Desktop Class GPU?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dwalls90, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Apple was already smart enough to put desktop class CPU's in the iMacs a few refreshes ago, what are the chances we'll see a desktop class GPU? This would really make the iMacs shine and allow one to use those high resolutions for actual purposes other than just desk trophy's. GPU's are becoming less power hungry and emitting less heat, and the thickness of the iMac is still much thicker than the Macbook Pro (no lap heat factor either).

  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I'd rather they put in a top mobile-class GPU than a mediocre desktop-class GPU. All really powerful desktop GPUs are still just too hot; desktop GPUs which are cool enough to be built within the iMac won't make you happy either.

    Anyway, I haven't yet found a game my 27" iMac won't handle at native resolution...
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Unlikely. Higher-end desktop GPUs use a lot more power than the high-end mobility cards. The power draw of GPUs hasn't really gone down because that would compromise the performance. In fact, some use a lot more power than older ones. E.g. AMD 6970 sucks 250W while ATI 3870 which was the high-end single chip GPU back then sucked only 105W.

    Mobile GPUs are still based on the same chips as desktop GPUs. E.g. ATI 5850M uses the same Juniper chips as ATI 5770.
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    I personally think the chances are very low with the current design of the iMac.

    A top end mobility card provides decent enough of a gpu. Most mobility gpus are based off desktop gpus anyways, but with a lower clock speed.

    For example, the mobility 4850 that was in the top end late 09 iMac which I have is directly based off the desktop 4850 but with lower gpu clock speed. The mobility 5850 in mid 2010 top iMacs is based off desktop 5700 series with lower clock speed. There's really no point in putting desktop cards into an iMac because they still offer mostly the same bells and whistles for a heckofalot more tdp.

    A main problem of the amd 5k series is the high end 5800 mobile gpus only had 128bit bus, so memory bandwidth suffered greatly compared to their desktop counterpart (something which could not be said for mobility 4850)

    The mobility 6950 that's probably headed for next top end iMac will offer 256bit bus and the gddr5 memory, offering memory bandwidth that is desktop grade from the 5k series of amd gpus.

    Making a switch to desktop grade cards won't magically help drive higher resolution displays, it's going to be the specs behind the card-- particularly in the memory department. That is why you still see a lot of desktop cards struggling to deal with 2560x1600 resolutions even today.

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