8600M GT: 128mb vs 256mb

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by binaryreason, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. binaryreason macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2007
    I've been evaluating the 1999$ model and the 2499$ model, and besides the HD size and CPU clock speed, the most significant difference is the video card has double the VRAM.

    I'd like someone more educated than me to help me understand if this is a significant improvement. Is the clock speed any different? Will I get more fps in gaming? Will 128mb of VRAM hold me back in gaming? Will it affect Vista performance?

    Essentially, what will the extra expense gain me?

    My gratitude in advance.
  2. alexjs77 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    From what I've learned, the chipset itself is the most important part of the equation. However, extra RAM helps with higher resolutions and more complex textures. I am still undecided on this issue as well. I am waiting for a benchmark from BareFeats.com comparing the two. He said he would run one in a few days. The difference, if there is one, is going to be the deciding factor between low-end and mid models.
  3. JSmoove05 macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2007
    Ya iam in the same boat I an order placed for the 2.2 ghz 128mb and just canceled because I was scared that this one wouldnt hold up wellin playing games like WOW and other demanding apps. I also didnt choose Glossy which I was on the fence about and I decided to give it a shot. I really like bright screens and if the glossy is brighter and better outdoors im going with that. Now the question is 128 mb more of VR and .20 ghz really worth 500 dollars. I think of it as saving money and putting it towards other things because 2500+ for a laptop just seems insane to me. But I dont wanna regret my decision by saving later oh man I just got more video ram. So I dont know wat to do!!!
  4. Sbrocket macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2007
    World of Warcraft is by no means demanding of your graphics hardware. You'll be perfectly fine with the low-end MBP if the most intensive thing you're going to be doing is playing WoW.

  5. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    Check out this forum...
    Mac Forums > Apple Hardware > Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion
    128MB vs. 256MB VRAM

    Personally I ordered the 256vram model I also wanted the bigger HD and faster CPU.
  6. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    I don't know what a lot of your backgrounds are, but I'm a life-long PC hardware junkie and gamer. I don't play games nearly as much as I used to on the PC, mainly because I got tired of trying to keep up hardware-wise and I've switched to a laptop for a full-time computer. There's only one desktop in my house now, and it's a Vista HTPC.

    So, getting to my point, I'm getting the 128MB version and not breaking a sweat over it. When you start talking higher resolutions more VRAM is good, but at 1440x900 (shudder) the difference will likely be in the 3-5% range. It will be a huge increase from the 128MB X300 in my current card.

    If the new MBP had a 1680x1050 screen (why doesn't it?!) I would lean towards the 256MB so I could have more breathing room at native resolution. My X300 runs games at 1680x1050 just fine with the detail turned down on a few things in newer games so I have no doubts in the 8600.

    I'm the type of person who will probably upgrade the machine after a couple of years. I'm betting Intel will ramp up current C2D's to the 2.8, maybe 3ghz range before they're thrown aside for the next chip. for $500, it's not worth it for an extra 40 gigs of HD space and 200mhz of CPU power. I'll probably upgrade the HD and procesor late next year and can probably obtain both for less than $300 by then and give my laptop a kick in the pants.

    So, anyways, my opinion: Unless you have a app that you know needs more VRAM (maybe doing detailed 3D modeling or something), pass on it. The 2499 model really needs something else to differentiate itself, like a higher resolution screen or a HD/BR combo drive.
  7. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2007
    Over 2.3 mpx display (say dual screen) in Vista requires 256MB vram if you want to use Aero3D. But since the 8600M GT probably uses TurboCache (more virtual vram from system memory) that might not be an issue even on the 128MB modell.

    I would have prefered if it had 256MB vram but I wouldn't fall for this stupid trick and buy the middle modell because of that.
  8. Anorak macrumors regular


    May 29, 2007
  9. irm16 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2007
    30" Cinema Display

    I plan to use mine to drive a 30" Cinema Display. I expect the 256 will make a difference for that purpose; is that correct?
  10. otispunkmeyer macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Middlesbrough UK
    128mb of ram is actually quite lacking in todays games.

    256mb is definately the sweet spot, some special settings in some games can consume upto 512mb!

    you'll have the same memory bandwidth though, maybe a bit more if the less dense modules has a faster response time.

    (2 x 64bit controllers on the 8600. each controller attaches to 2 memory chips usually so for 256 its 4 x 64Mbit dor 128 its 4 x 32Mbit.. less dense chips can be faster)

    it probably wont make much difference at low resolution, but even at 1024x768 i reckon your gonna see a difference, especially because todays games make use of some very nice, large textures. when you have to start swapping stuff like this over the PCI-E bus things get slow.

    i think using AA and AF will also be a problem. this 8600 maybe wont have the grunt to drive the newer games with AA on, (AF should be pretty much free) but the 128mb version will suffer even more.

    using a 30inch display shouldnt be a problem for either of them.

    just dont try to play games at native res....you'll need an 8800GTX for that, maybe 2 of them
  11. myke323 macrumors regular

    May 17, 2006
    ok now, let's say gaming is not an issue whatsoever... (i have an xbox for that).

    but i do do things like video editing, and somewhat intensive photoshop work. will the 128 vs. 256 matter at any for those tasks?

    the thing is, you can upgrade the HD to 160mb for $75... therefore you are paying $425 for the extra 128 vram and a .2mhz bump in processor speed (which seems pretty insignificant).

    oh ya, also, can the vram be upgraded/swapped out later? i'm assuming no, but i really have no clue...

