MacBook integrated graphics

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ^kick^, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. ^kick^ macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    Hopefully I am posting in the right place...
    I am looking to buy a MacBook for college, but my one problem with it is the integrated graphics. Yes... I know there have been many questions about this a while ago. But my question is since the integrated graphics has 64MB memory and automatically borrows 80MB more from system memory just to run Mac O SX, making a total of 144MB just running the operating system, wouldn't it be just as good or better (since it can adjust to take more system memory if need be) as a dedicated card with 128MB of ram. The reason I ask is because my school requires that the minimum amount of memory for the card be at least 128 MB. I was planning to upgrade to 2 gigs of system mem when I got it, thinking that may work to help run it a little faster. I am hoping the answer to this question is yes because everything else on the MacBook looks just dandy!:) But my gut tells me no.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I just had to ask!
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    What are you doing on the computer? Anything more than the Office/Internet combo that more students use?
  3. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    What kind of school work is it for? Are they actually going to know? Unless you're studying some sort of motion based design field or 3-d rendering occupation, you'll probably be fine.
  4. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    To answer your question: the MacBook does not meet the requirements that your school has set out.

    Are these requirements enforced? Are they paying for the machines, or subsidizing them in some way? Are these requirements because of work you might do, or arbitrary?
  5. ^kick^ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    Thanks for the replies.
    No the requirements are not enforced, but according to the guy I emailed if I opt not to meet the requirements I may be unable to take some of the courses.
    These are his exact words:

    You are certainly welcome to bring a Mac to campus, and it is possible
    to use it on the campus network. However, you are still officially
    required to have a laptop that meets or exceeds the minimum laptop
    specifications for your class. If you choose not to meet these minimum
    specs then you may have difficulties completing some of your coursework
    and encounter courses that you will not be able to take. There are
    professors who have chosen and/or developed specific software used for
    their classes that may not be compatible with your Mac and could present
    significant problems for your participation.

    I am majoring in chemistry and I don't think I will be taking any graphics design classes or anything like that, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I don't want to end up having to buy a completely new computer just because I can't complete an assignment due to my graphics card. If I knew what I would be doing on it, the choice would be a lot easier. And no the school is not subsidizing.

    What I don't understand is that if the integrated graphics has 64MB dedicated memory and can use over 80MB shared mem. why won't it be just as good as a ded. card with 128MB mem? After all the requirements say that all I need is 128MB mem. Can someone please explain this. LOL I think I have been brainwashed by Apple.
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    THe GMA950 has 0MB dedicated memory. All the memory is shared with the CPU. This is capped at 64MB in OSX but can reach 224MB in Windows.
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Right so give them this figure, it'll be fine ;). They are hardly gonna check.

    EDIT: If they are anal enough not to let you do a course based on your laptops VRAM, another laptop may be advisable, although you could send IT Support at the university an email to check. You could politely point out that VRAM doesn't make a massive difference unless you are gaming or doing 3D modelling.
  8. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    It really sounds like you'll be fine. This seems like one of those issues where somebody in line said "we need students to have X" and instead of understanding the basis for it, those instructions are just getting repeated down the line.

    Absolute worst-case, most schools have computer labs for their students. Couldn't you work on campus if you REALLY had an assignment that wasn't doable on your macbook?
  9. vadim.iablokov macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2007
    You'll be fine

    A dedicated card also has a dedicated processor to power the graphics, so it's not just the memory that's important. The macbook can run all academic software out there without a dedicated processor, the only thing that it can't do (as others have said) is play games at max and compile heavy 3D models.
    The email you received is more concerned with software compatability, the software your professors use may not be available for Mac (although more and more scientific applications are being written for MAC), but luckily you can run Windows on your intel macbook, erradicating all software problems.
    I study biochemistry and just got the macbook, so I havn't really tested it with the software I use. But I know the widely used MDL Chime program that allows you to view 3D molecular models is available for the Mac (MDL CHIME). On a side note, most academic professors I know are dedicated mac users, unless they're from the stone ages or in social sceinces :p
  10. Episteme macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2007
    Despite what others have said, until we know what specific software will be used, no-one can say for sure if your MacBook will be fine.

    There are many scientific fields where complex 3D modelling is used. It's possible it's related to this.

    I think it's likely your MacBook will be okay, but specifying 128MB VRAM does seem an odd requirement if they're not doing it for a specific reason -- I'd recommend you ask if they can tell you why the have that requirement.

    One more thing to clear up a misconception -- your MacBook has NO dedicated VRAM. It takes it all from the system RAM. Apple chose to have OS X locks this at 64MB. Windows, however, can take up to 224MB of system RAM.

    You may find you need to install Windows for this or just to run other software the course requires anyway.

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