Discreet vs Integrated GPU

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mayoke, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. mayoke, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016

    mayoke macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2016
    Hello everyone,

    I've been holding off on buying a computer for what seems like almost a year now, because I was looking to future proof my purchase. Apple never discounts their computers, so buying as soon as they release a computer means that you get the most "time" out of a product for the fixed price. Unfortunately, Apple has won the waiting game, and I can no longer tolerate my slow and constantly crashing 2010 mbp. I've resigned myself to paying the ridiculous price for a computer that should have been replaced twice by now, but I digress from my question:

    I don't need the extra power from a discrete gpu, but I'm pretty sure both the MBP's that I've owned had discrete graphics, and graphics switching (was into video editing in the past, haven't done it in years). I had the 2007 macbook pro that had its replacement program extended for 4 years due to graphics card issues (I think with the discreet graphics?) and the 2010 macbook pro that I currently own was also subject to a recall/fix (but I missed the boat) and now it crashes frequently due to the graphic switching (from what I can gather). My question to the more knowledgeable computer peeps out there: I don't replace my computers often, and I figure forking out a few extra hundred dollars makes sense if it means the computer will last longer. Debating between the base 15inch and the 2.5GHz model (which comes with a discreet GPU). Would getting a laptop with a discrete vs. integrated GPU mean that it's likely to last longer? Or am I just making myself vulnerable to yet another dGPU failure down the road? The different 15 inch models I'm considering are:

    • 2.2GHz with 512GB drive
    • 2.5GHz with 512GB drive (no discreet graphics, just upgrading the processor) (+$135 from base)
    • 2.5GHz with AMD radeon discreet graphics ($+271 from base) (or +$136 for discreet graphics)
    The price difference between upgrading the 2.2GHz model to have a 512 drive and a 2.5GHz processor vs just buying the 2.5GHz model that comes with a discreet GPU is under $300. The price difference isn't a huge factor, it's more whether the benefit of the discrete processor (or downside/risk of failure) should sway me to one vs the other.
  2. andreyush, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016

    andreyush macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2015

    Discreet ftw IMO !

    Seriously now. If you don't play games or need extra power from a dGPU don't go for it. Take the one without a dGPU :D.
  3. mayoke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2016
    Hahaha ok, I was wondering if I was spelling it wrong... edited post, but can't change the title. To answer your question, I don't 'need' the extra power, I'm just wondering if the extra power will get me more mileage out of the computer 4 years from now.
  4. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    MacBook Pro without dGPU would last longer because you won't have to deal with failing dGPU.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    At this point, there is a recorded history of discrete GPU failures on Apple laptops. I don't think that anyone actually ever did a sound comparative study of iGPU vs. dGPU failures or Apple vs. non-Apple laptop GPU failures. So we can't really quantify it. But I think its a fairly safe bet to assume that models with dGPU do tend to fail somewhat more frequently. It also makes sense logically — its an additional component which is also usually pushed to its thermal limits.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you don't need the horsepower from a dGPU, then it makes more sense to go with the iGPU. I don't think you'll future proof yourself more with a dGPU, the current generation of iGPUs are fairly powerful for most day to day activities, so that should last for several years.
  7. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Why would it? Your usage determines if it's useful to you or not. If you don't foresee yourself using anything that uses a dGPU in the next 4 years, you'd be overpaying for something you won't take advantage of.

    A computer'll last as long as you want to make it last. My SO is still happily using my old 2008 MBP, and it works perfectly fine for her uses.
  8. mayoke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2016
    I presume that 4 years from now, the base MacBook will perform worse than the base MacBook Pro which would perform worse than the top of the line MacBook Pro running the latest OS. I prefer the 15" screen, and the price difference is minimal between a 2.5Ghz with vs without the dGPU (see above).

    I had in the past edited videos for fun, but haven't done that in years, and don't foresee doing much in the future either. The most aggressive thing I do with my computer is heavily animated keynote presentations, as well as word processing and web browsing. The web browsing is now almost preferentially done on my iPad. My 2010mbp while slower, was doing the trick until it started glitching out and crashing from what I believe is the dGPU failing. If I didn't have a huge exam to study for this year, I'd likely survive on an iPad with occasionally turning on the crash-book pro. But my hand is forced and I need a computer. Trying to figure out if the dGPU would make macOS Denali (or whatever it'll be called 4 years from now) work better, or if it's just likely to be a liability that will fail sooner than an iGPU.
  9. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    It seems like a pretty common trend that Macbookd and dedicated graphics don't go well together. Many of the older ones have been very prone to failure. The 2014s and 2015s both seem to be more stable than earlier iterations, but you should read into the throttling, especially on the 2015s. It's just too much heat for such a small space.

    Go iGPU.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You sound in no danger of ever needing a dGPU, OS X has to be able to run well on fairly vanilla igpu's your computer will be 10 years old before the os will be an issue to an IRIS pro gpu.

    It can be a liability unfortunately we won"t know that for a few years yet.
  11. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    Unfortunately capability of the graphics processor isn't really the issue.

    GPU support and OS X is more about what Apple "feels" like supporting. The issues we've had with recent GPU support in OS X hasn't been because the GPU couldn't handle OS X. It's been that Apple didn't continue to support a particular GPU being used in OS X.

    So the reality is that we don't know what Apple will or won't support in future versions.

    Apple will cut off support when they feel that machines using a particular GPU are too old. It will not be because the GPU is unable to perform the basic task.
  12. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Considering the advances in the eGPU area, I'd get an integrated GPU MacBook with Thunderbolt 3 once it comes out, and upgrade the eGPU as you go.

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