Just how bad is a gma 950?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Zellio, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Zellio macrumors 65816

    Zellio

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    #1
    I got a Core duo mac mini off ebay for a good deal, with 2 gb ram. I installed teleport on it as well as a new version of Snow Leopard to add to my imac with two 27" 2560x1440 monitors. I attached a portrait 23" 1080x1920 monitor.

    The thing seems to run fine and then sometimes go to a sideshow for a couple seconds. Is the gma 950 really horrible? Anyone who has used one of these able to speak up? I've heard the gma 950 sucked, but it can't be this bad? I mean running slowly on ANGRY BIRDS (mac store edition)????????

    Could there be issues with the ram, or cpu, or hdd, or well... anything else??

    (In case you are confused, teleport is OSX software that works like a KV/M switch. Control any OSX machine from Tiger and up using it, by installing teleport software on your main machine and the target)
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    They're not very good. Worst of the GPUs ever put into a production Mac. They don't even have full OpenGL 2.0 or 2.1 support (I forget which one, but I think it's 2.0). Driving a screen that size may be too much for it to do beyond simple text and pictures. They can do basic gaming, but generally only on smaller resolutions. As a test, try turning down the resolution of that screen to see if it helps.
     
  3. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #3
    I don't wanna...

    I installed some stuff on safari such as click to flash, adblock, and I don't have an occasional sideshow issue anymore.

    Can the gma 950 even do 3d games lol?
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #4
    Yes, it can do 3D games. Most machines built after 2000 can do them without a problem.
     
  5. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #5
    Yeah... considering it was running Angry Birds slowly, by 3d games you mean original Doom right?
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    Doom would fit into that category. When asking if it could, you did fail to specify an era or texture bit.
     
  7. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #7
    You realize a 286 with 20 mhz and a vga monitor could run Doom (not well, but)?

    That is not even an example at all for a gpu made semi recently..
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Yes I realize that, having played it on a similar system many years ago.
     
  9. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

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    #9
    Similar to a slow dog on a hot day.
     
  10. surroundfan macrumors 6502

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    Melbourne, Australia
    #10
    As slow as a wet week...

    In this day and age, I wouldn't want to be doing much more than web surfing and word processing on a computer with a GMA950.

    Having said that, I drove a 1920x1200 screen with a CD Mac mini for a couple of years and it was fine... provided I stuck to web surfing, listening to music, playing video and word processing.
     
  11. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #11
    Well remember, this is basically an alternate screen for basic tasks.
     
  12. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Doesn't surprise me.

    My sister has a white Macbook with a GMA 950 in it.

    You can absolutely, positively, 110% forget about gaming on a mac that uses one.

    Back in the day, 8 years ago, when the 950 came out people were getting around 12 fps in DOOM 3 at 800x600 and that was on PC. So, there you go.
     
  13. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

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    Apr 10, 2012
    #13
    no way - my 33mhz 386SX struggled with Doom (and I had enormous amount of memory in 1994 - 8 megabytes!).

    back to topic: absolutely - worst - GPU. it might even struggle with HD youtube (for that I recommend excellent application called Mactubes).
    on the other hand I'm a big proponent of using your tech as long as you can - this computer will still perfectly serve as:
    - kids computer for flash games
    - word processing and web browsing
    - iTunes library, Plex/XMBC server
    - Timemachine backup server

    and many many more uses. Just dont install anything newer than Snow Leopard (I think thats the last version anyway, without hacks).
    maybe popping in small SSD (64GB) instead of DVD drive might do wonders for you - it will speed up swapping to drive (because you have little RAM and cant install more).
     
  14. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    Feb 7, 2012
    #14
    Meh, if you are going to use small stuff for this, why not get raspberry pi which uses less then 10 watts power?

    I got this system due to compatibility with teleport. It's hard as hell to add monitors to OSX without getting a thunderbolt system and then getting multiple ATDs, which is around $1000 each.

    This is the same reason I'm receiving a Appletv 3 shortly, simply for OSX mavericks and the ability to add another monitor.

    You can say I'm very good at multitasking.

