Disappointing performance, working as intended?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by creationtwenty2, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. creationtwenty2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    #1
    Hey all.

    I bought a new MBP 13" yesterday, my 5th Apple computer so I'm not new to them. I had the original 13" when they were first released and I absolutely loved it, the size seemed perfect and it had enough power for what I needed it for.

    Backstory;

    I work in graphic design and run some mildly demanding tasks like 3D, and some VFX/Motion Graphics but nothing too hungry, and my old 13" used to handle it fairly well.

    I originally used my desktop for my main workhorse, and my old 13" MBP as an 'on-the-go' machine for working away from the house/office, but earlier this year I had what can only described as a moment of stupidity and decided to consolidate my workflow into one machine.

    I sold both my desktop and 13" MBP and bought a 15" MBP and upgraded the RAM/HDD. I immediately regretted it, it wasn't quite powerful enough, but mainly due to the size. After being so used to lugging around the 13, it was surprising how much more space/weight the 15" added and I longed for the 13 back!

    So I bought another desktop, sold the 15, and yesterday picked up a 13" again.

    I just bought the base spec, and added a 7200RPM drive and 8GB Crucial RAM when I got it home.

    For the most part it's fine, but I've noticed performance in 3D isn't fantastic. For example, my fiancee and I play the odd bit of RIFT (an MMORPG for you non-nerds reading), now I'm not expecting to be able to run it on much more than low settings, but here's the thing... she has the original 13" MBP, with 4GB RAM, a C2D chip, and a 5400 drive and averages 28-32 fps on 'low' settings, I've got the i5, 8GB RAM and a 7200 drive and average 12-18 fps on 'minimal' settings.

    Something doesn't seem right there, I know the HDD speed is possibly irrelevant, but the processor should be an improvement right? And I'm sure I read that the Integrated GPU (HD3000) will share some RAM if I'm running 8GB so surely I've got more processing power there too... but I'm seeing more than 10 fps less.

    Otherwise it's a fantastic little machine, admittedly not designed for gaming but it would be nice to see a little improvement.
     
  2. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    Hell, AL
    #2
    Did you reset PRAM and SMC yet? Did you repair permissions?

    Replace the factory RAM and see if that changes performance.
     
  3. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #3
    No not yet, should I?

    Will do, I'm hoping the RAM is ok. As I said, it's Crucial so a fairly reputable company, and it registers as 8GB. I'll give it a shot.
     
  4. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #4
    It won't hurt anything. I would do all three of those first.

    It is probably fine, but if the other steps do not rectify the problem, this will at least take out one variable.
     
  5. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #5
    I was under the impression that the HD3000 is slower than the 320m in the old 13" mbp, but the i5 is significantly faster than the C2D. This means that CPU driven tasks will be must faster, but GPU based tasks like gaming will be slightly slower.
     
  6. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

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    Apr 30, 2011
    #6
    That's my take on the situation as well.
     
  7. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    Mar 31, 2011
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    Tallahassee, Florida
    #7
    It's obviously the graphics card which is the problem. In the baseline MBPs, 2011, you get the HD3000 which is (some would say) a step back in terms of performance. When playing games or doing 3D rendering, you're going to need a strong graphics card or you're going to have either lag or run things at a lower setting.

    Want a discrete graphics card? You're going to have to get a 15 inch, non-baseline model. Sucks, I know.
     
  8. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #8
    Huh? The OP stated he had the original 13" MBP, which had an Nvidia GeForce 9400m. The Intel HD 3000 outperforms the GeForce 9400m. If the OP was able to use the applications with the old unit, he should be able to with his new unit.
     
  9. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    Tallahassee, Florida
    #9
    So I bought another desktop, sold the 15, and yesterday picked up a 13" again.

    I just bought the base spec, and added a 7200RPM drive and 8GB Crucial RAM when I got it home.


