GT 330M with 256 MB vs GT 330M with 512 MB

Ghost11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 29, 2010
16
0
Mississauga, ON
I am new to forums and and was waiting for new MBP since Dec09. Since its here now i decided to buy 15 inch but i am not sure which one. How big of the difference is between 330M with 256 MB vs 330M with 512 MB. Also i thought there is power consumption difference between i5 and i7. Any thoughts?
 

Sneakz

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2008
1,167
162
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The larger frame buffer would help in gaming and some high end applications. If doing neither of the two, there will be no performance increase. i5 and i7 power consumption should be the pretty much the same. No noticeable difference in battery life.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
In games you may get few FPS more but otherwise it's pretty same.

i5 and i7 both has TDP of 35W so no difference
 

mpsruo

macrumors member
Apr 15, 2008
89
0
IT SHOULD BE 1024MB........AND HERE WE HAVE TO EVEN CHOOSE BETWEEN 256 AND 515...:mad::mad:
What it should be, unfortunately does not matter. I agree with you 100%, it SHOULD be and I'd be the happier for it, but it isn't.

So based on what we got, I might end up with the 256 ONLY because you can't get the 512 combined with i5 processor. You MUST buy the i7 to qualify for the 512 : (

That's $150 more
 

Ghost11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 29, 2010
16
0
Mississauga, ON
Thanks for your opinions guys, i am planning to use MBP for some video and picture editing and not really planning to play any games on it.
 

definitive

macrumors 68000
Aug 4, 2008
1,957
699
IT SHOULD BE 1024MB........AND HERE WE HAVE TO EVEN CHOOSE BETWEEN 256 AND 515...:mad::mad:
this isn't surprising though, seeing how they are ripping people off with an outdated 512mb 4850 radeon in their new 27" imacs.
 

senor ding dong

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2010
30
0
this is a great question.

could anyone of you pro's just get into more details, why 512 MB are better for gaming than 256 MB? will it still be a decent gaming experience or will the gap be huge?

AFAIK the difference between the i5 and i7 chip isn't huge and this time apple doesn't even have different HDDs on the top two 15-inchers...

so what to do, if i want to game? (...on a macbook pro...before someone says "buy a pc" :D)

thanks!
 

Tex-Twil

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2008
2,473
10
Berlin
could anyone of you pro's just get into more details, why 512 MB are better for gaming than 256 MB?
I'm not a pro but it's kind of obvious. When the graphic card has more video ram to store textures to, it does less read/writes to disk. Hence faster perfs.

Tex
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,371
121
this is a great question.

could anyone of you pro's just get into more details, why 512 MB are better for gaming than 256 MB? will it still be a decent gaming experience or will the gap be huge?

AFAIK the difference between the i5 and i7 chip isn't huge and this time apple doesn't even have different HDDs on the top two 15-inchers...

so what to do, if i want to game?

thanks!
Here's a really generalized breakdown:

The VRAM of the GPU is used to store information that the GPU needs fast access to. In games, this would be textures and geometry. In CAD and other 3D applications it also stores similar data.

In games and CAD, the only performance increase would be due to the fact that the graphics card would be able to load more/larger textures & geometry.

The issue here is that the 330m is not a high performance graphics card. It is too slow to render high detail textures and geometry that are capable of being stored in 512mb of VRAM.

In other words, you will see very minimal increases with the bump in VRAM.

Also, to those wishing for 1gb of VRAM: unfortunately, 512mb is the hardware limit of Apple's design, they technically can't have any more than 512mb due to the chip setup that they use.
 

senor ding dong

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2010
30
0
I'm not a pro but it's kind of obvious. When the graphic card has more video ram to store textures to, it does less read/writes to disk. Hence faster perfs.

Tex
ok, cool. so your advice would be, for a decent gaming experience go for the big one?
 

senor ding dong

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2010
30
0
Here's a really generalized breakdown:

The VRAM of the GPU is used to store information that the GPU needs fast access to. In games, this would be textures and geometry. In CAD and other 3D applications it also stores similar data.

