Graphics card...do they matter to you?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gothamm, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. gothamm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #1
    I am seriously considering the unibody mbps with the 9600. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable when it comes to laptops, but having never owned one with a dedicated graphics card, i have to wonder how useful they are.

    So here is what i understand about graphics cards (Please feel free to correct me as necessary):

    - graphics cards are useful only for apps which support them...and in mac os x, apps like these are far and few. and what are some common have that do support this?...

    - A user who downloads a ton of .mkv blu ray rips will not find it useful to have a graphics card, since VLC supposedly utilizes the CPU only.

    - nvidia does not have the best rep for making reliable cards.

    - major driver issues, so they are pretty much useless...

    so what do you say folks? is a dedicatd card worth it...especially for a user who has tons of blu-ray rips?
     
  2. Patriks7 macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #2
    Graphics currently really come into play with games (ha) but that should change with Snow Leopard. I have the 9600 in my MBP and so far I have used it once for 10 minutes.
     
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #3
    Why'd you buy the MacBook Pro?
     
  4. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #4
    I use it only when apps such as Aperture/Photoshop would help with the faster video card. Otherwise, the 9600GT is reserved for Windows for gamez.
     
  5. gothamm thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #5
    so...no improvement with vlc playing 1080 files?
     
  6. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #6
    No? HD videos shouldn't benefit due to our hardware acceleration built into the system. The real benefit you'll see is in games
     
  7. Patriks7 macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #7
    Did you read the part that says "so far"? I haven't had the need for it YET, because I haven't managed to get Windows to work properly so no games and I just like to buy things that can keep me a bit more futureproof. Also, the 13" has the crappiest screen I've ever seen.
     
  8. bossxii macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
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    Kansas City
    #8
    My theory was the UMB screen sucks and I wanted a larger screen. I haven't used the 9600 GT much since I purchased it a week or so ago other than to test it for issues. Having it makes it ready to cover any tasks I may want to do in the future as well. This 17" UMBP is my mobile desktop replacement so I have the power when I need it, but the 9400m has done very well in many applications. Testing it out in some games it does rather well but the 9600 GT does provide a noticeable bump in performance.

    If you have the cash and can do it, I'd recommend it. No matter what you buy it's going to be outdated in 18 months so do what makes you happy now is my theory :)
     
  9. ftored macrumors regular

    ftored

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    Dec 29, 2005
    #9
    I thought that the Geforce 9600 chip allowed for GPU acceleration of HD decoding/encoding? Or something like that.:$..
     
  10. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #10
    No, the 9400M has that ability also
     
  11. gothamm thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #11
    right, but what does this mean?

    can you give any specific examples? especially relating to HD videos :)
     
  12. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #12
    I only use the 9600 for games. I will be doing a 3D modeling module at Uni, so maybe the 9600 will help there for rendering etc. But until I do that, the 9400M is fine.

    The 9600 kicks the 9400M ass when it comes to games - the 9400M is still a decent chip and can run games relatively well, but the 9600 (for a laptop) has great performance.

    9400M is more than powerful enough to playback 1080p H.264 video.
     
  13. gothamm thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #13
    thats good to know...but only on programs that support them right? i don't think vlc does..
     
  14. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    Dec 25, 2008
    #14
    if there is a sweet graphics card, there is usually a sweeter chipset.
     
  15. TheIguana macrumors 6502a

    TheIguana

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    Canada
    #15
    Quicktime has an API that lets it take advantage of this, however it isonly accessible to Quicktime at the moment so you won't see the speed up in something like VLC. However, when OpenCL comes in Snow Leopard and developers have had a chance to code their applications to take advantage of it, other applications will be able to take advantage of GPU acceleration.
     
  16. w00t951 macrumors 68000

    w00t951

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    #16
    And a graphics card will affect the visual performance of any application that requires screen space. And I (amazingly) got Windows Vista to work the first time around (I have had bad experiences with Ubuntu and the GRUB system) and have now installed Crysis, Battlefield 2, Call of Duty 4, 5, and Left for Dead. All runs on Medium or High, with Crysis performance being a great surprise. However, I only use Windows for games and Photoshop. However, for some strange reason, the NVIDIA card in Windows revs up to 5000 RPM in a few seconds of loading Windows, on the login screen. Do you think that there is something wrong or maybe I need to clean some dust out... What do you think?
     
  17. Jimmy James macrumors 68030

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #17
    Is your previous computer a Mac or PC? It sounds like this could be your first Mac.

    I also run lots of mkv's using VLC, as well as avi's. A word of warning; if you're used to the buttery smooth goodness of the way these formats look on a pc you will be disappointed. I returned my mac because these videos look unbearably pixelated/blocky on a mac.
     
  18. Ploki macrumors 68000

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #18
    me too.

    2 answers: firewire, snowleo
    and few additional:
    -screen real estate, its a strictly mobile unit
    -2.53 cpu (i almost wish i had gone with 2.8 but just couldnt justify the price. i still cant.)
     
  19. gothamm thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #19
    not my first mac, I have a 2.2 whitebook santa rosa 4 gb RAM.

    It does alright.

    But choppy performance on 1080p files. VLC will freeze during playback for like 3 seconds and then the video will reappear.
     
  20. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #20
    The X3100 video cards don't have hardware acceleration for these type of movies. Thats why you're getting poor performance while the newer systems are getting better performance.
     
  21. James Cole macrumors 6502

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    Jul 15, 2007
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    San Antonio, Texas
    #21
    Yeah I noticed this new computers are much better at playing 1080p than my old Santa Rosa 2.4
     
  22. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    Sep 23, 2006
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    Kilrath
    #22
    Graphics card definately is important to me!

    The first thing I look at when reviewing a laptop is the GPU. I work 60-70 hours a week and when not working I like to play windows games. My mbp sr 2.2 a nvidia 8600 was ok until the gpu died(replaced under warranty). Still I wanted a system wo nvidia gpu so I bought a Sony with better specs than the new uni mbp to hold me over until apple comes out with a better mbp.

    I might have bought a uni even with the nvidia 9600 but the low res display (Sony is full 1080p) and lack of bluray were deal breakers for me since I have a large br collection and other than games I watch movies. So now I have to carry two laptops everywhere since I use the mac exclusively for work.

    I know apple doesn't care about gamers and movie buffs but it seems shortsighted since we buy the latest stuff all the time.

    Cheers,
     
  23. lapino macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #23
    I bought a Vaio before I got the MBP. It was a great laptop, but the videocard really isn't any faster than the one in the MBP (in fact, the nvidia is slightly faster) and using fullHD resolution will make it slower then when gaming at the mbp native resolution.

    BluRay was tempting, but I really did not use it at all, I also have a large BluRay collection but I really wonder who really watches full movies on a (battery powered) laptop ran from the drive. You'd be better off ripping the bluray to the harddrive then.

    The MBP does get hotter and more loud when gaming though.
     
  24. Jimmy James macrumors 68030

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    Oct 26, 2008
  25. Jimmy James macrumors 68030

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #25
    I always watch movies that are played from my laptop, which is plugged in, and connected to a large monitor. It's my primary setup.
     

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