imac vs mbp (Graphics Card)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by louismgrafix, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. louismgrafix macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #1
    For myself, the graphics card matters, unfortunately, I don't know enough about them.

    I'm getting very close to replacing my g4 17" imac and I'm debating between the imacs & mbps. Is the nvidia card that much better than the ATI Radeon? Is it even better? As far as I know, nVidia makes the best graphic cards.

    I do 3D and motion graphics (which I haven't been able to do on my current mac) as well as print and web design.

    And I know there is the looming mbp update, which I wish would already get here so we can all stop whining. Because if it does come out soon, I'll probably just get that.

    So in the end, is the nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 256MB SDRAM that comes in the top of the line (at the moment) mbp worth $500 more than the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory that comes in the top of the line iMac right now?

    PS - Any other knowledge you can give about graphic cards in general would be appreciated.
     
  2. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #2
    The nVidia video card in the MBP is not the reason it costs $500 more. It is a notebook computer. The video card in the aluminum iMac is an underclocked Mobility Radeon HD2600XT.

    That said, if you are looking to do pro level 3D and motion graphics you probably shouldn't be looking at iMacs or MBPs but rather the Mac Pro. Obviously for real-time playback the video card is the critical component but for rendering it is the CPU. Depending on the size of the files you're working with you may require more memory than the 4GB max the iMac and MBP can take as well.

    Personally given a choice between the 8600M and 2600XT parts I would go with the ATI.

    Have a look at this Ars Technica article where they actually benchmarked a 20" aluminum iMac up against a Mac Pro and the MBP.
     
  3. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2007
    #3
    I agree, you'd definitely need a Mac Pro.

    Neither the 2600PRO nor 8600M are particularly stellar cards. Yes, they do preform well, but they're not spectacular by any means.

    If the iMac had the 2600XT, things might have been a bit different, but Apple opted for the PRO.

    While the 8600M was the best you could get back in day, it wasn't that great back then, and it easily outclassed now by the 8700M (granted, it's nothing more than an overclocked 8600, but the MBPs are underclocked anyways), and the 8800M.

    Now, if you're looking for a (relatively) cheap PC that has a great graphics card, I'd point you towards the Gateway P6831X. It's only about $1399 (Best Buy), but it comes with an 8800GTS. Be warned, however, that it's only packing a T5250 so that could definitely be a deal breaker.

    I understand that the PC probably won't be an option for you, but I thought I might as well just throw that out there.
     
  4. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #4
    Actually, the card in the new iMacs is confirmed to be the Mobility Radeon HD2600XT, just underclocked. I don't intend to clock mine to default XT speeds though. There's obviously a reason Apple set it up with the speeds it did. I also don't want to have to jack up my fan speeds with fan control utilities. I like the machine the way it is: silent.
     
  5. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #5
    You wouldn't buy either machine for their graphics performance.

    Dust off that credit card, time to splash some cash on a MP with upgraded GPU!:D
     
  6. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #6
    The difference between MBP and iMac is not their graphics cards. You are comparing a desktop to a laptop O_O

    What apps are you using if you are so sure GPU matters for you (even though you know nothing about them :confused: )?

    If you are choosing between MBP and iMac the question you should ask yourself is not "which has a faster GPU?", but "do I need portability or not?"
     
  7. saule cogneur macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #7
    Here is some info on the graphics cards comparisons. I thought the article was good, and if I remember correctly, the authors felt the NVIDIA was a better bet.

    I also agree that your bigger question should be what kind of computer you really want.
     
  8. ghettochris macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 19, 2008
    #8
    i actually consider the imac a laptop that they made a little bigger, same type mini mobile junk inside, the only thing seperating the imac and the powerbook is the is a 3.5" hdd (other than the display obviously)

    in fact, it's less desktop than a powerbook since you get a pc card option in it at least.
     
  9. louismgrafix thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #9
    The applications I use the most are Maya 8.5, Sorenson Squeeze, Boujou 4, Adobe CS3 Master Collection, on a HP laptop running XP which has a nvidia geforce go 7600, 2gb ram and an intel centrino duo 1.73 ghz. I am able to just get by with this but I want more, and in the form of a mac. I just want to make sure I'm getting the best I can.

    However, for my new Mac I will be using Final Cut Studio 2, ZBrush, Adobe CS3 Master Collection, Sorenson Squeeze and Maya.

    Thanks for all the info and opinions. If I had the money, I'd definitely go with the mac pro, that's my dream machine.

    I like the idea of having the portability of the mbp, but I don't like having a smaller screen, although it will be matte. The imac has the bigger screen and larger harddrive, although I don't know about the glossy.

    Ah, maybe I'll just get the imac and a macbook. :D
     
  10. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #10
    Aside from the Mobility Radeon video card what else inside the iMac qualifies as "mini mobile junk" exactly?? The large display, stand and separate keyboard make it a "desktop". I don't find anything about the iMac to be "junky". Then again I don't find anything to be "junky" about the Macbook or Macbook Pro either.

    It's not like calling it an oversized notebook is a bad thing.

    It's an extremely quiet, thin, beautiful machine that runs both OS X and Windows and can even handle gaming admirably.
     
  11. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2007
    #11
    If I'm not mistaken, don't iMacs use notebook processors?
     
  12. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #12
    Well obviously. They use the Core 2 Duo Centrino, socketed not soldered. You'd find it pretty hard to fit a big desktop CPU/fan into an iMac. :p
     
  13. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #13
    From your list only Motion (and Color?) use GPU for rendering. Not sure about Maya...
     

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