  12. excalibur313 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    The 256mb won't matter at all for normal os x things on a 30", but it could make a difference when trying to display very high resolutions while playing games or something to that effect.
  13. Damitri macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2007
    New York, NY
    I second that question. It is so easy to be drawn into this whole texture size/VRAM/clock speed mess - I feel like the old "PC-me" is coming back:eek: ! That is exactly why I switched to Macs two years ago and now I have a 360 for all my gaming needs.

    Anyway, I do a lot of photoshop work on dual screens and I wonder if the extra memory would help keeping things smooth. Compared to the iBook I use today the difference will be enormous anyway I guess...

    I have never owned a graphics card that allows for upgrading the memory. Especially in a notebook I would say the chance is 0%.
  14. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Nah, I've had my notebook (1680x1050) hooked up to my HDTV (1366x768) doing extended desktop and haven't had a problem with Aero.
  15. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    If the card is on a removable board (my X300 in my Dell laptop is removable) then it would be possible at some point to buy the 256MB version of the card from apple (or perhaps a broken-beyond-repair MBP) and replace it. You wouldn't be able to upgrade the memory on it without doing that.

    Of course, I haven't seen inside one and haven't found someone whose taken theirs apart yet. It will be one of the first things I do when I get mine next week sometime. If it's integrated into the motherboard, you're SOL.
  16. bassy6 macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2007
    Those results are good but not what they should be.(should be greater by a lot)

    Yeah I checked out barefeats and the 8600M GT is under clocked soooooo much. I mean the 7600 beats it. From previous info the 8600M GT should be a really great card. Some articles said its on par with the X1900.(I was like omg for the 1st time apple laptops actually have a really good gfx card) I'm pretty sure it'll be easy to overclock the card back to where it should be or close without the MBP burning lol. But Apple has underclocked it loads. The 8600M GT should make the MBP a really good gaming machine. I mean the x1600 MBP's were good but not comparable to other PC laptops but with the 8600M GT it should. The 7600 gets some good scores(above 30 fps in the latest games at 1280x800, and higher rez. So just think how good the 8600M GT will be(I mean the 7600 is good enough but the 8600 is like whoa! compared to a x1600 which I still think does ok for games 2day.

    As for the 128 vs 256, the performance will help in next generation games with 256 becuz that is becoming more standard but for games like WoW, even with 128mb the 8600M GT is or should be a great card. Hope that overclocking the card isn't too hard. I'll probs pick a MBP soon if I can but if not hopefully arounf August so that I will have Leopard already installed :D

    Darn Apple for undeclocking the card by more than 50%:mad: lol
  17. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006
  18. Anorak macrumors regular


    May 29, 2007
    The scores are fairly close, which is to be expected with older games. There should be a bigger difference with newer games.

    So you have to ask yourself, is the 9% maximum performance advantage worth 20% more money?
  19. toxic-waste macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2006
    can you link to that, please :p
    I see they are actually VERY close to the standard set by nVidia,

    And 256mb only matters if you run at large resolutions AND when running at high quality. So whenever you turn on AA you will feel a difference... I also believe Battlefield 2 requires more Vram...
  20. Damitri macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2007
    New York, NY
    Agreed! The card seems to run close to Nvidia's specs. The memory is slightly slower but not by much at all.

    It is not underclocked more than 50%. You can not directly compare desktop GPUs to notebook GPUs. Not that I care - I will just game on my 360 anyway!! :cool: But I think it is unfair to bash Apple for severly underclocking the GPU when they don't.
  21. Zadillo macrumors 65832

    Jan 29, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    I think you're confused. The comparison is to the desktop GeForce 7600 (and at that, it's a comparison with the Mac versions of these games; of more interest is comparisons within Windows and the latest Nvidia drivers). Apple hasn't underclocked the card by 50%.

    The MBP's 8600M GT performance is comparable to the performance of the 8600M GT in the Asus G1S.
  22. rrijkers macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2007
    The Netherlands
    If you are a true gamer you'll go for lowest ever settings possible anyway...
  23. Episteme macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2007
    BareFeats has the 128MB vs 256MB games benchmarks up.

    Difference is pretty negligable at first glance.

    Apple didn't underclock it by more than 50%. Stock is 475/700, Apple set it to 470/635. That's around 10% on the memory, and the core is essentially the same.
  24. bassy6 macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2007
    Ok I have to go right now but when I'm back I'll find a link to prove my point. Apple has indeed underclocked it a lot. Even if the 7600 is a desktop card its an older series and if you find the benchmarks on the cards you'll see the 8600M GT scores some pretty good scores in 3DMark06 and it has said to on par with the X1900. Besides hasn't Apple always underclocked their cards for heat issues and the slimness of the MBP's? I mean even the X1600 was underclocked. Trust me I know the card has been undercloced by at least 30% or more. :apple:
  25. MaaseyRacer macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2005
    San Francisco, Ca.

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