6630M compared to other macs?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Random14, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Random14 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #1
    I know the 6630M is definitely better than the Intel 3000 for most things, and if I buy a Mini I'm probably going to do some gaming on it at least. What I'm curious about is how it compares to the graphic cards of the other Macs of the moment?

    I know Apple usually doesn't usually use super-powerful graphic cards in its machines, but I have an Imac from last year and it does fine for most games (at least in Boot Camp). I'm thinking of getting a Mini as an HTPC (the lack of a DVD drive is a little bit annoying, but only slightly), but just curious how it compares to say the Macbook Pro. Is it simply a matter of the Mini's 6630M being better than the Pro's 6490M? I don't know much about computers so never entirely how graphic cards are labeled. Although I presume all the Imacs are better, but I'd prefer not to buy another one yet.

    Right now my Imac has an ATI Radeon HD 5750, so the mini's 6630 is more powerful? Not sure if there's any difference between AMD and ATI Radeon, aside from the 5xxx and 6xxx series name. I don't need a high-end graphics card, probably mostly going to play stuff like Mass EFfect 2 and The Old Republic (whenever it is released).

    And by the way, as I said I'm not well-versed in computer stuff, but assuming I'm reading wiki correctly, one of the advantages of Thunderbolt is that in the future you could plug in a more powerful graphics card? Just checking, since I know hardware is always outdated from when we buy it, so plugging in more powerful graphics sound like a nice way to add longevity.

    And based on reading other threads, for normal everyday stuff (web browsing, e-mail, gaming) there's not much difference between the dual-core i5 and i7, correct? Although I might just get an i7 anyway but just confirming first.
     
  2. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #2
    I wouldn't go by the just the model number and assume the higher the number the better the graphics card it unfortunately is not as simple as that. One thing you need to look at how much on board memory or VRAM there is and how fast it is. Also what the other specs are like for example the shaded model. If your iMac GPU has more VRAM then it may well perform better especially it's just from last year. The current MacBook Pros, at least the 15" and 17" models I believe do have more VRAM then the current Mac Mini GPU's.

    As far as ATI and AMD Radeon goes the latter bought out the former so it's essentially the same company and line of graphics cards. In general the current iMacs and higher end MacBook Pros will perform better in the graphics department then the Mac Minis. That said they all use mobile GPU's and don't compare to the typical mid to high end PC based graphics cards.
     
  3. Random14 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #3
    Whoops, forgot to pay attention to the vram (and its even listed on all the Apple Store pages). I thought just a higher model number would work, but... hm, the mini's AMD graphic card only has 256MB... which should still work, I think, for at least most current games, now that I know what to look for. I thought I just had to pay attention the Ram (and it should be easy to install more ram into a mini) and the required graphics card.

    I figured a mini wouldn't be as nice as an Imac (even one from last year), but hm, it might be nice playing PC games on the TV screen, and the iMac is kind of hard to move around.

    Thanks for the info, guess I shouldn't be surprised Apple didn't put anything that powerful into their Mini (a discrete graphics card is already a step-up for the Mini anyway).
     
  4. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #4
    Yes there has been a lot of discussion regards the choice of GPU especially the amount of VRAM. A lot of people myself included wish they had included at least 512 MB if not 1GB. It's possible they didn't want the Mini to cannibalise sales from the iMac and make it more of an entry level for those switching from Windows as well as those wanting to use it as a server or HTPC. Personally I didn't want to spend the extra money on a display I neither wanted nor needed or had space for. Luckily I do the majority of gaming on my consoles. At least they put the faster DDR5 memory on the GPU rather then the slower DDR3.
     
  5. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #5
    Yeah, that will certainly have something to do with it. Kinda irritating, though.
     
  6. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    #6
    If you plan on doing any gaming buy the dedicated card.
     

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