9600M GT -512MB vs 256MB

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thirtytwopaths, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. thirtytwopaths macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2008
    So looking a the new macbook pro's configurations, I see that the 9600M GT is offered as either 256MB on the 2.43Ghz model, and 512MB on the 2.53Ghz model. I cant find any benchmarks related to this GPU comparison, so I'll ask you guys: Is the 512MB version going to make a significant difference in performance (gaming) as opposed to the 256MB?
  2. Anaxarxes macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey
    Many new games use 512MB+ VRAM... Heck some even use more than 1024MB.
  3. snake101st macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    The 9600 (same as 8600 and 9700) is 128 bit, meaning it can only use up to 256 mb of vram. Meaning the 512 is no better. The only way it would be better is if it were a 256 bit card, so it could use 512 mb vram. But its not. Save your money. ;)
  4. Anaxarxes macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey
    How can you relate Memory Controller Width with Memory amount? The correct phrase should have been yes, to get all 512MB you have to use higher settings in games, but since it's GPU is not powerful enough to process those higher settings virtually 512MB would be overkill. 9800M GTX could have taken advantage of the extra RAM but not 9600.

    Yet I believe that 512MB could be useful in not Graphics intensive but texture intensive games lie MMORPGs
  5. thirtytwopaths thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2008
    interesting, so what benefit does the 512mb have over the 256mb if that difference cant even be used?
  6. Anaxarxes macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey
    it can be used, but to use it you have to hike the eye candy stuff in games. But that result greater processing power from the GPU and 9600 might not be powerful enough to process those eye candy effects to use all the 512MB.

    But again, texture intensive games could benefit from the extra 512MB since texture drawing is not as much of a load on GPU as let's say particles or shading.
  7. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Here's a relatively simple explanation I found on another forum talking about the 128-bit 8600gt 256mb vs 512mb:

    Apparently there will be no noticeable difference.
  8. thirtytwopaths thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2008
    hmmm I see. so you make it sound like the difference isnt that outstanding to merit the price difference. what about the gpu relevant to the cpu. does the 6mb cache, paired with the 512mb worth the $500 price difference? It just seems like alot of money for perhaps a slight performance increase, or maybe im wrong?
  9. Anaxarxes macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey
    The performance increase would be slight that's for sure, but the gap could widen in texture intensive games.

    Graphics cards use System RAM if the VRAM is full. VRAM is used to store vectoral and graphical information. if it's full, GPU takes some of the System RAM to store informantion, whcih sig drastically slower than VRAM.

    500 USD difference is not only 256MB more of VRAM, you get a faster CPU with more L2 cache. But if you're not a serious gamer, you would be better off with 256MB
  10. IrI macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2004
    Won't the advent of Snow Leopard make the higher 512Mb more desirable?
  11. thirtytwopaths thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2008
    good point, but I guess the age old question arises here. Spend the money on the 6MB L2 processor, or save the difference and use it on more RAM. Which would be the better performance gain relative to $$ spent be
  12. Riemann Zeta macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    The memory controller being 128bit has nothing to do with the amount of memory that the GPU can handle, only the throughput speed of that memory. More VRAM can still be beneficial--it simply depends on the game and the design philosophy behind the game. Some games, like Crysis, are almost entirely dependent upon GPU memory speed/throughput--that's why one needs something insane like a 384bit memory bus with the highest possible rated (>1GHz, 100+ GB/sec bandwidth) DDR3 memory to play it on 'ultra-pretty' mode. Other games rely less on constantly moving as much data to the GPU as possible and instead try to make things prettier by using higher resolution textures.
  13. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Disregard that post. It depends whether or not the applications you run can take advantage of that memory (framebuffer for textures etc). Memory bandwidth has nothing to do with that.
  14. bolen macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2008
    I ordered the one with 512MB and I think it'll be great. Even if it's not a huge improvement over 256 it's still more. More is always better than less in terms of memory (if the other specs is the same of course). I'll probably be running the 9400M most of the time because it's enough to play my precious WC3. :rolleyes: Hopefully 9600M will be enough for some RA3, SC2 and D3.