    Also, this system is compatible with Snow Leopard, and I did have some stuff that was PPC only...
     
  15. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #15
    Because a raspberry pi has been compared to the power of a 300mhz Pentium II. I have two of them, and beyond using it for a very basic web server and a glorified digital frame, it is almost unusable.

    My 2006 Mac Mini's can at least be used as iTunes servers and basic internet machines!
     
  16. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    Feb 7, 2012
  17. The Unseen macrumors member

    The Unseen

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    #17
    I have the first Mac Mini Intel with Core Solo 1.5 Ghz with Mac OSX 10.6.8 hooked up to a 50' LG Plasma TV. I use it mainly as media center, but also with movies at 720p it struggles a bit, but i remember i've played "Medal of Honor Allied Assault" (the very first version) on it in multiplayer and the Mini was capable to do it. Also i've played to "Machinarium" very well, but it is in Flash.
     
  18. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #18
    The macbook I'm writing from is a core 2 duo and gma 950.

    You are using how many monitors w/ it?

    The card was just a tad bit old in 2007, now in 2013... ;)
    The machine can run some games, I remember I ran COD3 or 2 don't really remember; won't play PSX2 emulation for sure.

    Mine is running Lion, I would advise to just stay w/ SL though. how much RAM?
     
  19. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #19
    Uh, this mac mini only has one display connection (DVI).
     
  20. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

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    Apr 10, 2012
    #20
    you can still get USB video adapter, it is not ideal solution but OK for browsing web, itunes, word etc.
     
  21. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    Feb 7, 2012
    #21
    For a core duo? Did you not read the topic AT ALL? I'm using this with teleport as a secondary machine on my i5 imac, which has two 27" displays plus a small usb display (Which will soon be replaced by either a new imac, or... mac pro). The gma 950 is bad enough, but the core duo isn't exactly cutting edge either, and I'm already pushing the device with a 1080p 23" display..
     
  22. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 4, 2009
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    USA
    #22
    It might be a combination of all four - RAM, cpu, hdd, and the GMA 950.

    The core duo is rather dated at this point - even with Snow Leopard.

    If it's running low on RAM and paging to the hdd, that's going to make it chug.

    And, as discussed already, the GMA 950 was bottom of the barrel 8 years ago, plus it consumes 80MB (or more) of your RAM alone.

    One thing I would try is have Activity Monitor open while you're using the mini as you normally would. When it bogs down look to see if something isn't eating up all your cpu cycles and/or memory. My guess is it will be either of those two or both.
     
  23. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    #23
    It has max ram (2 gb). It's mainly the gpu being pushed (Running at 1080p doesn't help).

    Really though, it's on a 1080p monitor that's in portrait mode and the machine is really for surfing the web only. It's really backup for my main device in that regard. The main issue I have is that it still seem to run a bit slowly when a website loads a bunch of pics.

    Is there a setting that lets you let the integrated gpu use more ram on a mac mini?
     
  24. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    USA
    #24
    Without checking when the system bogs down, I wouldn't rule out low memory and cpu as the source of your problem.

    The more pics you load into the browser the more memory it will use, and scrolling pages with lots of images eats into your cpu.

    FWIW, we have a 2006 macbook with similar specs (core duo, GMA 950, 1GB RAM, and OS X 10.5). At times, it becomes unbearably slow. The main cause is usually the web browser. After awhile, Safari's memory consumption can be as high as around 500MB. By that time the computer is out of RAM, swapping memory to the hdd, and running dog slow. If there are Flash elements loaded, then the added cpu cycles in the background only compound the effect. The only solution is to start closing apps or reboot.

    Not that I'm aware of, but I don't think this would solve your problem anyways. In fact, it might make the situation worse for web browsing or anything else since that memory comes from main system RAM. It's probably best to let OS X vary the amount automatically.
     
  25. Zellio thread starter macrumors 65816

    Zellio

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    #25
    I'm running this in a minimalist fashion... The only apps at the bottom are needed ones. At most google chrome uses around 200-250 megs (I haven't tried a ton of tabs, but again it's backup). The slowdown obviously happens when large numbers of picture appear.
     

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