OS Neutral Dedicated vs Integrated Graphic Game Performance

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Huntn, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Huntn, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    I've always assume there is a HUGE difference between dedicated and integrated graphics. Is there still one? I assume so. From my own experience, when I transitioned from a MacBook to a MacBookPro with the dedicated video card, and installed Windows (via bootcamp) it was the difference between night and day.

    I realize that dedicated cards now come with 1-2 or more GB of VRam. I assume if your machine has an integrated card, and you have 8GB of RAM, that conceivably your integrated graphic card could utilize 1 or more GB of you RAM. What else are they lacking as compared to a dedicated card that adversely impacts performance?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    Feb 22, 2007
    #2
    Pixel and texture rates, memory bandwidth, lots of things factor in. Even bigger difference with desktop cards. Some of the integrated ones are generally limited on shaders and other things, as well as speed. Lots of stuff!
     
  3. sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #3
    I play Civ 5, Skyrim, DOTA, Homeworld 1 & 2 (new editions), ESO online to name a few.

    I had a Macbook Air 2013 and now have a Macbook Pro 2015 13" which I absolutely love.

    1. I noticed a difference in performance and framerate between the two so HD 4000 to Iris HD 6100 is noticeable.
    2. I still enjoyed playing on the MBA 2013.
    3. I use Windows because almost all the games listed above run in a wrapper and the performance SUCKS. It's not Mac OS as much as laziness on the developers for porting the game with a wrapper that emulates vs writing the game for MAC OS. This affects all Macs including ones with dedicated graphics - You're gonna notice the framerate and performance difference because of that crappy wrapper.
    4. A dedicated gaming computer with a dedicated graphics card will provide the best overall experience - I play on my mac because I travel and it's nice to do casual games in my free time but if you're looking for a super high resolution with all the bells and whistles gaming experience, get a dedicated box. I build my own and it's a great way to understand how hardware works (easier maintenance when you build it) and finally, you can maximize components for the games you play. Some are CPU intensive, some are GPU intensive, some require a specific level of graphics card to run at the native resolution of your screen at home. You can tailor your system by doing a little research on the graphics card reviews and the games you like.
     
  4. paul4339 macrumors 65816

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    Sep 14, 2009
    #4
    Do you use Windows on your Macbook Pro/Iris via a Bootcamp install or a VM (eg. VMWare or Parallels)?

    Just to clarify #3, you found that running those games from Windows on your MBP/Iris better than OSX on your MBP/Iris, correct?

    off topic question: what version of Windows do you use and do you find that running other applications from Windows (on your MBP) the performance acceptable? What are the specs to your MBP?

    thanks in advance!
     
  5. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #5
    Of the games you mention above, Civ 5 and the new Homeworld remaster were done as native ports by Aspyr. DOTA by Valve is a native app. The Elder Scrolls Online is a native app as well. At least, everything I just mentioned are available as native apps so unless for some reason you are using Windows versions in wrappers I think you are mistaken about those games. As for Skyrim, there is as you must know, no native release for OS X nor is any wrapped version sold for OS X. You must have set that one up yourself as none of the Bethesda RPGs have native OS X versions unfortunately.
     
  6. sundragon, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015

    sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #6
    Try playing the native versions of Civ 5 and ESO and compare them from Boot Camp to Mac OS, you'll find there is a noticeable difference. Either Mac OS doesn't have as well developed graphics drivers (this will be corrected in 10.11) or some of the games aren't ported well. I haven't tried to compare DOTA on Windows VS Mac so I can't comment but generally I've seen a difference. That difference is magnified with integrated graphics as there's less headroom.

    Ultimately, wrapper/port/drivers, there is a difference in the way the games play. You can test it yourself. I love my Mac but I have to concede that games play better on the platform they were originally developed on, and furthermore a platform that provides better drivers (more optimized/not OpenGL/less overhead).
     
  7. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #7
    Thanks guys for the input on this subject! I'm still deciding whether I'll pay the $2500 or go for the lesser MBP.
     
  8. sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #8
    Depends on your use, which games, can you afford a dedicated game machine?
     
  9. Avi360 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    #9
    Spot on!

    Yes, integrated graphics cards have come a long way! Intel just keeps innovating. However, the AMD R9 M370x in the $2500 mBp is still superior- even if you're not a gamer. Remember, buying a mac is an investment and I realize $2500 ain't exactly chump change. What you're really shelling out the extra cash for is the longevity of the mBp.

    The Integrated Iris Pro will share memory from your main system RAM. This may work fine for the current build of OS X, and probably the next one. But what happens when Mac OS X gets to a point where it requires even more RAM utilization for normal operation (as we've seen with each new release of os x)?

    Here's what happens: you're system becomes bogged down trying to run new UI animations which results in a user experience that's not quite as 'smooth.' Attempting to edit a quick 1080p video for friends or family will be more taxing on your system than it used to be. Oh, and of course gaming performance won't be as good 'frame-rate wise' from day one.

    Basically what I'm saying is that if it's financially feasible to spring for the $2500 model with the dedicated R9 M370X, then go for it! It will give you a longer-lasting, and more satisfying user experience.

    Btw, I really don't condone heavy gaming on any portable Apple laptop. It really is best to get a dedicated PC to do that in terms of cost AND performance. I'm an Apple guy, don't get me wrong- but Microsoft has it's place in the world with DirectX, just can't deny it.

