128 or 256 Graphics Card??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dreadthis, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. dreadthis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #1
    First I just want to say how awesome this community is. I've been lurking the boards for the past couple of weeks from a PC, and i'm finally ready to make a switch. So here's my question.

    I'm looking to purchase a MBP today. As a photographer i'm going to need to run Photoshop on the system but I'm not sure if the 128MB Graphics card is going to be powerful enough. Being on a budget, I don't see the need to spend an extra $500 for .2GHZ and a 20GB HDD. So which one do you think I should get?
     
  2. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #2
    Personally I'd wait. The MBP's are likely to be updated soon (by the end of February at the latest), so if you can afford to wait til then, I would.

    Hopefully with the next update, Apple will boost the base line CPU to 2.4GHz, and boost the baseline VRAM to 256MB
     
  3. dreadthis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #3
    I know I should wait.. but the laptop that i'm on now seems close to the end of its life. But back to the question, do you think Photoshop will run fine on the low end model thats out right now?
     
  4. zirkle2007 macrumors 6502

    zirkle2007

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    Indiana, USA
    #4
    If all you are going to do is Photoshop then you'll be fine. But I second the other guy. Wait. You never know what they'll bring out!
     
  5. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #5
    Excess video RAM is not going to affect applications like Photoshop.
    The 256MB model will run videogames more smoothly with higher texture resolution.
    It will not affect the actual "speed" or maximum framerate of the games though.

    Choose the base 15" MBP + $50.00 to max the RAM to 4GB (from third party vendor like OWC).
    If there's any money left over in your budget, purchase an external HDD.
    BTW, you'll definitely want Photoshop CS3.
    Previous versions (CS and CS2 are the only previous versions that will run at all in Leopard) are not universal binary and will run much slower on Intel hardware.
     
  6. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #6
    It really depends on how big your files are and how much photo editing you do.

    I've worked with files from 50 Meg to 1 G and I'd say that you definitely want the 256 and 4 G RAM for those sizes.
    Any thing smaller, and I think the 128 would be fine as long as you max out your RAM.
    With that said, I personally think it's better to get the 256 no matter what the situation - I believe in buying the best when its available with technology because programs two years down the road might require it.
     
  7. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #7
    Look at it this way:
    Your video card simply composites the content of your applications as a 2D grid of pixels at screen resolution and bitdepth.
    ie: 1920x1200x32bit display requires roughly ~73MB of video memory for the image you see on the screen.

    It makes no difference whatsoever if the data is coming from a web browser or a 300MB Photoshop file; the composited output always requires exactly the same amount of video memory.

    System RAM and fast storage are the keys to Photoshop acceleration.
     
  8. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #8
    I've noticed a speed difference (small) going between 128 and 256 with large file sizes (the RAM and disk speed are the same, and the processor is 2.33 vs 2.4). I've always chalked it up to the video memory because I couldn't imagine that big of a difference between 2.33 and 2.4 processors.:confused:
     
  9. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    Aug 20, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, PA
    #9
    Exactly! Until such time as Adobe decides to utilize the graphics card to do work for them (Much like how OS X hands off as much as it can to the GPU since that is its job!) then you will not have a need for more VRAM. Heck, I would be willing to wager that PhotoShop runs just as well on the 2.2GHz MacBook with 4GB RAM as it does on the 2.2GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB RAM.
     
  10. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #10
    Huh...the 2.2 MB actually did better than the 2.2 MBP in photoshop.
    http://www.macworld.com/article/61016/2007/11/macbookcore2duo.html
    Is that because it has a smaller screen and lower resolution then?

    @snickelfritz
    thanks for explaining that. I learned something new today.:)
     
  11. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #11
    Let me put this whole waiting thing in context for you.

    When I was looking at buying my MBP in November. 3 months later and there hasn't been a MBP update. People where saying wait until MWSF, but a MBP redesign wasn't announced.

    I'm not telling you to not wait, but instead, take the rumors with a grain of salt. If you can wait, then do it. Obviously, if you wait long enough and a MBP update is released, you'll be better off. However, if you can't wait, then I doubt the cost of being without a laptop until the MBP update will be worth the gain you'll get by the MBP update.
     
