Intel hd4000 and retina - some perspective

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fuz10n, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. fuz10n macrumors member

    fuz10n

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #1
    I've seen a lot of reviews state that the intel hd4000 is not enough horsepower to drive the retina display in the new MacBook pros. This is ridiculous. For example:

    The iPad's gpu reportedly pushes under 25 GFLOPS. The verge in Safari is absolutely smooth on the retina display.

    The Intel HD4000 reportedly pushes 166-294 GFLOPS.

    The issue is with software scaling in OS X and will certainly be fixed eventually.

    I hope this will be a breath of fresh air to those worrying about their new rMBPs.
     
  2. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #2
    True for web browsing, lets look at some serious applications now?
     
  3. fuz10n thread starter macrumors member

    fuz10n

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #3
    Sorry for not being clear, I'm specifically addressing the "choppy scrolling" people are complaining about. Aside from gaming, the hd4000 is plenty of horsepower for most reasonable tasks. It's simply not that big of a deal that it doesn't include a dedicated gpu, especially when you're paying $200 over the cMBP with the same specs for a nicer design, better thermals and the ridiculously nice display.
     
  4. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #4
    Where did you get these numbers?

    Are any other factors that affect the performance of those GPU? For instance, iOS does not use font rendering technology, and OS X does. Will that affect GPU performance?
     
  5. fuz10n thread starter macrumors member

    fuz10n

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #5
    PowerVR SGXMP specs (I just found out that the iPad 3 GPU is clocked a bit higher than the stock clockspeed, and is actually at 32 GFLOPS): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerVR#Series_5XT_.28SGXMP.29
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5663/analysis-of-the-new-apple-ipad (scroll down to the "Mobile SoC GPU Comparison" table)

    Intel HD4000 specs:
    http://www.nordichardware.com/test-...ge-and-the-3d-transistor-is-here.html?start=4 (scroll down to the 3rd table)

    You are probably right with the font rendering, but there's no conceivable way that would make that much of a difference.
     
  6. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #6
    That $200 factors in Apple's inflated rates for choosing their extra ram and SSD, so that hardly counts.

    Or you can think of it as paying $500 more than a baseline 13" air, and still having to give up some of that prized form factor, thinness and weight (or lack thereof). If this what I have to give up to own a retina air, then I want none of it. :p
     
  7. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #7
    It is 300 more than an Air configured with the same RAM as the base rmbp 13. And that still has a slower processor. So the 300 bucks gets you a faster chip, retina display, and more ports.
     
  8. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #8
    You nailed it with "is plenty of horsepower for most reasonable tasks" Though that statement applies to nearly every GPU sold these days.

    If the GPU is enough for you tasks, awesome, though others are frustrated by more GPU dependent tasks.
     
  9. fuz10n thread starter macrumors member

    fuz10n

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #9
    I mean specifically the "choppy scrolling" and choppy UI animations people are complaining about. The limitation is clearly not the GPU.
     
  10. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #10
    how is this a breath of fresh air? basically all you said was "don't worry. apple will fix it!" according to what?

    iOS devices and actual computers obviously do things very differently with gpu acceleration at the forefront for iOS devices. also don't forget that mobile safari on ipad actually downsampled large images and made them look worse (not just scaled them) to save memory.
     
  11. talhasyed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    #11
    I think the problem is a software one.

    AnandTech describes how retina is actually achieved on the software side here:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review/6

    Turn on the FPS counter in Chrome and scroll TheVerge on the 'native' (non HiDPI) 2880x1800 resolution, and then compare that to the scrolling performance in 'retina' mode. Performance is similar to traditional non-retina screens at 2880x1800, and has the customary lag in retina mode.

    It becomes clear the discrepancy in performance is not with the really high resolution the display sports, rather, it is because of the under the hood computation that pulls retina off.

    There are two possibilities I see:

    1. Either the retina algorithms are inherently complex, and major performance improvements cannot be squeezed out
    2. Apple will optimize their retina algorithms in future software updates

    As a 15" rMBP owner, I sincerely hope it's the latter.
     
  12. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #12
    Which may or may not matter to the buyer. What if I only want a retina air (or the closest equivalent), but don't really care about the ram or processor speed? In that case, I find I would really have to pay a hefty premium for the screen.

    Not to mention the extra specs probably go some way towards running the retina screen already, so they aren't really "extra specs" in a sense. :p
     
  13. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #13
    Another thing that points to software.... on my rMBP-13, Safari performance is noticeably better when scrolling through heavy sites like The Verge, compared to Chrome.

    On my non-retina systems, Safari and Chrome are about the same. The difference seems to be that Safari appears to give up no performance when moving to a retina display, whereas Chrome chokes on heavy sites.

    The Verge's review of the new rMBP-13 points out that Chrome is very laggy on theverge.com, which I agree with. But that's a Chrome problem. The reviewer didn't comment on Safari's performance so I wonder if he even tested it.

    Safari is just fine on the same site-- no more laggy than any other computer I've used, retina or not, fast GPU or not.
    I'm surprised that The Verge let this slip through one of their reviews-- normally they are pretty thorough.
     
  14. Saladinos macrumors 68000

    Saladinos

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #14
    Personally, I would put the graphics drivers under suspicion here.

    On Windows, NVidia constantly updates their drivers for better performance.

    On OSX, I believe Apple write the drivers using documentation from the manufacturer. Apples drivers simply aren't as well tuned and aren't updated as frequently as the Windows ones.

    This was particularly obvious on my older MacBook with an Intel IGP X3100. The Windows drivers (by Intel) managed to give much better performance.
     
  15. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #15
    Yeah you are right, that was os. When i first picked up a retina i noticed it, just bought one mysef and it seems smooth as.
     
  16. leman, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012

    leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #16
    What do you mean by 'serious applications'? 3D graphics? Don't underestimate browsing btw, UI rendering doesn't get much more complex than that...

    ----------

    What do you mean by 'font rendering technology' anyway? AFAIK, text is still rendered by the CPU.

    ----------

    Drivers are actually the least significant factor here. Driver performance matters in 3D applications, where internal driver inefficiencies in implementing the complex API can severely reduce the performance.

    Desktop compositing uses only a small subset of the GPU features and does not involve thousands API calls per second as usual 3d application do. And Apple has its own optimisations to ensure that the desktop compositor has very fast access to video RAM (I do hope that these are no broken).

    The culprit is most likely the combination of some inefficiencies of Apple's own HiDPI implementation + bad application code. Take the App Store as the prime example for a really sluggish app on the retina MBP. The problem here is that it handles resize actions in a very inefficient way (I have no idea what they do, but they seem to recalculate/redraw the whole view multiple times when resized). It is actually already sluggish at non HiDPI mode - but it only becomes apparent with HiDPI, where it has to render 4x pixels.

    Basically, the hardware has undergo some incredible advancements in the last few years, so many programmers became lazy. Its insane how much resources some applications need to perform really mundane tasks.

    P.S. and yes, the HD 4000 has enough horsepower/bandwidth/fillrate for retina, as I have pointed out in multiple threads already. Its benchmarked pixel fillrate is way above 1Gpixel/sec while even 15" retina has 'only' 5 megapixels. This basically means that the card is easily capable of more than 150 full-screen retina updates per second. On practice, only the modified display regions ever get updated, so you usually need only a fraction of that power. The only time it gets 'narrow' is when you have constant large-scale updates, like in movies (less of a problem, as we usually need less then 30 fps here) or games.
     

Share This Page