Large External Display on Macbook GMA X3100

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bmastudent, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. bmastudent macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I currently have a macbook 2.2ghz GMA X3100 and wish to run a 24" display 1920 x 1200 resolution. I understand the max resolution on this laptop is 1920 x 1200...does anybody run an external display with this laptop and any thoughts on how the display performs with it?

    On black friday, I purchased a new 2.26 ghz MBP from Amazon at $1050 without tax which has a 9400M which I understand is a much superior graphics solution. However, I am not entirely sure I want to keep it as the new arrandales coming out next year will likely have much improved CPU performance if not improved video and heat characteristics as well.

    1. Will my current laptop be able to drive the external display without significant problems?

    2. If I might require a laptop with a better graphics card, should I keep my recent purchase or return and wait for the next generation MBP's which should be coming out soon.

    Thanks.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    The MBP (not the MacBook) drives the Apple 30" Cinema Display at 2560 x 1600, so your monitor would be no problem at all for the MBP. It doesn't look like the MacBook would run at 1920 x 1200, if you're talking about the Late 2007 model.
     
  3. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #3
    you are only going to get better video if you spend more $$

    so the only way you are going to get out of that "integrated graphics" rut is to spend more

    I have run a 20" @ 1600 X 1200 on my wifes Core Duo with an even slower GMA 950, it handled it just fine.

    you have at least 3 months for a new MBP revision, 13" might get the X4500 chip, but who knows?

    Not sure that matters, since the MBP you bought will do 30" @ 2560 X 1600, as already pointed out.
     
  4. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #4
    Are you sure about this???

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2147&page=3

    According to that site, "The Intel GMA X3100 has a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 at a refresh rate of 75 Hz."

    I don't know whether this is just the theoretical max resolution of the chip and is not as implemented on the macbook. Also, even if it might theoretically run on my macbook, I have no idea how well it might run which is a concern. I don't want my display to force my laptop to be running the fan at max speed just to output to a display.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #5
  6. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #6
    I think that's just the resolution of the internal display and not output to an external display...or am I wrong?
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #7
    You're right... I read the wrong line... too many numbers.... the max is 1920 x 1200 for an external.
     
  8. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #8
    The question though is how well would it run 1920 x 1200. If there's significant lag or drag on my cpu, I'll definitely want to upgrade. Otherwise, it almost seems like I'm pointlessly spending money for a marginal upgrade from a late 2007 to mid 2009 model.
     
  9. macdim macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    Well, I have a 22" Samsung at 1680x1050 and it runs it fine. I know this is a lower resolution, but it might give you a little insight. Stacks and the dock lag a little, but no more than usual with this piece of turd graphics chip.
     
  10. Theclamshell macrumors 68030

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    Mar 2, 2009
    #10
    i have the same laptop. Dont worry about the cpu. Its the gpu (X3100) that you need to worry about. It should.... run fine but the x3100 is horrid compared to the 9400m so the money would definatley not be wasted. i suggest you try it out and if you want more upgrade. t would not be a waste of money espically getting the upgrade to the 9400
     
  11. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #11
    Would I see a difference between the two just running normal non-gaming applications? What about the occasional high definition movie or maybe just photoshop? I don't know too much about how much of a demand these place on the GPU. I saw a site that said the 9400 was 5x faster than the GMA X3100...
     
  12. No ice please macrumors 6502

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    Nov 21, 2009
    #12
    Unless you want to hear fans 24-7 on any flash site don't do it. Intel gma should be illegal to sell.
     
  13. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    Sep 11, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #13
    Yep. I had a MacBook Air and Blackbook with the X3100 and the second I attempted to watch any Youtube the fans would rev up to a painful amount. I tried watching 720 mkv videos and all I got was stuttering, lag, and noise.

    The GMA X3100 chips are horrendous compared to the 9400M.
     
  14. Theclamshell macrumors 68030

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    Mar 2, 2009
    #14
    yes, its true, god forbid i go on youtube its immediately up to 6200rpm for the fans, its crazy
     
  15. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #15
    Your Macbook will run the external display perfectly fine. It is more than capable to run normal applications at 1920x1200 without any noticeable slowdowns.
     
  16. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #16
    Thanks for the advice guys. I've heard from several other people that applications such as youtube and flash video are completely CPU driven. For whatever reason though, I don't hear my fan rev up as much on my new 13" MBP which is 2.26 ghz vs. 2.2 ghz on my blackbook. Go figure...

    One thing that I have noticed though is the new laptop seems to run cooler. Whether this is a result of better insulation with the aluminum unibody or my old laptop was just dusty, I have no idea.
     
  17. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #17
    I'm using my MacBook 2.1GHz, 4GB, 120GB GMA X3100 with a 24" HD monitor. It does run hotter than usual - I average probably 51 while hooked up to the monitor. The fans do go on quite loudly when watching videos but it still functions. I, like you, was also thinking of upgrading to a newer MacBook but I decided against it. Sure, my fans might spin up to 5500RPM while watching HD videos but I can deal with it. Just turn the music up louder :)

    BTW I do have mine on a stand.
     
  18. bmastudent thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #18
    By the way, does anybody have any idea how to set it so your macbook display is off and you're only running the single external display?
     
  19. macdim macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #19
    Connect the external display and close the MacBook's lid. After it goes to sleep, press the "Menu" button on the remote if you have one, plug in a USB mouse or keyboard, press any button on a Bluetooth peripheral. That should wake it up.

    Alternatively, when you press the power button to boot the computer, shut the lid quickly and it'll boot fine using the external screen only.
     
  20. bwawn macrumors member

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    Jul 24, 2002
    #20
    I have a very first revision MacBook (from mid-2006 - the very first MacBook ever released) and I use it with a 24" monitor at 1920 x 1080. It runs wonderfully. I watch videos without any issue - yes, the fans rev up, but they rev up when I'm watching on my internal display as well. Watching videos full screen is absolutely no problem.

    As a side note, my laptop ALWAYS has its lid closed, and is always running off the external display. I use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it, and both will wake up the computer just fine. I hide the laptop from view and it's like I just have a monitor with wireless keyboard/mouse in front of it.

    The infrared remote, any Bluetooth devices being activated, or plugging and then unplugging a USB device will all wake up a MacBook connected to an external display with its lid closed. The only time it will not function this way is when an external power source is not connected - it will not drive an external display alone when running off battery power.
     
  21. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #21
    I do not reccommend running any polycarbonate MacBook with the lid closed (while connected to display). A lot of heat escapes through the keyboard, and because of that the display can warp. It has happened to me before.
     
  22. macdim macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #22
    I've been doing this almost every day for 2 years and I haven't seen any warping.
     
  23. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #23
    Thats surprising to me! I used mine for about a week then I noticed a bit of rubbing on the edge of the screen while opening and other small things.
     

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