  12. remyink macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    #12
    Rumors are just rumors

    I too was going to wait on purchasing an MBP back in November because of rumors. I'm so glad I didn't wait. Macworld came and gone and no MBP update. Update might be around the corner but there will always be updates. I got a great deal on the low end MBP with 128 mb vram and love the machine. I couldn't justify the extra 500 dollars for the extra vram. I would rather save the 500 and sell my current MBP if the updated MBP is that much better.

    I don't expect the update to be major in any case. The major update that everyone expects probably won't happen till Montevina is released and thats not released till 3q or 4q of 2008. You will love the MBP :D
     
  13. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #13
    The video RAM does not have any impact on Photoshop speed, simply because these relatively complex and lengthy processes are handled by the system CPU, RAM, and I/O.
    The video RAM is simply local storage for more efficient processing in the video chipset.

    OpenGL games use this local storage for faster processing of large detailed textures.
    ie: the game runs smoother if the textures can be transferred and cached in advance within the video circuit.
    More videoRAM = faster, smoother swapping of large, detailed (more realistic) textures.

    BTW, the 256MB video might be required for running a second display, or using a very large high resolution display.
     
  14. lucky3killer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #14
    I doubt that, it would more likely to be on summer 2008, very small last update in Nov 2007, only add optional of faster CPU.

    I just wait til Apple would announce about next update for MBP, plus Peryn for mobile has been delayed, that what I found about it.

    To creator, if you are REALLY need it now then go it for now, not let waste of your time for wait on update, nothing is perfect.
     
  15. Jord89 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    #15
    I got tired of waiting. I bought my low end MBP on friday. I feel like the overall 5% increase in performance isn't worth the 20% extra out of my pocket. From what I've seen games-wise, it looks like there'll be little to no difference. So I'm very happy with my purchase and am looking forward to getting my first Mac on Thursday! Can't wait!:)
     
  16. virtualinc macrumors newbie

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    Dec 23, 2007
    Location:
    Carrboro, NC, USA
    #16
    Agreed

    I'm running CS3 on a 2.2 MBP and it's fantastic. I had the 2.4 17" model, but I traded down so I could get a 23" cinema display. I think the 2.2 is a highly capable laptop. No regrets.
     
  17. Swift Sketcher macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #17
    Same here, low-end MBP and it runs Photoshop like a dream. And it's CS1 with only 2gigs of Ram!
     
  18. iCeFuSiOn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #18
    I was in the same boat as you a week or two ago, wondering which of the MacBook Pro models I should go with. I picked up the baseline model - 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 128MB VRAM, and it runs like a dream. I certainly do not regret purchasing it.
     
  19. Gunga Din macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Old Trafford
    #19
    Yes, I've been doing my research as well. From what i've read, the 2.2 with 128 vram works just fine. Even in a FPS like Doom 3 , I think the 2.4/256 only beat the 2.2/128 by 2-3 fps . (i think it was 50 to 53). The only advantage for the vram might be using 2 monitors or allowing you to max out the graphics settings on a game like Lord of the Rings Online.

    I'm still undecided myself, but I do play LOTRO alot and when I phase out my Dell i'd like to be able to use the Macbook Pro to run the game. So, I myself may just wait for an update since i'm not in a rush.

    But if I was you, I'd get the base 2.2/128. Alot of these guys are spot on !

    Oh one more thing....if I was gonna upgrade anything, it would be the HD from 5400rpm to the 7krpm one. That will make a difference booting and opening up files etc.
     
  20. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    Aug 20, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, PA
    #20
    The extra VRAM is not needed for that. My MacBook (with 64MB VRAM) can drive a 1920*1200 external display, and my friend's Core Duo MacBook Pro with 128MB VRAM can drive a 30" 2560*1600 display.
     
  21. dreadthis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #21
    I went ahead and bought it and i'm setting it up right now. So hopefully if there is any official word on an update it'll happen within the next 14 days. So far i'm happy with it but its strange going from a PC to a mac. I'll get used to it though.. i'm loving it so far...
     
  22. Gunga Din macrumors 6502

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    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Old Trafford
    #22
    Congrats ! I hope to switch soon too, but i'm waiting for the update. I just can't buy with an update pending.
     
  23. lucky3killer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #23
    I think that they was means about playing games on both of monitor at same time, dual monitor.
     

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