    But the main reasons I went with the "bigger" model is due to the 4GB of system memory, bigger L2 cache and larger hard drive.

    However, the Swedish Apple store said "7 days until shipment". :( Can't wait! :D
  15. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Anyone else want to make a statement about that? I also just read that the 9600M can't run Crisis unless it's on lowest settings, but can run "current games" on mid - high settings. :confused:
  16. jimleszczynski macrumors regular


    Jan 19, 2008
    Mount Pleasant, MI
    aHH Help

    Ok. So I have been looking around.. LOts!

    Can't seem to find the info I need. Right now I take advantage of the majority of the CS3 suite. I use it on a Macbook 2.0 2GB with the 64mb integrated graphics. It chugs quite a bit. Especially if I have more than one app open at a time.

    Planning on getting a new Macbook Pro. However I am trying to decide if the extra for the 512MB graphics is worth it? or will 256mb suffice? In the long run obviously the 512 will be better. I run my computer with external monitors. Which I'm sure takes a small toll on it too.

    So for the CS4, do I choose 256 or 512? Keep in mind I will probably have 2-3 CS apps open at once.

    Help? or direct me to where I can find the info?
  17. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    I'll try and help. I got the 2.53 ghz MBP. There's a few reasons I think it's worth it.

    1.) if you use an education discount, you get $100 off of the 2.4 ghz but $200 off of the 2.53 ghz
    2.) 2.53 comes with 4gb ram
    3.) better processor with twice the cache which you can't upgrade later.
    4.) bigger hard drive standard.

    It actually doesn't end up being a $500 difference if you think about it. Take the 2.4 ghz, add in 4ghz of ddr3 ram and a bigger hd and I believe the price difference ends up being around $200 less.

    So the question is, would you like a better processor with twice the cache, bigger hd, twice the ram and twice the VRAM for $200?

    Depending on the game, there are performance increases in the 2.53 ghz version. It could be any of the things listed that give the performance increase. Also with higher resolutions (external monitor) you should get better results.
    I didn't want to regret it down the road so that's what I did. I also got the 320gb 7200 rpm hd.

    Oh, and to the guy that said he read you can only play crysis on low is wrong. I posted all of my settings in another thread which are a mix of medium and high and have pretty good results from that. It is the most demanding game and that's on a laptop.
  18. south8212 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2008
    The 2.4 will be fine. Thats what ive got and been running cs4 beautifully....I have run ps, safari, itunes, and iphoto at once with no problems at all. Also I have run dw and ps simultaneously and not noticed any problems at all.
  19. Red-red macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2007
    If you have the money get the higher spec model. You're going to have it for a good 2-4 years before you go to replace it so you might as well put down the extra money. We might see advantages with it in snow leopard and CS4 takes advantage of it, specially if you're like me and have several windows open at once.
  20. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
  21. firesong macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Do bear in mind the higher processor speeds and more processor cache (ie, more transistors) translates to higher temperatures and lower battery life. Also a consideration for many, since the battery capacity was reduced by a significant 10WH.

    Personally, I went with the 2.4Ghz and upped the RAM to 4GB - it's user-upgradeable so you can buy it cheaper elsewhere as compared to Apple Online. The HDD does not have to be bought from Apple too, so the cost savings are potentially higher, plus you get an additional drive and RAM modules to use as spare/external.

  22. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    None use more than 1GB.
  23. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    you guy just made me regret that i ordered the 2.53 model.. despite the "slight" increase..
    party breakers.
    now im in a bad mood.
  24. fleshman03 macrumors 68000


    May 27, 2008
    Sioux City, IA
    I have the previous generation MBP 2.5GhZ. I went for the 6mb cache because that is not upgradeable after market like RAM is.

    Get the better processor and upgrade RAM later, if needed.
  25. expansion macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2008
    I guess the best way to think about if its worth it is to think 'what else can I do with that $500?'

    Buy an Xbox or PS3 maybe? A new surround sound system would bring me a lot more joy than a 10% increase in the frame rate...

    I think I'll go for the 256 after reading all this and looking at the benchmarks...

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