dGPU - in what cases it improves performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tadziak, May 26, 2015.

  1. tadziak, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015

    tadziak macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm thinking of buying the new Retina Macbook 15-inch and I'm wondering whether I should get the model with the dedicated graphics (Radeon). I don't play 3d games on my laptop nor I do any 3d design work. I do use the laptop for video processing (compressing HD clips) and some photoshop (mostly batching/resizing big amounts of files). Will the dedicated GPU increase performance in any of those cases?

    And one more thing - would a version without dGPU run cooler and more silent (less often kick up the fans to high rpm?)

    Thanks a lot for your help.
     
  2. placidity44 macrumors 6502

    placidity44

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #2
    The 2015 rMBP is marginally better than the 2014 models...i'm talking very marginal. The only reason to go with the 2015 model over the 2014 is for the Force touch trackpad. I'd much rather get a refurb 2014 model and save some serious coin and get a better machine than get a 1999 2015 model without dedicated graphics. Apple's refurbs are the only way I go. I was diagnosed with OCD at a young age and a simple scratch, nick, or dead pixel would set me off. The refurbs I've gotten over the years haven't had any issues. Refurbs are returns within the 14 day window or brand new machines just clearing out inventory. Apple checks and tests everything about these machines whereas on the assembly line they can't thoroughly test every single one. You can even argue refurbs are better than new. My buddy ordered a 2014 13 inch retina macbook pro and got 16gb of ram when he ordered 8 and 512gb ssd when he ordered one with 256gb. The processor was the same as the one he ordered but point being, sometimes you get lucky and get one with better specs than you ordered. You'd be very surprised at how often this happens. If they run out of stock you sometimes get bumped up at the price you would've paid for the lower tier one. Like I said these are for all intents and purposes new machines. I'd keep looking at the refurbished section and pull the trigger on a refurb model if I were you. If you're dead set on the 2015 model you may notice a difference between the Iris Pro and the AMD dedicated card. If you're going to pay 2k on a machine you might as well get the best you can in order to future proof it. Me personally i'm waiting for later this year when Skylake is released and i'm guessing the new rMBP's will be released shortly after. Those will be the ones worth the upgrade. I can't imagine they won't be a redesign either. I forgot to add that refurbished models have the same return policy as new, same warranty, and you can still purchase Applecare for them.
     
  3. tadziak thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for your answer, refurbs are not really available at this point in Europe. Besides I already own a 2012 rMBP and would like to have at least some changes. My question was mostly about pros and cons concerning dGPU. Are there any negatives about having it like more heat, less battery time, more noise?
     
  4. placidity44 macrumors 6502

    placidity44

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    May 20, 2015
    #4
    The dedicated GPU only is in use when it's needed. Apple optimizes the software so when you're doing tasks that don't take advantage of it the Iris Pro graphics are in use. When the machine is being taxed then the dedicated GPU is in use. In my case I have noticed sometimes the machine gets hot but every aluminum mac i've ever had has sometimes gotten hot. It's not a regular thing. The battery life will be extremely similar between the two models. If you're doing something that taxes the integrated GPU and it goes over to dedicated the whole time you might see drain on the battery life, but if you're taxing the integrated gpu you'll probably see a drain on battery life as well. There's no way for me to know if a dGPU would be beneficial to you i'd recommend you do what you normally do on a computer and check the gpu status. You can get the app iStat Menus for mac which will show you how much of your current gpu is being used.
     
  5. sebseb macrumors 6502

    sebseb

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #5
    the only?? the SSD is almost 2.5X faster!

    And if you don't do any 3D work, don't even bother getting the dGPU, extra heat and extra power consumption. Even if it's off, it's still consuming current which drains the battery. But since you mentioned that you already have the 2012 rMBP. Just keep it and upgrade when skylake comes out.
     
  6. placidity44 macrumors 6502

    placidity44

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #6
    Yes the flash storage is faster on paper but how many people are going to be able to tell even the slightest difference in the flash storage speeds unless they're transferring tons of data and even then what's a couple extra seconds.
     
  7. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2011
    #7
    Adobe CC uses the GPU heavily for 2D work as well thanks to the 2015 and 2014 updates. Having a fast GPU with lots of memory makes a pretty big difference in day-to-day usage of those applications in my experience with Macbook Pros. The DGPU in my experience also eliminates choppiness in Yosemite, primarily due to poor driver support from Apple and/or Intel.

    Also a 10% battery life increase isn't bad at all. It is a shame about the iDPU and CPU being years-old, however— those new microarchitecture features and speed increases will be missed sorely. Hopefully Apple will use some of its market muscle to punish Intel for being so incredibly late with Broadwell.
     
  8. Kal-037 macrumors 6502a

    Kal-037

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    #8
    The dGPU is great and is not just "marginally" better it is better period in the scores and real world use videos have shown it to be quite a bit better. It will help immensely in 3D programs, Adobe programs, other art software and development tools. Those are why I got it. :)



    Kal.
     
