Why oh WHY! is the X1600 underclocked so much by Apple?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Chris14, May 19, 2007.

  1. macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2006
    Hamilton, NZ
    Please someone Clarify this for me.
    WHY is Apple still underclocking the X1600 in iMacs and MBPs?
    I used ATItool in Windows XP and it shows both Memory and Clock speed clocked in the high 300s. This is INCREDIBLY frustrating. I can overclock safely to the stock speeds of 470/470 for an hour gaming with no heat issues.

    I can SORT OF understand underclocking the laptops, but the iMacs? Much less the 20-inch or 24-inchers (I have a lowly 17" iMac) which have so much room inside......

    I cannot game well in Mac OS X with no overclocking tool supporting the X1600... Doom 3 runs at native res (1440x900), but only on Low settings... :(
    Even Call of Duty 2 chokes occasionally in smokey situations.

    Anyone else care to share their X1600 experience, or their opinion on the matter?
  2. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Are you sure that's underclocked? I was thinking the mobile x1600 was around 400Mhz or so, and that originally they underclocked to 250, but now it's pretty much at full speed.

    It's a really junky low end GPU though-low end last year, let alone now. I wish they had at least gone with a Geforce 7600GT in those systems.
  3. macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2006
    I have a MBP. I play World of Warcraft at around 20-40 FPS on decent settings. I think that could be better for an X1600, and I question the quality I'll get out of Starcraft 2.

    Is there a mac program to correct the underclocking to, perhaps, slightly less underclocking, yet?
  4. macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2003
    They probably did tests and found out that there would be less system failures if they underclocked it. You have to keep in mind that they want to make sure that the computer does not break down during the warranty period.
  5. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    Whakatane, New Zealand
    1. It's not "underclocked". It may not be as fast as the "PC version" but it's configured according to Apple's specs.

    2. My MBP's fans go wild and it gets warm after playing WoW for just a few minutes. I'd hate to see what would happen if it was clocked any higher!
  6. thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2006
    Hamilton, NZ
    it is underclocked

    ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 is underclocked.
    Specs list it's stock clock speed at 470/470.

    Can anyone on these forums with a 17" iMac (intel of course, Core 2 Duo preferably) comment on their experience with gaming?

    Thanks for the quick replies!
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2003
    I read some article that says they were "underclocked" for two reasons:

    1. Heat
    2. Battery life (for the MBP)

    Nermal is correct, they are set to Apple specs. If you change it something might fry.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I have the iMac 17", and my gaming experience has been satisfying. I play UT2004 with no hickups, at 1440x900 resolution. I run Half life 2 and Far Cry at the Highest settings possible (fsaa disabled) with 1440x900 resolution, and both games run at 30-40 fps.

    I only hope starcraft 2 will play decently on my machine.
  9. macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    Try command and conqure 3 on your imac and see how that plays, if its good then its lickly starcraft 2 will play well.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    It's not good. I have to turn down the graphics much in order to play even with average settings.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    Maybe Apple will fix this in their next revision.
    Doubtful, but you never know.

    It'd be better if they even gave the option of superior cards.
    If they updated them between proper refreshes, the waiting game would be made even worse, though.
  12. macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2007
    My friend has a 20" iMac and he runs games flawlessly. But you have to consider he has the 256mb x1600 gpu. Doesn't the 17" iMac only have 128mb x1600 gpu? That would make a huge difference in game performance.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2006
    Actually mobility chips have no "stock" or "recommended" clock settings, it is up to each manufacturer depending on their goal TDP.

    Combine that with Apple's hate for gaming and you got yourself a low-clocked (but moderately silent and cool) X1600.

    Use Windows and overclock from there or try flashing your chip which is easy but can mess up your whole computer if the process goes wrong (which can go wrong with a simple trip on the power cable).

    Every Apple card is underclocked from the stock reference.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2003
    Here at MacRumors, an answer is always just around the corner.™

    EDIT: Crap, sorry, I haven't looked at this thing in forever, on that site it says the X1600 on Intel Macs isn't supported yet. I should have known, since these cards now use EFI. MY BAD. Though I think that site is worth bookmarking and checking, in case the guy releases an update.
  15. macrumors 6502


    Mar 20, 2007
    When that app supports the x1600 will clocking it to its normal hardware spec void Apple warrenty? And what kind of increase could you see doing this? Games run pretty well for me on my MBP but 2gb is a MUST.
  16. macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2006
    I'm sure it would void your warranty but its really hard to know it happend unless they look at that specifically, so if you break it in some place that ISN'T the video card, there's no reason for them to suspect it.
  17. macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2007
    I recently installed alternative ATI drivers (Omega Drivers, I think) and while the frame rates increased a bit I also noticed some funky shading going on, especially in Counter Strike. It's a compromise I was willing to take since I didn't want to kill my MBP by 'overclocking' to factory defaults.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    Another trick for increased FPS is to decrease the rendering quality in the ATI control panel. Some games will see an increase in FPS while others won't. Also try to disable all unnecessary processes and always play while plugged in.

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