In games and CAD, the only performance increase would be due to the fact that the graphics card would be able to load more/larger textures & geometry.

The issue here is that the 330m is not a high performance graphics card. It is too slow to render high detail textures and geometry that are capable of being stored in 512mb of VRAM.

In other words, you will see very minimal increases with the bump in VRAM.

Also, to those wishing for 1gb of VRAM: unfortunately, 512mb is the hardware limit of Apple's design, they technically can't have any more than 512mb due to the chip setup that they use.
cool, so this is basically like having 4GB of RAM on a 32bit operating system?
 

mpsruo

macrumors member
Apr 15, 2008
89
0
Here's a really generalized breakdown:

The VRAM of the GPU is used to store information that the GPU needs fast access to. In games, this would be textures and geometry. In CAD and other 3D applications it also stores similar data.

In games and CAD, the only performance increase would be due to the fact that the graphics card would be able to load more/larger textures & geometry.

The issue here is that the 330m is not a high performance graphics card. It is too slow to render high detail textures and geometry that are capable of being stored in 512mb of VRAM.

In other words, you will see very minimal increases with the bump in VRAM.

Also, to those wishing for 1gb of VRAM: unfortunately, 512mb is the hardware limit of Apple's design, they technically can't have any more than 512mb due to the chip setup that they use.
Thanks for that, very helpful and clear cut explanation. You've now helped me decide towards the 256. The main 2 games I like to play are valve games and blizzard games (Starcraft 2 beta keeps my imac occupied), and none of those are "OMG CRYSIS" graphics so I wouldn't utilize its full power.

Cheers
 

enzojauregui

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2008
48
0
the 512mb card would marginally be better as compared to 256mb. the difference is there but it isn't night and day. you would probably notice the difference when connecting several displays which for some isnt often. Given the price difference of $200, i would say that buying the higher end one would be better. But this is more of personal taste. I for one would pay $200 for the processor upgrade alone. the graphics card is just a bonus for me. this is unlike before (older models then, before the unibody) when buying the higher 15 inch model meant shelling out an additional $500
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,371
121
ok, cool. so your advice would be, for a decent gaming experience go for the big one?
It will only very marginally change your gaming experience. In older games like the Half Life 2 series, you will notice almost nothing. In newer games it will make more of a difference at high detail settings BUT those games won't be very playable on the 330m anyway.
 

senor ding dong

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2010
30
0
the 512mb card would marginally be better as compared to 256mb. the difference is there but it isn't night and day. you would probably notice the difference when connecting several displays which for some isnt often. Given the price difference of $200, i would say that buying the higher end one would be better. But this is more of personal taste. I for one would pay $200 for the processor upgrade alone. the graphics card is just a bonus for me. this is unlike before (older models then, before the unibody) when buying the higher 15 inch model meant shelling out an additional $500
thanks!

they could have at least put the 7200rpm HDD into the top 15-incher. weren't there always different-sized HDDs in mid- and high-end 15-inchers?
 

wschutz

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2007
284
77
Honestly depressing for those of us who work in media. :mad:
Don't buy. No one is forcing you to buy.
Usually when a consumer does not get what it wants from a company... it looks for another one. Later on, when the company realizes it has lost a big percent of its user base, there will be changes.
 

splitpea

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2009
985
225
Among the starlings
Don't buy. No one is forcing you to buy.
Usually when a consumer does not get what it wants from a company... it looks for another one. Later on, when the company realizes it has lost a big percent of its user base, there will be changes.
Hey, I'd love to go elsewhere (someone posted a drool-worthy HP in another thread with 1GB video memory and an IPS panel), but Windows is an order of magnitude less efficient for the work I do, and it doesn't make economic sense to be troubleshooting a hackintosh on the computer I use for my living.

