Is there much difference between the hd3000 with 512mb memory and the discreet gpu?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Dixi1801, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Dixi1801 macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2012
    South Yorkshire, England.
    Once again, I've found myself browsing both models, and I got thinking...

    If the hd3000 has 512mb of RAM from the 16gb I intend on buying, will it perform closely to the discreet gpu in the mid model?

    I was thinking, if the difference is minimal, I may aswell stick to the base mini, but if the difference is big... I could possibly shell out the £170 difference since I'm paying monthly! Only if the difference is significantly big!

    Thanks guys :)
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Since the amount of RAM is not the deciding factor on the power of a GPU, but the fact, that the dedicated GPU has its own chip and the integrated GPU * is integrated to the chipset, the IGP with 512 MB RAM will still be "slower" than the dedicated GPU in graphic intensive tasks. When you absolutely need the power of a dedicated GPU (depends on your needs), then the IGP will be a let down.

    * integrated graphics processor (IGP)
  3. Dixi1801 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2012
    South Yorkshire, England.
    Thanks :)

    All id do is play sc2, tf2/css and general computing! Some people have said the integrated is fine for that, but if my experience would be hugely enhanced then maybe the mid model may be better!
  4. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    For Starcraft 2, forget the HD3000. Yeah, it could handle it, but the 6630M is much better for games with such "good" graphics.
  5. Dixi1801 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2012
    South Yorkshire, England.
    Oh right, thanks Poki! I don't play with graphics really high, around medium with some low actually, so if it comes to it and I can't scrape the extra cash together, I'm hoping the integrated will pull me through lol!

    I'll have to see how much difference there is at the shop tomorrow if I can get there!

    I just couldn't work out whether the different was worth almost £200!
  6. Mojo1, Oct 9, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    I don't think that the 6630M is going to be "much better" than the Intel HD3000. It's not very powerful as discrete GPUs go...

    Here are some numbers; keep in mind that the HD3000 was tested with the stock 256MB RAM. I have included the HD4000 because it is comparable to the 6630M...

    Card G3D Rating Rank

    6630M 572 279

    3000 410 368

    4000 563 285


    My suggestion: Hold out a bit longer and see if the new Mini comes out this month. You may wind up saving that $200 and presumably have a better discrete GPU option.
  7. jvpython macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    New Zealand
    In gaming the 6630m is quite a bit better than the HD4000 according to real world tests.

    Other wise from what I see on if you indent to play startcraft 2 especially if you have a 1080p monitor you're definitely going to want the 6630m for smooth gameplay.
  8. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Never Mind...

    Well, numbers don't always tell the entire story... I'll have to defer to those who have first-hand experience with gaming on a Mac.
  9. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    I had a base mini with the HD3000 and 8gb of ram so the graphics got the 512mb. It ran fine and CSS was playable at 30-45fps at 1920x1080 resolution. While it ran k I would have loved to have an extra lee way as the frames would drop in heavy battles or more graphically intensive maps. If I had a monitor with higher resolution I'm sure it would also perform alot worse.

    I also played the new cs:go on it and that got similar performance. So consider the resolution of your monitor when choosing. If its lower thn 1920x1080 then I think you would be okay playing source based games but if its 1080 or higher I would shoot for the discreet or wait for a new mini with HD4000 or a new discreet gpu.
  10. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Neither the HD3000 (or HD4000) nor the 6630m gets you anywhere close to a satisfying gaming experience with halfway decent and/or modern games! Especially at higher resolutions (i.e. > ~1280x800).

    They do 2D quite nicely, they allow for a quick Minesweeper and older games or simple browser games and at least the HD3/4000 also deal fine with video playback due to their dedicated decoding unit.

    But they choke at 3D and get HOT and LOUD while doing so (you need good headsets to hear the game sounds over the fan noise).

    Yes - the 6630 _is_ an improvement over a HD3000. But nothing to write home about really!

    If budget only allows for one machine and the mini it is, get the 6630 flavour (or wait for a revamp - if any will appear before the Haswell architecture arrives, that is), but don't set your hopes too high in regards of gaming.

    Barefeats has made a comparison: The 6630 mini is about twice as fast the HD3000 in the game "Portal", but is still destroyed by an oldish 6750m with ~50% higher framerates. And the test has been done in a lowly 1280x720 resolution!

    On this website one user posts some gaming experiences (see post #12). Maybe that helps in your decision.

    Oh - one more thing: For the price of a mini a much better performing hackintosh can be built. Did this myself when the HD3000 mini was simply not up to the task (now doing server duty in the attic) and i did not want to spend my money on such outdated and low-performance tech as currently available in the mini.

    Granted - it's not as small, not as quiet when idling/doing low-profile tasks and not as easy to setup/maintain. And it also is more power-hungry (obviously).

    But it blows the mini away in any aspect regarding performance, hands down!
  11. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    I have looked at doing a Mac mini Hackintosh.
    But quite frankly, I have not seen any cost saving if you want the same specs.
    Try building a mini Hackintosh Quadcore i7, with Thunderbolt, Bluetooth and wireless.

    If I want to run high end games, I'll get a thunderbolt expansion chassis, and stick a high end video card in it. But I don't, so it's not an issue.

    IMO, there is no Mini Hackintosh equivalent of a Mac Mini i7 quadcore server, that is any less money, so why bother.
    If there is, maybe you can gve me a list of components.
  12. Dixi1801 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2012
    South Yorkshire, England.
    Thanks a lot for that! Plenty of info for me there!

