Mac Mini on way, what's the graphics card like for games?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jnc, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #1
    Just curious if anyone's loaded up games on their new Mac Minis, and how they fare. I spotted someone saying they could play COD4 on it.

    Last summer I had the current (at the time) entry level MacBook Pro, it could handle Gears of War & BioShock through Boot Camp with no hassle. Anyone have any idea how that MBP would compare to my new Mini?

    2.4GHz MacBook Pro
    GeForce 8600M GT, 256MB RAM
    2GB DDR2 RAM

    2.26GHz Mac Mini
    GeForce 9400M, 256MB vRAM
    4GB DDR3 RAM

    I mean, the processors are pretty close, and there's more, faster RAM... if there's a huge gap, maybe someone could explain why?

    Looking forward to some GoW and Geometry Wars on my new machine hopefully :p
     
  2. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #2
    While the 9400M is decent for an integrated solution, its still not much of a gaming chip. Shader heavy games are going to struggle on the 9400M, and thats only going to get worse as games become more and more shader reliant in the future. GoW btw, is a very shader heavy game.
     
  3. elcid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #3
    Discrete Graphics vs Integrate Graphics.


    Huge difference.
     
  4. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502

    ceezy3000

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    Jan 10, 2009
    Location:
    The Valley!!
    #4
    yes i ve played cod4 on my x3100, it was playble i guess u could say on low settings, my friend set it to low settings on his 9400m and it blew my x3100 out of the water, not a great chip but can do its job
     
  5. jnc thread starter macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #5
    E - LA - BO - RATE. I've given the specs, the RAM, etc. The dispairty is down to the MBP's GPU from, what, 2007? I can't get my head around what a dedicated GPU does, I suppose?
     
  6. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #6
    Here's what elcid means, I believe...

    An integrated graphics card utilizes regular system RAM. Thus, the graphics processor is limited by system RAM bandwidth and overall logic board speed, and memory available to applications is consequently reduced.

    A discrete or dedicated graphics card has its own video memory, distinct from system memory and running on its own internal bus to the graphics chip. The CPU simply sends graphics commands to the graphics card, which renders the command at its top speed without the system RAM bottleneck.

    Because of this, the same graphics processor model will perform much faster as a dedicated card than as an integrated processor.
     
  7. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #7
    you wil be okay as far as HD movies and things like that go - however if you run a game like Spore... you might have some problems (as did i).

    Macs, IMHO have never been know for gaming
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #8
    You can expect the integrated 9400m card to be about half as good as your MBP 8600.

    But its performance is a tons better than the last Mac Mini solution.

    http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp05.html
     
  9. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #9
    yeah as s/he said. lets also remember that the Mac Mini is running on a mobile chipset! so don't be too disappointed
     
  10. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    See here and here. As others said, better than the x3100 but not as good as the 8600.

    I remember back in about 2003 I had a desktop PC with the latest integrated graphics, which was absolutely crushed by a 3D card from c. 1997 - a Diamond Monster 3D card using the Voodoo 1 chip. We're talking old here.

    Dedicated graphics simply are better. It's a shame Apple doesn't make a Mac Pro Mini - a small "tower" with one or two slots only.

    The processor comparison here is also pretty cool. My Macbook has the T7500, the 2.0 mini has the P7350 and the 2.26 mini has the P8400.
     
  11. jnc thread starter macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #11
    Thanks! Now I understand it better. Dedicated GPUs don't borrow from system processes and integrated ones do, right? That's why I maxed the RAM and processor... hoped doing that would alleviate that burden of an integrated chip.

    I was kinda on the right track, but it seems there's ultimately only so much that can be done. I've followed the Mini on its 4 year run and it seems this is the best we may get for a while. :p I had a Mac Pro because I liked running dual displays, but its size, cost etc didn't agree with my lifestyle. Now the Mini has two outputs, I'll have to make do - I'll whack some games on myself and see how they perform once it arrives! Tomorrow I think.

    So.... games will run but at half the speed? Half the res?? Will they run at all?

    Interesting to see the 9400 is only next down on the chart from the 8600M GT. As said above, I wonder how much the extra RAM on my new machine will "bridge the gap" per se, or will it still not really matter?

    thanks everyone for clarifying
     
  12. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #12
    have a MBA 1.86/SSD. Crysis, everything on low, 1280x800, 15-25fps.

    I think the MBA 9400m may be slightly underclocked and Mac Mini has a slightly faster CPU. Figure around 20% faster.
     
  13. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #13
    I run Spore fine on my MBA. 1280x800, everything on high, 30fps (Spore is locked to 30fps). Were you running on OSX side?
     
  14. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #14
    if you mean was i running on OS X or Windows. i was running on OS X. spore was very buggy i had it when it first came out. stupid grox
     
  15. drjsway macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #15
    Tried it on OSX but Spore was much faster in windows.
     
  16. Henrik85 macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #16
    I'd say the gaming performance is decent. You will need at least 2 GB's of ram though, in order to get the GPU memory up to 256 MB. COD4 is playable, but not really enjoyable. Among the games I've tested so far are Guitar Hero 3, Doom 3, C&C3 (yep, lot's of games ending with 3 ;)), which all both looks & runs great. I haven't played any games under Windows yet (I'm trying to avoid running Windows at all, since I'm so fed up with it...), but I guess the gaming performance will be slightly better under Windows.
     
  17. EDarkness macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #17
    What resolution do you run in? My Mac Mini doesn't arrive for a few days, so I can't run any tests myself. :(
     
  18. jnc thread starter macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #18
    IT'S HERE!! :D

    Using now, just running Software update then I'll stuff a BootCamp partition on there for XP

    I have Gears of War, Geometry Wars and Crysis to test out first...
     
  19. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #19
    I'd be curious to know what graphics card you were using in 2003. More than likely a 2003 CPU would probably render graphics on it's own faster than a Voodoo, with no help from the graphics card.

    Also were you running your 2003 graphics card at the 640x480 resolution that most Voodoo's were limited to?

    What games were you running that were slower on the new machine?
     
  20. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #20
    Voodoo 2 could handle 800x600 resolution. If you had two of these in SLI, you could have even 1024x768 res. :D

    BTW: me is also cursio, what graphic card the previous poster had.
     
  21. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #21
    Voodoo 1 could handle 800x600 in certain games too. He mentioned the Voodoo 1 though and not the Voodoo 2.
     
  22. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #22
    It may have been a Voodoo 2 - not sure. I was using it for Half Life (1), running it at 800x600 with OpenGL.

    The PC was an eMachines (ugh) desktop -hell if I remember what the processor was. Or maybe it was my homebrew system I had mixed in there somewhere. (It's all a blur now.)

    A friend gave me the graphics card - I remember being stunned at how such an older card could blow away then-current desktops.
     
  23. MacMiniBoy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    #23
    I'm quite keen to hear how you got on, as I'm in a similar situation myself.
     
  24. jnc thread starter macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #24
    I'd love to tell you, currently awaiting my 3rd Mac Mini as the first two went bad... good old Rev A :|

    I might just go the complete opposite way and get a Mac Pro... I'm not happy!
     
  25. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #25
    I'm confused. The current Mini is the 3rd version of the Intel variety, and overall the 5-6th revision since its introduction. Far from revision A.
     

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