the service manual and apple legal threatened action against SA.

    Sure it has no grounds but it's still annoying. So remove them.
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    It's a chip yes, but it is soldered to the MB.

    Screw up and short a connection with your soldering iron and you risk destroying the entire machine.

    No ZIFs on the Mac, since it saves millimeters in height.
  9. G99 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2006
    That's exactly what I'm worried about!
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    I forgot, on the Integrated graphics MacBook -- there is NO GPU sitting next to the CPU -- it should be inside the Northbridge chip itself.

    Edit: So you have to hack the machine to create a PCI-Express slot and add a GPU where it likely won't fit. Really, messy.

    Much messier than desoldering a MacBook Pro GPU and trying to get a upgraded GPU to work.
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Actually it does. The service manuals are copyright protected works by Apple, hence, someone hosting them is liable for infringement. However, the pics in this thread are not hosted on a MacRumors server, so Arn wouldn't be the one getting a C&D order.
  12. Spartacus macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2004
    They're just links from They are going to be the ones getting busted.

    What is that chip then?
  13. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    On a MacBook the second chip is likely the Intel 945PM Express Chip, that is the Northbridge chip.

    They get quite hot and must also be cooled.

    It is not a GPU, but has an integrated one inside it.

    The MacBook Pro uses PCI-Express to add another GPU to the machine.

    Edit: Look at the MacBook Pro You will see 4 chips (southbridge, GPU, northbridge, CPU -- left to right.)

    The MacBook only has 3 of those chips, since there is no external GPU.
  14. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Just to clear up any confusion, the Intel integrated graphics are also PCI Express, which is just the peripheral host bus on the computer. There is no external slot or socket, but the integrated GPU communicates over PCIe.

Share This Page