    And I'm trying to hold out lol, I have something to pay off, so I won't be getting the mini for another month or so, which gives Apple plenty of time to refresh :p

    I have a regular crappy monitor sadly, just a regular vga one lol, for sitting at a desk anyway! I would use a hdtv for movies, but probably not games from what ive read in here!

    Thanks to the rest! Ive considered the hackintosh root but I'll be getting a mini on finance, so paying monthly. I cant do that on a hackintosh!
  13. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Won't work. AFAIK there is no housing available that supports more than 4x graphic cards (power, cooling, ). Technology is not there yet to really replace internal graphic cards beyond a certain performance level simply by slapping them into an external housing hooked onto a Thunderbolt port.

    Recommended components are listed on

    My hackintosh consists of a Gigabyte H77 mATX board, a 3770 i7-CPU @3.4GHz, 8GB Ram, 120GB Samsung 830SSD, a cheap FireWire card with FW400 ports, an old Bluetooth USB stick i had laying around and an older 6850 graphic card (mostly for power consumption reasons, as i recycled an existing housing). It has cost me ~60-70% of what a mini server would have cost me. If i would have gone with 1:1 comparable components performancewise, cost would have been even less.

    For the remaining cost difference to the mini i could have purchased quality components like case, PSU, Bluetooth and Wireless and would even have more room (e.g. for drives and a graphic card of my choice), not to mention the far superior performance of the DIY build (CPU, SATA-6G, graphic card, USB3). I consider the missing Thunderbolt interface a merely academic issue, as USB3 boxes usually are far cheaper and available in much more flavours than the few pathetic and overpriced Thunderbolt devices. And even then i think Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards suitable for a hackintosh are already announced (if not available by now).

    Granted - the mini as a package (small, power-efficient and silent when not under load) is hard to beat, but as soon as you think out of the box on one aspect or the other it's very easy to do.

    Don't get me wrong - i do own several Mac products and i'd really have preferred to get a suitable replacement machine for my old MacPro, where i don't need to worry about whether the OS update may break it (which it still could on a "true" Mac, though then it usually is not my job to correct it), but in the desktop segment imho Apple currently is not competitive anymore by any means for any product in their portfolio!
  14. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    Again, problem with your Hackintosh mini is you are using a cheap FireWire card.
    I need FireWire 800 and thunderbolt for audio reasons.
    So, speccing out a small, Mac mini like Hackintosh, in a small form factor case, with Bluetooth, wireless, FireWire and thunderbolt, does not yield any significant savings.
    Now, if you want to build a high powered, beast of an apple, yes, that's where you can save significantly by building a Hackintosh.
  15. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Which is actually an _advantage_ for me as i'm using FW400 devices and this way don't need an adapter as i would with the mini. Plus - i have 4 FW ports on the machine (not required, but convenient).

    A FW800 card is only marginally more expensive than my FW400-only one. And Thunderbolt on the new Gigabyte motherboards is already confirmed working in a hackintosh.

    I never said you could save no matter what (though i did by recycling some components laying around), but instead that you could get (significantly) more power at the same price.

    So except for the small form factor it actually yields a very significant improvement in the price/performance area. if you don't need the additional power, don't like the inherent insecurity about system stability or insist on the small form factor or energy efficiency - fine! I'm the last to talk you out of it!

    But alternatives are available - and they are quite appealing imho...
  16. sean barry macrumors regular

    sean barry

    Oct 3, 2012
    Belding, MI
    Does the amount of system ram improve IGP performance?

    I think this may fit in this thread, I got kinda lost in hackamac world. I can't seem to find a definitive response to this. Does a HD 3000 work better with 16 gig RAM than 8, 4, 2?
  17. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    I'm prettybsurenit depends on the apps you use.
    I'm going to be using mine with pro-tools, andhavingmore RAM is a big plus.
  18. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Upping your RAM to 8GB or more doubles the available VRAM for the HD3000, so one can safely assume that it speeds up the GPU. But I have never seen a comparison of the HD3000 before and after a RAM upgrade, so I cannot state how much improvement you can expect.
  19. jvpython macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    New Zealand
    It doesn't quite double. It goes from 384mb to 512mb and the performance will be unaffected unless your 3D application / games needs more than 384mb of VRAM. Which may be the case with modern games but overall it will still be a very minor improvement
  20. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    I'd forgotten that the base VRAM is 384MB; for some reason I recently began thinking that it is 256MB. :rolleyes:
  21. Mr Rogers, Oct 11, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012

    Mr Rogers macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2003
    Hong Kong

    Actually, given the lack of a Ivy Bridge Mac Mini and iMac presently, it may be worth holding out until Haswell is launched - which is probably 12 months from now given Apple's lack of any meaningful desktop upgrade in nearly 18 months - with this in mind it may be better to purchase a 2010 Mac Mini over its 2011 cousin.

    From the figures quoted above for Sandy Bridge/ Ivy Bridge processors, HD5000 will offer a minimum 100% improvement on HD4000, which in the real world means a 30% improvement in benchmark figures for graphics intense workouts - whilst a discrete graphics chip presently will out perform SoC's, Apple is not know for putting decent GPU's in the Mac Mini - which is a great shame.

    So, in a nutshell, get a cheap 2010 model that performs reasonably well as part of a HTC setup and only struggles occasionally with large 1080p MKV files - forget encoding though - a Haswell 4 core i7 equipped Mac Mini should be a good machine if only Apple would upgrade as soon as the chip becomes available - fat chance of that, but we may strike lucky by Sept. 2013.

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