  9. sebseb macrumors 6502

    sebseb

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #9
    How can the dGPU improve UI if for that apple doesn't switch to the dedicated? yes if you force it to run on the dgpu, then I would assume that the choppiness will be eliminated compared to a iGPU but most the times the dGPU is off and you don't see it's performance in the UI.
     
  10. Zakzilla macrumors member

    Zakzilla

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    May 11, 2015
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    It's actually a significant increase for the SSD. It's noticeable with even small tasks like opening an app. It reaches speeds of almost 2GB/s which is honestly crazy, and if OP is doing HD video compression, it will make a difference, especially over time.

    Source: I edit video for a living and have compared the newest 2015 15" to last years model. If speed is important to you, I'd recommend it. Seconds add up throughout the day

    To answer OP's question: the dGPU can be manually activated using a tool like gfxCardStatus, and yes it is faster than the integrated Intel Iris Pro 5200. I've noticed the desktop is faster/smoother with the dGPU, and tasks like encoding from Premiere or After Effects will enable it anyway, because it's designed for those tasks and is significantly faster for those tasks than the Iris Pro. The extra $$$ depends on how serious you are about the video work. If you don't mind waiting a few extra seconds / minutes, save some money.

    Another option is to buy a refurb like was mentioned, and get an older dGPU. Last years' 2014 model with the 750m is not much slower than the newest R9 m370x, and you can get it used for ~$1700 refurb. I'd personally recommend only buying refurb from Apple tho, I've had some bad experiences buying refurb elsewhere
     
  11. tadziak thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2011
    #11
    So there are also some performance benefits in 2D? What about video processing (compressing a clip from an HD camera) in final cut or Adobe Premiere?

    And does it make the difference in terms of heat/fans going off more often in normal website browsing/youtube/movies etc. ?
     
  12. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2011
    #12
    Adobe CC automatically switches me to dedicated... and it takes 5 seconds to force the dGPU to stay on for as long as I own the laptop. I'm plugged in enough when not traveling so that I don't mind taking the battery hit.
     
  13. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #13
    The thing is, the dGPU only activates when doing intensive 3D work, so it wouldn't likely turn on during those tasks.

    For 3D tasks, the dGPU is much better though.
     
  14. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    #14
    To give you an idea of 2D improvements, any photo adjustments I make in Develop on Lightroom CC happen instantly without lag on a dGPU. I experience some mild lag on iGPU. I also can scroll through my library of thousands of photos without lag as well. Makes it so much easier on the eyes and mind when I work in there all day.
     
  15. Kal-037 macrumors 6502a

    Kal-037

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    #15
    I myself haven't tested it yet, (as mine hasn't arrived yet.) But generally it shouldn't have a single issue with watching or browsing the web (especially if using Safari) as the iGPU will handle most of that, the dGPU will kick in if necessary. As for heat issues, I honestly don't know that. I doubt the heat will be more or the fans will be any more loud than what the last gen GPU was.


    Kal.
     
  16. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Please tell me where I can get a 750m model for $1,700 refurbished! I'd buy that instantly! :)
     
  17. Woch macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2015
    #17
    I'm having the same problem as the OP, trying to decide whether to buy the discrete graphics version. Are you two experiencing this difference on machines with Iris Pro graphics? I see some other people saying that there are no differences as far as the general UI is concerned...
     
  18. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    #18
    I personally experienced some lag, but not nearly as much as the non-pro Iris.
     
  19. Woch macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2015
    #19
    Thanks! And switching to the dGPU completely eliminates the choppiness?
     
  20. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2011
    #20
    For me, yes, unless I was rendering in the background and murdering the CPU.
     
  21. tadziak thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2011
    #21
    Thanks guys, I was already aiming at maxed-out non-dGPU version, but now you made me change my mind. Maybe Discrete GPU is more useful than I thought, even without gaming.

    I was just thinking that maybe going for basic/non-dgpu version is sort of a 'sweet solution', because I save some money that I can invest in bigger SSD, I don't have to suffer with the much-hated here AMD/Radeon and maybe I get some more battery/less heat and less fan-noise. Apparently it's not that simple ;)

    Ps. I think that there should be some nice article or sticky-topic explaining to all the confused users if they need the Discrete GPU or not.
     
  22. prospervic macrumors 6502

    prospervic

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    The Apple Certified refurbished has the 2014 rMBP with the Nvida 750m and 512gb SSD for $1999 http://store.apple.com/xc/product/FGXC2LL/A

    Got mine last week. Perfect condition, fast, smooth & beautiful!
    ACT QUICKLY - it wont likely be there for long!
     
  23. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #23
    If you are working with OpenCL-assisted applications (Photoshop, FCPX etc.), there are good chances that the AMD dGPU will improve the performance considerably over Iris Pro and/or 750M. However, to know this for sure one should do some benchmarks or at least side-by-side comparisons.
     
  24. Skika macrumors 68030

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    Mar 11, 2009
    #24
    Running scaled resolutions is dramatically improved with the dGPU.
     
  25. Woch macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2015
    #25
    On which model do you observe this difference?
     

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