    Check out this link for a detailed comparison on the specs of the Iris Pro vs. AMD R9 M370X:
    http://www.game-debate.com/gpu/inde...r9-m370x-2gb-vs-iris-pro-graphics-6200-mobile
     
  10. Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    Sep 19, 2003
    #10
    If you're referring to Metal, games have to be written to support it, and at its current stage it lacks necessary features for the latest games. Feral couldn't use it for Shadows of Mordor because of this. Performance disparities between Windows and OS X aren't going away anytime soon.
     
  11. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #11
    One thing to keep in mind is that although the Iris Pro is catching up to the low end of AMD and nVidia, and keeps getting better with every generation, the retina MacBook Pro 15" currently uses a two year old CPU. Which means that it currently uses a two year old GPU (Iris Pro 5200, and not the 6200)... (The Broadwell generation wasn't that compelling over the Haswell, aside from GPU improvements.)

    So, if you were going for an "Iris Pro", I'd recommend waiting for skylake...

    Feel free to correct me if you have information to the contrary.
     
  12. sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #12
    I like everything about this! :)
     
  13. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    #13
    My comment was not related to performance of native apps vs Windows equivalents running in bootcamp. I'm aware there are often performance penalties in the OS X vs Windows environment although that is not universal, I understand that it is common. As you note, at the lower end of the performance spectrum it is of course going to hurt more too. I can understand your point there.

    I'm playing on a different system where the tradeoff isn't a problem for me personally. I'm happy with how games run here and don't need a few more FPS, etc. but that's just me. If I go to Windows it is because I can't play it on the OS X side and want to bad enough to reboot over it. It is nice to have the option but I like just staying in OS X a lot better myself.
     
  14. sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #14
    You make a good point, I would prefer to stay on OS X (even though Windows 10 fixes a lot). For someone with only one computer and integrated or lower spec dedicated chips, the difference can be enough.

    I usually recommend people get a MacBook or MacBook Air and use the saved money to purchase a gaming rig so they have the best of both worlds. To have an OS X based gaming rig would be awesome.
     
  15. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #15
    I can confirm my 2011 MBP is a champ., still going strong. My son's 2013 PC Gaming laptop crapped out on him. He had overheating and melting thermal paste issues. It was an Alienware and he had not done anything to it, but it may have come overclocked.
     
  16. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #16
    Yes, there still is.

    Given the same age of machine, the machine with more thermal headroom and available power will perform better. End of story.

    That also goes for Mobile discrete GPUs vs. Desktop. Desktop discrete GPU will simply kerb stomp any similar age mobile discrete GPU.

    Integrated GPUs continue to get better and may not be powerful enough for what you want to do, but discrete will be faster. Whether or not you want to pay the cost in terms of size weight and battery life is a question only you can answer.

    Me? I don't think mobile discrete is worth it for what i want, as they're still not fast enough for proper 3d gaming. Hence I also have a desktop with GTX760 in it.
     
  17. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    Jun 10, 2011
    #17
    Choosing a MacBook Pro with dedicated GPU or one without is irrelevant for the OS X ui animations as in both machines the integrated gpu will be used. As far as the context is the OS X itself, choosing a dedicated GPU will add no longevity at all to the machine. The same goes for any other applications as well, as long as they are not games or video editing.
     
  18. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    #18
  19. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #19
    The macbook pro 15" comes with 16GB. Sacrificing up to 1.5 GB for VRAM is no great loss. The advantages of the m370 lie elsewhere.

    You can't play the Witcher 3 on an Iris Pro. http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200.90965.0.html

    with a m370x, you can. http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200.90965.0.html

    Basically, the Iris Pro has a lot of trouble playing modern games, and the m370 doesn't. Oh sure, the framerates aren't spectacular, but at least it's not obsolete out of the gate.

    Now, people will claim that with the money you'll save by not getting a m370x, you can buy a real system with desktop GPUs. But if the reason you need a laptop is because you travel, being able to play those sorts of things on the road may be of interest to you.
     
  20. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #20
    You'll be giving up RAM for the integrated GPU on a Mac with discrete anyhow when running apps that don't require discrete.
     
  21. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    #21
    While integrated GPUs have advanced greatly, they still can't hold a candle to most dedicated. However, I was really surprised with how my 2013 MacBook Ait (i7, 8GB, Intel HD 5000) ran some games, such as Bioshock Infinite. Granted I had things turned down (720P essentially), but it was totally playable... Provided you could handle listening to that fan yell at you.

    I'm curious to see how the Iris Pro stands up against the former 750M?
     
  22. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #22
    Exactly the point I've been making for several years (see bolded). :) However with my reduced frequency of travel, I have to ask myself do I really need to play those particular games when I'm away from home or just read a book or play HOTS, which btw I need to try on my wife's MBA. :D
     
  23. sundragon macrumors regular

    sundragon

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    #23
    I think if you list the games you play, we may have experience to let you know how it works to help the decision.
     
  24. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #24
    The list is fluid, but generally:
    *Average MMO like- World of tanks, WoW, Final Fantasy, ESO, etc.
    *Variety of Steam Games which cover a spectrum of demand- Vampire The Mascarade, Space Engineers, Kerbal Space Program, Home World, Dragon Age (Bioware), Half Life-Half Life 2, etc. At the top end might be something like Ark:Survival Evolved which is reported to be highly demanding.

    I assume Heros of the Storm would not be an issue on any MBP.

    Generally speaking my current MBP (sig) keeps these games except Ark which I've not tried, above 30fps which is perfectly adequate. Thanks!
     
  25. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #25
    Integrated GPUs have come a long way indeed, although have a long way to go as well. Here's a comparison of their raw power. The 750M has a score of 1,362. The Iris Pro 6200 goes a bit higher, at 1,529.
     

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