Heck, the 5-year-old computer I'm currently using has 256MB of graphics memory. I'm willing to pay a premium to have OS X, but it's just frustrating as heck not even to have a larcenously-priced option for the hardware performance I expect in 2010.
 

enzojauregui

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2008
48
0
thanks!

they could have at least put the 7200rpm HDD into the top 15-incher. weren't there always different-sized HDDs in mid- and high-end 15-inchers?
yes, actually there was but the price difference between the two also decreased. depends on how you look at it. another point to consider, part of difference between the performance of the two systems can actually be attributed to the processor which further blurs the the difference of the two cards
 

ChronoIMG

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2003
196
0
San Francisco, CA
this is a great question.

could anyone of you pro's just get into more details, why 512 MB are better for gaming than 256 MB? will it still be a decent gaming experience or will the gap be huge?

AFAIK the difference between the i5 and i7 chip isn't huge and this time apple doesn't even have different HDDs on the top two 15-inchers...

so what to do, if i want to game? (...on a macbook pro...before someone says "buy a pc" :D)

thanks!
As a Mac gamer myself I'm torn between this lackluster update as well. The VRAM isn't that a big deal except for games that use a ton of it. And in some cases games may require a certain amount. So if 512MB became the minimum for X game, it may not load. (Settlers 7 requires 256MB and won't even launch on my MBP with 128MB)

As for processors, the i5 is about the same as the i7 due to the lack of a QUAD CORE in the i7.
 

kasakka

macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
2,064
735
Here's a really generalized breakdown:

The VRAM of the GPU is used to store information that the GPU needs fast access to. In games, this would be textures and geometry. In CAD and other 3D applications it also stores similar data.

In games and CAD, the only performance increase would be due to the fact that the graphics card would be able to load more/larger textures & geometry.

The issue here is that the 330m is not a high performance graphics card. It is too slow to render high detail textures and geometry that are capable of being stored in 512mb of VRAM.

In other words, you will see very minimal increases with the bump in VRAM.

Also, to those wishing for 1gb of VRAM: unfortunately, 512mb is the hardware limit of Apple's design, they technically can't have any more than 512mb due to the chip setup that they use.
Exactly. At the moment about the only game that really eats VRAM for breakfast is GTA IV. To give you an example, a quad core processor with a 8800GT 512 MB was just fine up to about 1920x1200 resolution. At 2560x1600 it was stuttering because of lack of power and VRAM. Put in a GTX260 with 896 MB and it works perfectly fine, even with the highest res textures that require the extra VRAM in that game.

The 320M isn't powerful enough to warrant more than 512 MB VRAM. Other manufacturers play the specs game and as witnessed by this thread some people go by "more = better" when in reality that extra 512MB will most likely never be used for anything. Memory just happens to be cheap so it's an easy way to boost the specs of a laptop because let's face it, very few PC manufacturers actually bother to do any real R&D.
 
Here's a really generalized breakdown:

The VRAM of the GPU is used to store information that the GPU needs fast access to. In games, this would be textures and geometry. In CAD and other 3D applications it also stores similar data.

In games and CAD, the only performance increase would be due to the fact that the graphics card would be able to load more/larger textures & geometry.

The issue here is that the 330m is not a high performance graphics card. It is too slow to render high detail textures and geometry that are capable of being stored in 512mb of VRAM.

In other words, you will see very minimal increases with the bump in VRAM.

Also, to those wishing for 1gb of VRAM: unfortunately, 512mb is the hardware limit of Apple's design, they technically can't have any more than 512mb due to the chip setup that they use.
Maybe then it about time to drop the 'Pro' tag on their notebook line if 512Mb is as far as it will ever go.

The 330 has stopped me in my tracks upgrading. Bit of a let down for me. And judging by these forums the general consensus for a lot people. Being that it aint even a quad core i7 is a kick in he teeth also. The competition is waaaaaaaay ahead as of today.