    That along with his other posts implies that he has the baseline, 2011 MBP 13 inch. That comes with the HD3000. That graphics card isn't that good.
     
  10. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #10
    Yep, it's the base spec 13". I really really wanted them to add a discrete GPU... I love the 13" size so much, silly I guess but I like the form factor so much more than the 15 that I'm willing to take the performance hit for the 13.

    Unlikely we'll see one soon I guess due to heat/battery issues... I kinda hope not too since I just bought the new machine yesterday ;)

    I'm actually chalking this down to terrible Windows drivers on the Intel HD3000. I just tried out a couple games on Steam in OS X, Team Fortress 2 and Portal and they run incredibly well. I can run both on pretty good settings and see 30fps without problems.

    The game I mentioned in the OP is a Windows game I'm running under BootCamp so I guess that could explain the performance issues. Maybe(hopefully) we'll see a driver update soon...
     
  11. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #11
    Re-read the original post. He had the original (5,x) 2009 MacBook Pro 13", which use to run the applications without issue. He sold it, bought a 15" machine, sold that, and then bought a new, 2011 MacBook Pro 13", which cannot run the applications properly.

    If an application ran well on the 2009 machine, it should run fine on the 2011 machine. The Intel HD 3000 > Nvidia GeForce 9400M.
     
  12. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #12
    Yeah 99% sure it's a driver thing. Just played TF2 under OS X for a good half hour and saw great performance... surprisingly so actually.

    I wonder if we'll see any updates for the Win drivers (assuming that is indeed the cause of the lacking performance).
     
  13. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #13
    Ah, if you're in windows, there is the problem. Windows drivers for the HD3000 suck
     
  14. creationtwenty2, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011

    creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #14
    Out of interest, am I likely to see any benefit running a virtualized Windows inside of OS X? Or will the extra power needed for the virtualization negate any resulting benefits in the end app?

    EDIT: Scratch that, seems it's not worth the effort. Apparently Crossover 10 is a possibility... I may try that.
     
  15. ABadSanta macrumors regular

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    Jul 3, 2011
    #15
    On paper, the the HD 3000 integrated chip that comes with Intel Sandy Bridge Core iX processors today is supposed to be about on par with the nVidia 320M chip apple used to use. Unfortunately, benchmarks from this year show that the 320M outperforms it by a small but noticeable margin.

    I remember doing some reading somewhere, and the reason why Apple kept the Intel HD 3000 as the main graphics processor is because the motherboard in the 13" isn't big enough to house both the Sandy Bridge configuration and a discrete card.
     
  16. th3goob macrumors regular

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    Jun 4, 2011
    #16
    you will need to bootcamp for rift, and i run wow on ultra with 60 fps, so that gives you a idea of everything, i have the baseline 2011 13 in mbp with a upgraded 500gb hdd
     
  17. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #17
    I just tried WoW actually and I too got around 60fps on Ultra, which apart from the lower AA and Sunshafts, was similar to what I was getting on the 15". Again, great performance under OS X, fix those drivers Intel!
     
  18. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #18

    That's why he has bad performance.


     
  19. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #19
    Just tried CrossOver too, it runs, but not well.

    Guess I'll just wait and see if they update the driver.

    I can't complain, it does exactly what I bought it for, and it does it perfectly well... the gaming was just a bonus if it worked well and under OS X, it's fine.
     
  20. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Haha you can't complain? You spent over a grand for a computer that can't play the games you want, not even at the highest settings. You should complain.

    People settling is why we get crappy graphics cards in the baseline MacBook Pros today.
     
  21. creationtwenty2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #21
    I bought the computer to run iterative renders and concept ideas while I'm on the go and for that it works perfect. For gaming, I've got my home consoles, it was only a little bonus if the MacBook ran a game or two.

    Sure, if they manage to shoehorn a discreet GPU and an adequate heatsink into the 13" Unibody then I'll likely be first in the queue, but even as it stands, I'm completely happy with it.
     

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